Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

February 8, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (3:02 PM)

Hello from Pebble Beach. Thanks for participating. Plenty going on in the golf world so let's get started. Please fire away with your questions.

JY (TO)

I think one of the more interesting historical debates in golf is whether it was easier for Jack to win majors in his day, with a dozen or so guys that knew how to win majors, or whether its more difficult today where there is way more parity but less proven winners. I am inclined to side with those that say its harder today, therefore Tiger, if he lands on 18, would have achieved something greater then Jack. Thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

No doubt, a great debate. The view here is that Jack had it easier. Yes, he had to deal with far more major champions: Palmer, Player, Floyd, Watson, Trevino, Miller, etc. But he didn't have as many Rich Beems, Michael Campbells, Y.E. Yangs. Those guys came out of nowhere to beat Tiger in majors -- and haven't won on tour since. The randomness that Tiger has faced is far greater, which in my mind has made it harder.

Patrick (Hanover)

In tournaments like Pebble and Humana that use multiple courses, how does that work with practice rounds. Can players chosse what course they would like to play or is it a schedule?

Bob Harig
  (3:05 PM)

They can choose how they want to do it. Tiger, for example, is playing Monterey Peninsula today. He played Spyglass Monday. Guys do it to fit their schedules.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Has Ben Crane's pace of play improved to the point to where he can take breaks in the round to sing crappy songs? He's lucky Rory wasn't behind him.

Bob Harig
  (3:07 PM)

I like Ben Crane's good nature and willingness to try something fun. Pace of play is another issue. It's dreadful. As is the case with way too many players.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Would this tournament draw better and/or be better off if it dumped the amateurs, dropped Monterrey and added Cyprus (forgetting for a minute the reasons Cyprus is out of the event)?

Bob Harig
  (3:09 PM)

There is nothing wrong with Monterey. It is a great course and many thing that Cypress Point is no longer long enough for today's game. No question, the amateur format and having to learn three courses and pace of place is a big deterent. There are just so many good tournaments and guys who don't want to deal with that skip.

Patrick (Hanover)

With Paul Lawrie winning last week it brought me back to the 1999 British Open. Certainly that will always be remembered for Van De Velde but not enough credit is given to Lawrie and his 67 in very difficult conditions. In my opinion it is one of the underrated rounds of all time. Your thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:11 PM)

It was a great round ,but it was a round shot with no pressure. He was 10 back. He had nothing to lose, figured he didn't have any chance to win. When he finished, Van de Velde was more than 3 shots clear. Van de Velde plays the hole with a wedge and he wins.

Tommy (Green Bay, Wisconsin)

John Daly's fourth place finish in Qatar? Sign of things to come or a fluke? Seems to have found a good playing weight for his putting.

Bob Harig
  (3:13 PM)

I'm sorry but I see it as a fluke. Daly has not shown the consistency necessary to think it's anything more. We'll see.

JY (TO)

Do you have any idea wether The Open rotation will add new courses in the forseeable future? Would be amazing to see an Open at Royal Dornach or Portrush

Bob Harig
  (3:15 PM)

It's a longshot. Portrush has entered the discussion recently due to the great success of golfers from Northern Ireland. There is a big sentimental push to do this. But the R&A seems veyr content with it's current 9-course rota of St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Turnberry, Muirfield and Troon in Scotland as well as Royal Lytham (this year's venue), Royal Liverpool, Royal St. George's and Royal Birkdale in England.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Any players going up to Olympic this week to check out the changes?

Bob Harig
  (3:15 PM)

Have not heard that but wouldn't surprise if some did so after the tournament.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Why is it that TGC/CBS only show the 9th and 18th holes of Spyglass and Monterry? They have enough cameras to show us 54 holes at the Humana but not at Spyglass? Maddening that I can watch 2000+ miles of the Tour de France but we'll only be able to see Tiger play 4 holes out of 36.

Bob Harig
  (3:17 PM)

I am not sure if that is the case, actually. YOu can bet that there will be some handle held cameras out there. Hard to imagine every shot of Tiger's rounds not being recorded.

Jon (Fla)

Any truth to the rumor that Tiger will play the Honda Classic next month?

Bob Harig
  (3:19 PM)

There's been a lot of speculation on that, but no confirmation. It makes sense because Tiger now lives in the area. He has said he'd add a new tournament this year. So it's an easy conclusion to draw.

Shoshana (Boston)

Tiger has been playing well, but his track record in this tournament is actually pretty terrible (only 2/6 top 10's) and he hasn't played it in a decade, are people's expectations way to high?

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

His record here is overstated because of the 15-shot win at the 2000 U.S. Open. Also tied for fourth in 2010 U.S. Open. Course is much different in summer and they only play Pebble twice during this tournament. His track record suggests this won't be an easy week. Then again, it's not the strongest of fields, either.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Why is it the PGA tour doesn't use the back tee on #17 at Pebble?

Bob Harig
  (3:22 PM)

I believe they do, just not every day. Or maybe just one day.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Do you think Phil Mickelson will ever host a PGA Tour event? If so which one? It would seem to be Torrey or Phoenix right? Something tells me it won't be at Cog Hill.

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

It would seem logical but there's been little talk about such a move. The ones you suggest are the logical ones but both have long-time charitable arms in place.

JY (TO)

Where would you rank Phil all-time in the panthenon of golfers (assuming 1 more major and 6 more tour wins)? Does he make the Top 10? Lot's of competition.... Top 15?

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

Right now, it would be tough to put him in the top 10 but top 15 is probably about right. With another major and six more wins then he jumps up. Certainly his career victory total is impressive-- 39 wins. He'd pass some big names to get six more.

Abby (Bloomington, IN)

Obviously people are interested in how Tiger will performance this weekend, but who are other players to keep an eye out for at Pebble Beach?

Bob Harig
  (3:29 PM)

Phil, Dustin Johnson, Padriag Harrington, Jim Furyk, Nick Watney to name a few.

Patrick (Charlottesville, VA)

What do you think we'll see out of Furyk this week? It's also his first Tour event of 2012, no doubt wanting to bounce back to 2010 form, and trying to build of a historic Presidents Cup. Also, who is paired with?

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

Furyk is playing with Darius Rucker as his amateur partner. It' shis first tournament of the year. So hard to say what will happen, how any of these guys will perform. He's certainly motivated to have a big year after a disappointing 2011.

JY (TO)

What's the weather looking like this week? Dark and dismal?

Bob Harig
  (3:33 PM)

So far, it's terrific. Not going to be warm, but a nice weather week.

Mike (Tampa, FL)

Does anyone miss Poppy Hills?

Bob Harig
  (3:33 PM)

I have not heard that anyone does.

Rob (NY)

Bounce back for Spencer Levin this week?

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

Very hard to say. Usually I think there would be a huge letdown. Hard to get back motivated. Then again, look at Kyle Stanley. He's obivously been playing decently.

Greg (DE)

Do you Luke Donald will win a major this year? If so which one?

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

He's good enough to win any of them, but to say he'll win one? He's not contended much in majors. Before last year, he had not won a lot of tournaments.

JY (TO)

Will we ever see another dominant golfer ala Tiger in earlier in his career given all of the parity?

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

Most didn't see someone like Tiger coming along. It's hard to say never.

Abby (Bloomington, IN)

This weekend I can't really see any sort of pace of play, but in regards to the future of golf - do you think organizations such as the AJGA enforcing a pace of play will help with the issue when those juniors reach the professional level? Or does competing in the college level put them back to bad habits? Or does it matter at all...?

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

Anything that calls attention to it helps. Certainly developing good pace of play habits earlier on can help later. But the general pace of play in pro golf is so slow, and if there is no penalty for it, it will continue.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

What's the ongoing fascination with Rickie Fowler? He hasn't won, hasn't even really come that close save for the '10 Memorial. Kyle Stanley is the latest of a bunch of guys who don't get the billing of Rickie yet they go out and win. At what point can we say he is a dissapointment?

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

We might be getting closer to that point. Fowler ha snot won, and you're right, he' snot really been that close.

Keith H (Seattle)

I don't get the "where's the next Tiger?" questions. Can't we just appreciate the run he had? Who's to say anyone will get near it?

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

There have long been next Nicklaus, next Woods queries. The nature of sports. It doesn't seem possible that anyone could come along and do what Tiger has done. To accomplish half of it would be phenomenal.

Shoshana (Boston)

People talk about parity like it's something new, but in reality for a nearly 20 year period between Jack's 1980 season, and Tiger's ascendency we had parity. The most majors won was Faldo's 6, then Seve's 5 and taking out Tiger then you get Phi's 4

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

And for the most part, pre-Tiger, winning 3 or 4 tournaments in a year was a great season. Last year nobody won more than 2 on the PGA Tour.

Michael (Cincinnati)

Kyle Stanley should earn immense respect for putting that debacle behind him immediately. What a final round to close with!

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

No doubt. It was a great turnaround.

Shoshana (Boston)

People say Jack's competitors knew how to win, Phil is nearly top 10 in career pga tour wins and has 4 majors, Padraig has won 3 majors. Maybe if there wasn't s much parity Phil and Padraig would've won more majors like Arnie and Trevino

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

I think the point here tho is that Tiger has not faced the onslaught of major winners. Phil, Padraig, Retief, Ernie, Vijay. . who else? And they werne't dealing with Tiger so much in their victories. Think about Jack. He was runner-up to Watson 4 times in majors. He lost a playoff to Trevino. During Nicklaus' prime, Player, Trevino, Miller, Watson, Floyd all won majors.

Michael (Cincinnati)

More to the point on Fowler, what's up with the PGA Tour making a commercial about him? What kind of message does that send?

Bob Harig
  (3:48 PM)

They are promoting someone they believe to be an emerging star, one who connects with young people.

Blaine (Gainesville, GA)

What does Tiger have to do this week to win?

Bob Harig
  (3:50 PM)

Do what he did during the first three rounds in Abu Dhabi. Hit a lot of greens, give himself a lot of birdie chances. One thing he didn't do was dominate the par-5s. That is something that has been missing.

zach (Chicago )

do you see vijay or Ernie ever winning again?

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

Yes, I think it is quite possible. Vijay is unique in that he is still a long hitter as he approaches 50. Ernie is not far removed from a strong 2010 season.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

If Fowler dressed like Bill Haas (for example) do you think he'd have a commercial? Cudous to him for marketing himself but why not base commercials around substance. "These guys are good." not "These guys look good but don't win"

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

It's a fair point. But Fowler is more charasmatic and has a lot of upside

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Will we see PGA Golf Played All Year Round?

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

we basically do now

Shoshana (Boston)

Talk about a slump, do you see Padraig Harrington pulling out of his?

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

I wrote about Padraig today (sorry, shameless plug, check it out on ESPN.com). He is eternally optimistic, despite droppoing to 93rd in the world.

Adam (Work)

Where do they have the amateurs tee off this week? Does the PGA follow the "play it forward" in this circumstance?

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

The amateurs play from the equivalent of the white tees or the middle tees. They are not "playing it forward" but it's a considerable break from the pros.

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

Thanks folks, I'm out of time. Appreciate the questions. Enjoy the golf from Pebble.