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February 21, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (3:00 PM)

Welcome, thanks for participating in this golf chat. Lots happening again the golf world, will try to get to as many of your questions as possible. Please fire away.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

When you become comissioner of the PGA Tour, what course that already is in use would you move the match play to?

Bob Harig
  (3:01 PM)

Not sure it would necessarily be on that is already in use. In a perfect world, would love to see the Match Play rotate venues, move around a bit.

JY (TO)

Can you realistically see any young golfing star reaching 41 career wins? I cant see any even getting to 25, and that really speaks to how highly regarded Phil needs to be historically. I guess because of Tiger he is sometimes overlooked.

Bob Harig
  (3:03 PM)

Phil has 40 tour wins, Tiger 71. Next best active player is Vijay with 34 and he turns 49 tomorrow. After that? Davis Love with 20, then Ernie with 18... Had Ernie elected to play a majority of his golf on the PGA Tour,he might have threatened 40. Jim Furyk has 16. So yes,Phil's win total is really a sign of how great his career has been -- and mostly in the Tiger era.

francis (chicago)

do you think tiger's new swing is ready for match play?

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

Not really sure that swing is a huge issue right now. He's been hitting the ball nicely for several months. He could get better at his wedge play, certainly. That hurt him at Pebble Beach. Putting and the short game is the big deal in match play. Recovering from the poor shots, demoralizing your opponent when he hits it in close and you make one before him.

Mikey (UK)

Enjoy your work. Not convinced about your Poulter pick though, he's seemed a bit out of touch lately - what makes you confident he'll pick up his game? Better than Ray's pick of D.Johnson though, 0 matches won in last 3 years... I've got Donald / Garcia / Mahan / Watney as my final 4. Thanks

Bob Harig
  (3:06 PM)

I'm getting a bunch of questions about my picks and feel free to make fun of them! To be honest, there is a lot of guesswork involved, hunches. Poulter could lose tomorrow and I wouldn't be surprised. I think present form means little. It's 18 holes a day and that's it. Then you start over. You could be terrible and win, outstanding and lose. That's match play.

Mike (Charlotte, NC)

How many matches does Tiger need to win for this week to be a success, at least in most people's eyes?

Bob Harig
  (3:09 PM)

To most people, he probably has to win for it to be a success, or at least get to the final. That is the standard he is up against. But really, if he loses tomorrow or makes it to the final, I don't think it changes much. In 04, he won the Match Play -- it was his only win of the year. In 02, he lost in the first round -- and went on to win the first two majors. So you can see in the big picture, it doesn't say a lot about the state of one's overall game.

Sean R (KCMO)

Will Gary Woodland return to the 2011 form that helped him and Kuchar win the World Cup? Seems like some golfers try and fix what ain't broke.

Bob Harig
  (3:11 PM)

Woodland changed coaches at the start of the year to Butch Harmon after his instructor left him when he changed agents. How about that? So there might be a bit of an adjustment period.

Joshua Smith (Minneapolis)

Two of your colleagues at ESPN have Z. Johnson going to the "Elite 8", you don't have him making it past Mahan. Do you see Mahan as a very tough match-up for Zach? If he does get past him would you agree he could go a long way?

Bob Harig
  (3:13 PM)

Continuing with a previous answer. .. lots of hunches and guesses in match play. Any one of them 32 matches could be won by the "underdog." It's not like the basketball tournament in that regard.

Mike (Charlotte, NC)

Any word/update on Lucas Glover? He's been MIA since the first week and I didn't think his injury was that serious?

Bob Harig
  (3:14 PM)

I think it goes to show you that ligament/knee injuries should not be treated lightly. He had hoped to play last week but apparently has decided to wait a bit longer.

Greg (Arkansas)

Picking winners in any tournament is a total crapshoot, but I am never more amused than those trying to pick this event. I remember all the hoopla leading up to the first one, and it ended in a Jeff Maggert-Andrew Magee finale. With rare exceptions -- like Donald's dominance in every match last year -- anything can happen to anyone on any day in this event. I've got Martin Laird over K.J. Choi this time around based on pure speculation.

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

That pretty much sums it up.

Jeff (Fayetteville)

How long is the PGA Tour committed to Dove Mountain. It's too quirky for match play, the players don't think much of it, and it's too hard to walk for fans. This event needs to move.

Bob Harig
  (3:17 PM)

I believe this is the last year of the current contract. Lots of speculation about it moving, but nothing has been announced.

Church (Elon, NC)

Have you noticed a change in Tiger's demeanor on and off the golf course at all or has it remained about the same? He doesn't seem quite as fiery to me anymore but I know he has it in him.

Bob Harig
  (3:19 PM)

He does seem a bit more relaxed, a bit more comfortable, perhaps even more at peace. To me, he seemed to be lacking some fire in the final round at Pebble, which I'm not sure was a good thing.

Ed (Long Island)

With such volatility in this format, should the OWGR points be adjusted downward? One player could be 5 shots better but due to a bad matchup he is out in Round 1 while the other guy advances.

Bob Harig
  (3:20 PM)

This is another one of those weeks where the OWGR gets attention because even if you lose in the first round you earn points. And the points will be high this week because the field is so strong.

Len ((Raleigh, NC))

Bob, looking ahead to the US Open do you forsee the USGA making Olympic unplayable in lieu of the massacre at Congressional? I think that over par could win that golf tournament.

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

That is typically the fear whenever there is a low-scoring Open, that they go hard the other way the next year. Congressional was more a product of the weather. My guess is that Olympic will be plenty tough without a lot of effort.

Tom (L.A.)

We just went through Torrey, Pebble, and Riviera. Now we get Doral, Bay Hill, and the Bear Trap. Dunno, does your interest wane a little until the Masters, or is it just me?

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

Hey, you're forgetting Innisbrook. I see your point tough. Tough to beat Pebble and Riviera, especially. But Florida has long been the run-up to the Masters, where the excitement builds. The venues don't seem to matter much.

Griffin (Geneseo, NY)

All the talk about the Europeans having the top 4 world rankings...yet Tiger and Phil moved the meter more at Pebble than we've seen in awhile, with both of them being healthy how great would it be for them go challenge to be top in the world again?

Bob Harig
  (3:24 PM)

The ratings for Pebble were the highest they've been since 1997... the year Tiger finished second to Mark O'Meara. GC had it's highest rating ever for its portion of the Sunday telecast. No doubt those guys move the meter more than anyone. But it would help if a guy like McIlroy won a bunch. He could do the same thing.

JY (TO)

I've always found that Tiger played his best golf when he was playing alot. He seemed to indicate that it took too much out of him and caused him to play poorly, but if you look at his results, he has played very well historically when he played several weeks in a row, or 5 out of 7. I think he just needs to keep getting tournies in to get back to something resembling his former self. What is your take?

Bob Harig
  (3:27 PM)

It is true that, overall, Tiger is better playing less. But he has had streaks where he's played very well when he played a lot, as recently as 2009 when he won Buick and Bridgestone in back to back weeks followed by finishing second at the PGA. As for now, he seems to get better the more he plays, but still has some issues to work through as we saw at Abu Dhabi and Pebble.

Shoshana (Boston)

How much differently would we be looking at Phil's Sunday if he hadn't made that final putt? The ending was great, but none of those guys played great coming in.

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

Phil probably should have wrapped up a victory well before the 18th hole. You're right, he didn't really play that well, but saved the day with that birdie putt.

Joshua Smith (Minneapolis)

You didn't answer my question - I get your concept that you CAN essentially throw darts at a dart board to pick winners of match play, but asking is that what you did or what logic did you use to pick Mahan over Z. Johnson?

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

I used no logic. Hunch, guess. There is no logic in picking the match play, which is the point.

Tom (L.A.)

What tourneys do you expect Phil to compete in up to the Masters? Likely Doral, maybe Bay Hill, probably Shell Houston?

Bob Harig
  (3:29 PM)

What you just laid out is how it is likely to go. Doral and Houston for sure.

Griffin (Geneseo, NY)

Best and worst part about covering Tiger?

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

The best part is we are talking about one of the most famous people in the world and certainly one of the best -- if not the best -- to ever play golf. There is something neat about being close to that. The worst part is that he of course is the most in demand. So much more attention, media when he plays. And lots of people don't like that but Tiger of course is the one who creates the most interest. We see it in the ratings, etc.

Shoshana (Boston)

Why do so many people get so worked up over spitting, when players still smoke on the golf course? I don't think it's really our right to legislate either thing, but if we're talking about disgusting habits...

Bob Harig
  (3:33 PM)

In some cultures, spitting is highly insulting. Americans don't think much of it, we see people in sports do it all the time. But that is the basis for a lot of the outcry from Keegan Bradley on Sunday.

Greg (Arkansas)

With all the focus on Phil and Tiger -- even though he didn't play last week -- the best player in the world quietly won again with another Sunday charge. Anybody notice Yani Tseng is something like five wins away from the Hall of Fame at age 23, I believe.

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

Quite remarkable what she has already done at such a young age. But we're talking about a tournament that took place in the wee hours U.S. time.

Shoshana (Boston)

Weds of match-play is one of the more fun days of the year, the problem is Sunday is one of the worst. Any ideas for helping out Sunday?

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

I have advocated a double-elimnination format until they get to the final 16. That means you'd still have everyone there on Thursday and still have 32 players on Friday. On Saturday, you'd have 8 matches followed by the 4 quarterfinals. Sunday you play the seminfinals in the morning and the finals in the afternoon, but... anyone who makes it to the final 8 plays for third, 5th and 7th places. At least you have more people playing.

Griffin (Geneseo, NY)

Why no talk about Rory's swing changes? I thought he was the "next" dominant player after his US Open last year

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

He has been working on a minor swing change, but he still finished second in Abu Dhabi, 5th in Dubai in his 2 starts this year. Won in Hong Kong at the end of last year.

Pat (Detroit)

It seems like the days of winning say 3-5 events a year are over like Tiger used to do years back. That is because the talent is so much better and lets face it, the talent keeps getting better at a younger age. Who do you see winning multiple events this year? Obviously Stricker has proven that over the past few years, but I think the days are gone where you see someone winning $9+ million like Tiger used to do.

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

Nobody won more than twice last year. And really, it will take somebody winning 4 or 5 times to realy get people's interest. Who could do it? Rory certainly

Jason (Toronto)

Hey Bob, even if Tiger wins this week people will say it's not a stoke play event. If he wins will golf fans and the media finally admitt he's finally won a tournament?

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

This is true. If he wins, then it'll be when will he win his first stroke play event. And then it will turn to majors. But if he wins the Match Play, it counts.

Pam (Palm Beach)

It is funny that Phil did not play well on Sunday with the lead and thus lost the tourney, yet he was given essentially a pass by the rabid scribes, yet TW was lambasted for the prior week. What is this termed -hate, ethnic cleansing or a bad joke

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

I agree that Tiger is held to a different standard, not always fair. But in this case.. Tiger shot 75 and lost by 9. He was beaten by 11 shots by Phil playing together. So, yes, he was going to take some heat for it. Phil ended up tied after 72 holes at Riviera, despite not playing well. That's a big difference.

Ed (Long Island)

Which birdie was the most surprising to you on Sunday - Phil's birdie on 18, Bradley's birdie on 18 or Haas winning birdie on 10?

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

I'd have to say Haas' winning putt. I didn't see that going in. That was a good 2 putt from there. Phil was a surprise, too, but not the same as Haas.

Cuse Nick (DC)

Keegan Bradley seems to be poised and detetmined to prove last year's major wasn't a fluke. Thoughts on him going forward this year..

Bob Harig
  (3:46 PM)

Remember, he won a tournament before winning the major, so not sure winning the PGA was a fluke. But he did show something on Sunday. That's not easy playing alongside Phil and he hung in there. And to make that putt on top of Phil was epic. Good to see.

bill (tacoma)

What are you feelings on Colsaerts making a run? I know its a crapshoot but feel as though Westwood is the most vulnerable of the #1 seeds. Decent start to the year for Colsaerts as well

Bob Harig
  (3:48 PM)

I would not be surprised at all to see him make a run. Westwood has been traditionally poor in this event.

Shoshana (Boston)

Wish people would stop saying that the days of winning 5 events a year are over due to how much talent there is now, nobody was winning 5 a year on the PGA tour for years pre-Tiger either

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

Phil won 4 in '96, the year Tiger turned pro. Prior to that.. Nick Price won 6 times in 94 and 4 times in 93. Wayne Levi won 4 in 1990. Tway won 4 in 86. Before that, you have to go back to 92 when Stadler, Peete and Watson each won 4.

Ivan (Mexico)

Bob, Would You think that Tiger & Phil, will play some day in Mexico?. There are bunches of fans in this Country and they will love it.

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

Only if the tournament changes. Right now, it is opposite the Match Play, and that makes it impossible for them as long as they are ranked among the top 64.

Ed (Long Island)

I think the main reason that Phil didn't catch a lot of flack for not finishing on Sunday is that he just won the previous week. If he hadn't done that, the boo birds would have been out. Tough to crusch a guy that won the week before and lost in a playoff the following week.

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

A good point.

Nick (DE)

what is your prediction on Tiger Woods this year?

Bob Harig
  (3:54 PM)

I have been saying since before the start of the year that he'd make his first win at Doral, perhaps win at Royal Lytham.

Pam (Palm Beach)

Bob, you do like splitting hairs - the bottom line is TW nor Phil did not win .It does not matter by how much. Are you saying that is is OK to lambaste TW because of the margin of win.. TSk Tsk

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

He got beat by 11 shots when he was 2 ahead of the player who beat him. Fair game there. But if you've followed what I write, I have been one to point out many times that going 3-1-T3-T15 in his past four starts ranks up there with anyone. But because it's Tiger, he is held to a different standard.

john (ft collins)

why isn't Mickelson playing this week?

Bob Harig
  (3:56 PM)

He is taking a planned family vacation after playing five straight.

Phil (San Diego)

Sorry, but Phil did not play poorly on Sunday at Riviera. He shot 71, as did Bradley, and those immediately behind them were all over par with the exception of Haas, who shot 69. Sergio was the only one with an exceptional round on Sunday. You Tiger lovers don't understand that sometimes the course is the winner, and that was true with Riviera.

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

It's true that the course was tough Sunday. Sergio's round was great. Phil did three-putt twice however and failed to birdie the 17th, which is a relatively easy birdie for him if he hits it in the right place. The feeling here was he could have wrapped up that tournament in regulation given what happened around him.

Bryan (Boston)

I feel like golf is becoming larger than ever, yet over the past several weeks I have been disappointed by the lack of coverage, especially on Thursday and Friday at Pebble. Is there any particular reason that the Golf Channel decided to show the LPGA tour over the PGA tour?

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

The GC had both Pebble and LA Thursday and Friday afternoon. . They had the 3-6 p.m. window as they do almost every week. Nothing different.

Shoshana (Boston)

Since 1980 only twice has a golfer (non-TW division) won more than 4x in a year (Price, Vijay), the chances of Rory becoming a guy who consistently wins 5x a year are relatively remote.

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

Very true. . . Amazing that Greg Norman was not on that previous list I noted.

Bob Harig
  (4:03 PM)

Lots of great questions, sorry I could not get tom them all. And sorry I could not offer up a lock for the Match Play. I've gone with Ian Poulter but good luck to all of you. Enjoy.