Hello, thanks for checking in again this week. Plenty of golf to talk about once again. Very much appreciate your participation. Please fire away with your questions.
Hi Bob - what is your gut feeling for Tiger and Bay Hill? Seems like he wants to avoid missing the Master's at all cost. Does it make sense for him to play if there is even a hint of injury in his body?
This is the big question, isn't it? Does he take a chance by playing next week? Or if he is okay, does he see the need to sharpen his game with tournament play. He was being cautious by pulling out of Doral. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
With seemingly none of the top 10 in the world playing this week, who's the favorite to win?
They actuall have 4 of the top 10. . .and 11 of the top 25. Luke, Schwartzel, Rose, Simpson all in the top 10. . . Kuchar, Watney, Snedeker, Garcia, Choi, Hanson, Wilson. . . Harrington, Els, Furyk.. it's actually a very good field. But when Tiger don't Phil don't play, perception is that it's not so good .. . which is a shame.
What is considered a higher-quality win: a tournament like PR that is opposite a WGC event or one with a weak field because the stars stay away (like Transitions this week)?
Again, the field really isn't weak at Transitions. I'll be a better field in terms of strength than Bay Hill and up there if not above Honda. So to answer your question, this is a much more high quality win that Puerto Rico. Nobody in the top 50 there, 22 of top 50 at Transitions.
Will you be at The Master's this year? Is it really the most pristine golf course you've ever seen? It certainly looks that way on TV
Yes and yes. Augusta National is one of those places that does not disappoint and actually exceeds your expectations.
Any sense of how serious Tiger's injury is? We know what we said over Twitter, but do you think this will keep him from Bay Hill, or even (gasp) The Masters?
His tweet gave an optimistic tone and it sounds like he's going to try and play next week. The guess here is he won't play if he has any issues. He wants to be there for the Masters, where I'm guessing he'd play no matter what.
Do you have a favorite golf book?
Lots of them but loved The Grand Slam by Mark Frost, a book about Bobby Jones' 1930 grand slam season.
Is it my imagination or do The Open and The PGA Championship have the most obscure and random winners vis-a-vis the US and Masters? Obviously this is a generalization, but there seem to be more established winners of the year's first two majors by and large. Thoughts?
I think that is too much of a generalization. There have been random winners of all of the majors in recent years. Immelman and Cabrera at the Masters. Lucas Glover at the U.S. Open.
Oops. .. was pointed out to me that Jason Day is also in the field, giving the tournament 5 of the top 10 in the world and 12 of the top 25.
What player without a green jacket surprises you the most? My vote goes to DLIII
Among current players, he would be up there. Ernie Els as well. Greg Norman is the all-time though. How he didn't win 4 or 5 Masters is still a mystery.
What's the skinny on Mike Weir? It seems he has not been able to find his game since his injury 3-4 years ago. Is it a case of "just not having it anymore" or has he never fully healed for said injury?
A sad situation there. The elbow injury led to bad habits. He then needed surgery. I really think it's more about the injury and the difficulty of recovering and finding his game.
How many media members are given passes for the Masters, I would assume it's a very select group?
It's not really that select. A large number of people and organizations from around the world are credentialed.
If you were to select a masters favorite right now, do you go with Rory?
He's certainly got to be up there, given how well he has done this year and how consistent he has been.
Where would you rank last year's Master's since 1995? I dont remember one having quite the drama that last year's did on the back 9 on Sunday.
Last year's Masters would have to rate as perhaps the best since 1986. The back nine drama was incredible. For a long stretch of years, the winner had come from the final group. So many guys in contention last year, so many possibilities.
If you had to guess right now, how many majors will Rory win in his career?
Very tough call. Getting the first one was huge. Now he never has to worry about that. Many thought Greg Norman would win 10 and he won 2. Some great, great players have but a handful.
As Eldrick's injuries keep piling up, has the PED questions started creeping up again? Athletes seem to either lose recovery time or incurr injuries more rapidly after getting off the juice.
My stock answer to this question is that Tiger didn't suddenly become a better golfer at some point in his career. He was very good before he found fitness. Does that mean he never took anything? I have no idea. I do know that he was a huge proponent of drug testing and that he has to take random tests.
Over under on majors for Rory this year?
I think you have to set it at 1. To ask someone to win more than 1 is a big ask. Rarely happens.
I wish people would drop the term PED. Juice refers to steriods, specifically anabolic, which tend to cause injury rather than heal. HGH might help injury recovery, depending on who you believe, it's also not a steroid
Regardless, steroids, HGH against the rules.
What's your take on anchored putters?
Not a big fan of them. It seems that you should have to make a true golf stroke and not have the club or your hands resting against your body. That would seem to be a big advantage. That said, I recognize that belly putters, long putters have not been a cure for putting, that you don't automaticlally make putts with them.
What happened to Keegan on Sunday? Was looking so good then just a collapse
Yes, it was surprising. He was in the lead then fell back. He also had a chance at Honda. One thing about Sunday at Doral, the conditions were much more difficult than they had been. The wind was tricky. Lots of guys struggled.
Any thoughts on Adam Scott not playing either Transitions or BH (or well basically at all this year)? Although he will be in Orlando to play Tavistock
Scott skipped the three weeks before the Masters last year and nearly won and while Tavistock is an exhibition at least he's playing. Maybe more of an issue that he's played so little this year.
Do you think Tiger will play in the Tavistock Cup? If he sits that out, do you think that means he is a no-go for Bay Hill or might he rest until Bay Hill?
I think it would be a mistake to play that event. Why risk it on that? Unless they allow everyone to ride a golf cart.
True (although why HGH is, is a mystery to many), but since they all have different effects and work in different ways, the answer changes depending on what you mean
I think tho what folks are getting at is did Tiger ever taking anything, whatever it was, that would be deemed illegal.
When do you think it was harder to win? When Tiger was unbeattable or now when one of 20 could win.
Neither is or was easy. You can look at it both ways. When Tiger was winning a lot, there were less opportunities. But with him out of the picture, nobody has stepped up to win a bunch of times.
What's the word at the Tavistock Cup Today? Who is winning? Go Lake Nona!!!!
Love Lake Nona, not a fan of the Tavistock Cup.
If Stricker is to win a major this year, where would you give him the best shot based on venues?
Olympic Club for U.S. Open.
What are the chances of a Sean Foley slam in the WGCs? 2/4 so far...
Yes, and Mahan has won the Bridgestone in the past.
What do you think happens if Rory finds himself in the same situation Sunday morning of Augusta this year as he was in last year? Does he runaway with the Green Jacket or old demons haunt him?
I think he's already done a good job of exorcising those demons. He did that at Congressional. He led on day one and kept building. Didn't let it haunt him. Does he run away with the Masters? Probably not. But I'd be surprised if he shot 80 again.
Rory needed all of 3 tournaments to take the PGA money lead. Chances of another PGA/Euro money title double this year?
It's certainly possible if he keeps racking up these high finishes, especially in the WGCs and majors, which count on both tours. That is the key to double dip like that. Otherwise, the fear is very difficult.
Has the Master's buzz started to permeate the March tournaments?
It is sort of an underlying theme at all of them. More questions about the Masters. Last chances to qualify.
Do you see Phil bouncing back and regaining the form he was in before his two week break? I'm hoping Doral allowed him to shake off the rust from his rest, and we'll continue seeing PB/Riviera Phil...
The only thing consistent about Phil is his inconsistency. He played great for two weeks, then couldn't break 70 at easy Doral. But that's Phil.
Do you know what Phil's schedule is planned to be pre-masters?
He's playing Bay Hill and Houston.
Any chance that the Master gives Ernie or Retief a special invite? I know that the ANGC folk aren't trying to court the South African market, but they've done a lot for the game
I would especially think in the case of Els that nobody would have a problem with it.
what tourney if any do you see Tiger playing in before Masters?
He's only scheduled to play at Bay Hill next week.
Seems like the field at BH will be rather light this year, but guys are coming into town and playing Tavistock (but not BH). Seems like a slap in the face of Arnie, no?
Probably shouldn't get me started on Tavistock. It's not a great help to this week's tournament either. Or Houston. Last year it was played the Monday-Tuesday of Transitions. You'd never see it the Monday-Tuesday of the WGC event, would you? For those who participate, it makes it really hard for them to play the two tournameents on either side, especially if they are in the pro-am. And so why is it allowed to be staged now? Big slap to the title sponsors on tour who put up a ton of money and can't get some of those guys.
Is Lee Westwood your best ever not to win a major? If not, who?
Right now, probably so. But I think you'd have to put Monty up there as well.
Would love to see the masters "starters" play 9 or even 18 for one day. Any chance the 3 of them would ever think of doing that? Woulld be great to see the legends out there for a few holes.
Yes, it would be terrific. Back in the day, Snead, Sarazen and Nelson would play several holes, sometimes 9, sometimes 18.. You think there wouldn't be a crowd for Jack,Arnie and Gary? It would be pretty cool, but they don't seem inclined to do so.
Despite his lack of majors that people thought he would win, where would you rank Greg Norman on your all time list?
Just based on sheer numbers, he wouldn't be in the top 10 because of that. Which is amazing when you think about it. Norman's PGA Tour numbers would have been greater if he only played here, so you have to take into account worldwide victories, of which there were more than 60.
what's going on with AK?
that's a mystery. His injuries from two years ago seemed to lead to bad habits from which he has not been able to break. It's been a tough start to the year.
Okay folks, I am out of time. Thanks again for the questions. If you didn't get one answered or were late, try me on Twitter @bobharig. We'll do this again next week.