Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 17, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (3:00 PM)

Hello, thanks again for your participation. Any and all golf questions welcome. I'll get to as many as I can. Please fire away.

Patrick (Hanover)

This isn't new but I would like to get your opinion on Sean Ohair's fast round on Sunday. Certainly this happens freqently when a player goes off first by himself but do you think it is right for him to play that fast?

Bob Harig
  (3:02 PM)

I am not sure if the exact time, but I believe it was less than 2 hours? That is especially rich since O'Hair has a reputation for being slow. He obviously can get around when he wants to. I didn't see any of it. If it was clear he wasn't trying, that's one thing. If he was giving full effort and got through that quick then I'm not sure it should be an issue. Others who might have seen more, please feel free to chime in.

JY (TO)

What is the next tournament that you are really getting jazzed for?

Bob Harig
  (3:03 PM)

Probably the Wells Fargo Championship in two weeks. Most of the big names will be there. Good course, good field. Players Championship the following week.

Colin (Seattle)

Hi Bob- Very early Ryder Cup question but do you know if Carl Pettersson plays much on the European tour? It seems to me he would be an asset for the Euros but I am wondering if he gets overlooked.

Bob Harig
  (3:05 PM)

It's a good question because Petterssen -- right now -- would make the team off the Euro world points list. But, he's not a European Tour member, hence not eligible. He can still join, but he gets none of the points accrued up until now. Petterssen is a Swede but has become an U.S. citizen and has lived most of his life in the U.S. But he'd be eligible for the Euro team if he joined their tour.

JY (TO)

Do you put the odds under or over 50% that someone will eventually win the in-year grand slam?

Bob Harig
  (3:06 PM)

I would put them at least than 5 percent. Winning 4 tournaments in a year hasn't been done since 2009 -- by Tiger, who won 7 worldwide. Now you're asking somebody to win a specific 4. Very, very difficult.

ED (LONG ISLAND)

FEDEX Cup Points - Phil gets 148 for a T3 at Masters, Colt Knost gets 190 for coming in 3rd at Heritage (albeit alone). Does that make any sense?

Bob Harig
  (3:09 PM)

Not sure where you are getting your numbers. Watson got 100 ranking points for winning the Masters, Petterssen 50 for winning at Heritage. Phil, who tied for third, got 28.5 at the Masters. Knost got 20 at Heritage. Big dropoff.

ED (LONG ISLAND)

Why such a poor field this week? How much does the rank and file enjoy weeks like this when most of the Top 50 take off? Big opportunities!!

Bob Harig
  (3:10 PM)

It's almost all based on the schedule. Two weeks after the Masters is the dead zone. Almost any tournament played this week would be tough. But true, it is a great opportunity for younger players, rookies who don't get into all the fields, etc.

Chris (New Orleans)

I don't understand the importance of discussing the OWGR. It is relatively meaningless in defining a players career. From '04-'06 Mickelson won 8 times with 3 of those majors. He had 4 runner up finishes with 2 of those majors. He had 3 3rds with 1 of those being a major and 1 being a players. He had 5 other top 5's and 10 other top 10's. In '04 he was 8 strokes from winning the Grand Slam. All that and he never sniffed #1. That shows Tiger's dominance but also means that the OWGR is a very small part of a career and really isn't all that relevant to greatness. Your feeling Bob?

Bob Harig
  (3:12 PM)

I agree. The world ranking is important to fill fields of the big tournaments, but it has more relevence down toward No. 50 than it does at No. 1. It's simply a nice honor. All the things you point out about Phil simply make it more surprising that he's never gotten there. I can assure you he'd rather have the 4 majors than being No. 1.

Dave (St Simons Island GA)

The change at the OWGR is a friigg'n joke. To penalize a player for playing in a lesser point event, bump a person up in the ranking as they sit on the beach....how can the lesser quality tournaments survive since the best golfer go to majors, WGC events, FedEX playoffs?

Bob Harig
  (3:14 PM)

The world rankings are not necessarily meant to reflect what happened exactly at that moment. It was a stroke of good fortune that Rory McIlroy went to No. 1 after winning the Honda. He could have finished second and not gone to No. 1 and then maybe finished second again and moved to No. 1. The rankings take into account your results over the past two years, with more weight put on recent play. So you are gaining and losing points all the time and sometimes it works out the way it did with Rory having more ranking points than Donald -- even though Rory didn't play.

Shoshana (Boston)

After winning Zurich last yr, Bubba didn't have another top 10. If I set the over under at 1.5 for Bubba for top 10's the rest of this year, are you taking the over or under?

Bob Harig
  (3:14 PM)

I will take the over, but your point is well taken. He is not the most consistent player. It is going to be interesting to see how he responds to all this attention after the Masters.

Ed (Long Island)

I was asking about FEDEX Cup Points, not OWGR points.

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

I am sorry. FedEx Cup points. They are virtually similar at all events, excpet at the majors there are 600 for the winner instead of 500 and it goes down from there. So Phil was tied for third at Augusta. That's less points than if you finish third by yourself of course.

Library of Congress (Washington D.C.)

Did you win a Pulitzer?

Bob Harig
  (3:17 PM)

Yes, it was in the short stories about short people category (kidding)

chris (medina, ohio)

please what you think happen to tiger at the masters, no one really explained? was he hurt? something happen outside the ropes?

Bob Harig
  (3:17 PM)

It's a mystery. He says he wasn't injured. Said he felt good going in. He somehow lost a swing that helped him win at Bay Hill by five shots.

Shoshana (Boston)

Rory moved ahead of Luke this week for a few reasons, but one of them was that Luke didn't play well. To put it in more general sports terms, if a team loses do they stay head of a team that didn't play that week? Generally, no

Bob Harig
  (3:19 PM)

Right. And aside from Luke's win at the Transitions, he was off to a rather average start. The ranking points he earned early last year go away and are replaced by fewer points. So his total is less. Rory had been on a roll up until the Masters.

Ryan (CT)

How many tournaments a year do you get to go to? All of the one's Tiger plays in the States?

Bob Harig
  (3:20 PM)

I usually do about 18 or so, not necessariy all of Tiger's -- although I haven't missed many of his. I didn't go to Match Play this year, where he played. Will probably not go to one of or two of the playoff events (we spread it around).

Matt (Woodbury, MN)

Could a right handed golfer have pulled off as big a slice as Bubba's hook?

Bob Harig
  (3:22 PM)

I would say no. Certainly not with a wedge.

Griffin (Geneseo, NY)

Hey Bob....question about Tiger. Hypothetically, if this season goes much like last year with different winners in each major and now one dominant player, if Tiger puts together a season like Luke Donald did last year will he be considered for POY? Or is he held to a completely different standard? And yes I understand this looks like a long shot with him getting a case of the yipps at Augusta

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

He probably is held to his standards. Let's say he wins twice all year and nobody else wins more than 2. Then it will be interesting.

Michael (Cincinnati)

Oosthuizen shrugs off the playoff loss, hops on a plane for Malaysia, and gets the win. My guess, we see Louie pop up at a major or two later in the year. What do you think?

Bob Harig
  (3:24 PM)

The word is if he were more motivated, he'd be a bigger winner. He has an excellent golf swing. He got hurt after winning the Open in 2010 which didn't help.

Bob (Seattle)

Patrick Cantlay should turn pro this year, right? Otherwise he's relegated to the Nationwide tour for 2014, and that's if he plays well in 2013.

Bob Harig
  (3:25 PM)

He is not necessarily relegated to the Nationwide Tour in 2014. He could earn enough money in 2013 events -- if he waits until next year to turn pro -- to a) earn his card outright; or b) finish among the top 200, in which case he'd qualify for the 3-event Nationwide Series which gives him a chance to get on tour.

Bob (Seattle)

How long is Dustin Johnson out with his tweaked back? Any truth to the rumor that he's serving a suspension of some sort?

Bob Harig
  (3:26 PM)

There's been no word on Dustin. A big mystery. You have to think it was worse than a 'tweak' to miss the Masters. Have no idea about a suspension, had not heard that. But his representatives have not been forthcoming with any info.

Jesse (Scottsdale)

When is Harris English going to win?

Bob Harig
  (3:27 PM)

Seems to be having some trouble in final rounds. All part of the process.

Bob (Seattle)

What did the patron receive for his "donation" of Oosthuizen's albatross? Did he get the two lifetime badges and a round? Or was it just a round?

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

Don't know. Doubt he got a round of golf. Hope he got something significant however. That was good of him to give the ball back.

Griffin (Geneseo, NY)

If a player can stay healthy and keep his putting stroke, with technology today, how long can you see some players playing? I know we saw Tom Watson almost win the Open two years ago but could players be competitive until around that age due to technology?

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

Technology is already helping players stay competitive longer. They hit it farhter and straigher which allows them to score. That said, we've still never had someone in their 50s win a major, and Sam Snead's record for oldest to win on tour stands.

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

Technology is already helping players stay competitive longer. They hit it farhter and straigher which allows them to score. That said, we've still never had someone in their 50s win a major, and Sam Snead's record for oldest to win on tour stands.

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

Technology is already helping players stay competitive longer. They hit it farhter and straigher which allows them to score. That said, we've still never had someone in their 50s win a major, and Sam Snead's record for oldest to win on tour stands.

Ryan (CT)

How many guys do you think will break par at The Olympic Club? (for four days)

Bob Harig
  (3:33 PM)

I will guess the number will be 4 players to break par for the entire tournament. And perhaps that is being generous.

Shoshana (Boston)

Any chance Finchem will be asked about Augusta's membership policies at his next press conf? After all the tour does recognize the event, despite having a non-discrimination policy

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

It's true that the tour has sort of looked the other way on this. It has a non-discrimination policy for its venues. A PGA Tour event could not be played at Augusta. The Masters is an invitational, but the tour sanctions it by counting the money, points, etc.

Matt (Boston)

After winning in Shanghai in November, I thought Martin Kaymer was poised to shrug off a disappointing year last year post-Match Play and ascending to #1 in the world ... However, he doesn't seem to be playing all together that well right now ... any chance he contends in a major this year?

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

I keep thinking that Kaymer is going to be a force for a long time.

Andrew (WI)

Lee Westwood isn't going to win a major by this point, right? He shot himself out of the Masters once he probably realized he actually had a legitimate chance, and only recovered at the end just after it was too late to make a charge.

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

It's all about putting for Westwood. He was actually there with a chance on Sunday but had a few misses along the way that really hurt.

Ed (Long Island)

Phil seems to have developed a plan of progressing with his game, beginning of year not great finishes and a missed cut, then wins PB and playoff loss at Riviera. Takes a few weeks off, rusty at Bay Hill, better at Houston and a T3 at Augusta. Is it focus that keeps him from being at the top of his game all the time? Really puts into perspective of Tiger winning everything when he did.

Bob Harig
  (3:37 PM)

I've said many times that Phil gets a pass when compared to Tiger. Phil is very inconsistent, has bouts of missing cuts, poor finishes. And we accept that. And so does he. He seems to understand himself, that he's going to have lulls and he'll work out of them. And at this point in his career, I think Phil looks more toward the big events.

Ed (Long Island)

Can the LPGA survive with all of these breaks in the schedule?

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

They would be greatly helped if they could consolidate their schedule a little bit better. But Mike Whan, the commissioner, has done a great job of solidifying the tour, adding events.

Andrew (WI)

I think Phil's only pattern is that he plays his best when you put a nemesis in front of him (Pebble/Tiger 64, Masters/Vijay 66).

Bob Harig
  (3:40 PM)

There is no question that Phil needs motivation at this stage. Tiger and Vijay motivate. So does a major. So does being in contention. It's getting to that point.

Pat (Columbus, OH)

Did you play Augusta the Monday after? How'd you play? Impressions? And if you don't mind whats in the bag?

Bob Harig
  (3:40 PM)

I did not play, but I have played it before. It is, of course, terrific. Pristine. An all-time highlight.

Griffin (Geneseo, NY)

How much did you follow golf growing up as a kid? Did you have a favorite player?

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

I started caddying at a local country club when I was 12 years old and did that all the way through college. That was my exposure to the game. Never really had a favorite player, although even though he was at the end of his career, very much followed Nicklaus.

Michael (Cincinnati)

When is Rickie Fowler going to win???

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

That is the big mystery. He's got to be carrying some heavy baggage around right now. Not really even contending.

Fred (Chicago)

What do you think of Jack saying he wants to play the Senior US Open in 2016? Do you think he can put one more trophy in the trophy case?

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

Did not know he said that, but if he did, I hope he does play. Can't imagine anyone minding.

Nathan (OK)

Would you ever consider watching a mini tour event on TV?

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

I don't much like watching the Nationwide Tour on TV. I do sometimes, but not much. So I'm not sure I'd care much about a mini tour. Do they televise minor league baseball games? Not many. Probably shouldn't do it in golf.

Shoshana (Boston)

Read your birdies/bogey's column, which led to a question who is more coached a guy who changes coaches a few times (a la Tiger) or a guy who has a bunch of diff coaches at once (a la Phil)

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

Thanks for the shameless plug. I would say the guy who has a bunch of different coaches at once.

Larry (Albany, NY)

What happened to Rory at the Masters?

Bob Harig
  (3:45 PM)

He had a bad nine holes on Saturday and could not recover. It was shocking, really. He was 1 shot off the lead. Playing well all year. Then shoots 42.

John (OH)

Rory and Tiger both finished The Masters at 5 over. Why do you think there has been so much speculation about the state of Tiger's game and sparked relative little discussion about Rory's performance? Has Tiger's past dominance produced unrealistic expectations? If so, do you think this is something he will have to deal with as long as he plays?

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

Tiger's past performance has always produced unrealistic expectations. That has not changed. That was the case 10 years ago. Tiger simply endures a different level of scrutiny. It's true that Rory was just as bad. He had been playing well, just like Tiger. He had a win leading up to the Masters, just like Tiger. And other than 1 round, he had a decent record at Augusta -- Tiger of course has had an incredible record there. But Rory was met with much less angst than Tiger.

Brian (Charlottesville)

Hey Bob, It's early, but care to take a stab at who Captain DLIII's 4 picks would be if he had to pick tomorrow? The top 8 stack up pretty nicely, but I can only think of 2 obvious picks: Furyk and Kuchar.

Bob Harig
  (3:48 PM)

Yeah I think it is too early to say. I have no problem with the two you mentioned. You want experience, especially if a few guys make the team who have never played. A lot of that is a factor, too.

Chris (New Orleans)

Bob, you ever been to Scotland to play? Going to watch the British at Lytham this year and then play Royal Liverpool (Hoylake), St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and Prestwick. Any suggestions on something I have to do while over there? Very disappointed I can't bring a camera to get pictures at the Open.

Bob Harig
  (3:50 PM)

Have played all of those but Hoylake. You have a good trip set up already. If you can play Crail -- the old course -- which is near St. Andrews and Kingsbarns, you won't be disappointed. Not as difficult, but highly enjoyable. When you're near Prestwick, you should check out Western Gailes, one of the hardest courses I've played but really cool. True linkes, 9 holes by the water, the other 9 running parallel.

Shoshana (Boston)

Do you think DL3 should give DJ a pick if he doesn't make the team on points? He has tons of talent but his match-play record is nothing short of atrocious

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

I think it depends on how he is playing. He was bad at the Presidents Cup and not very good at the Ryder Cup. He's not automatic to me.

Andrew (WI)

What happened to Rory was Sergio. Sergio taught Rory how to shoot your way out of a tournament on that Saturday. I can't imagine playing with a guy who on the same day says he has no chance to ever win a major. A shame, really, for Sergio.

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

Could be. A lot of negativity in that group that day.

David Martin (Chicago)

Bob, does Bubba today consult or use a swing coach.

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

No, that's what is so amazing about the guy. (Please check out birdies/bogeys column on espn.com). He does it by himself, said he's never taken a lesson other than when his father started him in the game. Says he'll quit before taking a lesson.

Shoshana (Boston)

Don't go blaming Sergio for everything, Rory was pretty lucky to shoot 71 on Thurs, and he played poorly Sunday as well

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

I'm certainly not blaming Sergio. No matter what the other guys does, you have to play your own game. Just a weird negative vibe from Sergio that day.

Matt (Woodbury, MN)

With all the talk about Bubba's hooking PW or how far he hits the ball, isn't the real story the fact that he managed his nerves well enough to putt those lightning fast greens without any major hiccups?

Bob Harig
  (3:54 PM)

Good point. Bubba actually didn't putt that well. Oosthuizen far out-putted him. But Bubba putted well enough. He avoided disaster and obviously made those 4 straight birdies on the back nine, which required a couple of pretty good putts.

Shoshana (Boston)

Do you think you should have to be a member of the Euro Tour to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup?

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

In a perfect world, no. But in a perfect world ,they wouldn't play the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor or the K Club ,they'd go to any one of numerous great venues in Great Britain & Ireland. But the European Tour runs it over there ,and it is a huge money-maker for them. And so they make the rules that you have to be a tour member.

Marv (Phoenix)

how old is Bubba and how many wins does he have, how many wins did Tiger have a t Bubbas present age?

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

Bubba is 34 and has 4 tour wins, 1 major. When Tiger was 34 -- 2 years ago -- he had 71 tour wins and 14 majors.

Shoshana (Boston)

With Valero taking Houston's spot on next years schedule will it draw a better field? Or due to the course will more guys just take the week before off?

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

I think Valero will have a hard time getting as good of a field as Houston. The week before Augusta is tough, and Houston has done all it can to replicate.

Nathan (OK)

How many majors do you think the golf boys will win?

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

So far, they've got 1. Certainly think Mahan, Crane and Fowler are capable. If they combined to win 6 I'd say that was pretty good.

Keith H (Seattle)

These "when will Rickie Fowler win" questions are as maddening as the "when will Dale Jr. win" ones over at NASCAR. Patience, people!!!

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

There has been a lot of patience in Fowler's case. He came closer to winning in his first tournaments on tour than he has lately.

Tom (Albany)

Sergio has been having great Thursdays and Fridays but seems to flame out on either Saturday or Sunday... He's not young anymore... Will he ever get over it?

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

Based on his comments at Augusta, I am not sure he will.

Marv (Phoenix)

Maybe he should have taken a lesson and it would not have taken him so long to learn how to play gold and win!

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

There you go!

JY (TO)

How do you see Tiger doing in the remaining 3 majors this year?

Bob Harig
  (4:03 PM)

I actually like Tiger's chances at Royal Lytham. He can hit that stinger and let it run -- based on conditions. Have always felt the British Open venues are great for him.

Bob Harig
  (4:04 PM)

Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks again for the questions. Feel free to fire more at me on Twitter: @bobharig. Enjoy the golf.