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May 15, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (2:59 PM)

Hello again, thanks for participating in this golf chat. All golf-related questions welcome, I'll get to as many as I can. Fire away.

BJ (Des Moines, IA)

Excluding the four majors Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, which four tournaments would you consider at the next level prestige wise.

Bob Harig
  (3:00 PM)

The Players Championship is clearly next. Then it's probably one or two of the WGC events, Doral and Bridgestone. I would put Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament next.

JY (TO)

The Players just doesnt feel like a "huge" tourney, despite NBC's efforts. It is fair to say there is a big gap betwen the 4 majors and then TPC/WGC's?

Bob Harig
  (3:01 PM)

Yes, I think that is fair. I think, deep down, the players would say the same thing. You see how many withdrew, how many don't show up until Tuesday/Wednesday. It's big, but doesn't mean as much.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

In your opinion, is the TPC Four Seasons the worst course on tour?

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

The opinion of the players is a better guage and according to the Golf World survey, it ranked near the bottom. Out of 52 courses on the list, it ranked 49th

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Any word on how Bethpage will be set up in the Barclays? Also i've played there several times and on the card it is a par 71, will they keep that or go with 70 as the USGA did?

Bob Harig
  (3:05 PM)

According to the tour's website, it is a par-71. The guess here is it will be set considerably easier than it was for the U.S. Open. Wider fairways, for example. Some shorter holes.

Jake (AZ)

Hi Bob, I was watching Tiger struggle again this week and realized that he rarely hits it to withing 5-10 feet of the pin anymore. After watching almost every one of his shots it looks to me that he is never aiming at the target anymore. I realize TV can make things look a certain way and I know he is working on that fade w/ Foley, but I just dont understand why he is being so stubborn when things obviously are not working. Maybe I'm nieve but why cant he just aim at the pin, cause he never hits it close anymore?

Bob Harig
  (3:07 PM)

There is no question that Tiger is not hitting the ball very close to the hole. He does not rank in the top 100 on tour in distance from the pin for the ranges 100 to 125 yards, 75 to 100 yards and 50 to 75 yards. From 125 to 150, he is 69th.

JY (TO)

How long do you think Tiger would have to struggle before ghe became "irrelevent" as far as fans and media are concerned? Perhaps never?

Bob Harig
  (3:09 PM)

As long as he is playing, I don't see Tiger ever being irrelevent. That's what 72 PGA Tour wins and 14 majors does for you. There will always be interest, even if he is far from his best. Let's say he is not contending, but still competing. That's compelling, too, just because of who it is.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

I assume Jordan Spieth is not playing to save his sponsors exemptions for a pro debut later this year?

Bob Harig
  (3:10 PM)

I am not sure, but that is a good thought on it. If he does turn pro, better to save those exemptions.

JY (TO)

Why are some people breaking open the hyperbole jar with Tiger (e.g. saying he is done)? He is way too talented to not figure it out eventually. Many guys have hit major dips only to return strong (e.g. Westwood, Kutcher, etc.) and none of them had Tiger's ability or resolve

Bob Harig
  (3:11 PM)

It's way too early to be writing him off. He won a tournament earlier this year. Tiger is going through what every player -- other than him -- has endured. Ups and downs. Mediocre play. A win followed by a tie for 40th. It happens. Just not to him.

ROSS! (Gadsden, AL)

Bob,Isn't all this "parity" in golf really just an indication that no one is playing that well consistently?

Bob Harig
  (3:12 PM)

It's an indication that nobody is dominating. Last year, nobody won more than twice on the PGA Tour. This year, so far, only one two-time winner.

Stephan (Arkansas)

I really got sick of the golf media giving Kevin Na credit for being upfront about his problems pulling the trigger. What is he supposed to say? No, I don't have a problem. Get off my back. His problem is on display for the whole world to see. And god help anyone paired with him. I think only Kooch has the patience to put up with somebody like that.

Bob Harig
  (3:13 PM)

Well, it's true, he doesn't have to be upfront. He could have been a jerk, in denial. But it really was the only way for him to go. He has to own it, and at least he has done that.

Bob Harig
  (3:14 PM)

There you have it

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Does Ricky Fowler's appearance bother you as much as it bothers me? I'm 32 years old, and even though I'm on the younger end of the spectrum as a golf fan, it's silly for players to think "I'm gonna prove that you can look eccentric and hip and still be good at golf." The fact that he has an agenda to dispel the "only clean shaven, middle-aged white guys are good at golf" idea is pointless since Tiger Woods has come on the seen and shattered that image. Should the PGA do something to force Ricky Fowler to quit dressing so goofy and embarrassing himself?

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

Judging by the acceptance he gets from kids, young adults and even some middle-aged folks who show up dressed like him, my guess is the powers that be are perfectly fine with the way he goes about it. I am not a fan of the Sunday orange or the flat-brimmed hats but it seems to be working out just fine for him.

Ken (Moseley (VA))

Bob,Simple question: can/will David Duval find a way to earn enough money the rest of this year to get his card for 2013? Reasons why / why not, in your opinion?

Bob Harig
  (3:19 PM)

Judging by his record so far, I'd say no. Only two made cuts in 10 tries, nothing better than a tie for 60th. Last year he made just nine cuts and had only one top-10.

Austin (Texas)

Who you got in the Sybase? I have Suzanne Peterson over Yani in the final. Oh, I forgot, ESPN doesn't cover the LPGA.

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

Out out of all the questions I get, yours is the only one that mentions the LPGA Tour. So whose fault is that? But if you're truly asking, I'll go with Yani.

Lori (Seattle)

I hear Dustin Johnson will be back at Memorial. That would be a 12-week absense. Sounds like a suspension being wrapped up to me. Don't tell me a professional golfer would be lifting a jet ski.

Bob Harig
  (3:22 PM)

I wish I could answer that question properly. Because the PGA Tour's policy leads to just that kind of speculation, which can be mighty unfair. But how do we know? They don't announce suspensions, and unless the player says something, we have to go by a 12-week absence for a mysterious back injury. And that might very well be what happened.

Bob Harig
  (3:22 PM)

I'd like to see him win more regular tournaments first. It's hard to say either way given his lack of victories.

Greg (EDH)

I know Johnny Miller can rub some players the wrong way, but both he and Nick Faldo are multiple major championship winners who have been at the top. What do they think of hacks like Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo and Charley Rymer who have never sniffed success but sit in judgment of everyone?

Bob Harig
  (3:26 PM)

I'll go by the old line I heard mentioned again last week. The great writer Red Smith once said that going by the logic you just put forth, only a dead man would be qualified to write an obit.I can't say either way whether Camblee, Nobilo or Rymer are good at what they do. But they did play tour golf, they spend a lot of time analyzing this stuff, and they have opinions that are come to with a lot of thought and research. I cringe when I hear Chamblee say Tiger should go back to Butch because he knows that is never going to happen. But that doesn't mean his opinions or any of the others are less viable because they were not as good as Miller or Faldo. Miller, for example, had a horrible record at TPC Sawgrass. But do you go down that road?

Jack (UK)

In your opinion, who will be world no.1 at the end of 2013?

Bob Harig
  (3:26 PM)

Rory

Meredith (Miami)

Maybe the reason there aren't questions about the LPGA is that ESPN and others don't cover them. If they did, the level of interest would be raised and the questions would come. Players like Paula Creamer and Brittany Linncicome are much more compelling than the Webb Simpsons of the world. And Yani Tseng is 10 times more dominant than anybody on the men's side.

Bob Harig
  (3:27 PM)

It works the other way. We don't cover them as much (espnw.com tries to fill this void) because there is not the interest. Simple as that.

Tripp (Villanova, PA)

Hi Bob,With the success of the AT&T at the Aronimink the past two years and the US Open coming to Merion next year, any chance the Philly area will get a tourny stop?

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

It needs a date, and a summer date more specifically. And therein lies the problem. Unless somebody goes away or gets moved to a date where there is another opening, there are no openings for a Philly tourney. Lots of markets can say the same: Indy, Minneapolis, Seattle.

Steve (Colbert)

Do you know if Fred Couples is eligible for or will be playing in any of the remaining three majors?

Bob Harig
  (3:29 PM)

No, he is not eligible for any of the remaining 3. He'd have to try to qualify for the U.S. Open and British Open.

Jeff (Chicago)

Will the PGA Tour ever consider announcing fines/suspensions. I know it's not in their policy, but once again we have Dustin Johnson's agent denying rumors of a drug suspension. Seems it would be fair to the players to announce rather than leave room for all the speculation.

Bob Harig
  (3:33 PM)

It'll never happen as long as Finchenm is commissioner. He seems dead set against announcing any fines. Even slow play fines. Wouldn't that help curb the behavior? You do bring up something I mentiond earlier. It is almost unfair to Dustin Johnson. If he did nothing wrong, why does he have to be subjected to this? And yet, because such suspensions are never announced, it creates doubt because some wonder about the validity of his injury.

DB (IA)

Looks like Davis is going to have some tough choices for the Ryder Cup. Any chance Tiger doesn't make it?

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

I'd be stunned. If Tiger was a pick for the Presidents Cup when he hardly played, he'll be a pick for the Ryder Cup team if he is healthy. And lots of golf left. Three majors -- which are double points -- plus a big money WGC.

Shoshana (Boston)

Any thoughts on who makes the US Ryder Cup team? I'm thinking that if I'm DJ I might want to make it on points. If I was DL3 don't know that I'd select him

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

Agreed. Given his record at Pres Cup and Ryder Cup previously, he'd best make the team on his own.

TJ (Springfield)

I think it's disengenuous of you to put the onus on the viewers/readers for you not covering the LPGA. You bill yourself as a golf writer for the golf section. You need to call yourself the PGA Tour writer, if your answer is correct. It is not up to the public to decide what stories to cover. As a beat writer, you cover the most interesting or compelling stories on your beat. As an old newspaper guy, you should know that. You are a PGA Tour writer -- not a golf writer. Be up front about that and don't pass the blame.

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

I'm not passing any blame. I go where my bosses tell me to go. In their mind, there is far more interest in men's professional golf. I write for a general interest sports website. And yes, in my newspaper career, my employer took the political correctness route in their decisions, not taking into account what the readers really preferred. And where are they?

Carrie (Sea Island Ga)

A woman golfer in response to Meredith and her LPGA question. Yani dominates because of the lack of depth on the ladies tour. The LPGA markets their product frequently with a 1 time winner ( Gulbis ), girls propensity for collecting shoes, or a cart-wheel...it is embarrassing.

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

I'm glad to take LPGA quesitons, women's golf questions. I'd be happy to cover the LPGA Tour if asked. But it's sort of like being asked to cover the NFL and college football. Same game, different players. How do you do both? So for me, the emphasis has been on men's golf, mostly due to the research which suggests there is far more interest in it -- and even from women.

Tripp (Villanova, PA)

Rickie Fowler grew up in the era of Tiger always wearing red on Sunday. Now people want to get on him for wearing orange on Sunday. I view it more as him wearing his OSU colors proudly. Why do people have a problem with this when a guy like Ian Poulter looks like he got dressed in the dark sometimes?

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

Just personal preference. I agree he's simply supporting his school. Coudln't he do that with the shirt only? No big deal, I just think the all orange looks a bit garish. But I'm not criticizing him. Good for him.

Casey (AZ)

If Dustin was going through a drug related suspension, as some are suggesting, wouldn't his endorsements be going down the toilet? I still see a lot of stuff with him in it.

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

How would they know? The tour doesn't announce.

Stees (Columbia)

Bob,What is the deal with Tiger catching grief for not wearing pink on Sunday of mothers day? I mean I'm sorry, but all these losers are too sensitive. Tiger has been dominating in his Sunday red for years and no one should expect him to cop out and wear lame pink pants on Sunday just because it happens to fall on Mothers Day.

Bob Harig
  (3:40 PM)

It was a nice gesture by those players who elected to do it. Tiger was not the only one who didn't, but becaue he's Tiger, he got criticized. Too much of a big deal was made out of this.

Jake (Carmichael)

If we're talking Ryder Cup, you better mention Ben Curtis. He may not get there on points, but there isn't a hotter player in the world right now. If he continues this pace, he has to be a pick. And as for the LPGA, I think Lexi is more compelling than anybody on the men's tour. She has the "it" factor, and I never see her on ESPN.

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

Re: Ben Curtis. If he doesn't make the team on his own, he needs to be close. He has a hot streak in May. The Ryder Cup is in September. And I agree that Lexi is very compelling and she's gotten plenty of coverage from us. But that doesn't mean the masses agree.

Dan (Kansas City)

Do you see anything coming from Gary Woodland this year. Still awaiting the improvement from going over to Butch.

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

He's been injured so it's going to take some time.

Bernie (Napa)

Year after year I watch the Players and I simply don't understand why there are so many water balls on No. 17. It's not a long shot. Just aim for the center of the green, two putt and move on. Even if you three putt one round, that's better than aiming for the pin and putting it in the water.

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

Two of the three days, the hole played 125 yards, which makes it even more amazing.

Shoshana (Boston)

Any chance we can stop talking about Tiger's scoring problems being putting related? His putting is actually good this year. Like any pro in history though he has some good, some bad, but mostly average days. His problem right now is he can only score on his good days. His approach prox from 50-125yds is 160th on tour and his chipping has been average at best. He's just not giving himself enough good opportunities, or easy par saves

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

I noted earlier his stats hitting close, especially with the short clubs. His wedge play has been mediocre. He's not knocking it to 10 feet from 100 yards. And that is really hurting him.

John (Ohio)

Hi Bob. How dominant was Jack when he won his last few majors? I ask because I wonder if Tiger might not be transitioning to a point in his career where he is no longer the dominant player week in and week out that he once was but still a potential threat at the majors. Was this the case with Jack or any of the other greats? If so, it seems there may be a lesson there for critics and fans of Tiger alike.

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

This is a great point. In 1980, Nicklaus had all been written off. 1979 was the first year he had failed to win on tour since he won his first tournament in 1962. (Think about that for a minute.) At age 40, nobody considered him a threat. And he won two majors. After that, he won just two tour events before the 86 Masters. He wasn't that far off the lead on Sunday and nobody was thinking about him.

Jeff Todd (Nass)

I find your constant sucking up and defence of Tiger deplorable. Can you just let it go already?

Bob Harig
  (3:48 PM)

I just pointed out how poor he's been from inside of 150 yards. People ready what they want to read, believe what they want to believe.

Jeff Todd (Nass)

STOP TALKING ABOUT TIGER. NO ONE CARES. HE IS DONE. FINSIHED. GARBAGE

Bob Harig
  (3:48 PM)

No one cares. Ha. Who'se the idiot here????? You just sent me 4 posts regarding Tiger.

Casey (AZ)

Seeing anything specific in Phil's game right now that would be the cause for all of these ho-hum rounds he's having. I've been seeing lots of E, -1 type rounds but not truly getting himself in the thick of anything.

Bob Harig
  (3:50 PM)

At the Players, he seemed to have trouble sustaining momentum. A poor shot at the wrong time, for example. Making a couple of birdies and then give it back. That's golf, and that's what happens to a lot of players.

Bryant (Cabo)

So Tiger plays poorly at Augusta, misses the cut at Quail Hollow, and plays three mediocre rounds at the Players. So leading up to the U.S. Open, he skips the Nelson, skips Colonial and will skip St. Jude. Then he'll get to Olympic and say this is a process and he just needs more reps. He's missing his chances for reps. It's obvious playing at Medalist all the time isn't preparing him for tournaments.

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

Perhaps he should play more, but. . . he just doesn't like the courses for the Nelson and Colonial and wasn't going to play 3 in a row anyway if he could help it. And he never plays the week prior to a major (St. Jude) except the PGA, so that wasn't going to happen either.

JY (TO)

Bob, dont you know some of these guys are just trying to rile you up? I think most rationale people (should) know why there is so much emphasis on Tiger

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

Just posting some of that to show you what's out there. Someone like that has issues.

Jack (UK)

Why is Luke Donald such a poor starter? Most of his wins come from behind and he always seems to play well towards the end of tournaments.

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

No idea. But you're right, he's gotten off to slow starts a lot this year.

Amy (San Diego)

Phil put his effort into Pebble and Riviera to prove he's still got it. Beyond that, it's all about majors for him. He'll show up at Olympic because the juices will be flowing. The weekly grinds just don't do it for him any longer after 20 years on tour.

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

Probably a reasonable assessment.

JY (TO)

Hi Bob,Despite the tour's insistance that parity is great, having a leading man in golf is important. who do you see fulfilling this role over the next decade? Rory? Tiger? Someone else yet to be identified?

Bob Harig
  (3:54 PM)

All signs point to Rory .And you're right, golf likes someone to be dominant. And it doesn't care much for underdogs either.

Justin (Indianapolis)

How much longer before Kuchar gets heavily criticized for being the greatest player without a major?

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

He's already on those lists! But it's hard to look at him that way when he's got just four wins.

Shoshana (Boston)

Tiger is actually playing a ton this summer, and with one less week between the British and PGA it really compresses the schedule. I wouldn't be surprised to see Tiger and a bunch of top RC guys skip Barclays

Bob Harig
  (3:56 PM)

He can only skip it if he's well assurred of advancing.

Logan (Maryland)

When Jack was 36, he won two tourneys and no majors. How come people don't realize that when criticizing Tiger

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

Their careers to this point are eerily similar if going by age. Jack had missed only 8 cuts to this point in his career, too. Similar number of tour wins and majors. . . Tiger is judged by his past and it's impossible to liv up to that record.

Nelson (DE)

Do you think Tiger can win 5+ more majors without ever regaining the #1 ranking?

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

I think it's going to be tough to win 5 more majors, period.

Shoshana (Boston)

He's already well assured of making Boston and really Crooked Stick

Bob Harig
  (3:59 PM)

Tiger is 13th in FedEx Cup standings and figuring that he has a decent rest of the season, yes, he should easily make it to Deutsche Bank evne if he were to skip Barclays. But the points are greatly weighted in the playoffs, so you can get way behind. And I have a hard time believing he'd skip Bethpage.

Greg (Arkansas)

Golf doesn't need a dominant player. It needs three or four dominant players. It needs the Palmer camp vs. the Jack camp. It needs Watson and Trevino and Casper. And it's getting close to that point now, except it's a bunch of really good players and not great players. But they are dominant for this era.

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

Golf needs somebody or more than one play to win 4, 5, 6 times a year.

John (Denver)

I'm in the 50+ crowd and don't mind the Sunday orange at all. Actually, I'm just glad Ricky didn't go to Oregon, given what they've done with their football uniforms over the last few years!

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

Good point.

Shoshana (Boston)

Do you find it odd that Lee is playing in Sweden the week before the US Open? and I know he sort of has to, but Stricker the Deere? Seems like that could happen their major bids

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

It is more of an odd decision on Westwood's part. The tournament ends on a Saturday at least, but it's a long way to San Francisco. Stricker won the John Deere, at least he can take the charter over which makes life a lot easier.

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

Okay folks, thanks. I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. If so inclined, fire some at me on Twitter @bobharig. Enjoy.