Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 29, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (2:59 PM)

Hello, thanks for checking in, plenty to talk about in the world of golf. You've got plenty of time to participate before moving on to more important matters -- such as Tiger's Google+ chat with fans at 4 ET. (You can check it out at tigerwoods.com)Let's get started, fire away with your questions.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Is the Oldest PGA Golf Tournament on the Circuit?

Bob Harig
  (3:00 PM)

The British Open dates to 1860. The U.S. Open to 1895. Among regular tour events, the Western Open began in 1899. It is now the BMW Championship.

Dan (Carefree, AZ)

The most important shot in golf is - in my opinion - the approach shot. An average putter who can consistently put the ball within 15 feet of the pin on his/her approach shot will usually score better than a good putter from 30 feet. Feel free to disagree.

Bob Harig
  (3:02 PM)

I think it's a rather genearal statement, and I have no stats in front of me to say either way. What is a "good" putter? In general terms, however, even a really good putter is going to make a small percentage from 30 feet, where as someone not as skilled might be likely to make more from closer. So I think, generally, you are correct!

Tommy (Green Bay, WI)

More likely to win again in their career: David Duval or John Daly?

Bob Harig
  (3:02 PM)

Tough one. I don't see either one winning again.

JY (TO) [via mobile]

Do you see Dufner winning again this year?

Bob Harig
  (3:03 PM)

I certainly wouldn't be surprised. He finally broker through, he has the game, he is going to play courses he likes.

JY (TO) [via mobile]

what will be the key to winning at Olympic?

Bob Harig
  (3:05 PM)

Patience. It almost always is at a U.S. Open. Being satisfied with lots of pars and taking advantage of the rare opportunities for birdies.

Jeff (Easton, PA)

Has Rickie Fowler finally put together the one-month stretch that should silence the critics and haters for the rest of the year or do we still need to see consistent top 10s out of him?

Bob Harig
  (3:06 PM)

I'm not sure there were haters, but there were certainly skeptics and critics. He had a lot of hype wihtout much to show for it. Now he's put a run together and what will be interesting is to see how many more times he gives himself a shot at contending and winning.

Brett [via mobile]

What do u think tigers chance are of winning this week?

Bob Harig
  (3:07 PM)

Very hard to say. No way of knowing yet how his practice has gone in the last two weeks. This is a course he likes and it gives him more freedom off the tee. I wouldn't be surprised if he contended.

Jack Nicklaus (Muirfield Village)

Whose hand will I be shaking on Sunday evening?

Bob Harig
  (3:07 PM)

I picked Ernie Els. . . a flyer on the Big Easy.

Brian (Chicago)

Trying to remember Olympic Club from 98. Is that the course with all the "reverse bank" fairways where it was sometimes impossible to keep drives in fairways??

Bob Harig
  (3:08 PM)

Yes, you sometimes have a hook lie when you need to hit a fade. Very challenging fairways.

Callie (Florida)

What are your predictions for Dustin Johnson this week?

Bob Harig
  (3:10 PM)

I think it's hard to expect a lot from a guy who hasn't played since doral and said he had to put the clubs down for four or five weeks. I think making the cut would be a good short term goal.

Stephan (Fayetteville)

Odds that Bubba plays well this week? Has he been practicing at all, or just changing diapers?

Bob Harig
  (3:11 PM)

Much like Dustin Johnson. . hard to expect much given what has been going on in his life. He admitted he has not practiced much.

Kevin (Minneapolis, MN)

Who is more likely to be Tiger's next coach: Butch or himself?

Bob Harig
  (3:11 PM)

You or I are more likely to be Tiger's next coach ahead of Butch. That is just not going to happen.

Bernie (Napa)

Why doesn't the British Open play its U.S. qualifier on a course that has some resemblance to the British links courses? Harris English shoots 60 and Stephen Ames 61 on a course nothing like what they'll see next month.

Bob Harig
  (3:12 PM)

There is nothing in the U.S. that compare to a true British links. And let's be honest, are any of the qualifying venues around the world, such as Asia and South Africa, any more similar? It's about convenience and making it easier for the top players to qualify. Putting one between the two Dallas/Ft. Worth stops is about as good as it gets for those guys.

Mark (Tempe, AZ)

Redstone GC in Houston tries to immulate the conditions players will see the following week at Augusta (as best they can), is there a course/tournament that tries to do this in the run up to the US Open? Is it this week at Muirfield Village?

Bob Harig
  (3:13 PM)

Muirfield Village is in impecable condition, but it's very diffiuclt to simulate the U.S. Open. The fairways are not as narrow, although I'm guesisng the greens will be just as firm and fast. In this case, Ohio in June is not the same as San Francisco in June, either.

ryan (MI)

Do you see tiger winnig again this year

Bob Harig
  (3:14 PM)

I've been saying all year I think he'll win at Royal Lytham.

Pam (Palm Beach)

Does the Media truly understand how hard it is to win on tour, considering that 155 guys all have the potential of shooting the lowest score for the week.the criticism lowered is somewhat nauseating

Bob Harig
  (3:15 PM)

Given how difficult it is to pick the winners every week -- and the number of questions I get asking me to do so -- I think I know prett well how hard it is. Look at the last few years. Last year, nobody won more than twice on the PGA Tour. Two years ago, only Furyk won three times.

Daniel (CA)

Why hasn't Spyglass ever hosted a major? And do you see it ever getting a US Open or PGA?

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

Probably because if you are going to go to that area, you are going to pick Pebble Beach. Not sure Spyglass has the spacing ability for a major.

Zach Johnson (Iowa)

Good thing I had a three-shot lead on Sunday. Can you imagine the attention if I would have lost Colonial because he didn't replace my marker? Would have gone down as one of the biggest boners in golf.

Bob Harig
  (3:17 PM)

No doubt.

Justin (Ohio)

One thing I would ask Tiger. What the heck is up with the white shoes? Even on Sunday's. How can Nike struggle to make a black version of his Nike Frees that Tiger does not have to change out of mid round? Pretty irrelevant but still kind of odd.

Bob Harig
  (3:17 PM)

You are not alone in saying this.

Nelson (DE)

Even though Tiger says he only plays to win, do you think it's possible now that he's using Tour events primarily mainly as preparation for majors? Such as trying to get comfortable with swing changes as opposed just focusing on a score.

Bob Harig
  (3:18 PM)

I think he uses tour events to help prepare for the majros and has done that. But judging by the way he approaches these tournaments, I think he feels a lot of pressue to perform, to score, to win. He doesn't just go out there to work on his game. That is why he plays a more limited schedule.

Kevin Vedder (Westfield, NJ)

With recent strong finishes in Europe and currently sitting in second place in the Euro Ryder Cup standings, any chance Paul Lawrie changes his mind on the lame decision to skip the US Open?

Bob Harig
  (3:19 PM)

If he never sent in his entry -- which is possible -- it is too late to change his mind. Dont understand the decision. You have a good U.S. Open, you lock up the Ryder Cup.

Kirk (OK)

Any idea how many qualifiers will come from next Monday's US Open sectionals at Coumbus and Memphis?

Bob Harig
  (3:20 PM)

This is just a guess, but in the range of about 15 or so from both. They are purposely weighted due to the tour events in each area that week.

Nate Collett (Bennington, Vermont)

What's more likely this week? Tiger is in the top ten or doesn't break the top 40?

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

Given the golf course and his success there, I'd think top 10 is more likely than finishing outside of the top 40.

Christi (Houston)

I had Hunter Mahan as my favorite at Olympic, but his game seems to have vanished the past month. Any concerns that he peaked at the wrong time of the year?

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

It's possible. He's not done much since his win in Houston and had a horrible Players.

Oliver (Bentonville)

What's the word on DJ this week? Is he 100 percent back? Has he been forced to put up with suspension rumors again? Is he prepared to play a full schedule immediately?

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

Not sure that he's 100 percent, although he did say he considered playing last week. Didn't want to rush it, wanted to come back at a coruse more suited for him. As for suspension rumors, this to me is the problem with the tour's policy: you can never know for sure because they won't say. It's almost unfair.

Mark (Tempe, AZ)

Wait...I grew up outside of Columbus, Ohio...you're saying it isn't the same as San Francisco, CA?? What ever could you mean?? But seriously, does St. Jude next week do anything to prepare players for the US Open each year? Or do they all take the week off, rest up and get to the US Open site a little early?

Bob Harig
  (3:25 PM)

You really can't do much in Memphis to equate to a U.S. Open in June. For those who play, it is because they like to compete the week prior, simple as that.

Adam (Work)

So who told Zach about not replacing his mark before he signed his card? In your opinion, was it right for that person to tell him? I'm thinking that is something that should be caught on the course and not someone telling him in the scoring trailer just prior to signing.

Bob Harig
  (3:26 PM)

That's the way it works in golf. Rules officials continually remind players about things that will prevent them from breaking a rule. In this case, it was likely a rules official who heard about it on TV. Would have been a lousy, lousy way to blow a golf tournament.

Sis Mees (Mics Peens Ventch)

Bob, how did Lee Janzen win 2 US Opens?

Bob Harig
  (3:27 PM)

He also won a Players Championship. He was pretty tough back in the day.

Justin (Ohio)

What did you think if the comments by Pete Cowen? Euro B team could be the US in the Ryder Cup? Even at there best seems crazy, they didn't run away things at Celtic Manor. Said more to be dramatic?

Bob Harig
  (3:29 PM)

While the Euro team is very deep, if he's really talking about the second 12 guys beating the Americans, that is a bit much. Except for the blowouts in 2004 and 2006, the Ryder Cup usually comes down to a match or two, a shot here or there over 3 days.

Sis Mees (Mics Peens Ventch)

UGH YOU DID NOT ANSWER MY QUESTION RE: LEE JANZEN

Bob Harig
  (3:29 PM)

He was good on tough venues, won eight times. That was my point.

Rob (NY)

Any word on why Matt Kuchar pulled out of the Memorial?

Bob Harig
  (3:29 PM)

I'm guessing he's beat. Won the Players, then played the next two weeks.

Pam (Palm Beach)

The player is not banned from announcing to the World that he was suspended, is he? Golf is considered a gentleman's game, why did Dufner not remind Zach to replace his ball, since it was removed to facilitate him in the first place.

Bob Harig
  (3:30 PM)

If you were suspended and it wasn't being announced, would you tell everyone unless you were John Daly? As for Dufner, he didn't realize he didn't replace the mark. Lots going on there in those moments. He was worried about himself, trying to get out of the way, thinking the guy could 4 putt and still win.

Ryan (CT)

I thought Damon Green (his caddy) questioned Zach about putting his ball back in the correct spot on the green which led to Zach realizing he forgot no?

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

Don't think Damon knew about it. He was raking a bunker at the time.

Sis Mees (Mics Peens Ventch)

Bob, If you were to change the OWGR system, what would do you?

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

I would not allow a player to benefit because he, himself, is in the field. When Lee Westwood played in Asia recently, he was the only player among the top 100 in the field The rankings points went up because he was there. Why does he benefit because he is in the field?

Kevin (Rancho)

Kevin Na got put on the clock on Friday at Colonial, and he says he was being targeted. Could that be the case? And even if it's true, does it really matter. They're never going to actually take away strokes. This whole slow play thing is never going to change -- unless it gets even slower.

Bob Harig
  (3:33 PM)

I think the know slow-pokes should be targeted. The tour has data on this. How will it change otherwise unless these guys feel a constant threat?

Shoshana (Boston)

I'd make Luke the favorite at Olympic but his poor iron play worries me. He's only 100th on tour in GIR

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

For a guy who doesn't hit it that far, isn't that accurate and misses his share of greens, Luke sure is pretty good. Amazing what a short game and putter can do.

Brandon (Green bay)

Are you a fan of getting rid of q school?

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

No, I don't like getting rid of Q School, but am intrigued by what they will do next year in having Nationwide/PGA Tour players in three tournaments to gain their cards. Wish they could still allow for some spots from Q school. And maybe they will.

Ed (Long Island)

Other than a rumor bill on blogs, where is there any evidence to point to that Dustin Johnson was suspended? Has any journalist done any fact checking to support, what seems to be, a totally baseless accusation.

Bob Harig
  (3:37 PM)

Like I said, it's unfair speculation because the tour will not answer the question. So what fact-checking can be done? You can ask Dustin or his agent, but if they say he wasn't suspended, how would you ever know? The tour won't answer either way. Again, I think it's unfair to him. The reason there is this speculation is he hasn't played since early March, and he skipped the Masters due to a tweaked back. It's unfair because it could all be legitimate.

Adam (Work)

I caught some of the BMW tourny this last Sat. (first time seeing a European event) and was not that impressed with the golf I was watching. They couldn't hold greens (I late read Els complaining about this) and seemed like they were struggling to hit fairways and were putting with a blindfold on. What am I missing about the European Tour? I know they are better than what I was watching...

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

A lot of windy conditions over the weekend at Wentworth, a tough golf course with very hard greens apparently.

Shoshana (Boston)

Do you think Rory is better served playing Memphis (which is in the US but very hot) or the Swedish Masters, which finishes on Saturday, and he'd committed to a while back (before de - committing), if he wanted to add an event?

Bob Harig
  (3:40 PM)

Memphis is a lot closer to San Francisco than Sweden. I know he committed awhile back, but golf commitments are not binding. He changed his mind a long time ago. That's a 9-hour time change from Sweden. Not a good idea.

Shoshana (Boston)

Why does the Memorial have a shot gun start 18 player pro-am? I also sort of miss the skins game

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

They like to keep the pro-am smaller. Skins game only occurred because the presenting sponsor at the time, Morgan Stanley, didn't want its executives playing in a pro-am when they felt it looked bad.

Stephan (Fayetteville)

Any speculation on who will be named Presidents Cup captains today? I sure hope Freddy doesn't get it again. He'd probably name Tiger to his team at today's press conference.

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

Couples and Nick Price were named just a little while ago.

Matt (Beaver Lake)

Given the choice, do you think a first-time major winner takes the U.S. Open (Donald, Kuchar, Westwood, Dufner, Stricker, and the list goes on) or a past major champ?

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

Given the trend, I'd go with a first timeer. We've had a bunch of those in the last few years.

Ed (Los Angeles)

What do you think of Kuchar or Spencer Levin as a long shot at Olympic?

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

don't think that Kuchar is that much of a longshot. I think he could contend. Levin would be a longshot. He hasn't done much since he let it get away in Phoneix.

Tim (SF)

How about some love for Roger Chapman - I know it's the champions tour so it's less watched, but talk about a journeyman, and all around decent human being (by all accounts). Wonderful to see someone like that whip the best in a major on his tour huh?

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

No doubt

CLG (Florida)

Have the pairings come out already? I swore I saw something about TWoods/Couples/Haas pairing.

Bob Harig
  (3:46 PM)

You are correct. 8:15 tee time on Thursday morning.

Tim (SF)

Any chance you think we'll ever see a "tour ball" - it seems to be a reasonable way to level the playing field, and to bring back shot-making and shot-shaping for that matter. Bomb and gouge really rules these days no? I guess I find it more fun to watch Corey Pavin make par on a 464 yard par 4 by hitting driver 4-iron than Dusting Johnson hitting Driver , 52 degree wedge (to 50 feet mind you ;-) )

Bob Harig
  (3:48 PM)

There's been lots of chatter over the years about a tour ball. Or at least letting the various golf ball manufacturers make a ball that conforms to some standard while still having their own characteristics (such as spin). But I think we are a long way from seeing that happen. The tour very much wants to play by USGA rules.

Rick Roy (Cincinnati OH)

Does Rickie Fowler get a reality check this weekend even though he seems to like Muirfield?

Bob Harig
  (3:49 PM)

Well, not everyone can play well every week. Fowler has been on a nice run of late. Not sure it's a reality check or just cooling off. Then again, he could keep the hot streak going.

Mike (Stockton)

Why the love for Tiger at Royal Lytham? The guy can't control his distances on approaches, and he'll end up with countless 50-, 70- and 90-footers with four breaks in them. The winner at the British will have to be precise in the approach game.

Bob Harig
  (3:50 PM)

There was no way to know back in January how well he'd be faring in July. Just my pick from the beginning of the year. Reason I still like him there is driver is not as important. True, he needs to be better with his short irons. Maybe he will be.

Matt (Beaver Lake)

Will Vijay ever win again? Or has the window closed until he wins about 8 times a year on the Champions Tour?

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

He's going on 4 years since his last victory, as hard as that is to believe. Still works at it, still has a lot of game. And I don't think he's too interested in the Champions Tour. I think he'll keep trying for awhile.

Tim (Bradenton)

I sense that even the Tiger fans have pulled back lately. Mr. Dominant is just too inconsistent for even his blind fans to recognize he's not going to win every week.

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

Nobody should have ever expected him to win every week.

Ed (Long Island)

When does Olympic Club get in US Open shape for the players to go and practice, or is the rough and greens not set up until that week?

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

I think it is pretty close now, although the guess is they keep moisture on the greens.

Jason (Los Angeles)

What do you think of Louis Ousthazen(sp?) chances at Olympic. Seems like his game and temperment fit the course.

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

Yes, would just like to see him not disappear for such long times. He has such a great golf swing, you'd think he'd contend more.

Nelson (DE)

What are your thoughts on the Sr PGA this past weekend?

Bob Harig
  (3:54 PM)

Those greens looked brutal, although the layout of the course from tee to green was phenomenal.

Rob (NY)

Is Jack still using the unusual rakes for the bunkers at the Memorial? Are the pros getting used to them by now?

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

I do not believe so. That practice wasn't in place last year. It was a noble idea, though. Make being in a bunker an actual penalty.

Shoshana (Boston)

Any theories as to why none of the younger players are top putters (maybe Day excepted)? Donald, Tiger, Baddely, Snedecker etc were good even at a young age

Bob Harig
  (3:56 PM)

That is a mystery that could be due to being so mechanical at an early age in working on their golf swings.

Johnny (Petaluma)

Olympic was kind of a joke in '98. If the USGA wanted to go back to California and not Pebble Beach, why not Harding instead? Or why not up the coast to Bandon, which is a golf mecca that has never had a major event?

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

Olympic had an issue with the 18th green in 98, one that has been rectified. It's going back to Pebble in 2019. Bandon has logistical issues that would make it difficult to hold a big tournament.

Ed (Long Island)

Do you think Phil would prefer to win one US Open or 2 more Master's?

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

Well, given that choice only, he'd take the 2 Masters. You'd rather have 2 than 1. But you can bet Phil dearly wants a U.S. Open.

Nelson (DE)

Do you think more players (already in the US Open) than usual will skip the St. Jude because of going from a likely steaming hot Memphis to a much cooler San Fran?

Bob Harig
  (3:59 PM)

There's no doubt that Memphis is at a disadvantage this year for that reason. Playing in the heat takes a lot out of you. But many guys like the competition the week prior. And it takes their mind off the Open, they don't over prepare. Westwood, Rory, Zach Johnson among those playing Memphis.

Andrew (WI)

True/False: We will see a ladies event at Augusta in your lifetime.

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

False. My piece on that vary topic last week was really food for thought. It would be incredible for them to do it. Lots of roadblocks, however. I don't see it happening anytime soon.

Brian (Chicago)

There's no way Bandon could host a major championship. It's a great place, but there are like 100 hotel rooms within a 30 mile radius. And the nearest commercial airport is 4 hours away.

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

And it's unclear whether there is the space necessary for TV, corporate hospitality, spectators. So much goes into hosting a major that goes beyond the venue itself.

Peter (Pittsburgh)

Is Phil taking a lot of ribbing from his peers for that new joint medication commercial? The guy acts like a buffoon in it. Not worthy of a major champion.

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

Really? The guy has a pretty serious arthritic condition.

Ryan (CT)

Tiger played an 18 hole practice round at Olympic Club today he said.

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

Breaking news. . Thanks for passing along.

Bob Harig
  (4:03 PM)

Folks, thanks again. I'm out of time. Appreciate all the questions. Join me on twitter @bobharig and check out our coverage from the Memorial this week. If you check out Tiger's website, you can hear from him now. Thanks