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June 5, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (2:59 PM)

Thanks for checking in. Plenty to talk about in golf. Appreciate your participation, so let's get started. Fire away.

CP (Charlotte)

How does the order of sectional alternates get determined in the event of a w/d?

Bob Harig
  (3:00 PM)

I do not know. I know it's not automatically from the tour-player heavy sites. Will try to find out or maybe if somebody knows, please chime in.

Robb (Colorado)

Saw the video with you and Michael Collins. Are you that tall or is he that short?

Bob Harig
  (3:02 PM)

He's that short!

Brady (Usa)

what do u think the chances r of tiger winning the open

Bob Harig
  (3:03 PM)

Probably no better or worse than before he won Memorial. He certainly takes confidence there. He's swinging better, hitting the ball very nicely Hitting lots of greens. But I point to 2009, when he won 6 times on the PGA Tour. He won in each of his last tournaments before a major and didn't win any of the majors. One does not necessarily lead to the other.

Nemes (P-Town)

How well does Casey Martin do at the US Open? He qualified via his home course at University of Oregon so not as impressed. I'm guessing making the cut would be quite an achievement.

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

It's an amazing achievement that he got there. He does not play or compete regularly. Making the cut would amazing, almost unthinkable.

Patrick (Hanover)

In the 4 previous US Opens held at Olympic you could argue the right guy or the guy everyone thought was going to win didn't. The course , coincidence or just golf? Your thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:06 PM)

I happen to think that is a huge coincidence. Why? Hogan and Palmer lost in playoffs. It was that close. In "87, Watson was the name, but he was not winning frequently. And while Payne Stewart was the bigger name, Lee Janzen had already beat him in a U.S. Open.

CP (Charlotte)

Biggest story of the sectionals: Martin, the toilet cleaner from Australia, 14-year old who just missed, DLIII?

Bob Harig
  (3:07 PM)

To me, it's Casey Martin. He said he's played about 25 rounds in the past year.

JY (TO)

Last week everyone thought Tiger was finished, now he is going to win the US Open... will the madness never end?

Bob Harig
  (3:08 PM)

Probably not. I liked Tiger's answer to the question, Are you back? He said. "What's back?" everybody has a different definition, so unless he wins everything, he can't ever satisfy that argument.

Robb (Colorado)

Serious question now. How would you rate Tiger's win at Muirfield versus Bay Hill? Seems like the most recent one was bigger as he came from behind on Sunday versus just maintaining his lead.

Bob Harig
  (3:10 PM)

This one was more impressive because he didn't putt as well as he did at Bay Hill. He was 4th there, 41st at Memorial. Hit the ball beautifully. And yes, at Bay Hill, he was able to forge a lead and the course was so tough nobody could come get him. (Still had one of the best final rounds.) At Memorial he trailed by 2 with 4 to play.

Patrick (Hanover)

In your expert opinion, bigger recent USGA gaffe. The 18th at Olympic in 1998 or 7th at Shinnacock in 2004?

Bob Harig
  (3:11 PM)

Good one. I have a hard time picking one over the other. Both werek bad, and threatened to overwhelme the tournament.

Patrick (Hanover)

One of the biggest differences between Tiger and Phil in my opinion was always Tiger's consistency but if you look at results from the Honda. 2nd, WD, Win, T-40, MC, T-40, Win. Is Tiger now turning into Phil?

Bob Harig
  (3:12 PM)

No, but he's clearly not as consistent as he used to be. Then again, that recent stretch of Masters, Quail Hollow, Players was the worst 3-tourney stretch of his PGA Tour career.

Ty W (Bushwood)

Bob, I was doing a little night-putting recently and had an idea for enhancing the Accenture WGC Match Play tournament. Stop me if you heard it before. Have sixteen 4-person pods (using the same seeding as before) and within the pod, each golfer plays the other three head-to-head in match play over the course of 3 days. Assign points for winning each match and perhaps bonus points for a big win such as winning with 4 or more holes to be played. The player in each pod with the most points moves on to the quarterfinals. In the event of a tie use HTH result or give the edge to the player with the better OWGR. Each golfer is guaranteed 3 rounds; there is a better chance that the top golfers make to the quarters which make TV people happy. You would need 1 extra day to get down to the final 16. Is that too crazy to work?

Bob Harig
  (3:13 PM)

That is similar to the format at the Match Play on the European Tour. They divide into pods of 3, total of 24 players. Top 2 from each advance to get a group of 16. I'm in favor of anything that would allow players to stick around for more than one match.

Dave (St Simons Island Ga)

Lawrence Donagen, The Guardian in London, wrote that Nicklaus is wrong and that Bubba's shot on 10 was much harder....boy did the commenters jump down his throat

Bob Harig
  (3:15 PM)

Jack might have gone a bit overboard on that one. He qualified it by saying under the circumstances. Jack might have seen better against himself, too. Like Watson in '82 at Pebble. Or Jack's 4-iron to 15 at '86 Masters. Certainly Tiger's shot was remarkable.

Guy (Columbia)

BOB, dont you dare try to jump back on the Tiger Bandwagon after trashing him for poor performances in his three prior starts.

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

I don't think I really trashed him. Just stated the situation. Never been on or off the bandwagon. He played great at Memorial. Had his worst 3 tournaments as a pro in the three preceding it.

Chris (Chicago)

Bob... what is going on with Rory??? Could you imagine the backlash if Tiger had missed 3 straight cuts?

Bob Harig
  (3:20 PM)

I think Rory is going through what most players to -- lulls. It happens. Guys have rough patches, putting problems, lack of form, lack of confidence. He played well for such a long stretch and now is struggling.

Eamonn (Detroit)

Is Padraig Harrington ever going to get back to winning on tour again?

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

I'm stunned he hasn't won in almost 4 years on the PGA Tour

JY (TO)

It's been a rude awakening for Rory within the "tiger" media spotlight, hasnt it?

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

And yet, Rory hasn't had it nearly as bad as Tiger gets it when things are not going as well.

Bruce Kenerson (Newport Beach)

Does using a golf cart give Casey Martin an advantage over other pro's? If Carts were allowed for all players, would other pro's use a cart or walk? What percentage? Thanks

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

To me, it does not give him an advantage. Martin is at a huge disadvantage because the pain in his lower right leg is so severe even with the amount of walkikng he does. He gets sore. It's hard to hit shots when your leg is pounding. So the cart attempts to even things out. He still has to hit the shots. He gets tired walking from the green to the cart. My guess is very few would use carts even if there were available. Golfers like the rhythm of walking.

Liam (Ireland)

Which Irish golfer at the moment is most likely to make it 3 US Opens in a row for the Irish?

Bob Harig
  (3:24 PM)

Peter Lawrie? Now there's a darkhorse for all of you asking.

Brandon (Wisconsin)

I heard that Olympic isn't a long course? So what makes it tough?

Bob Harig
  (3:25 PM)

Tight, sloping fairways. Small greens. It has no water hazards and just one fairway bunker. It has a brutally long opening hole and a very long par-5 near the end. Difficult rough. Usually cool temperatures.

JY (TO)

Everyone focuses on the 18 majors Tiger is chasing, but is it a foregone conclusion that he will end up with 84+ wins and the all time record?

Bob Harig
  (3:27 PM)

He needs 10 more wins to pass Snead and get to 83. Two a year starting next year through age 41 gets that done. I wouldn't say it's a foregone conclusion, but it wouldn't be surprising.

Nemes (P-Town)

What % chance does Tiger have of catching Nicklaus at 18 majors?

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

I think it's important that he gets a major this year. Otherwise he's going on 5 years without one. You can win majors after such a gap. But is he going to win 4 or 5 more?

HOB BARIG (Stees)

Bob, Face facts. Tiger is back regardless of how the media wants to skirt around the issue. Tiger fans are tired of seeing you and Farrell Evans and other ESPN stooges go back and forth.

Bob Harig
  (3:30 PM)

If I say he's back, I get hammered. If I say he's not, I get hammered. It's a dumb argument anyway. Back to what? Back in the top 5? Yes. No. 1 in the world? No. Back to winning multiple tourneys? Yes. Back to winning majors? Not yet. Silly. He never really went anywhere. He wasn't winning, but still one of the best players. Now we are seeing that form again.

Tom (LA)

I can't seem to find the update, but did Casey Martin's player from the Oregon golf team win the playoff today for the other US Open spot?

Bob Harig
  (3:30 PM)

No, the other guy, who plays at Oregon State, won the playoff.

Aaron (Iowa)

Although I'm a huge Tiger fan, here in Iowa we always root for Zach Johnson. What are the chances of him making a run at the US Open?

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

I like Zach at Olympic. Not a long course. Precision. I think it suits him.

Kyle (Boston, MA)

What were your thoughts on Phil's reasons for withdrawing last week? Do you think he "quit"?

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

I didn't think it was a good idea, but I appreciated his honesty about it. He didn't cite an injury. Didn't just blow out of there. Said he was spent, wanted to get ready for the U.S. Open. Lots of guys bail after poor rounds. Doesn't make it right, though.

Nicole (Youngstown, OH)

I find it humorous that media/public feel Woods' intimidation factor has dwindled in the last few years. Don't tell me for one second that Fowler's blow-up on Sunday at Muirfield wasn't impacted by Woods.

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

To be honest, I don't think it was. I think he just played poorly. Rickie came out and birdied the first hole -- and then shot 8.

Nicole (Youngstown, OH)

Nothing annoys me more than hearing people claim Woods didn't have to face the level of competition Jack had in winning majors. Simply put, you have better players, playing better now, with much more value on physical conditioning, and having competitive pedigree that never existed in Jack's day.

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

Here's my take on this.Jack had to go up against more players who had also won majors: Palmer, Player, Trevino, Miller, Floyd, Watson. He lost majors to those guys.Tiger has faced deeper fields. He's had guys come out of nowhere to get him. Michael Cambpell has won since he beat Tiger at the 05 U.S. Open. Rich Beem hasn't won since he beat Tiger at 02 PGA. Yang has done little since winning the 09 PGA. More players can win in this era.

Chris K (WI)

You said Spencer Levin can still get into the Open. Any other players can still get in? Who would be displaced if Levin gets in?

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

Nobody would be displaced. They are saving spots for anyone who moves into the top 60 in the world ranking who is not already exempt.

Guy (Columbia)

BOB, you and your co-workers are the very ones who started the premise of Tiger being "Back" vs "not Back" so dont try to hide. Michael Collins in fact coined the very term in one of his famous video blogs!

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

Regardless, I just think it is an argument that deserves context. Back to what?

Michael (Cincinnati)

Back HOB? The Tiger I recall won multiple tourneys, was #1 in the WORLD, and dominated majors like no other. Is that what you mean by BACK?

Bob Harig
  (3:37 PM)

Do you expect someone at age 36 to play like he did at 26 or 30? You're judging him by his own standards, which is unfair. After turning 35, Nicklaus had one five-victory year in 1978. His numbers dropped off considerably. It happens.

Nick (Washington DC )

Why does it take the USGA almost 14 years to go back to this course? It was the summer after fifth grade when I first watched it there! and Ten years for pebble etc.

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

When the golf ball changed drastically in 2000, it was deemed too short. They've lengthened it some, also changed grasses on the greens, which makes them much faster and more treacherous.

Chris (Chicago)

Bob, do the people in here not realize your job is to report on facts, to state opinion, maybe even stir the pot??? Now... who do you honestly think is better than Tiger in the World? Luke Donald is overrated and will NEVER win a major! Rory - maybe? That is it...

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

If you go by the last two years, Luke is better. So is Rory. But on sheer golfing ability?

Geoff (Santa Monica)

Do you ever read the comments below these chats? You have some big fans!

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

In all honesty, most of the people who comment on internet stories are cowards. Pretty easy to hide there with no repurcussions, say whatever you want. I put my name on what I write and deal with it.

Shoshana (Boston)

Phil, Vijay, Ernie, Paddy have all won multiple majors. Nobody other than Tiger has even hit 8 majors since 1980. They're just harder to win now. Doesn't mean the top players are worse

Bob Harig
  (3:40 PM)

Tiger took a lot of majors away from people. He also left some scar tissue. But Tiger also seemingly had to deal with players coming out of nowhere more than Jack. For every Charles Coody for Jack, it seems that Tiger has had 3 or 4.

Nelson (DE)

If you don't think players can do at 36 what they did at 26 or 30, then what do you make of Vijay Singh's success in his early 40's? It was the best of his career. Nick Price's best golf came in his mid-late 30s.

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

Vijay Singh came to the PGA Tour at age 30. Tiger was 20. It's a big difference. Vijay has been terrific in his 40s, but that is not normal. I'm not saying Tiger can't have great success in his late 30s. But Jack did not win at the rate he did earlier in his career. To expect Tiger to win as much at 36 as he did at 26? Think about that.

Guy (Columbia)

BOB, people may hide behind their internet alias but you hide behind the fact that you only answer the questions you want to answer

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

That's comical. I answer as many as I can. The ones I don't answer are either profane, unusable or I run out of time.

Bruce (Newport Beach)

You heard anything about Brandt Snedeker's injury? Is it serious?

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

It sounds like it's a rib injury, sort of like what Davis Love had. Not sure if it's as serious. Davis was out for 6 weeks.

Kevin (Modesto) [via mobile]

Bob, what's harder? Surviving the 36 hole sectionals or making the cut once you get in?

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

I would have to say making the cut .Now you're going up against the best players in the world. That is not the case at sectionals. That's not to say it's easy. 36 holes in one day is a grind.

Shoshana (Boston)

If you hold Tiger only to his best, he hasn't been back since 2000 (and that included two years after that under Butch). Can we move on and drop the debate now? Tiger's avg yr on tour has been about 5 wins and a major

Bob Harig
  (3:46 PM)

Well said. It's a fruitless argument.

Nick (Washington DC)

Bob, will the 18th hole at olympic be drivable or near drivable, I see its only 350 downhill. Sure bubba and dustin could get there.

Bob Harig
  (3:46 PM)

I'm not sure the risk is worth it. Green is so small. I think you'll mainly see a lot of irons off the tee and wedges in. Will be interesting to see if anyone tries.

Jeff (Hoboken, NJ)

One bad round should never be too alarming, but what should we make of Fowler's 84? I didn't think the Tiger pairing would've impacted him that much

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

I think he just had a bad day. Sort of another example of how we took Tiger for granted, seemed to never have letdowns. Dufner was on a run than ran out of gas at Colonial last day. Same for Fowler. He's been playing great, finally had a bad day.

Andy (Syracuse)

Bob, are there a lot of smokers on the tour these days? I imagine there's a few, and I see Dufner's fat lipper every once in a while. Just wondering since they don't show it on TV anymore.

Bob Harig
  (3:48 PM)

Spencer Levin couldn't be missed smoking over the weekend.

TyWebb (Bushwood)

Do you ever get tired of being labeled Tiger's personal cheerleader? I know ESPN tells you what to write about but man, you sure are a TW apologist....

Bob Harig
  (3:49 PM)

Here's what I mean. No name. Easy to spout. Of course, there was somebody in here earlier saying I'm too hard on Tiger.

Mitch (Oak Lawn)

48% of Tiger's 73 Tour victories came at just 6 courses, (Bay Hill, Augusta National, Cog Hill, Torrey Pines, Firestone, and Muirfield). Have any other golfers so dominated particular courses like he has?

Bob Harig
  (3:50 PM)

Tiger has more wins at those courses -- I think it's 35 -- than all but a handful of players in the game have total.

TyWebb (Bushwood)

You mad Bob? don't be, we all see the favoritism in your coverage of TW. Don't get touchy. It sure would be nice if you could write an article on ANY other golfer WITHOUT mentioning your man crush.

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

I hope you are enjoying yourself.

Shoshana (Boston)

Do you think playing Memphis is a good move for Rory? Seems like a draining tournament and like he could use some time on the range to find confidence anyways

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

I do find it curious. Might have been better served to just work on his game. But he said last week he wants competitive rounds. And he did head to Olympic for practice.

Chris (Chicago)

Bob they are worthless bashing you where we can learn so much by asking good questions... can Tiger get to #1 if he wins the Open?

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

I don't think so. There's quite a gap between No. 1 and No. 4. I do think there is a chance for him to get to second. So much depends on what the others do.

Griffin (Oswego, NY)

Where does Tiger stand in POY race?

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

That is by a vote of the players, so you figure he's in the mix at this point. But so much time left. If Bubba wins another tournament, he'd be a stronger contender? Anyone who adds a third or fourth tournament victory.

Karl (Knoxville)

I know I saw Pat Perez put in a hog's leg dip at the Memorial on Sunday.

Bob Harig
  (3:54 PM)

There are several who do this.

tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]

Hi Bob. Speaking of Rich Beem, what the heck is he doing these days? Still on Tour? A total no-name will win the US open this year...mark my words!

Bob Harig
  (3:54 PM)

He's been playing some on the European Tour. Got a 10 year exemption for winning the PGA.

Eric (Cleveland, OH)

As much as everyone seems to love Freddie Couples is there a more overrated player in the modern era? With all his talent he managed just one major victory and only 14 tour victories. That's not even close to being Hall of Fame worthy. Sure he's a gregarious and cool guy, but his production doesn't come close to his talent.

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

Some of that is due to a bad back. He was never the same after blowing out his back at Doral in 94. He led going into the final round and had to withdraw.

Kevin (Louisiana)

The Tiger Woods haters/apologists are mind numbing... let's talk about other golf related things real quick... A follow up question to Andy's... Does the tour frown upon tobacco... I notice that Dufner seems to dip alot more on Thursday and Friday than on the weekends when the Tv cameras are more in tune. Is that my imagination?

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

They don't say so publicly, but I bet they are not big fans of players dipping and smoking on TV.

Kyle (Boston, MA)

Are you surprised that Westwood is playing in Sweeden rather than the St. Jude this week?

Bob Harig
  (3:56 PM)

Not really. He's getting paid (appearance fee) to be in Sweden. Tournament ends on Saturday.

Guy (Columbia)

Bob, be honest, how many times have you watched the replay of tigers chip on 16.

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

You couldn't miss it for 2 days. Probably seen it 20 times.

Barb (FL)

Whats the weather like at Olympic? Does it get windy on the course? How cool has it been there? I expect Tiger to play well, he likes the west coast and prime time!

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

It's typically cool and foggy, although not rainy.

Nicolas (Argentina)

Bob, as an Argentinian, I have to ask you.. do you think Angel Cabrera has a chance of wining at Olympic? thanks!

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

Cabrera seems to find his form in the majors. But I think the driver is taken out of his hands there.

Dave (St Simons Island Ga)

The OWGR is basically "horse droppings"...it may tell us who the consistent golfer is over a 2 yr period, but it is rather sick when people move up without playing or winning.

Bob Harig
  (3:59 PM)

It's about consistency. The guys who have a lot of high finishes move up.

John (Denver)

Bob: What courses that are not currently slated for a U.S. Open or have not hosted one in a long time (if ever) would you like to see get a chance?

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

I wish they'd go back to Riviera (although it's a logistical nightmare) and Torrey Pines. Love California Opens because the chance of thunderstorms is so low.

Chris K (WI)

Will you play Olympic before the Open? Thanks for your chat!

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

I wish!

Steve (Colbert)

Does the U.S. Open typically have the weakest field of the four majors?

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

Believe it or not ,that distinction probably goes to the Masters. PGA has the strongest field of the four.

Troy (TF)

What do you think Rory Mcilroy's chances of defending his US Open title are? Can he come back from his recent struggles?

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

I think he can come back from his struggles for sure. But defending is tough. Last to do so at the Open was Curtis Strange in 1989. It just doesn't happen very often.

Bruce Kenerson (Newport Beach)

I liked Tiger's answer to, "Are you the old Tiger now?" And he said, "I am an older Tiger." Touche!!

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

Very true.

Eric (Cleveland, OH)

Even though Woods played wonderfully at Muirfield, isn't the generous fairways and his experience at that course causing the general public to think too highly of him going into Olympic?

Bob Harig
  (4:03 PM)

Possibly. The fairways are wide at Muirfield. It's a course that suits him. And as I said earlier, success prior to a major, even for him, does not guarantee success in that major.

Chris (Chicago)

Given Tiger's win, what are the current standings for the Ryder Cup? And is Tiger now the comeback player of the year?

Bob Harig
  (4:04 PM)

Comeback player of the year? I hadn't thought of that.

Jim (NY, NY)

I guess LaCava didn't make a dumb financial decision like some suggested when he took Tiger's bag?

Bob Harig
  (4:05 PM)

He's working less and making more.

Kevin (Louisiana)

The tour should limit sugary drinks to 16 ozs... then they could ban smoking, dipping, and non silenced camera phones... oh, you need a question... Did Phil really bow out as a referendum on cell phones?

Bob Harig
  (4:05 PM)

That is the underlying theme, behind the scenes. Seems that was at least part of what was going on.

Doug (GA)

It's my understanding there's a fine for any player caught smoking on television.

Bob Harig
  (4:05 PM)

Could be, but they never tell us about fines.

Wes (Lexington)

Is weather (specifically heat) one of the reasons the US Open is usually played in more northern states? Or is it more just an unofficail 'rota' of US Open courses based on history, etc?

Bob Harig
  (4:06 PM)

Weather is clearly why they don't go south. Heat and thunderstorms are prevelent then. But there are some hot U.S. Open venus in the north, too. History has a lot to do with their choices, but then again, we've got a couple coming up that will be first timers.

Mark (St. Paul)

easier question- if Tiger ranks in the top 5 in putting at Olympic, does he win?

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

that would really help him, especially if he continues to hit greens at his current pace.

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

Okay folks, I've gone way over. Out of time. Thanks very much for all the questions. Sorry I can't get close to answering them all, there were a bunch. Try me on twitter @bobharig. I'll also be chatting from the Olympic Club next week.