Plenty to talk about at the U.S. Open. Your questions are welcome. Please fire away and we'll get started.
It doesnt sound like there are many socring opportunities out there. What holes can players realistically look to attack?
Scoring opportunities are more at the end, which is unusual. The 15th is the shortest hole on the course, and while the 16th can play long, it is still a par-5. 17 you have to birdie. It's as long as the par-4 first but it's a par-5. And 18 is around 350 yards.
Whats the point of having a 670 par 5 that requires everyone to lay up in the same general proximity? Shouldnt they move the tee's around each day to at least give the players some more options?
They will not play it from 670 every day.
Why would the USGA put Kevin Na and his group one ahead of Tiger, Phil and Bubba? Na could take even longer to play with people trying to get in position for the Big 3.
It's the U.S. Open so it will be slow anyway.
What chance does Phil have this week?
Always a crapshoot with Phil. I've said it a million times. The only thing consistent about Phil is his inconsistency. I would not be surprised either way.
any idea how long Brandt Snedeker will be out?
That's an injury that can linger. Kept Davis Love out for nearly two months.
Hi Bob, with Speith and Zhang getting in with the w/d of Snedeker and Casey, did you find out how the order of alternates from the sectional qualifiers gets determined ?
The USGA has a pecking order based on what they feel is strength of those sectional fields. But if a sectional qualifier withdraws, then the alternate comes from that sectional.
The course sets up with 2 Par 5's in the final 3 holes, does that make players feel good coming down the stretch knowing they have 2 par 5's to make up a shot or 2?
It does. They know they've got an opportunity.
What weather conditions can we expect in SF.Windy, cold, foggy in the morning? Its an usual place weather wise. Thanks
It's supposed to be nice, although cooler once the tournament begins. No rain in forecast.
Dont you think a 288 yard par 3 is stupid and ridiculous? Thats simply not a par three, a good par three does not need to be a mile long, i.e postage stamp and 17th at TPC Sawgrass. Do you think this makes the US Open look bad?
I believe you are referring to the 7th hole. It is a 288-yard par 4- and some will attempt to drive it.
They are different. The surface then was poa now bent.
I am here now. wish we could come here every year for U.S. Open. Weather is what it should be: no rain.
In reading about the 1966 US Open at Olympic, of course most of the attention was on Arnold Palmer's collapse but Billy Casper won. Is he the most underrated player in the history of golf? I know he may not have been glamorous persay but 51 wins is 51 wins. Your thoughts?
Couldn't agree more. He won more times in the 60s than either Jack or Arnie.
They can choose who they want to play with. Tiger played by himself Monday, and with Casey Martin today.
Toughest hole at Olympic in your opinion?
The first. 520 yard par-4. That's brutal for those who start there.
My guess is only a few will finish under par. I'm thinking 2 or 3 under will win.
Final round was an aberration.
Darkhouse this week? Mine is Zach Johnson even though he was a major. Course sets up well for him.
I picked Zach to win. But please don't go by me. Tough picking these things. I did pick Zach to win Colonial and he came through. My luck might have run out.
Apparently they don't care. They don't seem to care much about newspaper writers who have deadlines, either. Check out the internet, specifically ESPN.com
Bob - what happened with Tiger on the range earlier and is he ok?
He's fine. There is video posted on ESPN.com. He stopped his swing when somebody took a photo. Never understand how he is able to do it.
Predict a winning score?Also, what can you tell us about next year's open at Merion?
2 or 3 under par. Merion will be one of the shortest Opens in recent memory. Very tight. Will be interesting. A tough decision for them to go there.
Don't know the exact number, around 12 or so. Tiger, Phil, Westwood, Stricker, Kuchar come to mind. And it means very little. The greens are different. Some of the holes have been altered.
Isn't the USGA's mission to grow the game of golf? But the way they've set up Olympic, the best players in the world are going to look foolish. Not exactly the way to get Joe Average off the couch and out to the course. There was nothing wrong with the way Rory won last year.
But that's not the U.S. Open. Last year was more like a regular tour event. The US. Open is always the most demanding or one of the most demanding tests. It's good for the average guy to watch the best struggle once or twice a year.
I know everybody has to play all 18, but isn't it an advantage to start on the back nine? Those first six holes are brutal, and a bad start will simply take some players out of the tournament mentally before they've made the turn.
In this case, I happen to think it's a huge advantage for those who get to start at the 9th in the morning as opposed to No. 1. . Starting on No.1 with an afternoon tee time is not as daunting. There's something about having to face those brutal holes when it's went and colder that makes it all the more difficult.
Martin Kaymer...any thoughts? Haven't seen much from him as of late...can he be a factor here?
I'd like to see him be a factor anywhere at the moment.
Hey Bob, thanks for taking our questions! Does the draw play a factor this week? Meaning, the players teeing off on #1 on Thursday have a disadvantage given how difficult holes 1-6 are?
No doubt. I think teeing off on No. 1 in the morning as stated a bit earlier is a tough break. Tiger, Phil, Bubba get a break in that they start on No. 9 on Thursday morning. They start on No. 1 Friday, but it's after 1 p.m. They'll have played one round and it will be easier.
Why stop your swing on a practice range and risk getting hurt? I doubt the camera click was the loudest thing at that moment.
It was right behind him and obviously distracted him.
Bob, cant wait for Thursday to roll around....think this is going to be an exiting one! I think this tourney is wide open. With so many young players winning it seems like today's youth is really looking up to many of the young guns on tour. Now I know there is still a huge following for Tiger or Phil.....but more and more Ricky and Bubba fans on tour these days. In your opinion, what would be better for golf right now, seeing a Tiger (or someone older thats been around), or seeing a Ricky or someone young winning his first major?
To me, at this point, nothing tops Tiger or Phil winnig a major. Tiger getting his 15th. Phil getting his first U.S. Open. Either would be huge, more so than any other player winning.
I keep reading that the winning score will be around E for the tournament. How accurate is that prediction and should we really expect those going off on #1 to be a few over par by the time they reach the 7th tee? If so, are the players prepared to be that far over par just 7 holes in. To me, that would be discouraging but if they expect that going in, maybe not.
It's good to have the mindset that if you are 1 or 2 over after 6, it's not the end of the world. You'll be joined by many.
How does Phil feel about his pairing with Tiger and Bubba. The positive is he has been wiping the floor with Tiger in pairings of late; the bad is it creates a circus atmosphere one event after that caused him to WD.
Guess here is that Phil loves it. Tiger brings out the best in him of late. And cameras should not be an issue here because cell phones are not allowed.
How do players practice on the US Open rough? Is there a range area with 6inch rough they can chop out of?
They practice hitting out of the rough on the course itself.
I win this week. I'm under the radar but playing as well as anybody right now.
Wouldn't surprise me.
They won't play it from 670 every day. When they move it up, I wouldn't be surprised if Bubba, Dustin Johnson or Gary Woodland or Quiros gets home in 2.
Why are they starting on hole #9 instead of #10 on Thurs. and Fri.?
The ninth is closer to the clubhouse and makes more sense logistically than heading all the way out to No. 10.
With a course setup like this, is it better to be a veteran like Furyk or Stricker who has been through the torture many times, or a youngster playing loose with nothing to lose?
Either way could be an advantage or disadvantage. It's usually more about having patience and hitting good shots than anything.
What would a legitimate 5-7 handicap (who plays well) fire at Olympic under championship conditions?
Playing from the same tees as the pros in the same conditions, my guess is a 5 to 7 handicap who doesn't fudge would do well to break 90.
Bubba hit driver, driver on 16 today and was still 60 yards short. But the USGA said they will only play from 670 two days, so people will reach it those other days.
There you go
With the new setup, 17 now a 5, etc. seems like the course will favor the strong finisher in good form more than ever. Is this not Tiger's week? Seems like he would be tough to hold off down the stretch if he gets in position to win.
So hard to say with Tiger. If he hits greens like he did at Memorial, then I think he'll be tough to beat.
For a darkhorse, I really like Spencer Levin. He's playing well of late, has been in the fix a few times this year -- granted he couldn't close -- but grew up playing Northern California courses. And he's one of those guys with nothing to lose. And he showed at Memorial he can make a lot of 5-10 footers to save par.
This week is a bonus for him. He's fortunate to be in. That's a good mindset to have.
It's widely discussed that the fairways slope dramatically at Olympic. Are the slopes predominantly right-to-left or left-to-right; as in, does a player that utilizes a draw or fade have a particular advantage since they can play the ball into the slope?
They slope both ways. It's awkward to hold drives in the fairways. You have to hook them into left to right fairways and fade them into right to left.
Going into the year I thought Olympic was a perfect fit for Hunter Mahan, and he started off the year on fire. But the last six weeks or so have been mediocre at best. Any thoughts on him peaking too soon, or can he turn it around this week?
Perhaps the pressure is off. Maybe he gets back to basics and lower expectations and finds his form.
What % of players do you think will attempt to drive the <300 yard par 4? How much risk/reward is the hole?
I don't think many will try. Pretty small opening in front. Lots of bunkers to the sides. My guess is you'll see a lot of 100 yard approach shots.
Does anyone finish under par this week? Seems like the USGA is hell bent on bringing "normalcy" back to the US Open with uber tough conditions
They don't have to do much at Olympic. It's tough regardless.
Usually flies under the radar for the majors and seems to be once again this week. Sergio Garcia is red hot right now (albeit quietly). How would you asess his chances? Could this be the week?
Given the way his mind works, I think he needs to be lurking and come from behind with a hot round. His comments at the Masters to not suggest a very sound attitude.
What is Tiger doesn't make that fluke shot on 16th a couple of weeks ago? I bet we aren't obsessing about him definitely winning the Open if that doesn't go in. Thoughts?
Well, if it stops close and he makes par, he still wins by 1. I think people are looking at the big picture of how he played. Led field in greens hit. Didn't putt particularly well. Still won.
If Bubba wins on fathers day...more tears than his win at the Masters?
If Bubba wins, he might cry himself back to Florida.
With the mega group teeing off at 7:33 on Thurs, how has the course looked early in the morning? Pretty soggy, or does it dry well?
Very soggy in the morning Lots of dew and moisture.
Michael Collins was saying yesterday that missing the greens almost guarantees a bogey, and that the winner will be the best player from tee to green and not necessarily the best putter? Do you agree? Seems like the flat stick is really the most important club on any course.
Not sure it guarnatees a bogey. It's not hack out rough. Just more difficult to get it up and down. and on many holes there are run-offs, shaved areas, so it will be tight lies and not rough.
Rory McIlroy's tournament at Memphis. Good sign to finish top ten or bad sign to not win, with a few loose shots late?
I think it's more good than bad. He needed a four-round tournament, needed to be in contention. But it's not good the way it eneded.
Does Tiger really have a chance in a tournament not named after a HOF? Will he be in contention on Sunday?
He's won a few not named after Hall of Famers.
After we see about 20 scores in the 80s and nobody in the 60s on Thursday, does the USGA adjust the layout to make it less penal, or is that what they want? Screw the pros, we'll show them that Congressional was unacceptable!
I think there will be a few scores in the 60s.
Tiger, Rory, Phil or the field?
The field. You always have to take the field.
Predicting winners can often be fruitless with the likes of Cabrera, Glover, and McDowell winning recent US Opens, but in a 156 player field, what number would you say actually have a legitimate chance of winning?
My guess is about 50 guys have a chance to win. So many players can come out of nowhere to win.
Everybody is talking about Tiger, Phil, Bubba, Rory, even Zach Johnson as contenders. What about me? If there was ever a course that fits my game, this is it. And I am the No. 1 player in the world still.
I actually like Luke's chances here.
How crazy was it that John Daly had the lowest score on the final day last weekend? Can he turn his career around?
There's been little other evidence to suggest such a turnaround.
What happened to the 10-shot rule this year? Will the USGA do that at the Women's Open and Senior Open as well?
Not sure what they're doing at the other Opens, but they quietly dropped that 10-shot rule this year at the U.S. Open. Has the potential to be a big deal, especially with a tightly bunched field.
Better odds this week: Somebody shooting 66, or somebody shooting 90. I say it's the latter. At least one of these sectional qualifiers is going to melt down.
I do think both are possible.
The groove rule changed since the Open was last at Olympic. This reduces the chance of a dark horse winning.
Maybe so. That's not the completely determining factor, however.
Where's Darren Clarke? Thought he was exempt for about five years, or is he still drunk from his British Open victory celebration?
He's injured. Groin pull.
I'm on the east coast and I just love the west coast majors with the late finishes... think the majority of east coasters agree? Especially Thursday/Friday when most of us work... we don't miss much of the action since most coverage is after hours!!
Lots to like about West Coast majors.
Any holes other than 7 that are going to be drivable if they move the tees up? 14 with a big strong draw and the downhill slope to the green if the tees are up? And do you see anyone (i.e. Garrigus or Watson or Kyle Stanley hitting Driver on 18 this week)?
Don't think 14 is possible and it doens't make much sense to hit driver at 18. So much trouble if you miss.
I'm curious where the guys who qualified last week stay during the week. The hotels near the course are all full, and they had no idea they'd be coming until the last minute. Does the USGA hold rooms for them and their caddies somewhere?
Yes, the USGA has housing set aside for that eventuality.
Does Lee Westwood have a shot at his first major?
Yes. He's playing well. Needs to hole some putts.
I hear the rough is down a bit, will that lessen the importance of accuracy off the tee?
Still not easy to hold approaches on small greens.
With respect to my last question about the 18th, if you can crank it 320 plus and the wind is not super strong (usually in your face) on 18, don't you think that 30 yard flop shot that you are going to leave yourself is as easy as the blind 100 yard uphiller (assuming you find the fairway)?
That's the problem. You can't assume the fairway. It's the narrowest on the course. Also a flop shot straight up a hill is no bargain.
Any progress on the Nationwide/PGA Tour qualifying system?From what I heard at Memorial, the Players Council is nowhere near to agreeing on anything. Or is that all smoke and mirrors until the Tour finds a new sponsor to take over from Nationwide?
Not sure about the sponsorship part of it, but it does appear they can't agree on the best way to go and that a recommendation is not forthcoming.
How do players approach practice rounds? Do they keep a score or drop balls in various places to try extra shots? Thanks for the chat!
Most drop balla and play from different areas to get a feel for shots from different positons. A few play for score, but that might be early in the week or even on the weekend prior. Seems more are intent to experiment and figure out the greens and chipping areas.
What will Tiger's excuse be this week when he fails to contend? Will he pull out the need more reps excuse, or is that one getting tired. Even Tiger knows he has only been in the mix on courses he knows like the back of his hand.
He finished second at Honda where he had never played. Third at Abu Dhabi where he had never played. Third at Aussie Open where he had never played. Not making excuses for him. He wasn't in contention at all at the Masters, where he knows it pretty well. It's about playing well.
Keegan Bradley has gone a bit quiet of late after a strong start to the year. Think he could make some noise this week, or do you think it'll be tough for a player not as familiar with Open conditions?
He has been quiet, but he won his first major ever. Why not his first U.S. Open?
With the emergence of Tiger last weekend is this something that carries over? It seems so often lately he is an up and down player, one that does not seem consistent in the least. It would be good to see Tiger up at the top of the leaderboard more consistently!
Very hard to say. It didn't work out that way for him after winning Bay Hill.
Ratings for the LPGA Championship were up 67 percent from last year. Just thought you should know since it gets no respect from ESPN. But if a PGA event is up 5 percent, it's because of Tiger and it's big news.
The Memorial was up 138 percent from last year. And we had a writer at the LPGA Championship.
Bob, give me a wild card type of guy that can win this thing---I'm talking like well out there? I'll roll with the big-hitting man from Belgium Nicolas Colsaerts.
Wish I knew. I think there could be a bunch of wild cart guys. Colsaerts is a long hitter. If he can hit his 3 iron a long way off the tee, then maybe I like him. I think there will be some surprises in the mix.
How many media people there? How will you be able to see what the players do?
Lots of media here. I walk inside the ropes and catch a good bit on TV, too.
Contending at Abu Dhabi and Aussie Open with weak fields doesn't count for much, and he didn't contend at the Honda. He just shot a really low Sunday round.
Abu Dhabi had one of the stronger fields of the year. And he shot 62 at Honda in the final round. Aussie Open was no worse than most of the PGA Tour fields that are not elite events.
What hole do you think will play the hardest this week? Everyone is talking about the opening 6 holes, but I think 12 is going to play the hardest relative to par? Your thoughts Bob?
yes, 12 is a brute too. But I think No. 1 will be the toughest. That hole is really a par 5.
I saw that 14 year old Andy Zhang played with bubba and aaron baddely do you know anything about his game or if he has a reasonable chance eat making the cut
I don't know much about him. Obviously to get in is impressive. To make the cut would be quite the story.
Watching Tiger/Rory press conferences, seems Tiger never gets a silly question, like about throwing the first pitch (or whether he'd watched the kings game, r won the money off of casey today)
Tiger questions are all over the place, usually.
Do the tight fairways and big rough give tiger more of an advantage since he and a lot of others will put the driver down?
It'll be less drivers for him, but he's still got to put the ball in play and that is no guarantee.
Bob, which open set up is harder. 2012 Olympic or 2009 Bethpage Black?
Bethpage was ruined by all the rain. Didn't play the same so hard to say. I think Olympic needs less tinkering to make it tough. At Bethpage they simply made it long.
Are they really starting on No. 9? What's up with that?
Logistics. Ninth tee is close to the clubhouse. Easier than going all the way to the 10th.
What does that same 5-7 handicapper shoot from the back tees at Bethpage?
I think the same. I think a single digit handicap player who tries a U.S. Open course from the tournaent tees with difficult rough and fast greens struggles to break 90.
How many shots would it take YOU on a 670 yard hole?
It would take me too many just to get to the green.
Gotta go folks. Sorry I couldn't get to all the questions. Appreciate so many of you joining. I'll be on Twitter all week from Olympic: @bobharig. Feel free to fire me questions there. Enjoy the U.S. Open.