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June 19, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (2:59 PM)

Once again, plenty to chat about in golf. Thanks for participating, feel free to fire away with your questions. I'll get to as many as I can. Let's get started.

Nick (MN)

Over/Under: 17.5 Career majors for Tiger

Bob Harig
  (3:01 PM)

Wow, right out of the box. . . You go against Tiger at your own peril, but I don't think he is going ot make it to 18. I do think he's going to win more majors. And I say this knowing he very well could prove me wrong and I wouldn't be surprised. But if you put me on the spot, I take hte under.

Nick (Iowa)

I'm a huge Zach Johnson fan... He seems to do really well for a week or two and then drop off for a while. Is there a reason for this? Drives me nuts

Bob Harig
  (3:01 PM)

This s golf! Really, very, very few players maintain a contending consistency.

Alex (Anaheim)

What made the Open so difficult?

Bob Harig
  (3:03 PM)

The main reason, to me, is that even a well-struck drive did not always stay in the fairway. You had to be so precise off the tee. Maybe too precise. Graeme McDowell hit only 4 fairways on Sunday. Once off the fairway, the abililty to get the ball close becomes very difficult. And then everything falls from there.

Patrick (Hanover)

Certainly Tiger gets alot of just credit for the excitement level he brings but don't you feel he would rather play a US Open style event where only a few under par wins? i always feel that he doesn't really like birdie fests, he can do it if he has to but he would rather play a boring style of golf and watch everyone fall apart around him. Your thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

No question, Tiger prefers tournaments where par is a good score -- even though he's won numerous times by shooting 18, 20, 24 under.

Robb (Colorado)

I know lots of people will talk about Tiger's breakdown over the weekend coming from a physical aspect, but I think it is really more mental from him. In the past even when his swing might have been a work in progress, he would keep things together by being so mentally tough. He seems to have lost the edge.

Bob Harig
  (3:05 PM)

There very likely is a mental aspect to this. Having complete confidence, trusting what you are doing. Then again, there are also some very simple flaws in his game at the moment, such as the short game. It appears the most starightforward of chip shots still give him some trouble. And so do the short irons. When Tiger has a wedge or 9 iron in his hand, he simply is not hitting it close enough. It all adds up.

Jeff (Louisville)

How deep should we look into Tigers play on Sat and Sun? Was he simply a little off on a hard course? Was their more pressure?Crowd acting up in terms of harassing him? Drained from round 1 and 2 pairing? Fathers day weekend on his mind? I know he is inconsistent to a degree but that was 2 different golfers and im trying to wrap my mind around the Jekyll and Hyde play.

Bob Harig
  (3:07 PM)

Don't think the crowd or the first, second-round group had anything to do with it, nor Fathers' Day. Do think he was a bit off, the pressure perhaps causing that to happen. He simply missed too many fairways and greens after being so solid in that area the first two days -- and his putter didn't help him out much.

Jeff Todd ('Nass)

I guess with Tiger out of it there was no point for you to watch the action on Sunday?

Bob Harig
  (3:07 PM)

Quite the contrary, I'm required to do so either way.

Chris K (Wisconsin)

Enjoyed your tweets during the US Open. Were Furyk and McDowell put on the clock Sunday? NBC's Dan Hicks (?) announced that they were given two warnings but were not put on the clock.

Bob Harig
  (3:08 PM)

To my knowledge, they were not put on the clock. If anybody else wants to pass along more definitive info, feel free.

Ross (VA)

Bob, will tiger ever roar again?This is getting real tough as a tiger fan....

Bob Harig
  (3:09 PM)

I think what we've seen this year suggests that he will. Two wins, a second. A 36-hole lead in a major. I think he's bulding toward that again.

Dan Noal (Alameda CA)

Hi Bob thanks for the US Open coverage! Tell us your thoughts on Patrick Cantlay's decision to turn pro and your expectations on him this year and beyond.

Bob Harig
  (3:10 PM)

As much as I hate to see anyone leave school, this is a good decision for Cantlay. He's proven himself to be a good player, and he's simply leaving too much on the table if he remains an amateur. Plus there is the Q-school change that will come into play next year. If he fails to get his card this summer and fall through sponsor exemptions, he can go to Q school. Next year doing so will only get him on the Nationwide Tour.

JY (TO)

I am worried about this era of golf. If Tiger cant recapture his magic, and no one else steps up, parity could begin to erode the popularity of the sport. It seems the major gains the sport has made have been on the back of a dominant player (Jones, Palmer, Jack, Tiger). Thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:12 PM)

There is no question that a dominant player is a much more popular thing in golf. While it is nice to promote the idea of parity -- and there are a ton of great players -- the public for the most part likes to see one or two guys emerge. Right now, we've got nobod with more than 2 wins on the PGA Tour. Same for last year.

Andrew (WI)

What do we make of Jim Furyk's tournament and round? He was 3 holes away from a 2nd major and cementing his place as a top-5 of his generation, and let it slip away (and it seemed like he knew that this could've been a legacy-changer as it happened)

Bob Harig
  (3:13 PM)

Yes, it's a tough blow. At 42, how many more chances is Furyk going to get? The U.S. Open is made for him, especially a venue like Olympic where length was not necessary. A second Open, a total of 17 wins. . .that would get him strong consideration for the Hall of Fame.

David (Chicago)

Looking at venues for the next few U S Opens, which one are you most looking forward to? How do you think Merion will hold up next year due to its lack of length?

Bob Harig
  (3:14 PM)

Merion is going to be very, very intersting for many reasons. I'm looking forward to Chambers Bay in 2015, just to see what it's all about. The USGA rarely goes to a "new" venue for the Open.

Bill (Norfolk, VA)

So, who do you think wins Hartford? Nah, just kidding, who is your British Open favorite?

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

I said from the start of the year that I thought Tiger would win at Lytham. I have not picked him to win any other tournament other than Doral -- where he withdrew. So take this for what it's worth.

Ed (Long Island)

Is it time to officially abolish projecting winners of majors? With the depth of talent out there now, past history at the event, recent performance, none of it seems to matter. Just get hot for the right week and you have a shot at winning.

Bob Harig
  (3:17 PM)

I cannot think of a single commentator, media wag, fan who was going with Webb Simpson at the start of the week.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

Which is closer to the real Rory, the one who was a top 5 machine or the one who can't make a cut?

Bob Harig
  (3:18 PM)

The real Rory is closer to the top 5 machine. He maintained that pace for nearly 6 months! He's in a down spot right now, but again, that's golf.

Chris K (Wisconsin)

Did Thursday and Friday scores show an advantage for players starting on the ninth hole vs. starting on the first hole? There was a fair bit of commentary before the event claiming that starting on the ninth would be an advantage.

Bob Harig
  (3:19 PM)

I do not have any hard evidence in front of me, but in general, I don't think there's any doubt that players who started on 9 had an advantage. It was a much more benign start to the round and gave them plenty of time to get in a groove for those brutal first 6 holes.

JR (Chicago)

I'm sorry, Jim Furyk is in the Hall of Fame. Sunday's result would not have impacted it one way or the other.

Bob Harig
  (3:20 PM)

No offense to Jim, but I don't think he's a slam dunk for the Hall with 1 major and 16 wins. He's get plenty of consideration but he's no lock. He's not won a WGC, not won a Players. He did win FedEx Cup but I look more at winning the Tour Championship, which was a coup for him. But he is far from automatic. 2 majors probably would have sealed it.

Nick (Atlanta)

I believe Tiger is right where he needs to be. He's won regular tour events, and started out well in a major. Now it's time for him to put 4 good rounds in a major together.

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

That is the next step and he's got a good healthy run of tournaments coming up, too.

Ed (Long Island)

What's the deal with John Peterson, they kept saying he is looking for a tour to play on?

Bob Harig
  (3:22 PM)

Peterson is not exempt on the PGA or Nationwide Tours. His performance at the Open will likely help him get some sponsor exemptions.

Andrew (WI)

Someone needs an intervention for Sergio Garcia. Takes out a microphone, then shows no remorse in an interview later that day. Then he's asked about his chances in the tournament (he's only 4 over at the time) and he says he just assumes one or more guys will break out away from him and the pack. If this is his attitude, he really needs to step away before he does something REALLY stupid.

Bob Harig
  (3:22 PM)

Agreed.

Ed (Long Island)

I know Tiger leading on Friday made the headlines, but how can the top 2 ranked players in the world not even make the weekend? To me, that's almost like the top 2 teams in the NCAA tournament going out in Round 1.

Bob Harig
  (3:24 PM)

Golf is not the same as the basketball tournament as we see every year at the Match Play. A fine line between success and failure. It is rare, though, for No. 1 and No. 2 to both miss the cut.

Ernie (Long Island)

Anyone try to drive the green on 18 during the weekend?

Bob Harig
  (3:24 PM)

I am not aware of anyone trying all week.

Tony (Chicago)

Will there be a tune-up tournament for the big names in between now and the Open Championship? Or will most guys just spend the time getting acclimated to the time change and course across the pond?

Bob Harig
  (3:26 PM)

I think you are going to see the big names spread out between now and then. Bubba is playing this week for example. Tiger is playing the AT&T and Greenbrier in the next two weeks. Phil is playing the Greenbrier. Next week is the Irish Open at Portrush where Rory and Gmac will be, along with Keegan Bradley. The week prior to the British is the Scottish Open, which typically attracts a strong field.

Ed (Long Island)

Does Phil get a bit of a pass for his performance, just for the mere fact he made the cut while a bunch of big names didn't?

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

I think Phil generally gets a pass, and I'm not quite sure why that is. He played a poor tournament after talking confidentely about getting to play with Tiger the first two rounds. But Phil's game has always been marked by inconsistency, so perhaps that is why he gets a pass -- it is not a surprise when he struggles, nor when he is playing well.

Terry (Houston)

Where you there when Birdman got nailed by Davis? Was it as bizarre as it came off on TV?

Bob Harig
  (3:29 PM)

I was 10 yards from the guy, standing on the 18th green watching the ceremony. It was incredibly bizarre, a bit scary that the guy was able to find his way there, knowing that they were pretty diligent about checking everyone. Kudos to Mike Davis for stepping in.

Andrew (WI)

Are we actually in for a bit of a logjam for the US Ryder Cup team? You'd expect Tiger/Phil/Furyk/Stricker there, Bubba...Webb...Rickie....DJ...Dufner...Mahan...Kuch...that's 11 already of guys you'd feel comfortable with there.

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

The U.S. team is going to be very interesting for sure. You'd think the two-time winners this year: Mahan, Dufner and Woods to be near locks. But lots still to happen. Two majors, plus a WGC event.

Steve (DC)

I have no idea if this is a factor in Phil getting a pass, but I suspect his psoriatic arthritis affects him more than we know. He's definitely not the type to complain about his health though.

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

That and his wife and mom's illness of the past few years make you wonder if there are other things going on. But he doesn't say so you can't know for sure.

Terry (Houston)

Odds of US Open coming back to Olympic in the next ten years?

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

Very strong possibility, but probably not for at least that long because they've got them handed out through 2019. The USGA likes Olympic and the way the course played along with the prime time telecast in the East are all plusses.

Tom (L.A.)

I don't know if it's a pass so much as diminished expectations with Phil. He's a guy most of us want to succeed, but even recently he hasn't broken 70 in a while and this is 2 years in a row at the U.S. Open he lost his ball on his very first shot of the tournament. What seems consistent with him is that he gears up for the West Coast swing, then the Masters, then the rest of the year is eh...

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

Although last year he surprised us with that great British Open. And I would argue that he dearly wants a U.S. open.

John (UK)

I think if Tiger had hit the 1st fairway on Saturday and Sunday he'd have won. Thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

Not sure about winning, but certainly missing the fairway on that hole Saturday set the tone. He had to lay up, and was faced with a 10-footer for par that he missed. He was on the defensie from the outset.

Ernie (Long Island)

Though I admit the occasional gallery outbust would crack me up (Yabba-dabba-doo comes to mind), in general the random cries following a drive were pretty annoying on TV. How was this live?

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

Ridiculous.

Ed (Long Island)

Are the greens as fast and undulating at Royal Lytham as they were at Olympic?

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

Not even close. Certainly not as fast.

Andrew (Los Angeles)

Watching Furyk's bunker to bunker chip on 18 was devastating - do you think he can mentally get past that for the rest of the season?

Bob Harig
  (3:37 PM)

The tournament was already lost when Furyk played the bunker shot. He had to hole it and that was very unlikely. He needed to hit the green and give himself a birdie putt. Can he get past it? I bet he does. He doesn't seem like the type to get it get him down for long.

Jim (Pottsville, PA)

Where does Olympic rank in terms of the toughest Open venues?

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

In recent times, I'd put it right behind Oakmont and Winged Foot.

Andrew (WI)

It feels like the "best young American" title is getting passed around like a hot potato. DJ, Fowler, Simpson, Bubba (well maybe he's a bit old for it), Dufner, Mahan. Can any of these guys grab it and hold onto it for closer to a full season? Having an alpha dog out of this group would be healthy for the game.

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

That's the problem. Nobody is stepping up to dominate.

Ernie (Long Island)

I didn't see much use of the driver at Olympic. Doesn't that eliminate an important part of golf?

Bob Harig
  (3:40 PM)

That is an argument that is often made.

Nick (Atlanta)

So it's safe to assume the USGA will never go back to Congressional? :)

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

I would never say never. The USGA likes the idea of taking the tournament to the nation's capital. But last year was a disappointment, mainly due to mother nature. And we're just talking difficulty of the course. They were thrilled to have McIlroy as champion.

Robb (Lafayette)

Harrington's Sunday run was impressive. Good sign for his future?

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

It was his best finish in a major since he won the 08 PGA. Let's hope he's not done yet.

Aman (New York City)

Could Tiger benefit from using a hybrid club? he uses irons off the tee so often, a hybrid might give him some additional distance and control. Almost evenry other player (except) Bubba was using one at Olympic

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

yes, but Tiger was absolutely killing that 2 iron off the tee. Not sure that was his problem.

Brian (Chicago)

Was GMac's putt on 18 tough to read? It seemed like the commentators thought he would at least scare the hole with a good putt, but it was low from the start.

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

Several players were fooled by putts on a similar line.

JY (TO)

Still sticking with Tiger for The Open? Seems he wins now when everything is clicking, whereas in the past, he could win majors when his game was a little off.

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

And yet, he didn't putt particularly well at Memorial. When he won in the past, especially in majors, he was playing well, period.

Andrew (Los Angeles)

Off the driver point, it's not like the driver is going to be used at Merion very much next year, is it? Does the USGA just want to be different?

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

In this case, it really wants to try to return to an old, historic venue and make it work.

Terry (Houston)

I was impressed with how Ernie Els played - is he back? He was awful earlier this year, didn't qualify for Augusta, correct?

Bob Harig
  (3:45 PM)

He's actually played nicely this year. Had a good chance to win Transitions. Lost in a playoff early in the year in South AFrica. Lost in a playoff to Jason Dufner in New Orleans. He tied for ninth at the U.S. Open. Wouldn't say back, but he took the positives out of it.

Andrew (Los Angeles)

What is the one thing Tiger must improve to contend at Royal Lytham?

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

To me, it's about hitting his short irons closer to the hole. He gives himself a lot of 120, 140-ayrd approach shots and then hits it to 40 feet. That seems like the part of his game that is not coming around consistently.

Ed (Long Island)

Phil and Tiger both playing Greenbrier, is that a normal occurance for this tournament? Is the course demanding?

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

Not normal, although this is just the third year. Phil played last year.. . And the course is not demanding. Two years ago Stuart Appleby shot 59.

Terry (Houston)

Where did Casey Wittenberg come from? How was he even playing at Olympic?

Bob Harig
  (3:49 PM)

Wittenberg is playing the Nationwide Tour and made it through sectional qualifying. He played with Tiger on Sunday and beat him by three shots.

Jon (Michigan)

How about Oakland Hills getting another US Open?

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

It is not scheduled to get one in the next seven years and seeing that the PGA went there in 2008, it is possible that they have aligned themselves iwth the PGA.

Doug G (San Antonio)

bob-love the chats. It was great for me as a "Phil fan" to see him make a run at the British last year. Do you think he will not go in this year differently v. his "just happy to be here" approach? I mean, he was really close last year.

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

It was always puzzingly why Mickielson struggled so much at the British Open. It's like he fought the concept of links golf. The guy is as talented as anyone when it comes to hitting the various shots.

Brian (Chicago)

Not much of a Tiger fan, but his swing looks solid again. He's hitting stingers, soft cuts and all the shots he hit back in the day. His problem now has to be is that he can't hit a wedge close to save his life. Your thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

Right on. His wedge play -- and to a large degree his short game -- is holding him back.

Terry (Houston)

It seemed people felt Olympic's setup was tough but fair - do you agree?

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

I think most agree with that.

Eric (Port Angeles)

I have not heard anybody mention this, but is Michael Thompson the guy who gave himself a one stroke penalty at Augusta when his ball moved in the second round? He was right on the cut line and failed to play on the weekend.

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

That is true. Cost himself a shot at low amateur honors at the Masters in 2008.

Tom (Chi)

Erin Hills is a "new" venue for the U.S. Open debuting in 2017. Heard its an awesome course.

Bob Harig
  (3:56 PM)

Yes, Chambers Bay and Erin Hills are both "new" in terms of never having hosted a U.S. Open. That's rare. If you look over the past 30 years or so, the only new venues the USGA has gone to are Atlanta Athletic Club in 1976, Pinehurst in '99 and Bethpage in 02.

Andrew (Los Angeles)

I hated the pin placement on 18. I felt like maybe 2 people managed to get their second shot close enough for a real birdie try - took a lot of drama out of the closing hole - do you agree?

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

Yes, in retrospect, that pin placement might have been too severe. Only 6 birdies at 18 all day.

Doug G (San Antonio)

bob-I thought I heard Johnny Miller say they USGA was going to discuss if the belly putter was actually legal or not. Is there a chance it will be forced to go away?

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

The USGA and R&A have both acknowledged that they are looking at "anchoring" not the long putter in particular. They don't seem comfortable with the idea of being able to anchor the club to the body. But that doesn't mean they will change the rule.

Keith H (Seattle)

I'm looking forward to Merion simply from memories of Jack and Lee from 40 years ago and the quirkiness of those baskets on the flagsticks. How about you?

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

No doubt, it's going to be interesting to see how that course holds up.

Terry (Houston)

Johnny Miller on Furyk "He just fell apart, is what it amounts to". Agree?

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

I'm not sure he fell apart. He was tied for the lead with three holes to go. But his inability to make a birdie on Sunday obviously made it quite difficult to win.

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

I am out of time folks. Thanks for your participation. I'll be back chatting with you again in two weeks. In the meantime, you can fine me on Twitter @bobharig. Thanks