Hello, plenty to chat about, so let's get started Please fire away with your questions.
Why is there even a debate about who is the best golfer on the planet right now? Only Dufner has any real challenge to Tiger at the moment, and with all due respect, I think most would agree that Duffy cant hold a candle to a Tiger rounding into form
Hunter Mahan also has two wins. Luke Donald has two worldwide wins. But you're right, given Tiger's three victories in his last seven starts, and his world ranking, you could make the argument he is the best player.
your pick of Tiger to win The Open is looking better and better....
Yes, have said all along that I thought he'd win at Royal Lytham. Who knows what will happen, but simply thought that would be a good venue for him, would give him plenty of time to get his game where he wants it. We'll see.
Do you think they should change the world rankings?
There needs to be a better way of doing it. There should be more emphasis on beating a full field, regardless of how highly ranked the players are. You shouldn't get extra credit because you are in the field -- which basically happens. Tournaments that have highly-ranked players give more points so the highly-ranked players are always playing for more.
Can we now please, for the love of sanity and logic, drop the "back" debate? 1) the term "back" is meaningless 2) nobody moves backwards, not the way the world works
I just wrote about that today on ESPN.com (Shameless plug.) I think the notion of whether or not he is "back" is silly. Back to what? And no matter what he does, for some it's not enough. Will winning a major be enough? Does he have to win multiple majors?
Is it safe to say now that Davis Love won't need to use a captain's pick on Tiger?
Ha. Pretty safe. Tiger looks like a pretty strong lock one for of the top 8 spots.
What has surprised you the most about Tiger so far this year (good or bad)?
The biggest surprise was the way he played at the Masters. Even when he was way off his game in 2010 and 2011, he contended and tied for fourth both times. I figured he'd be in the mix again, especially coming off a win. Instead he had his worst finish as a pro. That was a shocker.
Do you think Tiger gets back to World #1 by the end of the year?
He would be there right now if he was judged soley on the tournaments he's played. The system has a minimum divisor of 40 events. He has played less than that in the past two years, so he gets less average points. Obviously if he keeps going at this pace, he could easily get back to No. 1.
Who wins the The Greenbrier Classic?
I picked Bill Haas, but golf picks are really a useless pursuit.
I've read a lot of praise for Royal Portrush from last weekend - chances the British Open returns to Northern Ireland?
It's a very difficult dilemma. It was a huge success by European Tour standards, but the R&A really looks to capitalize on the Open, just as the USGA does the U.S. Open. There are numerous logistical concerns. Is there enough corporate hospitalty space? Is there enough hotel/restaurants? The question will likely come down to can the R
Any word on aticipated conditions at Lytham?
Word is it has been very wet through the UK, record rainfall. That is unfortunate. Hopefully the rain stops for two weeks, as links courses drain beautifully. The hope is to have it hard and fast.
Tiger comments after his victory seems to show he wants to prove his critics wrong - how much motivation do you think Tiger draws from those who think can't be what he once was?
I think he uses whatever means necessary.
do you think tiger will win a major this year?
I've been saying since the start of the year that I thought he'd win at Lytham. So I've got to stick with that prediction, for whatever it is worth.
Will Rory contend or at least make the cut at the british open? is the irish open top 10 a step forward
It was much better than he's been playing and certainly a good bit of confidence for him. He needed some decent play. How that translates to the Open remains to be seen. I think he'll refind his game and win tournaments again this year. To predict a major, however, is tough?
I just have to put in a couple cents, Bob. I like Tiger and I think he's playing extremely well this year. Has he had his ups and downs? Of course! He almost always has with the exception of about 4 years in his career when he was at the peak of his swing changes. The thing is...golf has evolved around Tiger. The courses have evolved around Tiger's domination. He used to overpower golf courses, get himself into trouble, only to find a way to make a miraculous save. Nowadays it's difficult for these guys to overpower a golf course on the tour. Players have built their game to challenge Tiger, because that was the only option they had if they want to win. With that said, I don't think Tiger will ever dominate the game again because he has changed the game into something that at one point in time, very few understood what it took to achieve such greatness. He will probably average more wins on tour than anyone else most years, he will win more majors, just not at the clip that we used to see.
I have not understood why he should be expected to dominate the game the way he did 5 years ago. Who does that in any sport? When Jack Nicklaus was 36 he won twice on tour and although he was in the top 11 of all 4 majors, won none of them. His last truly dominating year was 1975 at age 35 when he won five times including two majors. He did win two majors at age 40. And Nicklaus was never injured. Yes, Tiger can win a bunch, but to dominate the way he did? That is unrealistic.
Getting excited for The Open... what is your fav course in their rotation? I may be biased, but I prefer the Scottish courses... and I have a feeling many of the players do too.
I like St. Andrews the best just because of the entire experience, the town, the history, everything. Lytham is the only one I've yet to be at, but that coast of England has excellent golf, as Birkdale and Hoylake are relatively close. Turnberry is remote, but probably the most scenic of all of them.
Convince me Tiger won't win the remaining 2 majors.
It's tough to win any tournament, let alone the majors. So many factors. Many probably thought Tigr would win the US Open when he led through 36 holes.
Realistically, is Greenbriar going to prove to be a test for the big boys next week? And how will tiger and phile fare against this newly renovated course?
The course was a pushover the first year and toughened up some last year, as 10 under was the winning score -- although it is a par 70. Bottom line is you need to make a bunch of birdies this week.
Can you explain the divisor issue in the world rankings that is keeping Tiger from being #1
This is very basic, but. . . you add up the number of world ranking points earned and divide it by the number of tournaments played. But they have a minimum of 40 tournaments used as the divisor. Tiger has played less than that. . so, if you took his actually number of tournaments and divided it into his total number of points, his average would be higher -- and it would be above of that of Luke Donald. But since they use 40 for him, the average is lower.Right now, Luke's average is 9.8.. Tiger's is 7.82.
What makes Tiger Woods so intimidating to other golfers in your opinion?
I really don't think he is intimidating to them anymore. In the past, he hit the ball so far, so solid -- and many times still does. Players were in awe watching him because he hit the ball different than everyone else, got it way up in the air. And still does. The difference is now they have seen him make mistakes. They've seen that he, like them, is not always perfect and that has made them realize they should stop trying to out perform him. Maybe if they play their best, that will be good enough. They've seen him sruggle enough to know not to hold him in such esteem, if that makes sense.
With Tiger's awesome performance at regular events, and less than optimal performance at Majors, is it 2009 all over again?
Possibly. In 2009, he nearly won the PGA. And he was much closer in the Masters and U.S. Open this year ,tying for sixth in both.
Who is your pick for this weekend? And with the way Tiger has been playing, is it foolish to pick against him?
I went with Bill Haas. Tiger is playing nicely and has shown earlier this year in both Abu Dhabi and at the Honda that a new venue did not prevent him from contending.
If Tiger doesn't win a major, is the year a failure in his eyes?
It might be, although I'm not sure he would admit it. A lot depends on how the rest of the year goes. It's hard to call a multiple victory season a failure.
How soon after The Greenbrier do most pros head over to the UK to adjust to the time/climate difference?
It depends. The guys who play the John Deere won't get there until Monday. But others typcially get there on the weekend. It's a good time to practice, before the crowds arrive.
What are the best holes at Royal Lytham & St Annes?
In general terms,Lytham is a classic links in that the outgoing holes are considered easier because they are with the prevailing wind. Then you hold on coming in as the holes are tougher playing back into the wind. You need to make some birdies early then try to hold it togehter.
How much do tee times matter in determining who has a chance to win at the British open?
Ask Louis Ooszhuizen. He was in the second group off in the second round at St. Andrews and got done before the wind became so strong that play was halted. He built a big lead and was never caught.
Who is your pick to win at Greenbrier? And how many top players in the world are going to be there?
I picked Bill Haas. Believe Tiger and Webb Simpson are the only top 10 guys.
Bob, Would you agree that we have yet to see the best of the "new" Tiger? it just seems like in the three tournaments he has won this year he has done them without his "A" game. If his game continues to progress, we may be in for another Tiger-like run where he wins almost half the tournaments he plays in and wins multiple majors...your thoughts?
I think it's quite possible we've not seen his best. He's still struggled with the short irons, for instance. But whether he'll win multiple majors in a year is another matter.
I know Tiger's expectations are to win, but think a good week for him would be a top 10. He hasn't had back to back top 10's on PGA Tour since 2009. Besides, winning the wk before the major hasn't worked out that well for him lately.
I think he obviously wants to win, but he'll take a good, solid week to build on.
Webb Simpson still not going to play the British Open? How often has that happened before?
He's not playing, and for an understandable reason: his wife is due at the end of the month. Doesn't want to be so far away in case she goes into labor early. Last time a reigning major winner missed the next one was Tiger in 2008 due to injury. Before that it was Paul Azinger, who after winning '93 PGA was diagnosed with cancer and had treatments that kept him out of the first three majors of '94.
Seems like Tiger and his caddie and developing a good relationship. I have noticed he is discussing shots and putts with him more often.
Yes, this was just a matter of time, as they became more comfortable with each other. Tiger hired Joe LaCava because he knew he had a lot of experienc.e
Appreciate your work Bob. Any particular reason TW added Greenbrier this week, or just increasing opportunities as Commissioner requested?
The thought is there is some financial incentive to do so. Appearance fees are not allowed, but there are ways around it. Tiger was allegedly going to play the tournament last year but was not yet over his injuries.
How sick was the tree shot on the 12 hole Sunday? That told me Tiger was back
Most players who have chipped out.
How weird was the empty atmosphere oon Day 3 at Congressional?
I was not there, but undoubtedly that was strange. Imagine any sporting event with no spectators.
Will Tiger ever regain the throne as the World's #1?
It is quite possible he could get back to No. 1 this summer.
Do you think this past weekend's scoring will influence the USGA in deciding on a future US Open at Congressional?
It might show them that last year was somewhat a fluke, that the new greens just were not ready.
Are you going to be at Lytham? Is it as remote as some of the other British Open venues?
I will be there, but it is not that remote. Maybe an hour from Manchester. Carnoustie, Turnberry -- they are remote.
Why is Phil playing Greenbrier? Is he going to play the Scottish Open before the Lytham?
Same reason as Tiger. . .there is some financial carrott being dangled. He played last year. And it looks doubtful for Scottish Open, as tourney is no longer sponsored by Barclays, one of his big sponsors.
How many good years does Tiger have left in him?
It's all based on healthy and desire of course. But Steve Stricker is still playing pretty nickely at age 45. Why can't Tiger? That would give hin nine or 10 more years.
What turf conditions at Lytham do you think Tiger would prefer? Soft or fast?
No doubt fast. Soft conditions equalize things a lot, because players can hold shots on greens. It takes greater skill to do that when the courses are firm.
You can't not give a player credit for being there, bc then if you're #1 in the world you'll never get full credit for a win, regardless of how good a field you beat (outside of fixed point events). More points should be awarded for having players from 50-300 in the field, which would reward winning full field events
true, the system is top heavy. that is why limited field events give some many points. there is no penalty for being a small field.
will rory contend or at least play the weekend at lytham
I think he's going to contend, think he's gotten some of his issues straightened out in his game. And he's got time to practice and prepare.
Best player in the world, #1 OWGR - what does it matter? Even the best player playing at his optimum may have a 30% win percentage, it's not like other sports where the best player wins every the majority of the time (ie: tennis, Jordan). Seems there is a lot of time wasted on this discussion that basically means nothing.
That's what it is really, a source for discussion. But the world rankings do have meaning in the big tournaments. And it is a way to gauge where a player is at in relation to his peers.
I don't know much about Kiawah, outside the whole Ryder Cup controversy. How does the course play? What kind of player is favored?
Not sure how it will play, all I know is it is rated as one of the toughest courses in the U.S. It is a links-style oceanside course with lots of sand dunes. The heat will be formidable. It is expected to be tough.
Hi, Bob, What is going on with Phil? His game is a mess by his standards and then I hear rumors of off the course stuff as well.
don't know about anything off the course, but this is simply Phil's game. He is inconsistent. That has been a constant in his career. I wouldnt' be surprised if he won this week or missed the cut.
wouldn't you rather think tiger has a better chance at kiawah rather than the open seeing that kiawah is a par-72 with more scoring oppurtunities in the form of par-5s? and what plays harder this year the open or the pga championship?
Never bought into the par-72 thing. It's still a number you have to shoot. If it's a long, long par-4, then Tiger should be able to make a par and have an advantage. In a way ,that is a scoring hole, it's just not noted as a birdie.
Congressional played tougher last week than it did for the US Open last year. I'm pretty sure the USGA guys are lighting themselves on fire right now in frustration. Anyways, are we going to see a similar bloodbath in the Women's Open, or do they lighten up there?
Blackwolf Run was brutal in 98. 6 over par won, the highest winning score in the last 40 years.
It used to be that when Tiger would play a new venue, he would struggle. Some people seem to think that notion still exists today, with Tiger's "only" wins being Bay Hill, Memorial and AT&T. However, I think his 3rd place in Abu Dhabi and 2nd at the Honda say otherwise. I'm feeling a top 5 from Tiger this week and would probably list him as the favorite.
Tiger was also third at Aussie Open course he had little experience on. It's more about playing well. Tiger has a lot of experience at Augusta and played poorly. Same with Quail Hollow. He knows Sawgrass inside and out and can't master it. So this week, if he's got his game together ,he can absolutely have a good tournament.
How many more majors do you think Tiger can win? I'm thinking 2 at the most, he just doesn't have "IT" anymore.
What is "it?" Winning majors is hard. We've had 15 straight different winners. It suggests a lot of people can win them.
How long does Anthony Kim have to ensure he retains his tour card? I would assume he has some sort of medical exemption but when exactly does he need to begin earning money on the PGA tour?
Due to injuries this year, he will almost assuredly seek a medical exemption for 2013 in which he'll have so many events to earn as much as the top 125 finisher this year in order to keep playing.
Several weeks ago I suggested Fowler's horrible final round performance at the Memorial was greatly impacted by playing with Woods. Watching Bo Van Pelt melt down on the final holes in a similar situation are you believing that the aura is back?
Not sure about that. Fowler was simply at the end of a long stretch that finally caught up to him. Don't think it had much to do with Tiger, who really wasn't dominating that tournament. Van Pelt has one official win on tour, and perhaps there is a reason for it. He played very nicely alongside Tiger for 35 holes, then made a horrible error on the 16h Sunday. He let Tiger up when he had his foot on his neck.
What's your take on this new event in Turkey?
Not a big fan of money-grab exhibitions that take players away from regular tour events. Tiger's tournament at the end of the year ,as well as the Nedbank tournament in South Africa do not conflict with established tournaments as this does.
Will we ever see anyone dominate the game of golf again?
It's not happening right now, is it? This happens in golf. There have been other periods like this, then somebody comes along and gets hot. The game seems better when somebody dominates.
It seems the most common sentiment is that while Woods is in some essence back, he won't dominate like he used to. I would challenge that assessment. He's already won 3 times this year and if he were able to pocket a major and another win this year isn't that a return to dominance?
People seem to think, however, that he should "dominate" like 5 years ago -- when he won 7 times, including a major, a WGC, two playoff events. So, yes, you in theory are right. If you win more than anybody else, that is a form of dominance.
Interesting stat. Since Tiger's accident, Tiger and Phil have won the same amount of times. Just shows how high the standards are for TW.
Tiger would have an average of 9.19 for #2 in the world if the OWGR didn't have the minimum divisor.
There you have it. He'd be very close to No. 1.
Ok enough about Tiger. Can we please, for the love of God, get a Charl Schwartzel update?
He's got a rib injury he is letting heal until the Open.
Never been a big fan of the Open because the luck of the draw given the quickly changing weather conditions can impact that tournament more than others. In addition, the luck or bad luck of the bounce of the ball can impact the outcome.
That also is viewed by some as among the beauties of the event. Have to deal with the elements, have to learn to control your ball on some nasty fairways and greens.
I heard Jason Dufner is not playing again until the British Open. Do you find it strange that a player would not play a single event between the US Open and the British Open?
Yes. Rory did the same thing last year.
I spoke to a friend of mine via. SKYPE in England and he indicated that Turkish Airlines is going to endorse TW for a commercial. Have you heard this at all?
That is part of the discussions concerning the Turkish golf event that has been discussed here.
Why include golf in the Olympics?
It is a way to help grow the game in countries that view the Olympics as a huge deal. In those places, because there is an Olympics in golf, they will strive to develop players.
Why Bill Haas this week considering his struggles the last 3+ months? A hunch? His play there last year? Just curious. I had him as my fantasy pick but then swapped him out because his tee to green has been poor.
It is impossible to pick winners in golf.
Does the walk TW had up the 18th tell us something about his come back, and what does it tell you, Bob?
The drive and the second shot at 18 were classic Tiger. He had a one shot lead and had confidence to rip a driver when he could have laid back. Then he fired a 9iron at the flag -- the same 9 iron he bent around the tree earlier. Thsoe were two pretty good shots.
Folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. Sorry I had to leave so many out there I couldn't get to. Try me on Twitter @bobharig as I can attempt to get to some there as well. Thanks