Not much time between big events in golf. It's been just 9 days since final round of the Open. Now it's time for Bridgestone and next week the PGA. Plenty to chat about, so let's get started. Please fire away with your questions. Thanks.
Fred Couples is considered a borderline HOF candidate. If he would say go on a run of senior majors would that do anything to his candidacy?
It might for some, but I don't think it should. The Champions Tour should have no basis for a player's Hall of Fame credentials. A player's legacy is defined prior to senior golf.
Bob-love the chats. Phil won earlier this year, and then almost won back to back. He also played well for most of the masters. Do you expect him to play well this week and for the last major, or is it simply unknown? Also, it has been very quiet for Steve Stricker-what is up? Thanks
It is impossible to predict how Phil will do. Recent play suggests not very well, but he didn't play well before winning at Pebble Beach. Lefty is simply up and down and that will likely continue. Stricker was actually in contention at the John Deere a few weeks ago before finishing fourth.
Is there anything the PGA can do to distinguish it from the other Majors, all of which have their own uniqueness (Masters at Augusta every year, US Open the toughest test; British Open links golf and crazy weather)? Going to match-play would be a good way to do this if it didnt impact the ratings. Can they make it a birdie fest? play on 8000 yard courses? Anything??
The Match Play idea has come up many times, but the tournament was match play until 1958 and that can simply be disaster for TV. This year they're going to the toughest course as deemed by Golf Digest in the U.S., Kiawah's Ocean course. They have at times been billed as U.S. Open lite or a fairer U.S. Open. My idea is to go to some great courses out West where the weather is great and they can play in prime time .That would help distinguish them a bunch.
Do you think Adam Scott will recover? He isnt known to have Tiger-like resolve
This is something I tried to address today in a column on ESPN.com (sorry, shameless plug). It's very hard to say. He's not had a lot of chances. To blow one like that has to be brutal. Then again, he's playing nicely. I guess we'll see.
How do you see the long-putter debate playing out? Complete ban? Shorter than shortest club rule?
Both the R&A and USGA have said there will not be any ban of equipment. They are looking at anchoring and perhaps changing the rules in that regard. What do I think will happen? It looks to me as if they are seriously considering re-wrting the rules to not allow the club to be anchored to the body. How they do that will be tricky. And the fallout will be immense.Keep in mind if such a chance is made, it can't occur until 2016.
Why does it seem that some media and fans upset that the bunkers at Kiawah are being played thru the green? That is the way the Ocean Course has ALWAYS played, even at the 91 Ryder Cup and the 07 Senior PGA. Some of those traps are RIGHT by the dunes on the ocean and have rocks, shells and all kinds of odd things in there. Plus, the course is just a beast (and I played it at 6,200)!
I have not seen that fans or media are upset about it. As you point out, the Ocean course has played this way in the past. It's the right call. And probably should have been the call at Whistling Straits -- either that or removed about 500 of those bunkers.
Golf in the 2016 Olympics: how will the USA choose which golfers to send? Limited to professionals?
As of now, the participants for the Olympics are to be decided based on the world rankings at some cutoff point prior to the competition. The top 15 automatically make the field, although there is a limit of 4 players per country. After that, only two per country can participate, but the catch is as long as one player from a country makes it, he can be joined by another from that nation, no matter how far down the rankings he is. There will be a total of 60 players for men and women -- unless they decide to tweak it, which is possible.
How long before people stop making hilarious jokes about Steve Williams and his greatest win?
My guess is those cracks will not stop, at least not this week.
What would the format be for the Olympics and where might they play in Brazil?
Unless they change it, the foramt is 72 holes stroke play. A site has been chosen but the course has yet to be built.
WGC events seem to want to have some extra prestige to them - seems a little silly to play one the week before the PGA. I would assume some players consider this a tune up for the season's last major. Players also have taken a detour early this week to play Kiawah.
Basically it is done this way to accommodate international players who are coming over here for the PGA Championship. They get to make one trip and play two tournaments. That is also why you have two WGCs in three weeks in the spring. I agree it's hard to give it a ton of prestige when guys are gassed from the last major and getting ready for the next one. In my mind there are numerous flaws with the WGC events, this only one of them.
Do you think it would be logistically possible for Firestone to hold a US Open without sacrificing the Bridgestone Invitational? Or perhaps do like Congressional did and hold Bridgestone elsewhere for a year or two? Firestone South would be a great US Open venue.
The PGA Championship was played there in 1975 (won by Jack Nicklaus) so it's possible. It has another golf course which helps with all the parking and corporate hospitality necessary. But it would be virtually impossible to play both tournaments there in the same year. You'd have to move one of them, like AT&T did when the U.S. Open was going to Congressional.
PGA has historically produced a lot of come from nowhere winners, but with the last 16 winners of the majors coming from 16 different players, which one of those might have the best shot next week.
I am having difficulty figuring out who the course will favor. It's so unique. We don't know how difficult it will be set up. Will there be wind? Heat? All those factors make this tough to figure. And picking winners these days is impossible.
Chances of Tiger going back to back the next two weeks? Some seem to think Kiawah won't fit him at all. How tough do you think Kiawah will play? Tougher helps Tiger surely?
Really not sure who Kiawah will favor. I agree that tougher is better for Tiger. It needs to be more about hitting good shots than putting and that favors him. Certainly Tiger should be a favorite this week. He has 7 wins at Firestone and is playing well.
your thoughts on who at this point may be POY
It's got to be Tiger, doesn't it? Has more wins than anyone, leads FedEx and scoring average. If Bubba, Webb or Ernie were to win again they would jump up there because of winning a major.
What is the point of making golf an Olympic sport? I don't see how it grows the game by having an event every 4 years. The pro's will probably say the politically correct thing about playing for your country, but how much would it really be valued. At the very least I think the participants should be amateurs (old school Olympic qualifications) - they would be highly motivated.
You have to look at it from the view of other countries that put a lot of money and resources into the Olympics. Because golf is an Olympic sport, those countries will spend time, money to develop golfers. That's how it grows the game, because the Olympics are such a big deal around the world.
Will you be live tweeting from Bridgestone or Kiawah?
At both, as much as duties permit.
Will Tiger play the Barclays? he skipped it in 07 but played it in 09 and 10. Its at Bethpage though.
I'd be surprised if he skipped given that it's at Bethpage and it's harder now to win the FedEx Cup if you skip a tournament.
Yesterday MC said he didn't think Tiger had much of a chance cause of his driver and the wind but Tiger has that great stinger 3 Wood. What are your thoughts.
Kiawah has the potential to play very long so you would think Tiger needs to hit more drivers. But I'm not necessarily sure that is a negative. He hit it pretty nicely at Memorial and AT&T. Hitting greens is the key and Tiger hit a lot of them at Lytham. Remember he tied for third. He didn't win, but it was his best finish in a major in 3 years.
Does Kiawah play as a links style course?
Not like we saw at Lytham. It will have a bit of that feel and look with all the sandy areas. But will the ball run like it does on a true links? That is probably not likely.
There's a good chance that won't happen if he doesn't play decently the next two weeks. He's 7th in the points and only the top 8 are automatic. Double points at the PGA. He could easily be passed. That said, no matter how poorly he is playing, he should be picked.
Are PGA players tested for performance enhancing drugs? Doesn't seem to be in the news so perhaps is not a problem or is not vigorously tested.Thanks for chatting
Yes, they've been randomly tested since 2008.
Tiger has played well in the heat, no doubt. Kiawah is going to be very hot.
I'm looking forward to seeing bethpage set up as more of a tour stop than an open .... thoughts?
Yes, it should be fun to see the course play a bit tamer than we've seen at the U.S. Open -- and hopefully much drier than the last one.
Anything about this year that has surprised you so far that the rest of us may have forgotten?
The number of blown 54-hole leads. It's staggering how many guys have let big leads get away this year. Tough to win.
Sam Saunders had a good finish a few weeks ago on the Web.Com tour and Cheyenne Woods made her first cut last week. What is your opinion on the attention they get for basically who their famous relatives are? On the one hand they are getting attention and opportunities that they othrwise would not get but on the other they want to make a name for themselves and I'm sure get more questions asked about their relatives then they do their own games. Your thoughts?
The bottom line is the best score wins and eventually a player's name does not matter. Yes, they might initially get some opportunities, but at some point they have to make it based on how they perform. And you can bet they want it to be about that.
Unfortuantely, no. Maybe they should be kicked out.
At the British Sr. Open last week - were the tees set up at the same distances the regular British Open plays or were they pushed up?
The course played shorter than it did in 2009 but I am not sure of the exact difference.
Did Tiger make a trip to Kiawah this past week or weekend?
It is my understanding he was there today.
what time do the tee times come out bob?
I believe they are out, I just have not seen them yet.
Who do like at Firestone other than TW?
I picked GMac to win, for what that is worth.
Are the greens at Kiawah set up as tournament condition for the practice rounds the players have gotten in this week, or do they wait until Thursday to get them to whatever speed they want?
The guess here is they are not yet up to tournament speed but that they are close. We're only a few days away from tournament week so it can't be far off.
Could the Ocean Course get a US Open down the road?
If so, it would be way, way down the road. There have been courses that have been used for both the PGA and U.S. Open, but typically once they become associated with either organization, it stays that way.
So, TW conservative at the Open because of the course or because he has no confidence in the driver?
To me, it was more because of the course. He wanted to avoid those pot bunkers, and they were everywhere. You couldn't just bomb it over them. He hit only 8 drivers for the tournament.. and it wasn't like he didn't hit some other clubs in the wrong spots.
Bob, it seems to me that Tiger is back, despite not winning a major yet. What do think are his chances at Kiawah, and what does he have to do to be officially "back" in your mind?
The 'back' question is impossible to answer. What is back? If it's to 2000 levels -- which is unfair -- then no. To me, he's sort of back to 2009. To this point, he's won the same tournaments. Can he win at Kiawah? I think what we've seen is it's all abouut how well a guy is playing. If he is hitting fairways and greens he will be in contention.
If Tiger wins the last major of the year where would you rank this year among his whole career. Even though he didn't win a major a few years ago he still won six times that is one of his best years in my opinion
At the very minimum, the years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 would rank ahead of this year. In four of those years he won multiple majors. In 2001 he completed the Tiger Slam and also won the Players Championship. Then it becomes a bit of a tossup. Yes, in 09, he won 6 times, but no majors. Is 4 wins and a major better than 6 and no majors? Up for debate, but he'd probably go with a year he own a major.
We are overly focused on Tiger's driver. He hit it 8 times at Lytham (once to drive green) of the other 7 times, he hit fairway twice. All of the long guys don't hit much more than 50% of the fairways with their driver
This is true, although you could argue that the guys who hit driver -- Adam Scott, Ernie -- even if they missed fairways, they were so much closer to the green. I thought Tiger's strategy was sound, except when he didn't wnat to hit driver on the par-5s, where he could have used it.
(TTimes not up at this minute on WGC site...still waiting)
I can't link to them here ,but tee times are out. They are going off in twosomes off both tees.
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks again for all the questions. Check back again next week from Kiawah. You can also ask me questions on twitter @bobharig. I try to get to a few there when time permits. Thanks.