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September 4, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (3:01 PM)

Hello, plenty to chat about, so let's get started. Please fire away with your questions. Thanks

Chris K (Wisconsin)

Do you recall a player withdrawing after earning a spot on a Ryder Cup team? It this were to occur this year which players do you see as next in line?

Bob Harig
  (3:03 PM)

I can't recall. Way back, Tom Weiskopf declined a spot, but that was in the early 1970s. I believe next in line depends on if it was an automatic qualifier or a captain's pick. And I don't see it happening.

Todd (Alaska)

Bob, what do you think is the solution to stop all the clowns screaming after every tee shot? The players have to be as sick of it as the viewers are. Thanks-

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

Yep, it's terrible. Only way it ends is thru peer pressure or if tournaments have the guts to throw people out. But those are the customers and tournaments are relucatant to upset them.

steven in orlando [via mobile]

Bob, what do you think of Tiger's play? he seemed to have control of all segments of his game, especially his short iron/wedge play which had been awful for most of the year. Do you see him continuing this kind of play into the BMW?

Bob Harig
  (3:06 PM)

It was certainly an improvement over the Barclays, where he played poorly, especially on the weekend. It was just a matter of time before he gets his wedge game dialed in. Maybe more work is needed. Putting remains streaky. Hard to say if it continues this week, there has not been a lot to say either way that he'll have a good week or not.

Chuck (Cold Spring Harbor, NY)

I know his record in these events isn't great, but DJ is easily one of the top 12 US players and was a no brainer for this team right?

Bob Harig
  (3:08 PM)

Not in my mind. I don't have a problem with him being picked for all the obvious reasons. Played well of late. Long game suits Medinah, etc. But as I wrote today on ESPN.com (sorry, shameless plug again), you can make an argument against any of the picks. For DJ, he was poor in Wales and Australia. Not a great partner in alternate shot. But the positives outweigh the negatives to the captain obviously.

steven in orlando [via mobile]

Bob, your thoughts on what, if anything, should be done to improve the playoff format? i have to say i like the four playoff tourney idea but nick watney wins the barclays, doesnt do ANYTHING else all year and he is sitting in 2nd place? this is not football, baseball, or basketball so please dont use those sports as an example...if the PGA was going to go down that road then have one tourney...winner takes all! your thoughts...

Bob Harig
  (3:11 PM)

you've got to have the volatility in order to make it exciting. The fact that a guy can come from way back to win the whole thing is what gives it some spice. Otherwise it would be too dependent on piling up a lot of points and sitting on the lead.I've written before that they can have the best of both worlds: split the bonus money and give $5-million to the points winner at the end of the BMW. That puts a lot of emphasis on being first after the first three playoff events. Then give the other $5-million (plus the other trickle down bonuses) to the winner of the Tour Championshp and have everyone in the Tour Championship get a crack at it, no matter how they got in.That way, for example, Rory is rewarded if he stays No. 1 this week. But he's equal to everyone in Atlanta and there is no silly projections and trying to figure out where everyone is.

steven in orlando [via mobile]

Bob, wouldn't you love to see tiger vs. rory in the singles match during the ryder cup. Couldn't they change the rules so that the visiting country have to post the order their players go out first and allow the home country to then select who plays against who? it would not only add to the drama but you also would have great headlines and...you could be guaranteed a "Tiger vs. Rory" match that is worth something!

Bob Harig
  (3:13 PM)

In the Presidents Cup ,the captains go back and forth matching their players. It's cool to have it work out that way. But the Ryder Cup has its own way and the strategy of where to place players, not knowing who they will face, is also intriguing. I don't seem them changing the rules.

Colin (Seattle)

Hi Bob- What has happened to Paul Casey? Two years ago people were lamenting Colin Montgomerie for not picking him for the Euro squad when he was a top 10 player.. Now his game has completely gone south. Is he injured or has he just lost his way?

Bob Harig
  (3:13 PM)

He was top 20 in the world at the end of 2011 but he injured his shoulder in a Christmas snowboading accident and the recovery has been slow and results since poor.

JY (TO)

I know the current fed ex cup system isnt perfect, but I think this year is the best yet. There are majors jumps during the events, but thats what you need if the play-offs are going to mean anything to those outside the top 10 or 15 spots. At the end of the day, those who did well in the regular season are mostly still at the top through 2 events anyways.

Bob Harig
  (3:14 PM)

I believe that is the balance they are trying to attain. Guys get rewarded for a good regular season by staying near the top regardless; others get rewarded by getting hot now.

Colin (Seattle)

In terms of Ryder Cup pairings who do you think will be the go to team for each side? I am thinking Stricker/Woods and Westwood Garcia. Your thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:15 PM)

I actually think Donald pairs up quite nicely with Sergio.

JY (TO)

Something very important about Rory's win yesterday - he won without his A game. Only Tiger has seemed to be able to do that consistently in the recent past. This bod's well for him, no?

Bob Harig
  (3:15 PM)

Absolutely. He hit it poorly on the back nine Monday. Think he hit just one fairway. But saved himself with putting.

JY (TO)

If Tiger wins the next two events and gets to 5 wins + the fed ex cup title, would you still give player of the year to Rory given his 3 wins include a major?

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

Right now they have the same number of wins, but the tie-breaker is a major championship for Rory. If Tiger wins another event and has 4 to 3 but one of Rory's is a major, I think you'll see a lot of people on both sides, especially if Tiger finishes ahead of Rory on FedEx list.

Ed (Long Island)

Of the current top 30 in the FEDEX Cup rankings - how many are guaranteed to make it to the Tour Championship?

Bob Harig
  (3:18 PM)

It's a good question and I wish I had the answer. Perhaps somebody knows. My guess is that the top 15 right now are safe, and probably the top 20. There is no cut this week so you are going to earn some points. It would take a lot of movement for someone who is 20th or better to get knocked out of the top 30.

Ed (Long Island)

If I was DLIII, I would have taken the 8 or so possible captains pick to Medinah for 2 days the week of the Wyndham and have them play the course. Not so much that top 4 scores get in, but see how they play the course, if it really suites anyone eye, putts the greens well, etc. Is he allowed to do that?

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

that sounds good in theory but it's unrealistic. The schedule is so crammed. Think about what has transpired since the British Open. WGC Bridgestone, PGA, Wyndham, Barclays, Deutsche Bank. Somewhere in there they need some down time. He could have done it, but it would not have gone ovefr well.

Brian (Pittsburgh)

With Rory and Tiger seemingly head to head right now for player of the year, Rory the slight edge for his major win, would bettering Rory the final 2 events of the playoffs and a potential win of the Cup give tiger the honors?

Bob Harig
  (3:22 PM)

Just my opinion, as it is the players who vote, but... I would think Tiger needs to win one of these last two tournaments to have a chance to beat our Rory. That major championship carries a lot of wait.

Patrick (Hanover)

To me one of the more exciting things over the weekend is watching players like Charlie Hoffman trying to make it to the next week. He says he didn't know what he needed to shoot on the 18th to make it. Do you think we will see a day when a player knows exactly what he will need to make it to the next week?

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

This, to me, is the problem with the system. It is do or die for Charlie Hoffman and we all know it but he doesn't? Usually in sports you know where you stand. How could he know where he stood without consulting a computer? At least in a tournament a scoreboard tells you where you're at.

Ed (Long Island)

How was Phil's putting this weekend? He scored well, but the little I saw, he missed about 4 putts within 6 feet - 2 days in a row on 18?

Bob Harig
  (3:24 PM)

I saw where Phil went to a claw putting grip and he shot all 4 rounds in the 60s.

Ed (Long Island)

Does Jose Maria O get a little concerned when he looks at the leaderboard from this weekend, even though his player won it, 3 of the top 5 finishers are on the American Ryder Cup team?

Bob Harig
  (3:25 PM)

I doubt it. He knows the Americans have a lot of good players, just as he does. Incredible that the 24 Ryder Cup players are all ranked among the top 36 in the world.

Greg (Arkansas)

Hard to believe Furyk made the team. Nice guy, formerly great player, but 2012 has shown us his nerves are shot, and that's a bad formula for the Rycer Cup. Plus his career RC mark is horrible. Experience is one thing, but when there were lots of players to choose from, Furyk simply doesn't belong.

Bob Harig
  (3:27 PM)

That is certainly a valid take on the situation. He's the only U.S player without a victory this year. But the team has 4 rookies and to a man they will tell you there is nothing like Ryder Cup nerves. True, Furyk's record is poor, but it's mostly in four ball (1-8-1) I believe. I'd simply sit him for that, let him play best ball and singles.

Bernie (Napa)

Davis is going to regret taking Furyk. When crunch time comes, he'll duck hook a drive or flub a chip. He hasn't won a tournament in 23 months. Can't close any longer.

Bob Harig
  (3:27 PM)

Again, a good point. But we're talking about one player and a lot more goes into it than how he did in stroke play.

Oliver (Bentonville)

Would have loved to hear the conversation between Love and Mahan. "I know you've won twice this year, won the match play and have a winning record in the Ryder Cup -- unlike anybody I chose -- but you didn't do enough." Sure, he's been mediocre this summer, but what an omission.

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

Another fair point. This is why I wrote (sorry, shameless plug again) that you could take issue with Love's picks. They all have strong qualities, but it's hard to leave off a guy who won twice, won the Match Play over Rory and was very good at least year's Presidents Cup as well as the 08 Ryder cup.

Jeff (Hoboken)

Bob, great performance by McIlroy, but aren't people getting a little ahead of themselves with this "passing the torch" talk? He's great, but 5 wins versus 74? Let's see him win the career slam first, right?

Bob Harig
  (3:29 PM)

I think that is due more to seeing Rory on the rise, Tiger being 13 years older with his best days behind him. Rory could have a great, great career and not get the career slam.

Gary (Seattle)

If I'm Davis Love, I give the ball to Keegan, Dustin, Brandt and Jason all five rounds. Furyk, Stricker, Mickelson are there for experience in the clubhouse and training to be a captain. Let the young guys go out and win it.

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

I would be careful about putting rookies like Dufner, Snedeker and Simpson out there for all five matches. This is where mixing and matching becomes important.

Griffin (NY)

Did you see a big improvement in Tiger's short irons this week? It seemed like his distance was much much better and he had plenty of looks from 8-15 feet for birdie.

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

True, it was much better than it's been. He finally made a bunch of birdies, which he had not been doing much.

AP (Chicago)

Bob, what are hearing about the conditions at Medinah? I know they re-sodded some fairways and cut out a ton of trees. Anything else - or now that the players have been named, more information on the course will now come out?

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

I think we'll have to wait until we're there.

Andrew (WI)

Not sure why Stricker was such a slam dunk. Doesn't have the experience that you'd think a 45 yr old does in Ryder Cup play. Not as hot as several other golfers you could've selected. Can he hold up to play 4 matches in 2 days? The only real net positive of any kind is that you can pair him off with Tiger to start and then adjust from there.

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

The Tiger possibilities are a big part of it. So is Stricker's putting ability. You need guys who can putt and the Americans have struggled with that. When you couple experience, putting, Tiger. .. that's why I saw him as a lock.

Greg (Arkansas)

I know what to expect from Tiger this week: Nothing. The only times he has played really well this year are on courses he has a solid track record, otherwise it's middle of the pack. He's never been to Crooked Stick, so his chances are slim.

Bob Harig
  (3:37 PM)

It is one way to look at it I suppose. he did finish second at Honda where he had never played before

Mark (Lexington)

Do you think Tiger breaks his major drought next year?

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

Yes, but I thought he would have done so this year, too.

Chris (New Orleans)

Phil made a comment that he would maybe think about going back to playing a controlled cut off the tee. He seemed to also be playing from the fairway more in Boston. Will he wise up and play that shot more? He's pretty darn good from the short grass.

Bob Harig
  (3:40 PM)

Wish I could give you an answer on Phil. As I've said many times, he is maddengingly inconsistent.

Ralph (Madera)

This could be a bloodbath at Medinah. Eight of the Europeans have winning records in the RC, which is eight more than the U.S.

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

It's not necessarily about that, however. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but for the most part, U.S. players have winning records in singles. It is a fine line that goes beyond records. It's good to look at, but not always a fair indicator.

Griffin (NY)

What is your opinion about Tiger playing mostly cut shots all week...had a tough time when he was forced to hit a draw

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

I guess you have to go with what you've got. There have been times during his re-worked swing where Tiger could hit nothing but a draw.

Shoshana (Boston)

Stricker was also top 12 in RC standing and had top 10's at both Bridgestone and the PGA, not really sure what 4 guys are better

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

This is my point. I could see a few guys edging out Stricker, not but not 4 guys.

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

This is my point. I could see a few guys edging out Stricker, not but not 4 guys.

Andrew (WI)

Any early thoughts on pairing strategy? I'm not sure anyone on this team outside Tiger should be playing 5 times given the depth and that there seems to be no obvious pairing that sticks out to me.

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

Bubba-Webb is an obvious pairing. They played well at the Presidents Cup together. But overall, I think they should be careful about playing guys all 5 matches. Maybe Tiger, maybe Keegan, possibily Snedeker if it appears he is hitting it well. On the other hand, you don't want guys to sit too much either. Everybody should play each day.

Cody (Nebraska)

At what point did Fowler lose his spot on the team in your opinion?

Bob Harig
  (3:45 PM)

Not sure there was one specific point. He hasn't finished in the top 20 since May. It's an accumulation of so-so play as we've gotten to this point in the year.

Laura (St. Louis)

I don't get why there is so much concern about rookies in the Ryder Cup. It's not like decades past when these guys never saw the opponents. Everyone on the U.S. team knows and is probably firends with Donald, Poulter, Westwood, Garcia and on and on. The pressure comes from the media telling them there is pressure. That might make Dufner's pulse jump up to 50.

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

I don't think it has anything to do with the media. It's standing on that first tee at 8 a.m. on Friday morning with thousands of spectators chanting around that tee box and knowing there is no easing into a Ryder Cup round like there is in a stroke-play tournament. To a man, they all say there is nothing quite like Ryder Cup pressure. And until you've experienced it, it's tough. Hence, the reluctance to have too many rookies. Now 3 of them made the U.S. team and it's good to have a mix so you are constantly blending experience with youth and bulidng experience for the future.

Shoshana (Boston)

Are you surprised that Furyk was as much a lock in DL3's mind as he appeared to be? Guy hasn't won in two years. On the other hand you can pair him with Phil

Bob Harig
  (3:48 PM)

Not surprised he was picked, but am surprised he seemed to be so solid.

Kelly Jo (Lincoln)

So Nick Watney plays mediocre all year, wins one tournament and is thrown into the RC conversation. Meanwhile, Bo Van Pelt is a top-15 machine for the better part of three years and is virtually ignored. I'd take Bo over Furyk for sure and probably Stricker.

Bob Harig
  (3:49 PM)

The problem for Bo Van Pelt was he's never won on the PGA Tour. Eveyrone on the team -- as well as Mahan, Fowler, Haas, Watney -- can claim that. And he's never played in the Ryder Cup or Pres Cup. If you're going to pick a rookie, he needs a better resume -- or he needs to make it on his onw.

Shoshana (Boston)

Who do you pair DJ with?

Bob Harig
  (3:49 PM)

It's a tough call. It hasn't worked out so well with Phil or Tiger

Jeff (Hoboken)

Who's the better partner for Phil, Furyk or Bradley?

Bob Harig
  (3:50 PM)

Love the idea of Bradley playing with Phil. They've gotten to be friends, and they have great pracitce round games against each other. Phil would be great to help guide Keegan along.

Sam (Hoboken)

Keegan/Phil, Tiger/Stricker, Bubba/Webb, ZJ/Dustin, Dufner/Sneds would seemingly be pairings that make sense in four-balls. Do you think Love employs a "pod system" like Zinger did at Valhalla? Seemed to work great, especially for the more inexperienced guys like Boo and Hunter.

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

The first three teams I think are a given. You could probably play with the others to figure it out. But there are some intriguing possibilities.

Oliver (Bentonville)

So the first comment I see following the picks is questioning how DJ gets a spot when he was suspended this year for drug use. Why can't the PGA Tour clean up its policy to prevent this kind of rumor from spreading. I'm sure DJ doesn't appreciate the lie still being spread.

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

It's unfortunate, it really is. But the PGA Tour is its worse enemy on something like this. It won't say either way, so a rumor can persist.

Greg (Arkansas)

I'm amused at all the pairing speculation when much of it has to do with guys playing the same brand/type of golf ball. Nobody likes to talk about that because it's boring, but that plays a huge role in alternate shot pairings.

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

There are 5 sessions, but only two of them require a player to use the same ball as a teammate. I don't think it's that big of a deal anymore.

Shoshana (Boston)

Wasn't that Phil-Keegan logic the same logic as Phil-DJ at celtic? I think I'd put Phil with someone who forces him to scale back a little. He's had success with Toms and Furyk

Bob Harig
  (3:54 PM)

You can't not do it because of DJ. I think Phil and Keegan go good together. Best to put a veteran with a guy who is going to be trembling. Same for Sneds.

Andrew (WI)

So, thanks to the Fedex standings, 2 more days of Rory/Tiger coming up. Seems to me some of the luster of the idea of the pairing is gone.

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

To be honest, they should probably save such groupings for the Tour Championship or maybe the BMW.

Ed (Long Island)

Does the course this week favor any particular type of player?

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

Crooked Stick is not a regular on tour so hard to say at this point until we see them play it at least in the pro-am.

Bob (Seattle)

Are there any exemptions for making the Ryder Cup?

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

The WGC-Bridgestone gives spots to guys on the last Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams. Open Championship this year exempted 2011 Presidents cup team members so I'm guessing same is true for Ryder Cup. PGA Championship gives a spot to Ryder Cup members as long as they remain in top 100 in the world.

Paul ((Portland, OR))

Bob, you need to stop apologizing for "shameless plugs". We know you write for ESPN, you probably have a column/article up we can look at. Just reference it! ;-)

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

Just a small small attempt at humor. Thanks.

Stephan (EDH)

What are the chances we see some of the best players playing a fall series event or two this year to see if they like any of the courses, since next year they take on a much bigger significance?

Bob Harig
  (3:59 PM)

I doubt we will see it happen for that reason. Their signifance next year is that they count as FedEx Cup events. And yet ,the big names will likely go to Malaysia and China for events that also count -- and have no cut. So I think the impact on the fall series events going foward will be negligible. It certainly doesn't mean they will get a slew of top 10, top 20 players.

Jeff (Hoboken)

We have not mentioned Kuchar at all. He is usually dangerous in match play formats.

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

You're right, Matt has been a bit quiet of late. But he made the team on his own without much angst toward the end.

Nate (Los Angeles)

Do you think Mahan's chunk two years ago was a factor in him being left off the team?

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

No, I think it had more to do with his lack of performance since winning the week prior to the Masters. He's not been in contention since.

John (Nashville)

Ryder Cup rules question - for alternate shot, what determines who tees off? Does the tee shot alternate every hole, is it determined by who makes the last putt on previous hole, do they decide on each hole, etc.?

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

They decide prior to the match who tees off on odd holes, who tees off on even holes. It is not determined by who makes the putt.

Griffin (NY)

Any chance they would decrease the amount of players who make the playoffs to avoid someone who has had a below average year (Watney) control his own fate for 10million? Maybe only have 30 eligible for playoffs, and have the rest of the field be playing for prize money and maybe an added bonus or two for finishing 31st or something.

Bob Harig
  (4:03 PM)

No way they'll do that. They want these tournaments to have a lot of players in them, the bigger the numbers, the more chance that the big names will survive.

Brian ((New York))

Snedeker can play with most anyone on the American side, who is a player(s) on Team Europe that can also play with most any of the other golfers on their side?

Bob Harig
  (4:03 PM)

My guess would be McDowell. He seems to get along with everyone.

Bob Harig
  (4:04 PM)

Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the great questions and sorry I could not get to many of them. Enjoy the BMW Championship, I'll be back to chat next week during the tour's off week. You can also fire questions at me on Twitter: @bobharig. Thanks