Hello from Medinah near Chicago. The Ryder Cup is truly one of the neatest weeks in golf. Plenty to talk about so let's get started. Fire away with your questions -- and don't ask me to predict who will win!
What are the chances Tiger and Rory face off in sunday singles?
I am not sure of the mathematical permutations. If you go in understanding that the captains play it by the book and do not conspire to make it happen, the chances are not great. There are 12 possible places you could put each player. The chances that they'd be matched up by blind draw are pretty remote. Now, if it's 8-8 going into Sunday, I think you might surmise that each captain might like to have his best player in, say, the 10th position. Then it becomes more likely.
Is there any chance to call out NBC on the lack of coverage they show on the Ryder Cup. I am sick and tired of watching a PUTT PUTT contest. If all we get to see is PUTTING... then it is a waste of time... I know that I am not the only viewer that wants to see other golfers besides Tiger and Phil hit from the tee.... If it is a 12 man team, then we should see all 24 men and not just select few.
Since ESPN has the first round of coverage, I'll go down this road. At the Ryder Cup, with only 4 matches going on at any one time, it is my guess -- and a guess only -- that you will see a majority of the shots, at least on tape delay. This is especially the case in alternate shot. Obviously if a match is a blow out, some action is likely to be skipped. But the Ryder Cup makes for good TV.
what is the next "meaingful" week in golf following the Ryder Cup?
You could say the Disney event, which is the final official PGA Tour tournament which will decide the money list. More likely is the first tournament that Tiger places in 2013.
Is the atmosphere at the Ryder Cup the most electric and intense of any golfing event?
Without a doubt.
I'm going on Friday. What is the best spectator viewing strategy? I was thinking plant myself on a hole on the front nine and watch the groups go by, then follow the closest matches prioritizing the bigger names.
That sounds like a good plan. Trying to watch any one group can be difficult. There are just 4 on the course at any given time and thousands of people on site.
Hi Bob- Do you think there is any chance we will see a Rory McIlroy/Sergio Garcia pairing in either the four ball or foursomes? I cant think of a more dynamic pairing then those two..
It's possible. I think, however, that Rory is going to play with McDowell early on. You might see Sergio with Westwood. Today he has practiced in the same group with Paul Lawrie, McDowell and McIlroy.
With another roller coaster tournament for Tiger, I guess ive finally come to the realization that you just dont know which Tiger is going to show up. How do you expect him to play this week? You think this fornat could somewhat rejuvinate him?
I am not sure he needs rejuvinating. Tiger had a pretty good FedEx Cup. Two top-5 finishes. Didn't win, but had his moments. And he gets more fired up for this than people think. As he's gotten older, he has come to enjoy these weeks more.
Who would your pairings be and who would sit in both sessions on Friday? Your predicition also if possible.
Very, very difficult to figure this out.On the American side, pretty clear that Tiger-Stricker, Phil-Keegan, Bubba-Webb make good pairings. Lots of tough decisions Furyk not great at alternate shot; you'd think Snedeker would be better suited to best ball. Same with Dustin Johnson. Hard to sit anybody out on the American side, lots of guys playing well.
Bob, after the lights out putting performance Sneds displayed @ the Tour Championship, I really like our chances @ medinah. Have our chances improved?
That was exactly the reason Love picked Snedeker -- he can putt. Not sure the East Lake result matters much, other than a boost of confidence for Snedeker.
Bob - cannot wait to see the event live on Sunday! What is the overall feel at the place and with each team?
It's only Tuesday, so things are pretty relaxed right now. Just a nice, casual day of golf in beautiful weather.
THIS IS MORE OF A STATEMENT THAN A QUESTION: I keep hearing about how bad the US fans are and how "respectful" the European fans are. I was at the 1999 Ryder Cup in Boston and the European fans were not well behaved. They taunted US fans during the matches and on the shuttles riding home. So enough of how bad the fans are in the US. I admit some were over the top, but the European fans are not perfect golf spectators.
It is usually a small group on either side that tend to cause these problems.
Going forward, do you think an American squad will ever have a bonding style as a collective group like the European squads usually have, or will the Americans always need to revert to a 3 groups of 4 unit in order to win?
I believe that issue is overplayed. The Europeans can't have all 12 guys play as a team at once. The most partners you can ever have in a Ryder Cup is 4, and that's if you play all four team matches and switch partners every time. It's really two or three partners at the most, which means the camarerdie thing is overblown. There have been numerous European teams where there were spats and not all got along. It's really about playing well, making putts.
Given that most of the Euro team plays on the PGA Tour and many live in the US, will we ever see the same combative nature of the Ryder Cup's 10, 15 year ago?
Very doubtful. It's much more civil now.
Does Dufner get to play in every match or is he a candidate to sit? This setting just seems perfect for him
It depends on how he plays I suppose. Remember, 4 players have to sit each session. I could see him sitting at least one or two, because he is a rookie.
Bob, I'm nervous. How do we counter McIlroy/McDowell, Garcia/Donald, Poulter/Rose, Westwood/Molinari in alternate shot?
Not even sure if those will be the teams, so it's hard to know how to counter them. The U.S. has actually done okay in alternate shot over the years.
Who has been paired in practice rounds for team USA so far?
Today there are three foursomes:Bradley, Mickelson, Simpson, WatsonDufner, Z. Johnson, Dustin Johnson, KucharWoods, Stricker, Furyk, Snedeker.
1/12 for Tiger and Rory. If neither captains conspire about matchups, then there is a 1/12 chance that anyone on the US team plays anyone on the European team and vice versa.
I'm not a math whiz, but I don't think that's the case. Rory has a 1/12th chance of being put in any slot on the European side. Then Tiger has the same 1/12th shot on the American side. It is exponentially more remote than 1 in 12 when it is not known where the other guy will be placed.
Of the Captain's Picks, who do you think has the best week and why?
Ian Poulter. He loves the Ryder Cup, should have made the team on his own anyway.
Does anyone sit 3 sessions on either team?
To sit three sessions means you have to sit out an entire day, and I think that's a bad idea. These are long days to go the entire time without playing. Guys aren't used to it. If you sit out all day Friday, how do you bounce back on Saturday? Or if you sit out Saturday, is that good for Sunday? Unless someone is really playing poorly, I don't see this happening.
Any concern with Tiger and Rory after their poor Sunday's?
Not here. That was one day. It happens. Lee Westwood finished last.
When will the pairings be announced for Friday and Saturday? Do you think DL3 would make a bold strategic decision like pairing Sneds/Tiger for Session 1? It would put the US' hottest and best players together, while most think he'll go chalk with Woods / Stricker.
The pairings are announced at the opening ceremeony which means just before 5 p.m. local time. As for Tiger/Sneds, I would say it's possible, although I think Snedeker might be better suited to best-ball.
Are the players spending a little extra practice time on the 15th to 18th greens since that is where most of these matches end?
Today it is low key. They're just getting to know the course.
Who is the longest guy in terms of driver carry on the US squad?
It is a close call between Bubba and Dustin Johnson but I'd have to pick Johnson.
Do Tiger and Phil have a better relationship than people tend to believe?
I would call their relationsihp not close, but respectful.
Hi, is this the tournament Nicolas Colsaerts will get some worldwide recognition? Breakout or Breakdown week for him?
He will get plenty of recognition if he is a factor in the matches. Perhaps if he is in a tight match and holes a putt or his team is a surprise winner. Lots of ways for him to make a name for himself.
Try 1/132 for Tiger & Rory. 12 squared minus 12.
See, here's another theory. let's just leave it that the odds are not very good to get a specific grouping like that when the captains have to place the names in blind. I understand the 1 in 12 logic.
The mathematical chance of Rory v Tiger with no conspiring is 1/144. Tiger is 1/12 to be in any of the positions, as is Rory. 12x12 =144.
this is why I was not a math major! See what I'm saying!!!!!
Based on the US practice pairings could we see a Woods/Snedeker pairing???
possibly. If Love is going by the pods concept, Tiger's only possible partners would be Stricker, Furyk or Snedeker.
Are they any teammates on either team that do not like each other... Dufner and Bubba do alot of sparring, albeit I think is friendly, on twitter (along with Fowler who of course is not there)
Well, I think we know from past experience that Tiger and Phil are not going to be paired together. But for the most part, they get along, as does the entire team. You don't have to get along to play well.
When are the pairings announced for the Friday and Saturday sessions?
Pairings announced around 5 p.m. on Thursday for Friday morning. . then late morning Friday for Friday afternoon. Then after play on Friday for Saturday morning.
Are Fourballs first on both Friday and Saturday?
No, it's foursomes first and fourballs second, both days.
As far as a audience and viewer prospective, what would be the best case scenario for the Ryder Cup to play out. Sunday is always fun, but what would make it super special for the game and for people at home.
That the Ryder Cup is tied going into Sunday and that a bunch of matches then go to the 18th hole.
As a bit of fun, if the cup game down to the last match on Sunday, which player/s from each team would handle the pressure the best and which would handle it the worst? I'd go... Best: Zach Johnson/Tiger for the USA, Gmac/Poulter for Europe Worst: Furyk and Molinari.
I like your picks. Hard to argue against that. Not sure I'd bet against Furyk in that scenario, he's got a decent singles record.
how are the outfits this year Bob?? The players normally look very awkward in them...
We don't know what they'll be. . Today is blue shirts, blue pants, pretty average, but that won't be what they wear later.
A putt to win the Cup, who takes it for team US - still Tiger? Sneds?
Well, you don't have a choice. If it comes down to such a thing, Sneds is statistically the best putter on the PGA Tour. Tiger far more used to dealing with suc h pressure.
Any weather impact expected this week?
At the moment, no. Weather forecast looks terrific. Chilly in the mornings but sunny.
Hi Bob: Is is true the first few holes practiced today by all decides which ball of the groupings will use which person's ball? Or do guys who have played together before know which ball will be used. Also you don't use the word alternate v. foursomes...it sounds a bit more descriptive to me, IMO. Thx.
The ball deal is not much of an issue anymore because they don't use the one-ball rule among teams in the Ryder Cup. So Stricker can tee off with a Nike ball so Tiger can hit a Nike into the green; Tiger then tees off with a Titleist on next hole so Stricker can hit that club into the green. Not sure about your last part, alternate shot is foursomes.
Wrong math is wrong. If you are trying to predict that they will both be in the No. 1 spot on Sunday, then it is a 1 in 144 chance. If you are trying to predict that they will face each other (anywhere between 1 and 12) it is 1 in 12.
I said early on, no math whiz here. . .
Sunday singles... gates open at 7, tee times start at 11:03 - what the heck should we do for 4 hours - drink and get crazy?
Uh... well. .. . sure.
Has Michael Jordan been roaming the grounds? Any word on what is role is for the US squad?
Haven't seen him, but his role is unofficial, basically my guess is to tell stories, soak up the atmosphere.
Outside of Tiger (and maybe Sneds if he's hot), everyone oughta sit at least once. Furyk, Stricker, Phil all probably need rest. 16 people over 4 sessions need to sit, so if 11 guys sit once and 5 guys sit twice, you're fine
With so much depth, only 1 or 2 guys are going to play all five. Phil and Furyk should not play all five, same for some of the inexperienced guys.
Do you think Jose puts GMAC out in the 12th spot again?
Gmac would love to do it again. But remember, it doesnt' always go that far. You can bet that Monty figured he'd have the Cup wrapped up before that point in 2010.
It seems like deciding the order of who tees off in alt shot at odd and even holes is more important this time around. #5 and #7 are par 5s, and 13, 15,17 are crucial given their set up. Do Captains decide that?
the players typically are left to work that out. And there clearly is some strategy involved, feeling more comfortable on certain tee shots, par-3s, etc.
Bob what are the groupings for the U.S. team in today's practice rounds?
Check earlier in this chat. .. Americans listed earlierEuropeansDonald, Poulter, Rose WestwoodGarcia, Lawrie, Mcdowell, McIlroyColsaerts, Hanson, Kaymer, Molinari
"You can bet that Monty figured he'd have the Cup wrapped up before that point in 2010." I'm sure he did, but he said after that he put Gmac last because of his US Open win and as a kind of insurance in case it went down to the last match because he knew he could handle the highest pressure.
That's a fair point. But. .. you hate to waste a guy. Tiger was last in 2002 and Strange regretted it. The Cup was decided before his match mattered.
Will DL3 really sit Tiger? I think it would make sense to sit him for one of the alternate shot sessions, but can you really put Tiger on the bench?
I wrote about this possibility on ESPN.com but I don't see it happening. Not unless Tiger is playing poorly, hurting. That doesn't seem likely.
Bob, speaking of Snedeker and his good putting, I find his putting style hard to watch for some reason. It's such a quick, bumping stroke compared to the way I was taught with a nice pendulum motion. But it seems to work!
The fast part is what I like. Whatever works.
Given that both will play, the mathematical odds of Tiger going one-on-one against Rory are 1/12. The odds of them going head-to-head in any specific slot are 1/144.
This has been covered a bunch, sorry for prolonging the agony. I think we all know it's not likely, but possible.
After Mahan's stubbed chip against GMAC, this DLIII goes with a seasoned veteran for the 18th slot this year in Tiger, Phil, Furyk or Stricker?
He might, but remember Mahan was 2 down with 2 to go before that ill-fated chip shot. He basically needed to hole that chip shot. He just dind't play well that day, made only one birdie. But dont' blame it on the chip.And we're talking about the 12th position I presume. And it really depends on the points going into the final round.
I read a Walter Hagen book who was integral in the start of the Ryder Cup, from what I recall, it was form for the best player on each squad to face off in the first singles match which would give us Tiger / Rory - is that no longer tradition?
There is no such tradition today. The pairings are made by each captain, independent of what the other captain does.
what will determine if Phil and Furyk play all five. Will it go by how good they play, how they feel, or will it just not happen
I just don't see it happening. Furyk is awful at best ball: 1-8-1 career record. Easy to sit him there. Phil has not always played 5, and at 42, it makes sense that you might hold him out of one of the alternate shot matches, let him have a good at making a bunch of birdies in best ball.
Thx for the alternate ball explanation. Tiger in his blue shirt looks quite a bit better than average. Please say they have outlawed WHITE slacks for the US team. It's Fall already! We don't want to see through them when the sun is on them, or they perspire, or wose, look like Ice Cream Vendors!
Your request is noted!
What do you think Euro strategy will be? It seems like Hanson, Kaymer, Colsaerts, and Lawrie are the kind of guys you wouldn't play more than twice, maybe only once. Lawrie's only experience was being part of that catastrophic strategy in '99.
Yes, but Lawrie was 3-1-1 in that Ryder Cup and won his singles match.I think the Colsaerts, Hanson, kaymer, Molinari foursome today is the one from which guys will be sitting.
The "new Tiger" seems like he will enjoy the Ryder Cup moreso than in past years. Am I just imagining that, or does he seem more at ease and more likely to really dive into the "team" aspect of this Ryder Cup?
He does seem to have enjoyed this more as the years have gone on. perhaps it had something to do with appreciating it more when he missed due to injury in 2008 and also had to be a captain's pick for the last Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
my theory is that an established major winner should be in the last few slots, I imagine they have less nerves knowing that the reults in the RC will not validate/attack the credibility of thier career. ie. GMAC vs. Mahan
A good way to look at it.
Fans for the US are supposed to wear RED on Sunday - Have the teams unvelied their clothing yet for the days?
Don't think they'll be telling us in advance.
Bob, what is going to be Europe's toughest pairing? I would think it would be Sergio/Luke right?
Not sure they will be a pairing. It would make sense, but Luke could also play with Westwood. Same for Sergio with Wstwood.
Im going on Sunday. Is there a spot on this course that I should make a point to watch some golf on?
Can't pick one. Gotta see all of it!
More a possibility for Tiger-Stricker or Tiger-Furky. . . Snedeker could be grouped with either Stricker or Furyk in the other pairing.
when do you think they will move up the tee on 15
It would be great if they did and let them try to drive the green.
Bob, you have mentioned several times that Sneds would be better for best ball than alternate shot. 1) Why? 2) Wouldn't a guy with a 2nd, 6th and first in 3 playoff events and a 3rd at the Open be good in any format?
If you're breaking it down, Snedeker is not a great driver of the ball. He's erratic off the tee and would be the first to admit it. So. .. when you're looking to put guys together, in a game where you have two players playing one ball, erratic drivers are not necessarily a good thing in alternate shot. That doesn't mean it won't happen. Snedeker could be great at it.
Wouldn't Tiger and Phil pair fairly well in an alternate shot format? They both tend to miss some fairways and play out of the rough, both have extraordinary short games...I don't get the "they don't make a good pair" theory???
I site Oakland Hills, 2004.. lost 2 and 1 in the morning best ball, lost 1 up in afternoon foursomes. .. plus it is such a boost to the opposition to beat them. Better to split them up.
Okay, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. I'm at Medinah all week, feel free to send me questions via Twitter @bobharig. Enjoy the Ryder Cup.