Hey, still some golf to be played this year, at points here and there. Let's get started with your questions. Please fire away.
Bob, do you think the Rory vs. Tiger storyline will be relevant all year long...in other words will they deliver (each win a major or two and win multiple times on tour?)
I think those are two different questions! First, I think the Tiger-Rory storyline will have relevance all year, regardless of whether or not they win a major or multiple times on tour. The fact that we think they should be part of that discussion leads to such relevance. I think you'll see them as the story going into the start of 2013, as well as the Masters and then it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
How would you grade Tiger's 2012 season?
A letter grade I would say a B. You have to remember that Tiger did not win in 2010 or 2011. He had a lengthy injury situation in 2011 that he was still trying to get over, swing changes, etc. He won three times, led U.S. qualifying for the Ryder Cup, led the FedEx Cup standings through the regular season and finished third. Held the 36-hole lead at the U.S. Open and PGA, tied for third at the British. His weekends at the majors were disappointing but big picture it was a very solid year.
Bob, how much will the Ryder Cup stuggles of Stricker and Furyk effect them next season?
A good question. I guess we'll see. Stricker suggested right afterward that they would all bounce back. And let's face it, golfers go through more ups then downs. I would expect Furyk to use it as motivation, but the fact remains he really had difficulty closing this year. Imagine how much different his year would have been had he finished off the U.S. Open? He lost in a playoff at the Transitions, had the U.S. Open and Bridgestone issues and then the Ryder Cup.
Are there any college golfers you have your eye on?
I have not seen any of them in person, but I like what I have heard and read about Bobby Wyatt at Alabama, who I believe is the No. 1 ranked junior or certainly in the top 5. You might remember that name as he shot 57 a few years ago at the Alabama State boys championship.
Bob, do you see much reason for Tiger to join European Tour. Isn't he just playing for PGA record and majors at this point.
That is one way to look at it. His legacy will be determined by how many majors and PGA Tour events he ultimately wins. But there is plenty of money and prestige at stake in Europe. And if the European Tour changes its minimum requirements to include the Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup, it is not that difficult for him to pull it off. He can have the best of both worlds, really.
After reading your article today (shameless plug alert), the Masters is going to have to give up one of their "top 30" qualifications (either FedEx or money list). Too many new international players are starting to qualify more often, it seems. What do you think happens?
Yes, thanks for that shameless plug, it is usually me being shameless. The Masters doesn't have to give up one of those top 30 criteria, it was simply suggested that could be a way to do it. I don't see them giving up the FedEx Cup top 30. The money list is possible as that will have far less impact in the future with just about everything being based on points... The point of the story was to suggest that these tournaments being played now such as Frys and McGladrey don't get an automatic Masters invite. A year from now, they should. And then what does the Masters do if it wants to limit its field size?
Do you think the new format with Q School and Web.com next year to get onto the tour will actually make college golfers leave college earlier since they will almost all have to take a year on the Jr. circuit now with no Q school options?
I think that is a misnomer. Now some might leave earlier but the opportunity will still exist to play your way onto the tour if you don't turn pro until June. A player could get sponsor exemptions to either tour and earn his card by finishing among the top 25 (Web.com) or top 125 (PGA tour). Short of that, if he is among the top 75 on the Web.com or the top 200 on the PGA, he would qualify for the four-tournament Web.com series that sends another 25 players to the PGA Tour. That is really no different than a player who comes out in the summer and just goes to Q School now.
Surprised that Mickelson airmailed the wedge? It's something I would have expected from Tiger. At least it wasn't Webb or Hunter hitting the shot. The fans to the right would have had to duck.
Wow, a bit harsh! To be fair, that bullseye was quite small. Phil missed the actual bullseye by about 15 feet. Yes, he was long, but that wasn't much of a target.
Has anyone checked to see if there has been a spike in Turkish Airlines ticket purchases after hosting the money grab last week? I guess Turkey hasn't been impacted by the worldwide down economy to go and spend money like that!!!!!!!!
I guess it goes to show what length a company will go to in order to market itself. But perhaps the fact that we are talking about it suggests it was worthwhile? I don't know.
What are the odds that belly putters are outlawed in 2013?
If someone offers you odds on that, jump all over it, because it won't happen in 2013. Absolutely not.The USGA and R&A have said they will have some sort of resolutiion by the end of the year, but they will not be banning the putters. They might ban anchoring, which is different. And the rule cannot go into effect until 2016.
Do players outside of the Top 175 on the money list have any status the following year on the PGA Tour?
No, only if they were a past champion, in which case they have limited status as tour members.Outside of 150, you have no status. That number means nothing. From 126 to 150, you have conditional status. After exempt players and then QSchool/Web.com (another 50), you can get into tournaments based on where you finished. But those windows can be small.
Aside from Rory McIlroy and Keagan Bradley who do you see as the future of the PGA tour?
I still think Rickie Fowler has a bright future. Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson. Would still like to see how Anthony Kim fares once healthy.
Will golf parity increase over the next decade or will we start to see some dominant players take over? What is your feeling?
I think it's harder to be dominant just because there are so many good players, equipment narrows the gap between the best and the rest. It is hard to envision the 7, 8, 9 win seasons that we saw from Tiger and Vijay
Are you covering any more events this year?
Looks like the season-ending Disney event and Tiger's tournament in California. Not much left!
A guy like Patrick Cantlay who turned pro and got a few sponsors exemptions, but wont make enough for his 2013 card (it looks like). Does he have any status on either the PGA or Web.com tour next year?
It depends on how much money he earns. If it is better than 150 on the PGA Tour money list, he would have conditional status based on that number. That also allows him to go to the final stage of Q school. If he is not top 25 there, he would have status on the Web.com Tour if he finishes among the top 75.
What prompted the decision makers that no off season is the way to go in golf? I enjoy golf as much as anyone, read the articles, watch GC, but I think it needs some definitive time off. What are they gaining by having a full year wrap around schedule?
I agree that there should be some time for people to catch their breath, let golf fans work up an appetite for the game.As far as the PGA, they aren't really adding tournaments, they are simply reconfiguing the schedule. There are tournaments being played right now. They will be played against next year, simply as part of the new season instead of the old one.On the PGA Tour, there is likely to be a healthy break in November and December, although there are still worldwide events. Golfers typically spread their time off out throughout the year and don't take a huge chunk of time off.
Do you think between the Ryder's Cup and President's Cup - particulary the President's Cup - it gets almost a nuisance to play, especially for the main stays that make every event? What do you think of the idea of the American's and Euro's alternating playing the President's Cup to give them a break? This way each team plays 2 out of 3 years, rather than Americans playing every year.
The feeling early on was that it would be too much for the Americans to do it every year. But it doesn't seem that way. Nobody has opted out. They seem to get fired up to be part of it, enjoy both weeks, etc. I don't see your scenario working. The U.S. television market is huge in staging these events. Without the Americans, that would be a tough sell.
Have you heard rumors about Rory and Nike? Feels like Nike would be able to market him more as an "athlete" and "global star" more than just a golfer.
Yes, that rumor is out there. I've had several questions about it, and it's been out there in golf circles. No confirmation however.
Were you surprised by Rory's comments about playing too much golf this year? For a young guy in great shape, who travels as easy as anyone could travel, I found it odd for him to say what he did.
I'm not surprised. Playing 25, or 26 events is actually quite a bit for these guys these days. You forget about the corporate days, the pro-ams, the practice. I'm not saying anyone should feel sorry for them. But it all adds up and if they're not at their best because of it, you can see why they might look for more breaks. Now maybe he should skip the easy money events like Turkey. That tournament meant nothing, but it still takes time and energy. Easy for me to say.
Do you see Augusta National ever hosting a LPGA tournament?
It's a really cool idea and would be incredible for golf and the women's game. And it might, I just think it's a long, long way off.
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for the questions. If you have more, feel to catch up with me on Twitter @bobharig. Thanks