Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

October 23, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Arnold Thompson (San Diego)

Who is the best putter in your eyes on the course, and how do they get that good?

Bob Harig
  (3:03 PM)

Hello everyone. . sorry I posted that question before welcoming you. Still some meaningful golf being played around the world. Tiger's in Malaysia, Rory's in China, the European Tour, believe it or not, still has 6 more events!Let's get started and that first question about putting I'll try to tackle right here.I have two answers: Luke Donald and Brandt Snedeker.How do they get that good? Some of it is good fortune. They are blessed with good nerves, a smooth stroke. But a good bit of hard work goes into it as well. Learning how to read greens, etc. Working on the mechanics of the putting stroke. Practicing the feel and learning the nuances of greens. These guys spend an amazing amount of time working on it, as do most players. They get the most out of it.

gary j (janesville wi)

Is Colin Montgomerie as arrogant as he comes across?

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

Well, he does come across the wrong way to some folks. But I've always found Monty to be very interesting. He can have a lot to say, a lot of interesting things to say. But he has been known to be moody! Especially after shooting a poor score.

JY (TO)

Bob, clear something up for me. A player who falls outside the Top 150 on the money list this year, and didnt play enough on the web.com tour to make the Top 100 (say, Russell Knox). What is his status for next year? Or does he have absolutely nothing?

Bob Harig
  (3:08 PM)

You basically have it correct. If you are outside of the top 150 and have never won on the PGA Tour, you have no status. You basically have to go back to Q School or next year you would go to the Web.Com series final if you're in top 200 on PGA money list or top 75 on Web.com money list.

Mark (Tempe, AZ)

Any changes to the tour schedule next year?

Bob Harig
  (3:10 PM)

The schedule has yet to be announced but one big change for sure is there will be 2 weeks between Bay Hill and the Masters. The tour will go from Orlando to Houston and then to San Antonio.And of course next year after the Tour Championship just two weeks later the new season begins.

Shoshana (Shoshana)

Is it time to stop referring to events like Malaysia, the world challenge etc as silly or the silly season? With the owgr now determining major fields, these events help guys like furyk and gmac stay in the top 50 - that doesn't seem all that silly to me

Bob Harig
  (3:12 PM)

This is very true. The Grand Slam of Golf is a Silly Season event. So is perhaps the Shark Shootout. But Malaysia is sanctioned by the PGA and Asian Tours and gives out world ranking points. Next year it will give FedEx Cup points. When Tiger won at Sherwood last year, he made a 20-something player jump in the World Ranking. That was pretty big -- and controversial. These tournaments do have meaning.

Kevin (Louisiana)

I wish Bo Van Pelt had played on the Ryder Cup... hindsights 20/20. He and Dufner had a great battle that no one even saw... How is the Presidents Cup determined?

Bob Harig
  (3:12 PM)

Yeah, easy to say now, but the team already had rookies. I know the vets didn't do well, but it is hard to pick a rookie who has not won.

Brandon (Green Bay)

If you made it to the final round of q school in 2011, where does that automatically place you to start 2012 q school?

Bob Harig
  (3:22 PM)

Sorry folks, having some technical issues that I hope are now resolved. My apologies.As to the question. . making it to the final round of q school doesn't help much in regard to the following year's q school other than you get to avoid pre-qualifying. Depending on how you fared on either tour, you could be back at first or second stage.

Tim (San Francisco)

How much do Tiger, Rors, Van Pelt, Dufner....whoever (insert prominent pros name here)...actually 'care' about these late-in-the-year events. Is this a money grab? A chance simply to see the world and play some fun golf? Or does Dufner really like Koala bears that much?

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

I think it's all of the above. It's a great chance to see the world, make money -- which ultimately is what these guys are trying to do -- maybe earn world ranking points.

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

I think it's all of the above. It's a great chance to see the world, make money -- which ultimately is what these guys are trying to do -- maybe earn world ranking points.

Doug G (San Antonio)

bob-Do the top guys literally put the clubs down from now through January, or do they hit some balls weekly?

Bob Harig
  (3:25 PM)

I think it depends on the player. There are still tournaments left for these guys. Someone like Phil, after he plays in China and Singapore next week and the week after ,might not hit another ball until January. Others play all the time. It really varies.

Shoshana (Shoshana)

What happens next year to a guy like Cantlay, he will finish just outside both the top 200 on the pga tour, and just outside the top 75 on the Web.com tour. For guys that compete on both tours are they going to combine money in any way?

Bob Harig
  (3:25 PM)

It's a good question, but I do not think so. If you are in Cantlay's position next year, you'll have no choice but to go to the Q School which only gets you Web.com status.

Mike-OB (OB)

Thoughts as Toms as the next captain?

Bob Harig
  (3:27 PM)

I have no problem with it, because under the long-time criteria, he fits the PGA of America's criteria perfectly. He's won a major -- the PGA in 2001 -- a bunch of tour events, played in 3 Ryder Cups, will be in his late 40s and still playing the tour.That said, I wish they'd think outside the box. Toms can still be the captain someday.But if you really want to energize the thing and get a ton of publicity, give it to Larry Nelson -- who should have been captain years ago .Or give it to Tom Watson ,the last U.S. captain to win overseas. You think either one of those guys would be topics of conversation?

Christian (Detroit)

Do you think players respect a guy like Poulter more because he's money in Ryder Cup, but not really in majors, or less because of that fact?

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

I think it depends. It is a mystery why guys like Sergio, Monty and Poulter are so good in the Ryder Cup but not as good in the individual tournaments. Clearly Poulter has the respect of his peers for what he's gotten out of his career and his great pasison for the Ryder cup.

Tim (San Francisco)

Who that is currently just outside the T125 is your pick to move up and grab their card for next year....any gut feelings on who looks hot enough / game enough to do it?

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

It's tough to figure because to be in this position suggests a guy didn't do much all year. He's had plenty of chances most likely. And there's only one tournament left, Disney in two weeks.

Doug G (San Antonio)

Bob-I have always hoped Steve Stricker could win one major. Do think he has enough left in the tank to get one next year if things fall his way? Is Strick as classy as he seems? Just seems like a guy that everyone likes.

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

Stricker is a guy everyone likes, you're not missing anything there. As for winning a major, it is rare for guys to win them in their 40s, even though Ernie Els did it this year. Stricker will be 46.

Tim (San Francisco)

Gigantic W for 2Gloves...but if you were gonna name someone on tour that can't go stupid low at any time, he is certainly on the list. Ala Calc, Houston, Zach Johnson, Sneds.... how much does this W change Tommy? Is he as personable and genuine as he comes across in his interviews. Seems like a very solid person, let alone golfer.

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

He's a good guy who came a long way to get to this point. It's a very popular victory. It's a shame it didn't occur during the heart of golf season when the rest of the sports world might have been paying more attention.

Dan (CA)

I asked last week about Augusta National hosting a LPGA tournament. I feel like it would be a huge success. To be honest I'm a huge golf fan but have never watched womens golf ever, but I'd be 100% all in on a LPGA Masters. Wouldn't it be great if they hosted it a week or 2 after the Masters? What would be holding this up?

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

It's a great idea, but Augusta National decides, and things like this would take a lot of time for them to figure out. First, they want to do it right. They don't want to impact the Masters. To me, the best time to do it is just before the club closes in late May. It would be about 6 weeks after the Masters. The weather would be great. Lots of interest. But my guess they are years away, if at all, from doing something like this.

JY (TO)

I find the race to retain cards (and even for guys looking to secure conditional status) oddly fascinating. Something to cling to during the dog days of golf I suppose?

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

Yes, but not enough to stimulate the interest of most, which is why I think next year it will be more interesting. The regular season will end after the Wyndham and that will be it. You either make the playoffs or you don't. You're either exmept or you're not. No Fall Series to complicate matters. The fall events will be part of the new years.

Mike-OB (OB)

How bad was the Tiger interview today (at work, no chance to see)?

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

I did not see it, I take it you are refering to the CNBC thing he did?

Shoshana (Boston)

BVP is a steady player, but prior to Perth he only had one top 5 all year, despite all the top 10's. Basically he wasn't in contention very often. Not sure why logically people would have wanted him on the team over any of the picks

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

It would not have been right to put Van Pelt on the Ryder Cup team over Mahan and Fowler, both of whom won tournamets and competed in team competition before.

Bob (Miami, FLA)

Is Jim Furyk a hall of famer in your mind? I would say no but I think he has had just as good or maybe a slightly better career than Couples and Freddy is going in next year. Thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

Well, you just hit on something. By putting Couples in the Hall, have they just lowered the bar? Couples won 15 times and has a major and two players. Furyk has 16 wins and a major.I was not in favor of Couples going in, at least not right now. We can argue whether he deserves it for things other than his playing career, but if you do it on the numbers, I don't think he's a Hall of Famer.

Tim (San Francisco)

Do you own any Loudmouth pants? (tell the truth)

Bob Harig
  (3:38 PM)

I do not

Doug G (San Antonio)

Bob-I keep thinking about the end of the Ryder Cup. We always hear how "close" the guys are from across the pond. At the end of the Ryder cup they were passing around the "bubbly" and giving each other giant bear hugs. I am trying to picture Phil and Tiger in a giant bear hug..just cannot see it. Thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

They might not have been in a giant bear hug, but you can bet they would have been celebrating. I have never bought into the unity thing. That is not what caused Furyk to bogey the last two holes to lose to Garcia. I just don't see that correlation.

Kevin (Louisiana)

Will Dufner will a major in 2013?

Bob Harig
  (3:40 PM)

If you made give you a yes or no answer, I'd have to say no. . simply because the odds are not in his favor. He clearly has the game, temperment to win one.

Bill (Raleigh)

When does Norman's World Tour become a reality for the top 50-100 players in the world? Seems to me we are headed that way.

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

I don't think we'll ever see a world tour in the form that Norman proposed. His idea was for small fields, maybe 60 players, outside of sanctioning by any of the major tours. If you do that, you lose a sense of history. I do think there is a possibility down the road of the PGA Tour and European Tour combining to stage world tour events of some kind, but that is sort of what we have with the WGCs. Perhaps that is expanded.

Roger (Maltbie, GA)

What you be shocked if Couples is not the Ryder Cup captain in '14? Seems like a no-brainer....

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

I would be shocked if he was named the captain. The fact that he is Presidents Cup captain next year makes it highly unlikely that the PGA of America would name him Ryder Cup captain when those terms would overlap. It would be a great outside the box pick, but I'm not betting on it.

Tim (San Francisco)

How about his question..."shot of the year" Els holing the birdie on 18 at the Open? Bubba hooking wedge 60 yards off pine straw to win the Masters? Furyk hooking like 3 separate shots in 3 tournaments to yak away chances? I actually kinda liked watching Bubba hit driver on 1 at the Ryder Cup with the crowd going haywire...

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

I think the shot of the year will be Bubba's approach in the playoff. Given the circumstances, how he pulled it off, etc.. that will be the biggest one.

Shoshana (Boston)

If Couples isn't a hall of famer and neither is Furyk, other than Davis (and Tiger) is there a hall of famer in the next decade coming up? Maybe criteria needs to be lowered bc it has been harder to win prolifically in the modern era (since 1970's)

Bob Harig
  (3:45 PM)

There's no doubt it's harder to win. And they are going to run out of candidates pretty soon. But I'm not sure that means the standards should be lowered. I think there is a case to be made for all of them.

Bob (Washington DC)

Can you briefly explain what is required to become a Ryder Cup captain? Majors, how many wins, etc.

Bob Harig
  (3:46 PM)

There is no set requirement. But on the U.S. side, there's never been a captain who did not win at least one major championship. So that seems to be a starting point. Having played in a bunch of Ryder Cups also helps. Then there is the rather dubious notion that a guy in his late 40s is preferred because he can still play on the tour and "keep an eye" on his potential team. To me, that matters very little. We could all have picked the 4 at-large choices. We could all come up with the pairings. I'd like to see them come off that critera.

Tim (San Francisco)

Stop me if you heard this one...Kevin Na, Ben Crane, and Sergio Garcia head to the first tee.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Aw heck, I fell asleep again. Sorry.Any chance at all that slow play gets addressed anytime soon?

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

We've be waiting for something to happen on that front for years. Maybe if the TV networks threatened the tour in some way, they'd do something about it. But commissioner Finchem doesn't seem inclined to make it a big issue. It's too bad -- because it's a huge issue.

Shoshana (Boston)

Why is topic of conversation a good thing for Ryder Cup captain. Nelson and Watson are good people, but Nelson especially has no clue what's going on in today's game. If we're going outside the box why not Couples or Azinger again?

Bob Harig
  (3:49 PM)

My guess is that Larry Nelson could get up to speed very quickly. 8 of the 12 players are picked for him. It doesn't take a genius to figure out 4 more players, based on factors he clearly can figure out. Pairings? The players often have a say in that. Perhaps being a bit detached might be better. While I don't blame Love for the U.S. defeat -- it's still about how they play -- you could argue that he deferred to the players too much. He's buddies with many of them. Maybe better if that is not the case.That said, I'd have no problem with Couples or Azinger. Do something different for once is sort of what I'm saying.

Tim (San Francisco)

How does the Press/Media lottery work for the Masters? and have you ever won the lottery to play the hallowed ground?

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

Been fortuante to participate. They basically pick about 40 or so print, electronic, internet media types via a lottery. If you've played, can't enter again for 7 years. They let you warm up on the range, change in the Champions Locker room, use an Augusta caddie. Quite the experience and if you're talking about "research," it is the ultimate way to learn.

Shoshana (Boston)

I guess my point is if we are agree that it's harder to win, then winning 15 now is equivalent of winning 20, 30 yrs ago. It's not lowering standards, it's recognizing that it's a different era

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

I guess I don't have a problem with Tiger, Phil, Ernie, Vijay, Davis. . maybe Fred and Furyk, being the only ones to go in from this era. Back in the day, the competition was not as keen, but there were less tournaments and more big-name players who were winning a bunch of them. You have to separate greatness in some way.

Doug G (San Antonio)

Bob-why does it seem like the Korean ladies have been able to basically dominate the LPGA?

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

The general theory on this is work ethic. They come from a country where the way they were schooled, the way they were taught the game develops this tremendous practice mantra. It's being too simplistic, but there is certainly a school of thought that suggests they simply work harder.

Andrew (WI)

I'd add Colin Montgomerie (yeah yeah no majors but 493 straight order of mertis has to be recognized somehow) to your HoF list, to be honest. There's something to be said for that level of dominance for that long on a major tour.

Bob Harig
  (3:56 PM)

I agree. Monty will be in the Hall of Fame. He won 8 money titles in Europe, a lot of tournaments, his Ryder Cup record. . all of that is deserving.

Christian (Detroit)

Forgive my ignorance, but I've seen the Larry Nelson argument for Ryder Cup a few times now, especially on Twitter. I don't remember when he was a player or a real figure in the game. Where does all the support for him come from? Just curious.

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

I could go on and on about this.Nelson won three majors! Two of them were PGA Championships. He also had a great Ryder Cup record and was 5-0 in his first appearance. But he's now 65. He should have been the captain 15 years ago.And if you want to get patriotic. .. Nelson served in Vietnam and didn't take up golf until he got back. He then went on to win three majors in the 80s. It's an amazing story.

Andrew (WI)

I don't know about anyone else, but I think Ryder Cup captaincies should be used to give as many players a shot to be one as possible. It's a really important exhibition, but still an exhibition. I'd like to see Toms/Leonard/Fuyrk/Mickelson in some order the next 8 years (unless Larry Nelson squeezes in somewhere)

Bob Harig
  (3:59 PM)

And I believe that is the general theory. It's why you haven't seen a repeat captain since Nicklaus in '87. And I think you're order looks pretty good.

Ed (Long Island)

You often here during the year that if Rory, Tiger (insert top player) plays his A game, no one can be them. After seeing a guy like Gainey shoot a 60, isn't it fair to say that if any player in the top 125 plays their A game for 4 days, they can beat or at least play with anyone?

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

And you could argue that Gainey didn't have his A game for 4 days.

Keith H (Seattle)

Bob, with Tiger taking his half out of the middle in victories by approaching Snead's record, the fallout regarding the Hall of Fame is simply reaching double digits in victories might be enough for this era. Your thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (4:03 PM)

That is what it is sort of turning into. I just think if you have just one major, you need more than 15 wins. But it's not black and white.

Ed (Long Island)

Hall of Famers by wins will be tough in the future. It seems player are not as motivated to win as much - too much money out there for even a top 25 finish. Old days, purses not as great, winning meant more. Winning one time a year and guys are more than pleased now.

Bob Harig
  (4:04 PM)

Well, you could say that really about the last 20 years. The money has been phenomenal. And what you say has a lot of merit. You don't have to win to be wealthy. And yet Tiger, Phil, Vijay have all won more than 30 times in this era. Ernie has 19 PGA Tour wins and 60-some wins worldwide. That should mean something.

Shoshana (Boston)

I think Nelson should have been captain, but I'd really like to see the US win. Maybe it's time to change the criteria to most likely to help the US win

Bob Harig
  (4:06 PM)

I'm just not sure what that is. The U.S. lost by 1 point because Tiger elected not to play out his match (would have been an overall tie if he had), because Jim Furyk bogeyed the last two holes to lose by 1, because Mickelson had three long putts holed on him on the last 3 holes by Justin Rose. Any of those things changes the Ryder Cup. Not sure any captain has an impact on that.

Jay (IN)

I like Steve Stricker too, but he hasn't been top 5 at a major since 1999. It's not like he's come close, he just doesn't play that well on the big stages.

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

It's true that Stricker has not been a great performer in the majors, which makes the idea of him winning one at age 46 all the more challenging.

Tim (San Francisco)

Last one of the day...how many major wins for Tiger next year? I'll put the o/u at 0.5. You want the over or under?

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

I thought he'd get one this year. I still think he'll get one next year. So I have to go with the over. I think Muirfield is it.

Dan (CA)

In terms of thinking outside the box for RC Captian, do you think the PGA would ever chose a non-golfer? Michael Jordan would just be an example, but there could be other possibilities.

Bob Harig
  (4:08 PM)

I think that's too far outside the box! I'd rather seeing a playing captain than a non-playing captain who's never played.

Doug G (San Antonio)

Tad Fujikawa or Michelle Wie? It seems we were told to be excited about both. what happened? Who still has a chance? Why has Michelle not truly put it together in your opinion?

Bob Harig
  (4:09 PM)

These are the great mysteries. Too much hype. Too much good golf too soon. Wie still has the ability to do a lot in the game. I think her time at Stanford, while good for her personally and emotionally, set her back. But if motivated, she'd got plenty of time.

Shoshana (Boston)

4 Players born in the 1930's and 5 players born in the 1940's won more than 20x on the pga tour. Since then it's been 3. And nobody younger than Tiger has 10 wins (Zach is closest with 9). For golf starting in the 1980's (pre Tiger) Furyk's 15 and a major are a lot. Makes what Tiger, Phil and Vijay have done even more impressive to me

Bob Harig
  (4:10 PM)

An interesting and good point.

Shoshana (Boston)

Heard a rumor that this was last yr for Disney. Will becoming wrap around tour cost the tour any other sponsors/tournaments?

Bob Harig
  (4:13 PM)

Yeah, that rumor is out there, mainly because this is the last year for Children's Miracle Network as title sponsor. Don't know if they are coming back or not.Have not heard of it costing any other tournaments, but Disney is losing its identity. For 15 years or so, it has been last on the schedule. Now it will be (if they come back) just one of a bunch of tournaments at the beginning of the season. And they have to raise their purse, too.

Bob Harig
  (4:15 PM)

Okay folks sorry for the technical issues, tried to hang in to get to as many as I could but have run out of time. Please catch up with me on Twitter @bobharig. Look forward to chatting again next week. Thanks