Hello, thanks for checking in, hope to answer as many questions as possible. Plenty to chat about, so let's get started. Please fire away.
Aren't people overstating Tiger's ball striking in other years when he was winning majors? It seems like every time Tiger has a big miss now people say he isn't ready to win majors, but I can recall him hitting some wild shots years ago and still winning majors. The 2008 US Open comes to mind.
No doubt, Tiger has never been perfect off the tee, far from it. He's always languished in the accuracy stats, but managed his game so well in other areas. The difference might be that back then he had an ability to get the ball in play when he absolutely had to. He seems to be searching for that still. And yet, his game is nit-picked to death. He did win by four shots.
How are things looking for Jonas Blixt getting into the Masters?
He's got some work to do. 79th in the world ranking, unlikely to get in the Match Play, where he'd have a chance to move up more. He needs to get to the top 50 by the end of March.
Do you forsee Rory struggling for a few months as he adjusts to his new equipment?
You never know. There are numerous examples on both sides of this new equipment deal. I have a feeling he'll be fine. I think Abu Dhabi was more due to lack of preparation. It was his first tournament in 8 weeks. He hadn't played with them yet in competition. And now he's spending time working on it.
If Tiger ends up winning 95 PGA events and 16 majors, do you think that will be enough to claim greatest golfer of all time status? You'd have to think at a certain point if he gets too far ahead of Jack in regular tour wins that being a major or two short wouldnt matter?
Surpassing Jack in majors is the only thing that ends the argument. If he does as you say, it will provide fodder certainly. Something to debate. But there is no debate if he gets to 18 or beyond.
While I feel like Tiger needs to adapt a little better to slow play it was ridiculous how slow the group ahead of him was. I think I saw Marino mark several one-foot putts. I know you are playing for a lot of money and all, but geez. Did they ever get put on the clock?
To my knowledge, they were not put on the clock. No quesiton that was a horrible example of slow play. It has dominated the discussion as much as Tiger's win.
When is the PGA going to get serious about speed of play? Those last holes were painful. If I had not put the DVR on, I would have tuned out the broadcast.
It is a question that has been asked without a good anwer for years. Until they get serious about giving stroke penalties, nothing will change.
What do you think has been behind Charles Howell III stellar start to 2013?
He has been working with a new coach, Gary Gilchrist, who has done some sports psychology work with him as well. He's playing nicley at the moment.
Yes a Tiger question. I know all the talk is about how this win for Tiger isn't that great because it's at a course that he always wins on. But isn't it still amazing and a great start to the season for him? It's not like there is another golfer out there that you can put on one specific course and expect him to win.
I addressed this topic in my column today on ESPN.com (sorry, shameless plug: http://espn.go.com/golf/notebook/_/page/birdiesandbogeys130129/titles-execution-even-tiger-woods-golf)Just because a player loves a course does not translate to victory. You have to play well. Tiger has struggled at many places where he has done well. If you're not hitting it well, not makng the putts, doesn't matter how much the golf course suits a player.
Tiger's win was pretty damn impressive considering how hard it had to be too focus out there with slow play... when will penalty shots start being issued? It is a joke and makes for bad play.
I am with you. Slow play kills the game, especially for those watching in person.
So, the PGA Tour has the same problem as every muni. Slow play. What can be done about it at all levels? It is going to kill the game.
Getting lots of questions on this, and I'll say the same thing:You have to give stroke penalties for slow play and have the players pointed out as culprits. Their behavior will not change othrewise.
What are your thoughts on caddies being able to use gps yardage finders? Would it speed up play at all?
In general, I am against it. I think getting yardages and doing homework on the course separates caddies. That said, they all use GPS during practice rounds anyway. And if it helps speed up the game, then I think it should be considered strongly. Anything to get them moving.
Bob, what do you think about Tiger's improved short game? And do you believe Tiger when he says the pace of play effected his game towards the end of the last round?
It is still a work in progress. He was not sharp in Abu Dhabi, much improved in San Diego. Very much a key to his success. And no doubt, 8-shot lead, waiting forever, that had to take its toll.
If Tiger can hit his 3-wood out there 290 or so and mostly in play... why not hit it more often?
Good question. Remember, at times last year, he was criticized for hitting irons and fairway woods off tees, playing conservatively. And let's be honest, he doesn't always hit the 3 wood straight.
I know Tiger and slow play stole the show but Rickie Fowler was phenomenal for the last 54. Do you think he can keep it up and have his best year yet?
Yes, that was a tremendous comeback. From making cut after 77 to tying for 6th. I thought he was going to win last week until the opening round and expect him to have a good year.
When will we see tiger next
Looks like Match Play.
As for slow play at the muni level. Move it up a tee box. C'mon most of us aren't single digit handicaps, get off the blue tees and give yourself a shot at a GIR and keep the pace moving. Please!
There are so many factors that can help slow play. Put the pins on the cart path side of the green. Move tees up on busy days or players move up. Be ready when it's your turn. Hit provisionals if you think you went O.B.. . so many things.
In Tiger's deep thoughts that he will never admit, do you think he was diappointed only winning by 4 strokes? yes a win is still a win, but an 8 to 10 stroke win would have truly sent a message
I'm sure he wanted to win by 8 or 10. But in the end, it doesn't really matter. That's the reason you give yourself such a big cushion so you don't have to fret about it. And he still won by 4.
Other than Tiger, is there any current player on tour who has won on the same course more than 3 times? Maybe Phil at Pebble?
Off the top of my head, Davis Love won 5 times at Hilton Head. Phil of course has 4 wins at Augusta too.
I've tried to convince our club pro to require foursomes to play best ball only on Saturday mornings.
Or how about foursomes which means only 2 balls in play? Unfortunately, Americans are used to playing with a scorecard and pencil. They want to play their own ball.
It seems to me that Tiger's physical game is coming back but mentally he still seems to struggle. Your thoughts?
It's possible he doesn't quite trust everything. He drove the ball really well at times both weeks he's played, but has this wild misses. Controlling the misses is obviously key.
Bob Phil has only won the Masters 3 times: 04, 06, 10
Yep, my bad. Thinking 4 majors. Thanks.
The golfing world wants to see a Tiger and Rory final in the match play. What're the odds this happens?
I would say you'd make a tidy sum if you bet on it. They are going to be seeded 1-2 so each has win five matches to get there. It's possible, but unlikely. That's the nature of Match Play.
Is it just me or does Brandell Chamblee seem to dump on Tiger as often as he can. I now Tiger had prolems diving the ball Mondy but ovrall this week he did pretty well.
Brandel has been a big critic and as a former tour pro he has credibility when talking about the golf swing. But he has also said Tiger should have gone back to Butch and his 2000 swing and while I know nothing about the golf swing, I know that wouldn't work. That was a long time ago. Tiger and Butch split for various reasons, some of which had to do with Tiger's desire to take pressure off the knee. To suggest he should go back is being outrageous. It was never going to happen.
How much of the media's talk about Rory's switch to Nike is just that "talk" and how much is justified?
I think it is justified. There are numerous examples of guys struggling when they switch clubs. And as the No. 1 player in the world, that comes with the territory.
Who did you grow up rooting for?
Bears, Cubs, Blackhawks, Bulls. .. and the Golden Bear.
What is the one thing you would work on to improve your handicap from a 20 to the low teens?
Everybody talks about the short game, and that's true. Chipping and putting saves a lot of strokes and high handicappers waste a lot around the greens. That said, you have to get the ball in play, whether it's a driver or 5 wood off the tee. High handicappers struggle to recover from a poor tee shot. While Tiger can hit a bad drive and still make par, high handicappers hit a bad drive and make double. That's why I think driving -- whatever the club -- is improtant.
How many texts/minutes do you think Tim Rosaforte goes thru each month? Every 3 seconds he's on the air he mentions texting someone or just getting off the phone with someone...
Golf's version of Adam Shefter
Lots of Tiger talk.. meanwhile Brandt Snedeker keeps piling up the top 10's... this guy is a machine right now.
And if he hadn't had a couple of mishaps on the greens Friday, he would have been right there.
Here's at least one reason for slow play: on 18, Compton hit a shot into one of the tents. So he had to wait for a rules official to confirm he was taking relief in the right place. After he dropped the ball, he then went about his routine figuring out distance and target. I forget who (Feherty, Faldo, etc) pointed it out, but he could have figured out that other stuff while he was waiting so he was ready to play after he dropped the ball. But waiting just added more minutes to the process.
Compton is a great story, but he was terrible slow all the way around.
Watney or Dufner this week?
I picked Dufner to win this week.
As a paying customer, I don't want the course dictating to me what game I can play or tee box I can use. That being said, it's on me (and everyone else) to be ready to play. I think playing ready golf is one of the best ways to speed up play.
No question, but go to the UK, where typically there are two sets of tees: championship and regular. You play from where they say. I'm not saying courses should dictate, but people have to know which is the proper tee. Unless you are a single digit handicap golfer, most player too far bck and that adds to the difficulty.
Will we see Tiger ranked #1 this year?
It's going to be tough. He's well behind Rory. He'd need to win a bunch whle Rory struggles a bunch.
Is it me or was Phil looking "old" this week? He just looked like a beat up man out there it seems... your thoughts?
It wasn't a good week for Phil. He sure missed a lot of short putts. But he looked lost a year ago and then won Pebble Beach. He uses these tournaments to get his game in shape. As I've said many times, Phil is maddeningly inconsistent. I am not surprised either way with his performance.
Getting ahead of myself here, but who matches up well with the Muirfield course for the British Open? It seems like one of the big dogs always wins there.
Yes, it's a who's who of winners there: Els, Faldo, Watson, Trevino. .. It could very well be Tiger, Rory, Ernie, Rose, Westwood in the mix there.
The reality is you're often better off being 310 and somewhere in the rough 50% of the time and fairway the other 50% of the time, then 280 and in the fairways 70% of the time, and well back in the rough the other 30% of the time. That being said, no longer hitters on tour are straight, and Tiger wasn't straight under Butch in '01 or '02.
Tiger was "straighter" back then but he also played with a shorter shaft. Almost nobody is as accurate as a decade or so ago because shafts are longer -- which means less accuracy -- and fairways, in general, are narrower.
Thoughts on Phil's tax comments? I thought they were wrong place wrong time. I mean if he disliked CA taxes wouldn't he have moved years ago? And now an extra 3% is the tipping point? Not a fan of the way he did that.
I don't want to hammer him too much. We want guys to be honest Then when their honest we rip them? He was honest. Now perhaps that was ill advised. None of us wants to pay higher taxes, but we all think it's okay if the other guy does. Phil was probably a bit insensitive. It didn't look good, didn't come off well. But you know, secretly, there were tons of people out there cheering him, too.
Usually the players are slow, but this week the PGA tour tried to cram 87 golfers around Torrey in a continuous loop. That was never going to end well. I'd give them a collective pass. (By the way, if they knew they were going to Monday, why just not finish the 3rd round and make another cut and send them out Monday morning? They would've finished at the same time anyways)
You are right, that was a big part of the problem. And you are also right in saying that they should have made a secondary cut which they normally do when the field is beyond 78 players, repaired and started again on Monday. They got caught up in the "Tiger on TV" angle and it bit them.
Hi Bob, how does the WGC Match Play set up for Tiger?
The Match Play is always a crap shoot. You can play great and get beat, play lousy and win. That is why it is not deemed as the true test. Tiger has own the tournament 3 times, but he's also been bounced early, like last year. You never know.
What are your thoughts on Lee Westwood's career? Only 2 wins on the PGA tour, one of those being way back in 1998.
I would attribute a lot of that to the fact that he's rarely been a member of the PGA Tour, only playing a handful of events.
As an aside to your story, Phil has won AT&T 4x, Masters 3x, Bellsouth 3x, Buick 3x, and the old nortel/chrysler classic 3x
There you go.. . Some players have great success at the same venue. Doesn't mean it is guaranteed.
I agree with you for the regular guy playing that the driver off the tee is most important. I also think that delays the round more than anything with everyone searching for their ball. They should create a "drop zone" somewhere in the fairway for missed T shots. This way a player doesn't spend 10 minutes looking for it to just hack out of somewhere if they actually find the ball. Take a stroke and move on...and bring extra balls.
I understand that sentiment and it might be best for me and you. But for someone who truly wants to play by the rules? That is one of the beauties of the game, playing by the rules. Not all do of course.
Do you know where Tiger ended the week in total driving?
Don't know about total driving but he was 8th in driving distance and 17th in accuracy so it had to be pretty good.
Who is your Super Bowl pick?
Harbaugh. .. I'm sorry, I know that's lame.
Amazing to look at Tiger's 75 wins in perspective. Can you really look out on tour now and think any player in his 20's will win 20 events? Even 15? Rory probably will and so might DJ, but 75 is really unbelievable to think about.
Yes it is. And so is Phil's 40-win total and Vijay's 34. Fred Couples just made the Hall of Fame with 15 wins -- Tiger has 5X that many. He ought to get 5 times as much space.
Tiger ended the week 1st in total driving, and 1st in prox to center of the fairway
There you go. .. He hit a bunch of wayward drives, but still was really solid. If he would reign in his big misses, imagine how good he will be then.
Do media lose their credentials for the week or face any punishment when they are the ones distracting a player? That was a media member at #9 that really seemed to get Tiger rattled
I was not there, but it is my understanding it was a credentialed photographer. They all know that is a no-no. Depends on the situation. Could have been an accident.
I find it hard to understand how someone with Tiger's ability cannot develope a "go to shot" off the tee. Faldo mentioned that point yesterday. He spoke ablout how Jack could always go to a gentle cut in tight situations.
This is a mystery. He used to have the stringer 2-iron that was automatic. I'm not sure if the 2=iron was in the bag last week. He puts the 5-wood there in it's place. There were times he was trying to hit a cut and pulled it. That's obviously the double cross miss that no player wants to deal with.
Why has the US Open never returned to The Country Club in Brookline?
Not sure. Lots of political stuff involved in these decisions. This is the 100th anniversary of Ouimet's win at The Country Club and it would have been the perfect time to go there.
Nobody reigns in their big misses, every guy on tour has them. The guys with high club head speed (and Tiger is top 10) have more and wider
Under pressure, you can't miss fairways by 50 yards. That is a killer. To reign in that miss, you need a go to shot. Sure guys are going to miss from time to time, but in the last two rounds, Tiger had lots of big misses. He overcame them.
Based on how tiger is looking right now, what odds would you put on him getting at least one major this year?
Regardless of his victory, I had him winning a major this year.
I wonder if the disappearance of Tiger's stinger has anything to do with protecting the knee. It seems like the kind of shot that would cause more stress. Then again, I'm no swing guru.
It's a good question to ask, certainly. I will try to broach it at some point.
I noticed you tweeted on Monday about fans standing way too close to Tiger's shot path in the rough. That always freaks me out. I feel like someone is going to get seriously hurt or killed at some point.
It blows me away that people would stand that close. Even Tiger can hit one off the toe. It's rare, but it can happen.
Chamblee said he thinks Tiger wins 4 more majors, tieing him with Jack - you like those odds or taking over/under?
I would take the under purley from an odds standpoint. But that doesn't mean I don't thinke he can get there. Jack won all 4 majors after turning 38.
Which event are you attending next? Thanks for chat today!
Looks like Honda is next for me, then the entire Florida Swing.
I was annoyed by some of the coverage and commentary of the tax comment by Phil. He answered a question truthfully and thoughtfully.yet, got hammered.
I see your point. I said basically the same earlier, I don't like giving a hard time to someone who is asked a question and is honest. That said, you know it isn't going to go over well when a guy who has made $50-million in tour earnings alone complains about taxes. Far too many people who love to have that problem.
What is your opinion on the anchoring issue?
I am in favor of banning it. To me, it's not the proper golf stroke, and that is what they are trying to get back to. But I understand the other side. They let this go for a long, long time.
What do you believe is the greatest single shot Tiger has hit in his career?
I would have to say the shot he hit out of a fairway bunker at the Canadian Open that set up a birdie. . His second shot in 02 at Hazeline on 18 was also very impressive during a finish to the second round on Saturday morning.
Hi Bob,Now that Tiger as stated slow play is an issue do you think the tour will finally start to do something about it. That was awful yesterday.
He said last year he was in favor of stroke penalties without warning.
im pretty sure I saw tiger hitting the stinger alot last year such as during the arnold palmer tourney
That's possible, but I think he had a 2-iron in the bag.
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Lots of great questions, sorry I could not get to them all. I'm happy to try and answer questions on Twitter. @bobharig. .. Thanks again.