Sorry about the late start, folks. My sincere apologies. . Let's get going, I'll try to catch up. Please fire away with your questions.
Bob How many more majors will Phil get before his career comes to a close?
I wish I knew! Have always felt Phil had a major or two more in him. Remember he missed a playoff by two strokes at the Masters last year -- with two triple bogeys in the tournament! Phil loves Augusta, I'm guessing he will be very motivated and go there with confidence.
Hear any talk downplaying the quality of the win this weekend because the winner has a good history at the Phoenix Open?
I wrote the same thing when Tiger won at Torrey Pines -- past success does not guarantee future success. You still have to be playing well. If that were not the case, Kyle Stanley would have been in contention. He played well at Phoenix last year. This time he finished last. The venue doesn't matter if a guy isn't not hitting it well.
It seemed there was incredible attention focused on Phil all 4 rounds, and deservedly so. Is that a tougher week mentally going wire-to-wire than climbing up the leader board day after day and ultimately winning?
I don't think there is any question it is harder. Phil was in the last group both days of the weekend. After shooting 60, there is an expectation that you are going to be there in the end.
You wrote that Phil "when motivated is still as good as it gets in golf." Where does he find motivation? In other words, any idea why he was motivated at the Phoenix Open but was not motivated at Torrey Pines?
I'm not saying he wasn't motivated at Torrey Pines, but he clearly had some distractions that week and he wasn't driving it very well. He got his head cleared, got a new driver, worked with Butch. . I'd call that movitation to find something that works.
How about to speed up play, if a guy has follow up putt of 3 feet or less he has to finish out. These guys mark everything now and then re-start the whole process again. It would be no different than if he putted, ran it past and the other guys were already done he'd have to go right away again.
The USGA used to have a continuous putting rule. Once you putted your first ball, you had to finish -- unless you were standing in somebody's line. Let's be honest, that would help.
bob, why do you think tiger won't play at riviera anymore?
Lots of theories. Scheduling is one. Doesn't fit in with the events he wants to play. His lack of success is another. Played there more than any tournament without winning. I wonder, too, if since his own tournament is in LA area, he doesn't want to support the other one.
When do we first see Rory in North America? The match play?
Yes. Then Honda, Doral, Houston, Masters
Will the new golf calendar/schedule mean we see more top players playing in the fall events?
Not necessarily. Guys are still going to try and take time off. And the Fall Schedule comes right after a hectic time. PGA Tour playoffs, Presidents Cup. I think they'll play in the WGC in China and perhaps the Malaysia event. But I'm not convinced the Frys, Vegas, McGladrey and Cancun will do any better.
Over Under Majors for Tiger this year Set at 1: you taking over or under?
I'm taking 1 major.
Bob....i'm a big Ernie Els fan....what kind of season do you see from him? If you had to put a percentage on it, what shot would you give him this year of adding a 5th major title to his resume?
I would say the percentage is low, simply because they are so hard to win. That was a nice surprise last year. Ernie is seemingly back to struggling again. He's not done much since he won. Now if he can get that putting going. . Ernie still hits the ball beautifully.
Hob - how many tournaments/majors do tiger and rory win this year?i'm saying 6/2 for tiger and 1/0 for rory.
My pick at the beginning of the year was 4/1 for each. I'll stay with it.
With Phil and Tiger winning back to back, golf fans should forget their allegiance for a moment, take a breath and realize the sustained greatness of both of these players. It really is remarkable the level of play they have maintained over the years. I am a Phil fan, but definitely appreciate the greatness of Tiger.
It is truly remarkable what they have done in an era of relative parity. I wrote about it briefly doing in Birdies and Bogeys on ESPN.com (shameless plug again). Other than Tiger, there is nobody under the age of 40 who has 10 wins.
What are the major venues next year? This year seems a bit ho-hum, although I am looking forward to Muirfield
Ah, Merion is going to be great. Great to see a venue less than 7,000 yards and how it holds up. Oak Hill a long-time classic. Jack won a PGA there. Trevino a U.S. Open. Curtis Strange won U.S. Open there. Ryder Cup in '95.Next year's majors: Pinehurst for U.S. Open, Royal Liverpool for British and Valhalla for PGA
Do you expect Snedecker to win a major this year or if not what is holding him back given his great putting abilities
Not sure I would ever expect anyone to win a major. Too many variables. But Snedeker keeps improving. He put himself in the mix at the British last summer, and that's important. Putting being as imporant as it is, I like his ability to contend.
If Mickelson has really found something with his new driver and Woods reasserting himself at Torrey and McIlroy coming off a coronation year, could we be looking at a golden age of golf? With the potential ratings, story-lines, drama that might unfold within the next few years.
There is no quesiton that having these three guys playing well is good for the game. Golf is about the stars, always has been. For some reason, underdogs are scorned. Obviously nobody moves the needle like Tiger, but Phil and Rory are obviously huge names. The key is to have them all plaing well at the same time. That would be fun.
Any reason to Tiger skipping Pebble again? Was last year just a make-up to Finchem for missing Torrey Pines?
Last year was some sort of make-up in some form, whether the tour, his sponsors, etc. He doesn't particularly care for the 6-hour pro-am rounds and bumpy greens.
Thoughts if Vijay is entered and plays in Pebble Beach? Seems like it would make a farce of drug testing.
He is entered and so far has not withdrawn. He has a right to play while his situation is under review.
Do you think the PGA Tour will "publish" any fine/suspension for Vijay and his announcement of violating banned substance policy? What would be fair?
Under their policy, they are required to announce penalties in this case. Failing a test for a banned substance or PED or admitting to using it means the same thing, so we should expect some sort of explanation.
Hi Bob. Look forward to the chats. At what point does PGA do the new position reshuffle for first timers?
At the end of February, following the Match Play
With Tiger not playing Pebble like last year, do you see him adding another tournament that he didn't play last year?
He added Torrey Pines this year which he didn't play last year. That is likely the trade off for Pebble.
If you take something banned you should be suspended (from sheer stupidity if nothing else) but why are we banning things that are a) common in medicine in other cultures and b) scientifically cannot work
Who says it can't work? I would not begin to go down that road. These banned substances are part of a huge packet of substances that is set for both the anti-doping folks who come up with it for the Olympics. The PGA Tour is following that mandate. It's sort of like saying the embedded ball rule through the green is a dumb rule. Maybe it is. But it's a rule, it's in the books, and if you violate it, you are penalized.
Is that a common occurance what Phil did with his driver that others pro do, try it out on a Tuesday and it's in the bag right away?
Yes, that kind of thing happens all the time with drivers, shafts, fairway woods, putters. . .
Thanks for chatting today. Vijay Singh says he used deer antler spray. This is what the web site claimed to be selling. Has anyone verified that it was actually deer antler spray?
The question seems to be whether the banned substance IFG-1 was in the deer antler spray.
How much confidence do you have in predicting how Jim Furyk will do?
I have no confidence predicting how anyone will do! If I did, I'd be living large in Vegas. We can only go by certain trends, clues. Furyk has taken a long time off since Sherwood. It all depends on if he worked hard on his game or if he plans to work his way back into it by playing tournament golf.
About slow play, I think we may be missing something so obvious we didn't notice it - longer courses that simply take more time to navigate. As much as the purists might cringe, do we have to think about the idea of carts or some other way to speed up transportation? Or how about for caddies only, so they can work on getting yardages while the player walks?
That is done. On courses that have long distances between greens and tees, players and caddies will take carts as a form of shuttle system.
Why should I believe Mickelson that this new driver is the best for him? He once won the Masters with 2 drivers and if they were really that great he'd still use them. Isn't this just it worked and let's ride it until it doesn't?
Possibly. It seems to be a matter of confdience. If Phil can be aggressive, he plays so much better.
Why was the Masters moved back a week?
The Masters date always has it ending on the second Sunday of April. This year, the second Sunday isn't until April 14, hence the date.
If Vijay does get suspended, will or can he play the Masters?
No, drug suspensions are upheld by all tours and organizations. He'll only be able to play if the suspension -- if there is one -- doesn't last that long.
Phoenix Open: any players annoyed by the stadium crowd at the 16th? They seem to act like they enjoy it.
I'm sure there are some who don't care for it But they know what they are signing up for there.
Well multiple scientists say you can't get IGF-1 into your body via spray (it has to be a shot), and they've tried since it would be great for people with insulin issues.
For some reason, the doping agencies have banned it. To me, that is another argument. We could probably argue about a lot of things on the banned list. We could argue whether any of it helps golfers. But golf has a testing policy, this stuff is banned.
Have or will you had a chance to get out to Streamsong?
I played one of the courses in November. Terrific. Really unique.
People always discount Tiger's victories when they come at Torrey, Firestone, Bay Hill Etc... I argue that every player on the PGA Tour has favorite courses, but don't win on those courses with the consistency of Tiger. Do you agree, or should these victories be discounted?
I agree. As I said earlier in the chat, past success does not guarantee future success. And Tiger has had his struggles at Firestone, Bay Hill. Last year he tied for 40th at Augusta, where he's won 4 times. If you're not playing well, it doesn't matter.
Do you think Rory will adjust to his new Nike endorsement well? Or will it even have an effect on his play?
Who has a better chance of winning another major, and why: Keegan, Kaymer, or Bubba?
This is what we are waiting to see! There is an adjustment period for sure. And Rory needs to play in tournaments to get it figured out. So far, just two rounds.
Sorry, didn't answer the Bubba, Keegan, Kaymer quesiton.I would have thought Kaymer. He seemingly has the best overall game, and has won a lot at a young age. Then he went into a bit of a slump, but seems to be emerging.
Has Tiger been a more consistent golfer than Rory the past 12 months? Rory was non existent all last summer until the PGA, and Tiger was in contention in the playoff events Rory did win.
You can certainly make the argument that Tiger has been more consistent. Rory missed 5 worldwide cuts last year, Tiger just two.
Does Duval make the cut this week? Does he do well enough on exemptions and past champion status this year to get into the four week end of year "play for a card" tournament? Do we see him full time as a result in 2014?
His recent past does not suggest he will be able to earn back his card. But he says he is now healthy, and the key for him is to finish in the top 10 once in awhile to earn a spot the following week. All of that will lead to more exemptions.
Pebble seems to have taken a step back again with the quality of the field. Does the sponsor/tournament care? Is this more about the celebrities this week than the pros? Also is it that pro's don't like pro ams or the 6 hour rounds.
I don't think the sponsor cares. They get a lot of attention from TV and the celebrities carry the day for them. It's amazing to think a player would skip Pebble Beach, but the format and playing three courses is a negative to many.
How wide open is Phoenix. If this new driver Phil is using has really made that kind of difference off the tee, he is going to be a force all year
There is no quesiton that Phoenix offers a lot of scoring opportunities. But if Phil feels confident with his driver, that confidence leads to aggressiveness which can really benefit him. He's really good with his irons, and having the opportunity to go at flags is key.
Is this the year one of the majors (pga or u.s. open) is coming back to Merion? Do they still have the wicker baskets on the holes instead of flags? Have they lengthened the course since the 70s?
Merion is U.S. Open venue this year and they still have the wicker baskets instead of flags. Course has been lengthened, but still measures less than 7,000 hards.
I think that the PGA Tour and USGA could learn from the AJGA's pace of play policy. I played over 20 tournament on that tour and only had one round over 4 hours. College golf and the 6 hour rounds are the worst, though.
They should take everything into consideration as it regards to speeding up play.
That same aggressiveness cost him at Winged Foot in '06. Of course, that was a long time ago.
That was more about course management. You still have to be smart about when to be aggressive. Phil has admitted that trying to go for the green on the second shot was his mistake.
going back to next years majors question, dont you think they line up for tiger? Royal Liverpool and valhalla?
Yes, but we said the same thing in 2010: Pebble, St. Andrews... The past means very little if he is not playing well.
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for the questions. Please feel free to hit me up on Twitter @bobharig . Enjoy the golf at Pebble Beach.