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March 8, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Collins

Michael Collins
  (3:00 PM)

It's the fastest hour in golf. Tiger and Phil are on top, Rory's near the bottom, and here comes Bubba. AND there's an unknown 46 year old cinderella with a funky swing in the mix. Other than Rory's struggles, all in golf seems right again. Am I missing anything?

Tom (Philly)

If Tiger wins.. Does this prove he will have a really successful year?

Michael Collins
  (3:01 PM)

There's no such thing as "proof" in predicting the future of how a golfer will play. Tiger determines his year by major wins, we determine his year by wins. I'd say if he wins this week he is setting himself up for a big year.

Alex (Anaheim)

Do you expect Tiger to keep it going after his strong first round?

Michael Collins
  (3:02 PM)

Yeah, he loves this course so when he starts playing well here he rarely has train wreck days.

Freddie (Akron Ohio)

IS the wind kicking up?

Michael Collins
  (3:02 PM)

Nope.

Matt (Cary, NC)

Lot of birdies today....but Tiger seems like the only guy in his threesome that brought his game. What is wrong with Rory and Donald?

Michael Collins
  (3:03 PM)

Rory is still searching and this course is too long for Luke.

Rory McIlroy (Blue Monster)

Are you a Colgate or Crest guy?

Michael Collins
  (3:04 PM)

AquaFresh. Just kiddin. Colgate

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which golf course on the PGA Tour do you think that Tiger Woods is always terrible on?

Michael Collins
  (3:05 PM)

Any course that Tiger would be uncomfortable on, he'd d stop playing. Best example, Riviera Country Club.

Freddie (Akron Oh)

Heiio MC Can Stricker win as Short as he hits them?

Michael Collins
  (3:06 PM)

Stricker, unlike Luke Donald, hits it straight so with no wind and firm conditions he can hang.

Griffin (NY)

Who's got more different shots in their bag, tiger or phil?

Michael Collins
  (3:10 PM)

It's a tie. They both have a crazy amount of shots. Phil normally has to pull off crazier ones cause he's off the map more, but when Tiger gets in trouble he's got the miracle shots too.

Cody (Nebraska)

You think Tiger wants his number 1 spot back? Sure is playing like he wants it...

Michael Collins
  (3:10 PM)

No questions he wants to be #1 in the world, but he wants majors more.

Jarvis Redwine (Kentucky)

Typical Tiger swoon on Saturday or Sunday?

Michael Collins
  (3:11 PM)

Not on this course unless something crazy happens with the weather.

Jay Grace (Philadelphia)

What's the projected cut line?

Michael Collins
  (3:13 PM)

There's no cut at the WGC this week. There is a cut in Puerto Rico where the rest of the PGA Tour is playing and right now it's -3 but that could change.

Joseph (Connecticut)

Am I wrong in thinking that Rory should not be constantly compared to Tiger? Having a 1 season doesn't "prove" he's the best of the best. These past few weeks have proven that he's not invincible.

Michael Collins
  (3:16 PM)

You're not wrong. Unfortunately the way he's won his major championships, the comparisons are gonna happen. Don't forget, Tiger went thru a couple slumps of his own.

Bob (Seattle)

Not good for Rory if he's yakking 5 foot eagle putts.

Michael Collins
  (3:16 PM)

HAVING 5 foot eagle putts means the swing is getting closer though doesn't it.

Chris K (Wisconsin)

Has Steve Stricker reached the point where fatigue will be a factor on Sunday?

Michael Collins
  (3:17 PM)

Playing 11 tournaments a year? If he gets tired on the weekend he better go see a doctor.

Milan (Denver)

Stacked leaderboard. Can't ask for anything more except for maybe throwing Rory in the mix. Who's your pick to win at this point.

Michael Collins
  (3:19 PM)

Tiger

Michael Collins
  (3:19 PM)

But if the weather gets weird, ask me again after Saturday's round.

Landon Jones (Joplin, MO)

More wins this year, Phil or Rory?

Michael Collins
  (3:19 PM)

Rory 3-2

Milan (Denver)

MC, which WGC do the players prefer? I favor watching Firestone and the matchplay.

Michael Collins
  (3:20 PM)

They love the Match Play format but hate the course. I'd say Bridgestone would be the favorite course.

samson (ite)

Can Dustin Johnson win a major this year? He is looking good this week as well.

Michael Collins
  (3:21 PM)

He can. The Masters and PGA Championship with be his best bets.

Ben (Philadelphia)

What are your thoughts of the US Open being held at Merion this year ? Who's game does the layout suit best ?

Michael Collins
  (3:23 PM)

I love the USGA chosing a venue that's under 7000 yards long. The hope is the course will be fast and firm. I picked Tiger to win cause he won't need his driver.

Matt (Cary, NC)

Do you think WGC events should award so much Fedex cup points considering they are limited field events? Seems like a "rich get richer" scenario.

Michael Collins
  (3:25 PM)

It was a ploy to coax the top guys to play in the playoffs. That's why it can be a great week for the guy who wins Puerto Rico this week. Great towards getting into the top 64. The rich DO get richer.

g.p. (nd)

Love seeing McDowell right there too, he's not afraid of anything. Should be a great weekend. Of the guys at the top, who if paired with Tiger on Sunday in the final group would most love it and like to go after him?

Michael Collins
  (3:26 PM)

Mickelson, McDowell, Watson, or DJ. Tiger and Mickelson went toe to toe a few years back when it was called the Ford Championship.

Earl (Chicago)

Wasn't Doral historically known as an extremely long and difficult course (hence the nickname)? Is it easier, or are these guys (and their equipment) just longer and better?

Michael Collins
  (3:28 PM)

It was back in the day. But now with no wind and guys hitting it easily over 310 yards off the tee, it's a Monster with no teeth. Gum ya to death maybe.

John (Nashville)

What happens when a non-tour member plays in a tournament and does well, with respect towards FedEx, getting in future tourneys, earning their card, etc. For example, Jon Curran is doing well in Puerto Rico right now. He's been playing NGA Tour so far this year. If he gets a Top 5 finish, what does that mean for him the rest of the year?

Michael Collins
  (3:30 PM)

A win gets him full membership on the PGA Tour. A top ten gets him an exemption into Tampa next week. Then he can keep top ten'ing into events until he makes enough money to secure his card.

Scott (Green Bay)

If you had to get putting tips from someone on tour, would you choose Strick as well?

Michael Collins
  (3:31 PM)

Either Stricker or Faxon

Mark (Milwaukee)

Steve Stricker hands down the nicest guy on tour?

Michael Collins
  (3:32 PM)

He's up there in the top 5.

Austin (Dallas)

Tiger never missed so many cuts in a row, hes only missed 10 cuts. Tiger slump was not getting a major

Michael Collins
  (3:33 PM)

I was thinking more of a winless slump. His cut record will never be broken. That's also what makes him so much different than Rory.

Joseph (Connecticut)

Which do you think (of the leaders at the top) are going to do fine today and tomorrow but might struggle Sunday because of the projected windy conditions?

Michael Collins
  (3:33 PM)

If it gets really windy Stricker is gonna struggle.

Matt (Cary, NC)

Would you change your estimate of Tiger's year if he wins this week? You said 4 wins , 1 major right?

Michael Collins
  (3:34 PM)

I might add a win but I'm sticking with one major

Adam (Tempe, AZ)

Dont you think the course being that short at the Open will make guys like Poulter, Donald and Stricker more viable?

Michael Collins
  (3:34 PM)

Yes.

Phil (Chicago)

What does it say about Tiger that if he doesn't play well on a course he just takes his clubs and goes home (i.e. Riviera)? Doesn't that take away from his legacy?

Michael Collins
  (3:35 PM)

It says I'm only playing golf courses I think I can win. I'd say that's kinda smart.

Phil (Florida)

That was a beautiful iguana strutting on the golf course just now wasn't it?

Michael Collins
  (3:37 PM)

great coloring and a full tail. I had one like that named Spike a long time ago. Funny the announcers didn't know they're vegetarians.

Craig (kansas)

Do you think what Trump is doing to the course will make it tougher for the pros or do you think it will play about the same?

Michael Collins
  (3:38 PM)

He and Gil Hanse are really gonna toughen it up. Adding 100 yards to the 1st, which I have no idea how they're gonna do without knocking down part of the hotel. But it IS Trump.

Shoshana (Boston)

Do you agree that Rory will end up more like Phil (inconsistent, hot / cold, but when he's hot LOOK OUT) than Tiger (consistent, makes cuts, rarely - if ever - looks lost or out of sorts out there)?

Michael Collins
  (3:40 PM)

I do. I have never seen Rory grind a 70 out of what should have been a 76. He just doesn't seem to have that make up. I do see him playing hot much more often than Phil though.

Ben (Philadelphia)

Michael do you see Tiger playing on the Seniors Tour eventually ?

Michael Collins
  (3:41 PM)

Not much. I see his body not allowing it.

Milan (Denver)

How happy is Trump right now with this leaderboard? Outcome he dreamed of.

Freddie (Akron)

do you think the Americans can keep their streak of winning going?

Michael Collins
  (3:42 PM)

looking good right now, but watch out for McDowell

Jared (San Diego)

Do you feel golf is getting too easy for the pro's? Should there be so many tournaments where the winner is in the 20 under par range? And how to you correct this? Longer courses? Stricter equipment regulation on tour?

Michael Collins
  (3:45 PM)

But it's NOT easy for the pros. It's their jobs and they approach it that way. Imagine if all you did was hit balls and play tournaments. I bet you'd get kinda good at it after a while. Now start when you're 8 years old.I like seeing the best in the world do what I can't. If I wanna see guys shoot +7 everyday I'll go watch my hacker friends.

Kiel (Raleigh)

Par is just a number. The Tour provides a lot of different venues with a wide range of scores. Some weeks even par is good, some weeks 20 under is good. But you still have to play better than the other guy.

Michael Collins
  (3:46 PM)

Agreed

Milan (Denver)

The PGA needs to make the playoffs more exciting. Maybe a match play tournament to win the FedEx. That would be wild.

Michael Collins
  (3:47 PM)

That would be kinda cool. Do a winner take all final. 8 guys $10 million, 7 guys leave with nothing.

Ken (VA)

Michael, I'm guessing you are not paying much attention to the PR Open. DD had a 'decent' round yesterday but took a step back today to miss the cut. Have you seen/heard anything that tells you progress is being made. I'm worried he won't even make the end of year run for a card.

Michael Collins
  (3:49 PM)

I root for him so hard but his game is just too inconsistent right now. And it's been that way for a while. I just don't know that he'll ever be back. And I love the guy. Someone I'd call a friend.

Andrew (WI)

In your experiences, does having a bigtime leaderboard (as we do now with Tiger, Phil and friends) make a difference in how the journeymen of the tour play? Do players start pressing more trying to join the big names and fun at the top?

Michael Collins
  (3:50 PM)

Not really. When guys start going low, most others are already grinding. So staying patient is a challenge.

Vince (Milwaukee)

What are your opinions of Tiger catching Jack? Jack seems to think he has a chance do you agree?

Michael Collins
  (3:50 PM)

I do. But he has to win one this year.

Jarvis Redwine (Kentucky)

Doesn't it look painful for Tiger to climb out of a bunker? Why would he suddenly become not injury prone later in life?

Michael Collins
  (3:51 PM)

Doesn't look painful to me. But who says he's not injury prone?

Adam (Tempe, AZ)

Michael how close would you say Tiger is to completing the swing overhaul that he and Sean Foley have been working on?? Is it completely natural yet??

Michael Collins
  (3:52 PM)

Almost, but I wanna see it on a course he hasn't won on in a while so when he plays Arnold Palmer that won't count, we'll know at Augusta.

Shoshana (Boston)

Who is your Master pick at the moment?

Michael Collins
  (3:53 PM)

I'm still not ready to give up on Rory yet.

Cheryl Ryan (Columbus, OH)

Love seeing Tiger on top of the leaderboard, but Rickie Fowler is such fun to watch. Doesn't seem like he plays with enough fire, though. You agree?

Michael Collins
  (3:54 PM)

I don't. Rickie plays with a ton of fire in his belly, he's been playing with a bad back this year and it's affected him on the course a bunch.

Corey (Texas)

Tiger and Phil paired on sunday in a tie, who wins?

Michael Collins
  (3:55 PM)

OOOOHH MAN!!!! That's tough because Phil now knows how to get in Tiger's head (he did it at Pebble) but this time I think Tiger wins.

Ryan (WI)

Does Phil have the poise and the confidence in his game right now to make a run at tiger this weekend?

Michael Collins
  (3:56 PM)

absolutely. he's got the same amount of wins this year

Matt (Cary, NC)

Think Stricker is having 2nd thoughts on helping Tiger? Tiger's putting could turn this into a rout.

Michael Collins
  (3:57 PM)

Not at all. Piercy gave Rocco a putting tip at Frys the year he won. Guys like helping one another as much as they like beating each other. Remember... I don't wanna beat your worst, I wanna beat your best.

Chris K (Wisconsin)

Good luck with your chest waxing. Thanks for chat!

Michael Collins
  (3:58 PM)

HAHA!! I still haven't heard back from Bubba on the challenge. I think he's scared.

Jared (San Diego)

I certainly didn't mean to imply that 20 under is easy, or even that par is easy. Both are extremely impressive. I've never shot close to par in my life. But the reaction to these low scores seems to just be "make the course longer". Is this the best approach? Why no redesign holes where you have to choose to lay up or hit over a stream at 290 yards out? Lay up and have to hit a 7 iron to the green, or risk it, bomb it, and hit a wedge in?

Michael Collins
  (3:59 PM)

I understand. And hopefully architects can learn from courses like Hilton Head and Riviera. That long doesn't mean hard. Sometimes short tight courses are much more challenging than 8,000 yard courses. They are boring.

Aaron (Toledo, OH)

Michael, Tiger is tearing it up on the greens. He has to put Stricker on his payroll.

Milan (Denver)

Thanks MC for another good chat.

Michael Collins
  (4:01 PM)

Thank you all for making the hour go by WAY too fast as usual!Same time same place Monday!!!Have a great weekend everyone.MC@ESPNCaddie on TwitterESPNCaddie@gmail.com is my email address and YES I will answer back!