Hello, coming at you from the Augusta National media center. Always a privilege to be at the Masters. Plenty to chat about today so let's get started. I'll get to as much as I can. Thanks
i may ask you this question every year from now on, but has the masters ever been so anticipated/exciting? For some reason this year just feels special
This one does have a feel of anticipation. Tiger back to No. 1. Rory rounding into form. Phil having won this year and always stoked to be here. A bunch of players we think should do well such as Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan, Lee Westwood. Just a lot of possibilities.
Does the competition committee ever consider moving up a tee on a par 4 to make it driveable? I think i remember the 3rd hole being moved up in the final round of '03 when Tiger made double but that's about it. I think 11 would be great one day if the tee was way up. It seems everyone plays that hole so conservative and only wants to play to the front right of the green and let it bounce on.
Good idea, especially on that hole. Doesn't seem like they do it much, although they do move up the tee on the fourth, making a bit shorter par-3. Conditions should dictate. But it would be great to see them trying to drive No. 3.
Hypothetically, the Augusta gods come to you and instruct you to blow up one hole that would be completely redesigned (And yes you have to pick one). Which would you pick?
I would pick No. 17. It's not an easy hole, but it doesn't seem overly dramatic. Aside from the Eisenhower Tree, I have a hard time remembering the hole's features.
Hey Bob, what is up with the TV schedule for the Masters? Live coverage starts at 2 pm on Thursday/Friday? They should be able to cover the whole day
This is an annual question, and it's simply the way they do things here. It has always been about less is more. For years, they never showed ANYTHING on the front nine. Slowly but surely they have come around. There is more coverage of the course, a number of holes are featured on line, including featured pairings (espn.com will have this). But let's be honest, it has hardly hurt their product.
What are the chances in the next 25 years there will be another tournament played at Augusta, maybe a Walker Cup, Ryder Cup, etc? I think there were 2 Senior PGA's played here in the late 30s but that was it.
To me, the best idea is to have a Ladies Masters. Have it in the spring, six weeks after the Masters, right before the club closes for the summer. Have an entirely new branding. A lottery system for tickets. It would be incredible. Tons more people get to see the course, and what a boost for women's golf.
With Tiger and Rory stealing all of the headlines this week, it seems like the perfect time for "The Best Player to Never Win a Major" to strike. Westwood is flying way, way under the radar, relatively speaking.Since he never could get it done under all the pressure, what are the chances he sneaks into the green jacket this week?
I'm not sure there is any less pressure. It is probably more, whether he is under the radar or not. He's played nicely of late.He's played well here over the years too
How crucial will it be for Tiger to hit draws this week? Have you seen him play at all in practice rounds? Could he just hit 3 wood off the tee at #13 for example?
That is an important part of this golf course, but Tiger can hit a lot of 3 woods. Nos. 10 and 13 come to mind, shots that are nice to hit a draw, which is easier with a 3 wood. His trouble spot has been No. 2. Off the top of my head, it seems like he hardly ever birdies that hole anymore. It plays much tougher for him if he can't get up and drill his driver over that right bunker, which is clearly in play.
How many players participate in the Par 3 Competition? Is it voluntary or do you have to at least participate a given number of times? Why does Tiger opt not to participate?
I'm guessing there are about 40-50 players, not all of whom are in the tournament. It's voluntary. And Tiger has played it many times, just not recently.
Is Guan good enough to make the cut? Analysts are saying he isn't long enough, but Tiger said he can hit his 3 wood and hybrids right on the number, which should help.
I thnk it's going to be tough for him
Of all the Masters you've covered, what has had the biggest buildup or anticipation? 97 was huge, 01 (tiger slam), and 10 (post-scandal) are the 3 I think of.
Tiger Slam for sure.. Think about that. Tiger had won U.S. Open, British Open, PGA.. and the Players Championhship.. heading into that Masters. And won it, too.
The top 3 in the world vs the field. Who do you got?
I will always take the field. Take emotion out of it.
Will my boss care if I watch the Masters online at work?
I hope not. It's the Masters, after all.
Is there any word on what the featured groups will be for Thursday on masters.com?
They are coming out today. I will post on Twitter when I get them. @bobharig
Your percentage chance do you give the Chinese amature of breaking 80 in either of the first two rounds?
I would put that number as the over/under. A big ask for him to break 80 on a 7,500 yard course with this kind of scrutiny.
do you have any take on whether it is better to tee off early or later on on thurs with the weather thurs and fri?
It appears given the forecast that the early-late timeframe is better this year.There is rain in the forecast for Thrusday afternoon, and it's supposed to be cold overnight, with morning temperatures in the 40s on Friday.
Which European do you like has the best chance?
Justin Rose. Ranked No. 3 in the world
What would a 10 handicap shoot at Augusta under tournament conditions?
95 at best.
Any indication if they'll address anchoring?
Not sure if the Masters will say anything. It would be nice if they did, however.
ANGC knows the weather forecast. And they put Tiger in the early/late window and his two biggest threats in the late/early window. Now, I'm not sayin', but I'm just sayin'.
That is quite the conspiracy.
isn't the par 3 going to be on espn as the master web site says?
Yes, it is on ESPN
How do they determine Thursday/Friday Master's pairings?
Some of them are traditional, such as the defending champion with the U.S. Amateur champion. Older past champions are often grouped with amateurs. But you typically see the top tier tour winners playing together in the prime spots.
What do you think of Matt Every and Charlie Bejan's twitter comments about amateurs in the field?
I think they ought to study up on Masters tradition and play better.
I hope Billy Pain comes out for the ban on anchoring the putter. If they or anyone does not think that anchoring helps, then all you have to do is look at Els. Last week he played with a regular putter but said he will anchor for The Masters saying the greens are so fast...right there is proof that it makes a difference and should be illegal
I am on the side that believes if it wasn't an advantage, why do it?
What's the buzz around the place regarding the two new female members? Seems like it's a non-story (and probably how ANGC likes it)
It was a big story when Condi Rice played with Phil on Sunday. it's not such a big story anymore. As most predicted, the world didn't halt with a couple of women members at Augusta National
If anchoring is a flat-out advantage, why doenst everyone do it? Some players feel more comfortable with old style, and would putt worse with anchor...
I shouldn't say advantage. It helps a weaker putter. Why would Steve Stricker try to learn a new anchored stroke when he putts well the conventional way? It clearly helps people putt or nobody would mess with it.
Bob, what's your favorite spot on the course to catch the action?
Love the walk down No. 10.. Also love Amen Corner..And the tee shot from No. 6...Lots of great spots, hard to pick one as tops.
Is it really an advantage if everyone can do it? People use a putt they like even if it is a conventional putter.
It's an advantage if you are able to take an integral part of the stroke out of play -- such as anchoring the top hand to your body. It takes less nerve, skill to do this. yes, everyone can do it, but you still have to learn it, so why would someone who putts well conventionally change? He shouldn't have to. Those who can't should have to play better the conventional way. sorry, that's my stance on it.
Which two players would you like to be in the final group not involving Phil and Tiger?
Rory and Graeme McDowell
Why discuss the advantage provided by anchoring? The USGA did not cite that as a reason for the ban...or did it?
They mostly believe it is not the proper way to putt, and find that young people are adopting this method and don't like the trend.
$10,000 for a 4-day badge on Stubhub. Is it worth it?
Depends. For some, it very well might be.
Would ANGC ever admit to a mistake in some of the course changes and take away some trees (#11) or possible cut down some of the 2nd rough?
An interesting thought. They would probably do this very slowly. They admitted to making a mistake with tournament winners and put it back in. Perhaps they will realize that trees on 11 seem out of place.
Where did the name "Amen Corner" originate from?
A writer named Herbert Warren Wind came up with the tag back in the 1950s and it stuck. He cited a prayer that had that terminology. Anyone interested should google it. A neat story.
so taking your meteorological skills and early/late tee time theory into consideration, here are some players in that bucket: Furyk, Sneds, Rose, Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Choi, McDowell, Colsaerts, Bubba, Poults, Woods, Donald. Thoughts? Also, if it rains Thursday, wouldn't it possibly be advantageous to play Friday morning - greens might be slower.
If it rains Thursday afternoon, those players are at a distadvantage. Yes, Friday morning could be softer, but also cold. That makes the course play really long. Hey, who knows?
Bob - Has anyone surprised you with their play in the practice rounds this week?
To be honest, not really. I've seen very little practice, and mostly they're out there having a good time, working on their games. Hard to gleen much.
Has a player ever made an ace during tournament play at The Masters?
By my count, 23.. The most have come at 16, including two last year -- Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott
Is it true that the practice range is too short for today's players to work with their drivers?
Not any more. They have a new state of the art practice range that is a couple of years in use. It is terrific and plenty long.
Bob, what percent of weekend golfers actually play by the rules? I'm guessing about 2%. We all take mulligans, bump the ball out of bad lies, drop instead of walking all the way back on OB's. An anchor ban will not affect recreational players in any way.
I think a lot of recreational players want to play by the rules. However, I hardly think anchoring will effect them. They'll try to put conventionally if the rules don't allow anchoring. Very few receational players even anchor at al.
Out of the four major winners last year, who do you think will have the best finish in this years Masters
What was the loudest roar you've ever heard at Augusta?
It was pretty loud I recall when Tiger holed the chip shot on No. 16 in 05.
Do you play with mulli's Bob? Be honst...
Of course I have. But I also playing with conforming clubs.
Is the media trying to force a rival for Tiger with Rory? Like Rory said you'd have to be close to consider it a rivalry...so does Tiger have Rival?
Tiger has had a series of rivals and Rory is probably on the list at this time.
Are the slick greens at Augusta going to help or hinder Tiger's 2013 putting success?
Tiger loves fast greens. More about the stroke, his confidence. He's certainly putted well here before.
Thanks for chatting! Does the Masters Committee try to prevent scalping badges?
Yes. They can take away a person's rights to buy them if they learn they were scalped. There have been stories about them checking out websites and such to thwart this. But it's tough to do when you allow people to pass their tickets around. How do they know if they were sold or given?
What is one thing you would change about the Masters or Augusta if you could?
More TV coverage! At this point in time, what is the difference? Wouldn't affect number of people who come, prestige, anything. People would eat it up.
After Tiger redid his swing in 1998, he went on to win 7 of 11 Majors (1999-2002), he then redid his swing in 2004 and won 6 of 14 (2005-2008). Here we are, a new swing change is done (6 wins in 18 start or so), could we be at the start of another Major run for Tiger? All the stats are lined up for it...
It's an interesting thought for sure. He needs to get that first one. Sounds obvious, but getting that might make it easier.
none of my questions are getting answered...time for bed
sorry about 200 of them in here!
Most important component if Tiger is to do well: driving, iron play or putting?
All of them! Putting is certainly very important and I'd probably put that first. And then iron play. You need to hit a lot of greens at the Masters. Having to scramble is not a good recipe here.
Anchoring aside, one or two rules you would change that would have an impact which would filter down to amateurs?
The out of bounds rule. To me, it is by far the worst. You hit a drive 280 yards and are out of bounds by an inch and you're hitting 3 from the tee. Meanwhile if I swing and miss, I'm only hitting 2.. Make it like a lateral hazard. And it would speed up play.
Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. I don't know why I come to sites like this for golf coverage. That is all the casual fans talk about. Golf purists actually care about other people.
Yep, that's right, we don't talk about anybody else. Nope, never.
Is that sarcasm I sense, Bob?
Yes, it is! We write a lot about other players, cover a lot of tournaments Tiger is not in. But it goes unnoticed. Then we get hammered for writing the most about the guy people care about the most.
Which Mickelson do you expect to show up....the one who hits amazing shots and competes to win or the one who seems to lack control of his game and struggles to make the cut?
I'm going with the one who can win. I like Phil's chances this week.
What makes someone a purist? I would think basketball purists care(d) quite a bit about Michael Jordan and would love to talk about him in his prime, they certainly loved talking about his comebacks as well...
It is a constant criticism here, unfortunately.
To be fair, the questions being asked to Bob in the chat are probably some form of: Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Rory Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Tiger Phil Rory Rory Tiger Tiger Tiger.
I would say it is 80 percent. Lots of questions about who I think will win, which unfortunately, I don't know!
Do you guys rent houses in Augusta? I saw Michael Collins tweet a pic yesterday. Looked like he was staying in a kids room.
We do.. Best way to go. Hotels charge 10 times what they normally would.
Most overrated and underrated things about Masters week?
Can't think of anything over rated, really. The course, to me, remains underrated. It truly is a fascinating place.
Snedeker and Garcia - they 100%
Seemingly, but don't know for sure.
When do the pros get to shut down an concentrate with all the media on them?
The media isn't really on them. They might have some questions to answer. A news conference prior. Some guys get stopped outside. But nobody inside the ropes, pretty easy to get their work done.
Hey Bob, which golfer that uses an anchored putter do you give the best chance this week?
What will you be doing during the tournament rounds?
Walking the course, writing, interviwing players, writing, doing radio interviews, writing, watching some of the golf in on TV in the media center, writing. Tweeting. And some more writing!
How, if at all, do they use the old range at Augusta?
the members use that range
Did the PGA a few months back announce that live tweeting from media during tournaments was banned? First, why would they do that? and two, it's still happening...so did they change their minds?
not allowed to tweet real-time scores. it's a fine line. they haven't banned it. they are trying to protect their rights to real-time scoring.
Super Bowl, World Series, Olympics, or Masters?
I'm biased -- but it's this one for sure.
Tiger Woods on his A- game or the field on their A games, who do you take?
Always take the field!!
How are the course conditions this year compared to years past? Firm with lots of roll or soft and slow?
It is firm now, but the weather could change that on Thursday/Friday
Does that old range get used for the Masters in some capacity?
Did you hear anything about how Tiger played on those back nine holes yesterday? How was his driving, wedge shots?
From what I could tell, all was good. Nothing out of the ordinary either way.
14 players of your choice or the field?
Well, you start to get up to that number, and it's not really the field.
Its a sucker bet to take woods! At his best he only won 27(ish)% of tournaments entered!
Typically it is. But that's why it is called gambling
With Tiger's confidence back by winning golf tournaments again, do you see that he may be regaining his intimidation factor with other players?
There was some inkling of that at Bay Hill. Justin Rose suggested it. So did Hunter Mahan
What role do the members play during the week?
Almost all of them have some sort of duties associated with the tournament. There are a dozen or more committees to deal with all aspects.
How many badges will be given to each media company?
Have you been in any of the cabins on the property? If so, which impressed you the most?
Have not been in the traditional ones such as Jones, Butler or Eisenhower cabins. There are some newer ones used for hospitality and meetings and as you can imagine they are first-class. I've heard the cabins are very nice, elegant.
How long do you think it will be before a Masters rookie wins the tournament?
I think it's a matter of time. Law of averages type of thing.
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Sorry that so many questions did not get answered. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @bobharig. Thanks again, and enjoy the Masters.