Hello, plenty to chat about in the aftermath of another great Masters. All questions welcome. I'll get to what I can. Please fire away.
With his every move being watched by millions why in the world would Tiger knowingly (according to so called experts) commit a rules infraction. If he knowingly broke the rules he HAD to know someone would narc!!
So much mis-information and misguided conjecture about the rules fiasco. He clearly didn't break the rule on purpose. And I'm willing to be that a half dozen players every week don't properly make a drop.
Phil didn't play great anyway but seemed to come unravelled with the tee shot on 12 on Friday. Was there any conversation in the press room with the situation with him and Bones
Not that I'm aware of. Just a tough week for Phil. Somewhat surprising, really.
If you had to guess, what are the odds that Tiger never wins the Masters again?
It'll be nine years in 2014. Certainly the possibility exists but he's also been close in 7 of the last 8 years.
Hi Bob - really happy for Adam Scott. He seems like a class act and boy he handled The Open collapse as good as anyone could. Was he a popular winner within media circles?
No question about it. Adam's always been great.
As much we we all want Rory or someone else to be the next Tiger, is it not clear how much better/consistent Tiger is relative to the other best players in the game? The stat that is most telling to me is that Rory has missed more cuts on the PGA Tour than Tiger! That's crazy.
Tiger is and has been freakishly good. To expect anyone to be like him is asking a lot. Golf is meant to have downturns and struggles but Tiger -- and Jack to a large extent -- mamanged to mostly avoid them. That is extremely rare.
Does Olesen's temporary status on the PGA last for the rest of the year or does it expire before the play-offs at some point?
It runs through Greensboro. If he earns enough points/money as top 125 by that point, he'll be eligible for the playoffs.
Bob, I was fortunate to attend The Master's for the first time this year. The things that struck me the most about the place - it is the most well organized machine I have ever seen. Everything was coorindated perfectly on the grounds; the grass is so spectacular it looks fake; there is really no flat holes on the entire course; the mounds on the greens are much larger than they seem on TV.... what struck you about the place the first time you were there?
All of the above.. The huge undulations were particularly striking to me.
Some stated that Tiger was not DQ'd due to his impact on the tournament and ratings. Sure the ratings on Sunday were probobably somewhat Tiger but the Masters is the one even that does not need Tiger for ratings. The Masters is always the highest rated even of the year no matter who is playing and not like a regular tour even where half the people would have left. Your thoughts
While I'm sure the Masters in no way wanted Tiger gone, it is hard to believe they would manipulate to that degree. As you said, they get the highest ratings in golf regardless. Maybe not as high if he is not around, but still quite high.
Can we get off this notion that golf NEEDS Tiger for excitement in golf. Alot of great things happen that we never hear about unless he is involved. Look at the last few Masters, this year, Bubba, Charl birding last 4, Phil in 2010 etc. If he's in the mix fine but I hate hearing all the time that it is boring with out him Your thoughts.
I agree, but unfortunately we are in the minority. Just too many people don't care as much when he is not part of it.
You wrote a nice column putting Tiger's penalty in perspective. Anything can be done about ricochets off flagsticks? Rules say flagsticks "may not have padding or shock absorbing material as this could unduly influence the movement of the ball." Seems like a clever rules committee could come up with something.
Thanks for the plug. Not sure about the flagsticks. That was truly an unlucky deal there. How might things have been different if he makes 4 -- or even 5 -- instead of 8.
Hi Bob. Since I have a feeling you'll get many TW questions I'll go a completely different direction: what hole at Augusta would you like to see a tweak to? In recent years they've made a couple tweaks to make the course play a little easier, in my opinion. What would you like to see done next?
I have just never been a big fan of 17. For it's place in the tournament, just seems somewhat dull to me. Not sure what to do to fix it, but I'd make it a bit easier.
If the TV viewer had not called in, do you think Tiger would have been ultimately disqualified after his comments Friday evening? The committee would not have reviewed the footage before he signed his card.
That is the great irony. The TV viewer actually might have saved him. If the committee never looked at it, then judged him by his comments afterward, they would have had no choice but to DQ him.
When is Tiger playing again?
Not official yet, but most likely Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, two weeks from now.
With Adam Scott taking his name off of the "best to never win a major" list, who do you think is next?
I think it's clearly Lee Westwood. He's played in the most without winning one of any active player, 60. I believe Sergio is next with 58.
Does Tiger's game fit well at the U.S. Open course?
This is hard to say. The course is short by U.S. Open stanards and will be tight. This generally doesn't suit him. His length is an asset. But maybe with more irons off tees, he's better off? His iron game, short iron game, and short game in general have been quite strong.
Hey Bob, what's your stance on how television viewers can call in and report rules violations? To me, it's pretty bogus! Can't do it in any other sport, why golf?
I don't agree with it. Other players in the group, other caddies, rules officials, walking scorers, etc.. They protect the field.Nobody watching on TV should.
Side question about the ruling: if Augusta had not reviewed Tiger's drop initially, before he signed the card....then would he have been disqualified? It seems like he got protected by the fact that Augusta messed up the initial ruling.
Almost assuredly. They basically gave him a pass because they felt they were in error for not bringing the possibility of a violation to his attention.
Does anyone else find it ironic that the future of golf on display last week featured a belly putter and extremely slow playing? Guan has plenty of time to fix the slow play thing, at least.
Guan was painfully slow and they made an example of him. Felt that was harsh, given how slow the rest of the field was playing and that they never ever give penalty strokes to a pro. As for anchored putting. .. I'm in favor of the ban, but Adam Scott's putting stats were not particularly good. You can see why those against the ban make their points.
I was very happy to see the PGA Tour change its Rookie of the Year criteria, ruling out someone like Martin Kaymer who would have been eligible but isn't a rookie in anyone's eyes, I don't think. As of now who is your ROY? Russell Henley would be mine.
Correct, they no longer consider you a rooke if it's your first year as a tour member. If you played 7 events in any previous year, you are not a rookie. The idea that Kaymer would be a rookie is quite frankly absurd. So a good change. And I like the Henley pick at the moment.
If tiger's approach on 15 doesn't hit the flagstick he wins by more than 4 strokes. That shot didn't just cost him 3-4 strokes but changed the way he had to play the remaining 39 holes
It's certainly a possibility. He was leading at the time. He almost certainly would have gone to 6 under, name up on the board. Instead he went back to 4 under, made another bogey, then lost two more strokes. It changed everything for him.
Better shot - Scott's putt on 18 in regulation, or Cabrera's approach in regulation?
Cabrera's approach to me. He knew he had to make birdie. To stuff it in to kick in range in the rain was epic.
Thanks Bob! A thought I can't shake after watching Tiger's Masters hopes bounce off the 15th flagstick: why don't players ALWAYS have the flag tended on approaches from now on? What's the downside?
Bones has done this for Phil Mickelson on many occasions. Perhaps it is because it just seems so unlikely that you are going to actually hit the stick. And sometimes it can help you. Obviously not in this case.
It looks like Tiger is progressing towards his next major like somebody who has never won one. Except the last Masters he has been knocking on the door with a possibility to win one. I still think he will get to 18 and beyond but thats not guaranteed, but you would almost believe that he will get at least #15
An interesting comment I heard: the next one he wins is the easiest -- and he's having a hard time getting it. Imagine how much harder it will be when he gets to 17 or 18.
Is it time to move past scorecard DQ? And if so how would you do it?
I wrote about this, and the golf purists will hate me for it, but I find the scorecard DQ -- especially when things come to light after the fact -- terrible for the game. Who can understand such an arachaic way of administering the rules?I have two solutions: 1. at the end of each day's play, all is final. 2. keep the card "open" for the rest of the tournament. in other words, it's verified, but not "signed." that way strokes can be added, but no DQ.
Most likely to win a major first: Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, or Luke Donald?
Tough call. I think all 3 are quite capable, depsite Sergio's rather childish comments on the subject.
Do you think Tiger was taking a dig at Augusta National by frequently commenting on the lack of speed of the greens? Certainly some of it was weather related but I sense both he & mickelson were hoping they rev things up
Not sure it was a dig. An excuse? Perhaps. He noted it early in the tournament and had trouble adjusting. Same for Phil.
The only reason I feel he should have been disqualified was due to his comments after the round. His comments indicated "intent" not to drop "as near as possible" to his prior shot (he even indicated why). Based on that (and that he did not call a rules official prior to the drop to confirm what he was doing was correct) I feel by not immediately calling the penalty at the time of the drop and signing an incorrect scorecard was grounds for DQ. The rule cited by the Masters Committee should not protect ignorance of the rules, which I believe happened here.
it didn't protect ignorance of the rules. They couldn't know what he was thinking when he dropped. And it's not like he dropped a long way away. He said 2 yards, but it was closer than that. And what he said is immmaterial really. They investigated a poor drop and didn't tell him about it. And then they change their minds and DQ him? The bottom line is the penalty is 2 strokes, not disqualification. The DQ only comes into play because of the signed card. And if you leave without signing your card ,you get DQ'd. It's endless.
It seems to be a consensus that Woods' best chance for a major is at Marion. What is it about that course that favors Woods' style of play? No need to hit a draw?
I'm not sure it is his best chance. To me, a hard golf course with rough where he can manage wayward drives and dominate par-5s is better. Merion is under 7,000 yards. Brings lots of shorter hitters into play. His advantage of length is negated. But he might also be better off hitting a great 2 iron off the tee on many holes
will the 14-year old get a chance to play in another pga tour event this season? I guess it would have to be on an exemption.
He's been given a sponsor exemption next week in New Orleans
Speaking of flagsticks, how crazy will it be if a player gets a bad bounce off of one of the wicker baskets at Merion!
and it could easily happen.
what type of player does merion set up well for?
I'm going to say good iron player, short game, etc... rough is going to be very penal, more chip out rough.
How surprising was it to see Brandt crash and burn on the final day? Given that he's had a few years under his belt and has been in the final group at Augusta before I was surprised to see that happen.
I thought he'd be right there. He played for $10-million at the Tour Championship. He just had a poor putting day.
I don't get why people have seem to have resentment over the constant Tiger talk. He's the greatest golfer we've ever seen and he moves the needle like no one else. He's literally an iconic sports figure that demands nearly every topic be considered with him in mind in light of his greatness
I get blowback all the time about Tiger. And yet, he is clearly the one player people want to watch, read about, tweet about, complain about.
Crazy stat: since Rory won the US Open he's only been inside the top 10 once in a major. Of course he won that one by 8 :)
Yep seems all or nothing at the moment. He had a pretty good record prior to that.
What is your take on Tigers interviews after the incident? To me he showed humility and class when discussing it. I almost thought he would shut the media out after that incident.
To his credit, he didn't blame the media.He was not prompted to say what he said, he simply offered it up. And he clearly must have been confused on the drop rules. He made a mistake, got 2 strokes, didn't argue it. 2 strokes is the penalty for that infraction, that is why he should have received. And he did.
For all the talk about Tiger's strong iron play. he's 77th this year in GIR. For perspective he was 29th last year, and was #1 on tour nearly every year in the past decade. His wedge play has been better this year, and I think he's been more aggressive with his irons. But I think his ball striking is letting him down a bit right now. He won in March with his putter.
He also won at Torrey with his putter. But overall, he's mostly been closer to the hole when it counted. Either hitting par-5s in 2 or hitting his short irons closer for scoring purposes. His overall stats might look worse, but don't tell the entire story. He's also been much better at saving par.
Are you surprised at how so many golfers seem to "spit the bit" on the final round of a major? It's uncanny how guys with near perfect rounds heading into Sunday suddenly fall apart
That is why they are hard to win.
why does graeme mcdowell continue to struggle at the masters? he plays so well in big events but can't seem to put it together for the masters. is there a limitation in his game that augusta exposes?
For whatever reason, Gmac says Augusta National is tough on him. He's struggled with it and admits it.
A lot of people believe though once he gets #15 the flood gates might just open up.
Quite possibly, like winning again in general.
How can you suggest Westwood is the best player to never win a major. He obviously has significant short game issues and how anyone can be considered a major contender with such a spotty short game is beyond me
He's had more close calls than anyone without a major. He has seven top 3s including 2 runner-up finishes. He's been No. 1 in the world.
Hey Bob, isn't it time that common sense rules the day? As you stated at no point should someone by DQed for an incorrect scorecard. We should be way past this, golf doesn't need this in place. In some ways some of the experts talking about how golfers police themselves almost speaks to the elitist nature of the sport, which does it no favors.
I think everything should be done to avoid scorecard DQs. The infraction Tiger committed does not lead to DQ. It is a two-shot penalty. the DQ only comes into play because of the timing of when you sign the card. that seems ludicrous to me.
How many PGA golfers actively practice yoga?
Not sure, but I'm guessing it is more than the number of golf writers who do so:)
Do you think it is more telling that Tiger wasn't able to bring his A game to the Masters or that despite not playing great, the 3-4 shot penalty on 15 and a streaky putter, he was still able to finish T4?
I think the latter. He wasn't particularly great in any area. He drove the ball poorly, didn't rank very high in GIR, had 116 putts, a two-stroke penalty -- and still tied for fourth.
To me the anchoring question is more about how they would like you to make a stroke. There are lots of things you can't do in golf that don't really give you an advantage. Either way, decide and move on.
Yep, they have made it about the look, about what is a golf stroke and what isn't. The ruling bodies believe it is not a proper stroke.
Is Scott's putter "anchored", or is his just long?
He anchors it
Do you think we'll see another Tiger like player in the next 10 years or so? what do you think the future holds for the 14 year old (Guan)?
Never say never. People didn't think anyone would come along like Jack and Tiger did. But it's just hard to see anyone winning this many tournaments. Phil has been done a disservice in that regard. To win 41 times is incredible and yet Tiger has 77.
Weekly Veej update? Nothing to report?
Zip. Not a think has come down.
If you were watching a player take a drop on the course that seemed a little sketchy, would you report it to the officials like Bamberger did?
No I would not. It's my job to watch and observe, not to get involved in the competition.. I might ask someone for clarification on a rule, but not to point out what I believe may or may not be an infraction.
Do you think losing to Yang did more to Tiger's psyche than anything that happened since? He hasn't lead a major after 54 since.
I don't think it helped, but the things that transpired since have been far more impactful, led by injuries and a major swing change.
Who wins a major next Phil, Tiger, Rory?
Out of that list I'd have to go with Tiger... But I had Phil winning the Masters.
Need to have an accurate score as a tournament is ending--don't want a late penalty from the day before to force a playoff and find that a player has left.
And yet, that's exactly what happened on Saturday, isn't it? Tiger's score was changed a day later. And what if he had been leading and disqualified? Then the cut number changes. Better to deal with that than bumping somebody out on technicalities.
Watching the Masters one thing I have never noticed before was how bad the greens looked on Sunday. They looked brown, and black. Usually they look so green your thoughts?
I thought they looked fine. Maybe that is how they look if they are slower.
To be fair, Adam Scott said the same thing about the greens, as did Brandt. I think that it is a fine line to walk between giving information as to what is going on out on a golf course (which we want) and an excuse
True.. There were other comments about the greens.
Also anyone who comments that golf doesn't need Tiger, please review the chat transcript. Love him, hate him. He is polarizing. Ratings surge, thats a fact.
The number of people who respond to anything about Tiger is typically 50X more than anyone, anything else.
Should there be some question on whether he should have been punished to begin with? At the time they said the drop was okay, and only when he mentioned what he did they thought oh that's illegal.
No doubt. What he said and what the reality is could be different. And the rule is vague about what is 'near as possible.'
I think Tiger's 15th major may be the hardest beause the longer he goes the greater the pressure. Once he gets 15 I think the floodgates may open again. After he finally one that first 1 with Hank's swing he went on a 3 year run. I think that could happen again. If only he could get 15 already.
A logical way to look at it.
Tiger has been pretty solid lately. In your opinion, is Tiger "back"? Do you think he'll ever have another run like he did in 2000/2001?
I think "back" is unfair. He's 37. He's not going to be like he was in 2000-2001. He's No. 1 in the world, won six times in 13 months. There's been numberous different major winners going back to 2009.
i'm curious how much longer we can go before an official decision is made on the putter issue. it only seems to gain more steam as more players using the long putter win at majors. any guess as to when a decision will be made?
They have said recent results will have no impact. And they have said sometime this spring. My guess is before the U.S. Open.
I think Lytham is the best chance, he likely wins in 2002 if not for the weather. He dang near won every major in 2002.
I know you meant Muirfield. And I've said all along that is where I thought he'd win a major thi syear. It has always produced the best players. He closed with a 66 there in 2002 after the 81.
Hi Bob, in case many hadn't noticed the tour has moved on to Harbour Town. I'm feeling like Boo has a chance to notch his third ugly jacket. Also, what's going on with Luke Donald? Hard to call him overrated based on his skill set, but I keep waiting for him to dominate on the real Tour. That being said you better pick him this week!
I'm sure most noticed. But the majors are a bigger deal than Harbour Town, even a few days later. And although I didn't pick Donald, I wouldn't be surprised if he did well. Course should be made for him. Lost in a playoff to Snedeker two years ago.
Any updates on Anthony Kim? I miss that dude...
Apparently still injured, trying to return this summer. But nothing definitive.
What do you think of the photos out now showing Tiger took a reasonable drop?
Not sure what to make of that. Tiger said on Sunday again given what he saw on video, he dropped too far away.
Your best guess as to whether Brandt comes out sharp this week after the disappointment of last week? Obviously a former winner, but stuff like that can linger. Man, I was hoping he'd at least be in the mix late.
I kind of like his chances to bounce back.
My brother is a sports fan who watches the big golf events. His only comment on Sunday was re:Adam, how is that legal? That's a big perception problem
No doubt. to many, anchored strokes look bad.
What is it with Tiger's inability to hit the draw with the driver in competition? People were saying he was hitting a nice 2/3 yard draw on the range, which then doesn't show up on the course. Ended up hitting it over the trees and fading it on No.13, and totally messed up No.2, which he didn't birdie all week. Just seems odd for probaby the best player ever that he can't turn over the driver when he wants?
It's a mystery and obviously something he is still working through. His inability to hit a tee shot on 2 that he wants really cost him. To play that hole in even really hurts. And as you mentioned on 13 -- Adam Scott had a 7 iron in Sunday. Tiger could never really get it in position to go at the flag there. No doubt it hurts him.
Would Angel have been the worse 3 time major winner ever? I have to believe he is already on the short list with Daly and Andy North for worst 2 time winners...but a multiple major winner no less
Cabrera's only other notable win besides his two majors is the BMW on the European Tour. He has only two other European Tour wins. A third major would have been remarkable given his overall record.
Have you ever seen Rule 33 cited in a non-DQ situation like it was this week? Just curious as to the precedent of Rule 33.
I'll be honest, I had never heard of it. A couple of examples have come up. Lee Janzen at 2001 U.S. Open. He came back out Friday morning after weather delay to complete first round. Wiped dew away from his ball in the fairway. Rules official was there, said nothing. said nothing all day. Didn't say anything until that night, after he signed his card. Normally that would be DQ, but under circumstances, they added the penalty.
In the Feb 20 chat you were asked to guess who would be a first-time major winner this year. You said Sergio and Adam Scott! Well done!
Total luck. Still waiting on Sergio.
Tiger is not going to keep putting as well all year as he has been (it's just not possible), I think if he wants to have the year we all expect from him after the 3 win start, he's going to have to start hitting more GIR. (I think)
In each of Tiger's 4 Masters wins, he was 1 or 2 in GIR. It solves a lot of problems.
People are getting overzealous with Adam Scott's potential to win multiple majors. No way he wins the Masters on Augusta's traditional uber-fast greens. He caught a break with the weather slowing down the greens and aside from the British, he can't expect that again.
I think in general you have to be careful with expectations, regardless of the greens. Scott has been a solid, well-known pro for over 10 years. And has just 9 PGA Tour wins.
other than majors, why don't we ever see new courses pop up with existing pga tournament events? it would likely add some excitement to have a pga tournament played at a new course that players don't have experience with
So much goes into staging a tour event. You've got to have infrastructure -- parking, media space, corporate hospitality, the willingness of the venue to want a tournament. It is a huge undertaking.
are Jack and Arnold the only true pro golfers who are also members at Augusta? Just because you win doesn't mean you are a member correct?
To my knowledge, there are no other past or present tour players who are members of Augusta National. A win gets you privileges at the course, but not membership.
I am in the camp that even if it wasn't Tiger taking the drop on 15, the way it happened would have played out the same, as the player didn't realize the penalty was committed and ANGC cleared it during play, that any other player would not be DQ'd, do you agree?
That's very hard to say. What if it was a marginal player who was not on TV. And then afterward ,the player made comments that he moved 2 yards back. If they never investigated and then he admits that, it's still a penalty right? And he's signed his card. So he has to be DQ'd.
If Tiger were to have dropped closer to his original divot and the ball rolls into his divot, does he have to play it from there? If Tiger never actually said he moved two yards back, how would they have made the decision that it was an illegal drop after the viewer called in?
yes, if the ball rolled into the divot, he'd have to play it -- as long as it was no closer to the hole.And after the viewer called in, they originally decided it wasn't a violation.
Re: Westwood winning a major championship...agree that westwood is a very accomplished player. However, I think when you have that type of deficiency in your short game the only way for a guy like him to win a major is to blitz the field. That's why I think a guy like Dustin - despite his flame-outs - will be the next good one to win a major. He has the ability to blitz the field.
Maybe so. But his body of work is not as expansive as Westwood's.
Maybe this is just semantics...Augusta initially ruled Tiger made a correct drop according to the "near as possible" option. But when Tiger admitted he executed the drop according to a different option, doesn't the initial ruling become meaningless because it was a ruling based on an option the player never took? It's kind of like driver speeding and running a red light, and getting away with running the red light because their initial ruling was that he wasn't speeding.
Tiger didn't take a different option. He was cleary dropping from the previous spot. The other options were the drop area and the line from which the ball entered the hazard. He was nowhere on that line.
Do you think caddies should intervene if player is dropping incorrectly? Would a rules official walking with the group ensure the bad drop would not have happened? Am I beating on a dead horse?
His caddie could have helped him there, but I'm guessing that it was close enough to not notice.And absolutely, rules officials can make a difference. They are there to prevent problems.
Hey Bob, I was wondering why Tiger was using driver so much off the tee if he kept missing fairways? I know hindsight is 20/20 but I just kept thinking that I would've much rather have him take 3wood, have a better chance at fairway and use a longer iron. Especially on Sunday's back 9
He did use a lot of 3 woods but there are just some holes you have to hit driver at Augusta.
Faldo says Tiger needed to think about his "legacy." How do you think this will effect his legacy? I don't think it will at all.
Sorry, but I think Sir Nick was way off on that one. The infraction called for a 2-stroke penalty, not disqualification.
The back 9 on Sunday was about as compelling as it gets to me. Scott made NOTHING, but hung in there and finally one dropped on 18. And if Tiger happens to make that putt on 12 which he hit through the break, the putt on 16 gets very interesting. Day is the one who has to be the most frustrated though.
And even Jason Day had made 3 straight birdies to get into that position. Great stuff really.
Who are your favorite guys to follow on twitter...maybe some guys more unkown than Cink or Poulter...
I get a kick out of Jason Dufner.
Which playoff format in the majors do you like the most? Even though sudden death format is exciting, but isn't 18-hole format (US Open) more fair?
18 holes is more fair, but not practical. The 3 or 4 hole setups used as the PGA (3) and Open Championship (4) are far better to me.
Going forward how do you think all this scar tissue that is adding up for Brandt Snedeker will affect him when it comes to trying to win a major.
No, I think he's done quite well for himself of late. He's not contended in many majors yet.
A lot of people have mentioned the 4 strokes as costing Tiger the playoff, and I would say that's true if everything exists in a vacuum, but if you break it down, they're right. I mean, if he doesn't bogey 5 and 7 and birdies 2 and 8 on Sunday, boom, playoff.
Lots of ifs in golf for everyone. Even Tiger said you can do that at every tournament for every player who doesn't win.
Here is a question about Cabrera...is he a HOF'er as he has 2 Majors and I want to say 48 career wins or did he need this 3rd major as his wins are on other tours and not PGA?
Even with a third major, he's not a Hall of Famer.
I know the guys exchange scorecards and keep the other players score, so how do they keep track of their own score to be sure the other player marked theirs down correctly?
They have a place on the card to write down their score as well to check it with the other player.
Nice to see a lot of storylines Sunday at the Masters. Can Tiger come back? Can Sneds hold on? Can Scott recover from Open meltdown? Can Cabrera get it done again? Can Leishman handle the pressure? Great Sunday at Masters
And with that folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. Sorry I couldn't get to them all.Feel free to hit me up on Twitter: @bobharig. I try to answer as many as I can there as well.Enjoy