Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

June 4, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (3:01 PM)

Hello, thanks for checking in, plenty to discuss as usual in the world of golf. Tiger, Rory, rules violations, U.S. Open, qualifying...whatever is on your mind. Feel free to fire away. Thanks

Chuck (Cold Spring Harbor, NY)

Does Adam Scott truly anchor his putter? I thought a long putter that does not use a part of the body will still be legal.

Bob Harig
  (3:02 PM)

He does anchor his putter but holding his left hand against his chest. But you are correct, if he moves that hand away from his body, he can still use the long putter. And that is what Scott has suggested he will do.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Are you only in favor of the anchored putter if you A) can't putt without one or B) are misguided in how far you apply human rights to every potential situation?

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

A bit of a loaded question. It seems there are all kinds of opinions on the anchored putter, but it probably doesn't go quite as deep as the latter. Some simply like putting that way. Others struggle with the conventional method. There are solid arguments all the way around on this one.

JY (TO)

Will we finally start to get some hoopla around the All Time Wins record when Tiger gets to 81? It's shocking how little press this gets. Just goes to show how powerful the majors are to golf

Bob Harig
  (3:06 PM)

It is likely that Sam Snead will get a lot of attention as Tiger gets closer to that record. Some of this stems from the change to more of a global game. Many world class players didn't spend much of their time on the PGA Tour. Three is also a sense that this record hasn't meant as much to Woods.

JY (TO)

Do you see any of the current players under 32 getting to 20 wins? Seems like this threshold is getting harder and harder to obtain in today's game

Bob Harig
  (3:09 PM)

A very valid point. A 20-victory career is going to be considered outstanding. There are very few players piling up victories at an early age. Dustin Johnson has seven. Zach Johnson, who is 36, has 9.

George (New York)

Will golfers such as Adam Scott who use the anchor putter be able to switch back to the conventioanl putter and still maintain eltite status?

Bob Harig
  (3:10 PM)

This is the great unknown. Scott was struggling horribly until he switched in early 2011. Can he got back to a conventional putter? He has said he will still use a long putter. What about Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson? There is a reason they use a belly putter and to go to a conventional method will not be accomplished overnight.

Matthew (Pennsburg, PA)

Hey Bob, what do you expect scores to be at Merion for the US Open?

Bob Harig
  (3:12 PM)

This all depends on the weather. Rain and soft conditions will make things much different, especially on a relatively short course. But if they can get it firm and fast, Merion can still be very difficult, especially since the hard holes are extremely difficult and long. I'm going to say winning score of -2 or 278.

JY (TO)

Will the Web.com Tour end of season #1 ranked player still be exempt from the in-year reshuffle next season?

Bob Harig
  (3:14 PM)

That is my understanding. Treated just like the No. 1 money winner has always been. The top 25 on the Web.com money list will still get their card, but their position will be reshuffled according to how they perform in the season-ending 4-tournament final series of events with players who finished outside of the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list.

Ben (Davenport)

Speaking of long putters, what are the chances of the banning being held up in the courts?

Bob Harig
  (3:15 PM)

I have no legal expertise, but... it is difficult to envision a lawsuit impacting how a sport makes its rules. And the PGA Tour's defense is that it doesn't make the rules, it follows the rules set forth by the governing bodies.

JY (TO)

I regretably never saw Jack in his heyday, but the way Tiger has rebounded, it seems inevitable that he will go down as the best player ever. 100 wins seems more than obtainable, certainly a few more majors (or more). Do you think it all comes down to 18+ majors for Tiger to be considered the consenus best player ever? Or will 16 majors and 100 tour wins do that as well?

Bob Harig
  (3:17 PM)

This will simply be the subject of debate, never to be answered definitively. For some, it's all about the majors. Others might take into account the difficulty of reaching those numbers in this era and add in the fact that he was a prolific winner.

Ben (Davenport)

Not sure it came through, but I suggested Manassero as a sleeper pick due to length of Merion during your last chat. How's that pick looking now?

Bob Harig
  (3:17 PM)

It sounds good to me. I think that golf course will set up nicely for those who are not the longest hitters.

Padraig (Dublin)

If you had to make a musical instrument out of a vegetable, what would you do?

Bob Harig
  (3:19 PM)

I would stop answering questions in chats!

Al (North Providence, RI)

What do you think it the most ridiculous rule in golf? Mine is having to play out of a divot....

Bob Harig
  (3:20 PM)

A good choice. I go with the stroke and distance penalty for hitting a ball out of bounds. Why not play out of boundsl ike a lateral hazard, take two club lengths and a stroke penalty? You can hit a 300-yard drive that goes out of bounds by an inch and be hitting 3 from the tee. Meanwhile, if someone whiffs from the same tee, he his hitting 2. Doens't seem right.

Nemes (P-Town)

Do you think this next Nike contract with Tiger will be a "lifetime" deal, possibly the richest of all of sport?

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

His agent suggested that the deal he is about to sign will effecitvely mean he'll be with Nike for his entire career. Clearly it is going to be for a substantial sum and for a period of years that takes Tiger well into his 40s.

JY (TO)

What do you think it will take to retain your tour card this year (approx $$$. I know its by fed ex cup points now)?

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

For this year, they are going by money and FedEx Cup points. So if you finish outside of top 125 in points but are inside top 125 in money, you will be exempt for 2013-14. It's only a guess, but because the season is shorter, I'm thinking it is going to take about $650,000.

Hob (Barig)

Bob - If Tiger wins at Merion, he wins __ majors for his career.

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

Interesting name. I'll go out on a limb and say if he gets this one, he goes on to break Jack's record.

Jack (UK)

How worrying is it for Tiger that he's struggling so badly on bent grass greens (and hasn't putted well since Bay Hill" with the US Open on bent grass this year?

Bob Harig
  (3:25 PM)

I am not sure the word is worrying as much as it is puzzling. Tiger traditionally putts well on very fast greens and bent is faster than Bermuda -- where he's won 3 of his tournaments this year. Remember, that was off the charts putting at Doral and Bay Hill. He hit the ball so well at the Players that his putting stats could be average and he'd still win. But he was admittedly poor at Muirfield. 119 putts isn't going to get it done. And he made a bunch of putts longer than 4 feet on several occasions to save par or it could have been worse.

Nemes (P-Town)

Where does one even get metal-spike golf shoes? I haven't seen any in golf pro shops or golf retail outlets for at least the last 5+ years, if not longer.

Bob Harig
  (3:27 PM)

I'm guessing this is in reference to Lee Janzen getting DQ'd for wearing them at a US Open sectional. Good question. I don't think they are available widely. My guess is that pros have access to them through their shoe companies, who make them in limited supply. You don't see them anywhere outside of the pro game because they simply are not allowed.

Nick (PA)

Which do you rank higher Merion or Oakmont?

Bob Harig
  (3:28 PM)

Have never seen Merion played in person. Oakmont is clearly one of the toughest courses anywhere. They revel in its toughness there.

Ed (Long Island)

Seems ridiculous that Lee Janzen was DQ'd for metal spikes, and they are allowed at the Open. Need some uniformity here.

Bob Harig
  (3:29 PM)

I have to admit this one doesn't make sense. Either allow them at all the qualifying venues or don't allow them at any but make it the same for all. Of course, they'll be allowed at Merion, so why not in qualifying?That said. .. it was clearly on the rules sheet. No metal spikes. So it's sort of a moot point. He should have read the rules.

Nemes (P-Town)

Rory: Over/Under 7 majors for his career?

Bob Harig
  (3:30 PM)

I have to go with under, if we're talking a calculated bet. So many great players never got to 7.

Bob Harig
  (3:30 PM)

I have to go with under, if we're talking a calculated bet. So many great players never got to 7.

Ed (Long Island)

After playing in the heat of Memphis this week, will that make the conditions feel easier next week at Merion?

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

It could, but I think the bigger quesiton is if a guy gets to Merion a bit drained.

Ben (Davenport)

Rory seems a lock for 20, no?

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

A lock for 20 PGA Tour wins? Not necessarily, given the fact he plays two tours. But he would be the one you'd pick to get to that number and beyond.

Ben (Davenport)

I didn't ask that correctly. What are the chances of an impending lawsuit, if one occurs, holding it up as it goes through a legal process?

Bob Harig
  (3:33 PM)

Can't answer that very effectively. I can guess that it would be interesting. First, would they be suing the USGA/R&A or the PGA Tour? The PGA Tour, at this point, has never gone against the rules of golf. It could, but it never has. To me, it has that as an out. "We don't make the rules, we simply play by them." And it could also counter that to make its own rules would be problematic at the majors, Ryder Cups, World Golf events. But could a lawsuit stall the implementaiton of the ban? An interesting thought.

Scott (New York)

Given everyone is going to have a hard time hitting Merion's fairways, won't the longer hitters have an advantage hitting wedges from the rough?

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

Not if the rough is so deep that they can't advant the ball and control it.

Nick (Canada)

What are your thoughts on Rory shooting 67 at the venue for this year's PGA. Shouldn't he be focusing on this major instead of an event 2 months away?

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

He went there as defending champion for media day. I'm not sure that one round of golf hurts him there. And they likely picked that date based on what he wanted to do.

Scott (New York)

Rising star most likely to capture his first major at Merion: Fowler, D. Johnson, or Day?

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

To be honest, I don't like any of them at Merion. None seems to have much going in his game at the moment. But if I picked one, it would be Jason day.

Stephen (Rancho Mirage, CA)

I have a feeling that Bo Van Pelt is starting to get his game back and might be in the mix at Merion. Am I crazy?

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

No, nothing is crazy at a U.S. Open, even Bo Van Pelt winning.

Geoff (Santa Monica)

Will Gene Wojciechowski be announcing a publication date soon for his long awaited biography of Guan Tianlang or Tianlang Guan? Btw, which version is correct this week?

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

Funny... I think Gene will be waiting until Guan gets his driver's license. And according to the family, Guan goes first -- even though that is the family name.

Ed (Long Island)

It seems obvious now that Phil will not be on as many leader boards as in the past, but does he still have the game that can win the majors if for those 4 days he puts it together?

Bob Harig
  (3:37 PM)

Sure. Last year, he very easily could have won the Masters, which stil seems like the best bet. But Phil has always been inconsistent, and his recent play is nothing different there.

Ben (Davenport)

If Trump International Links in Scotland wasn't called Trump International Links, would it be a possible Open Championship venue?

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

Doubtful, no matter how good it is. And that's for any new venue.The last time the Open was played at a "new" venue was Turnberry in 1977. And Turnberry had been around for years.

Jeff (Newport, RI)

Was there ever any mention last weekend about Tiger being injured? Not trying to make excuses for his play, but on Friday during his warmup he was wincing and grabbing at his back, and was really awkward placing his ball on the tee. And the bit I saw on Saturday he seemed to be walking a bit odd, and struggling to crouch to look at his putting lines. Any mention of that anywhere from anyone?

Bob Harig
  (3:42 PM)

No, it's the first I've heard of it, and I was there. That doesn't mean I couldn't have missed it, quite possible for me. He seemed to warm up fine each day. Obviously he would be unlikely to mention it even if that were the case.

Nick (Canada)

After Olympic last year do you like shorter ball parks for US Opens or big long ball parks for the US Open?

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

I like a mixture of both. Keeps it interesting. Obviously they are going to a very short one this year and it is fascinating to see how this will play out.

Kimberly (Detroit, MI)

Do you think people underestimate the number of years Woods has left to contend for a major championship? People tend to cite Jack, Norman, Watson but they tend to forget how far nutrition and conditioning have come since those days. Woods might have another 15 years in him.

Bob Harig
  (3:45 PM)

I don't think there is any doubt that phsyical condition and nutriion allows for Tiger to play and compete longer. But there are two sides to that. Those aspects help younger playres too. And the truth is, it is rare for players to win majors in their 40s. Granted, Darren Clarke did it as did Ernie Els. Phil was about to turn 40 when he won the 2010 Masters. But my guess is Tiger feels he has 8 to 10 more good years in the majors.

Justin (Chicago)

What percentage of pros still wear metal spikes? Is Janzen the exception or the rule

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

It's more than you think. Tiger is among those who wear metal spikes. Maybe not every week, but a good number of them. My guess would be 30 percent wear metal spikes.

Duffy (Illinois)

Which golfer has made the most money with the least amount of wins during their career?

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

Off the top of my head, I am going with Briny Baird, who is north of $12-million without a victory.Charles Howell has made more than $24-million with just 2 wins.

Kimberly (Detroit, MI)

Would Muirfield ever be considered for a US Open or PGA Championship? Outside of Augusta it has to be the most memorable regular tour stop and seems rips for bigger things.

Bob Harig
  (3:50 PM)

An interesting question. I've been there several times and though it has hosted a Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and now will have a Presidents Cup, I'm not sure it can handle all that goes with a major. certainly the golf course is good enough, but my bet is those other factors make it difficult.

Kimberly (Detroit, MI)

Do you think Woods plays at Firestone this year given it is the week before the PGA?

Bob Harig
  (3:51 PM)

Yes, he will play. He's been playing it every year -- except for 2008 when he was injured -- that it has fallen the week before the PGA Championship, which I believe dates to 2007.

Noah (Miami)

I have a wager with my Dad, how many pros still wear metal spikes? My Dad says not many, I say more than half.

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

It's not more than half but it's more than a few. A lot of guys still wear metal spikes.

Scott (New York)

Westwood and Donald: what's your over/under on combined career major wins? Mine is zero.

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

I still think each is capable.

Andrew (SC)

Which remaining major course sets up best for a run from Sergio?

Bob Harig
  (3:53 PM)

I would think he'd be well suited to Oak Hill, which is a long, tough course that requires good driving.

Ben (Davenport)

Will you be in the Quad Cities for the John Deere? If so, I'll buy you a beer!

Bob Harig
  (3:54 PM)

No John Deere for me. You can send cash (kidding). thanks

JY (TO) [via mobile]

Weird, you are answering questions from me that I posed over a month ago! In any event, what would your advice be for a guy like Mike Weir that is really struggling to regain form?

Bob Harig
  (3:56 PM)

Sorry, I am just answering what is here in the que...And Mike Weir has been a tireless worker, trying to regain his form. not sure I could offer up any advice other than to stick with a plan which he seems to have done. For awhile, he was switching around a good bit.

Kimberly (Detroit, MI)

Were you surprised Fred Couples made it into the Golf Hall of Fame? Notwithstanding what a cool cat he is, he seems to lack the credentialing (mainly winning in majors) to receive such an honor.

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

Frankly, yes. Not because maybe he doesn't deserve it one day. But he had just 51 percent of the vote. That's not strong support. But the Hall has a strange deal where if nobody gets 65 percent, it drops down to anyone with more than 50. At the very least, Fred should have had to wait until 65 percent of the voters felt he was worthy.

Robb (Colorado)

I'm thinking that Tiger was getting some of his intimidation back with his season so far, up until Muirfield. Agree with that statement?

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

Yes, and several players more or less acknowledged that fact.

Kimberly (Detroit, MI)

Throughout Hank Haney's book on Woods he mentioned several occasions when Woods didn't play/practice for an extended time and struggled to break 80 in practice rounds. In light of that, can we just take it that Woods' performance this past weekend may have been a result of that, especially since the US Open is right around the corner?

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

Possibly. Who knows if he was putting in the workd prior to the Memorial, although that would seem odd with the U.S. Open so close. We've seen this more at other times of the year but it would not be his nature to show up at Muirfield unprepared.

Miles (Philly)

How beat up do these golf courses get after a week? Just thinking about Merion and how the course won't be destroyed by Sunday. 140 guys, three practice rounds, two scoring rounds, and two more for about 60. Seems like there would be so many divots to avoid by late Sunday when things are most important. Just curious.

Bob Harig
  (3:59 PM)

No question is is one of the reasons clubs are leery of givingup their course. Merion will basically need the rest of the year to recover. It's not just from play, but the foot traffic of spectators. All the man made structures that go up. Courses take a beating when they hold big golf tournaments.

Liam (UK)

How does Merion set up for Sergio? Could he be in the mix on Sunday?

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

In my opinion, Sergio should be good anywhere when he puts just decently.

Buffaloha (Honolulu)

I understand the tendency to pick Tiger for Merion because he won't need driver (and because he's been playing very well). But Tiger seems abnormally bothered/obsessed with wind. Do you think the wicker baskets will bother Tiger more than others?

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

I don't think that wicker baskets will be any factor, but I do think Tiger is going to need to hit driver a few times. There are 2 par-4s that measure more than 500 yards. One of the par-5s is more than 600 yards.

Tom (Verona, WI)

Guan Tianlang is playing Memphis this week. Is he helping or hurting his game by playing so many tournaments?

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

I don't think he is hurting his game right now, but long run, he needs to get back to playing against his peers and leraning how to win. Playing on 7,000 yard courses and scrambling to try and make a cut isn't the same as being in contention and trying to win, even at a lower level.

Michael H. (OK)

Seems like in past years, the US Open announced tee times pretty early. Any idea what day they will be announced this year? Also, when is the pecking order for alternates into the field announced? Thanks!

Bob Harig
  (4:04 PM)

The groupings will come out by the weekend at the latest, and as part of that there will be some TBD because they will leave room for guys who might move into the top 60 by Sunday. As for the pecking order of the alternates, that is not always fully disclosed before the fact. You can bet that the Columbus and Memphis qualifiers will be high on the list. That's why I think Mike Weir --first alternate from Memphis -- has a pretty good chance of getting in the Open.

Kimberly (Detroit, MI)

Over/Under 13...number of times Woods hits driver in the US Open.....

Bob Harig
  (4:05 PM)

I'm taking the under. 3 times a day for a total of 12.

JR (Boston)

With multiple alternates from multiple sectional sites, how is the order of alternates determined in case of a WD?

Bob Harig
  (4:06 PM)

I don't have the definitive answer. They establish some criteria based on strength of the various qualifiers. Also if a qualifier from that sectional withdraws, then someone from that sectional replaces him.

pratik (charlotte)

If you had to pinpoint one thing in particular, what is the reason Tiger played so poor at one of his most dominant courses coming off the success he has this year?

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

He putted poorly, is the main thing. Wasn't able to salvage pars or take advantage of birdie opportunies. Saturday was a bit of everything, poor chipping some poor iron play. It was a surprise, but really, the surprise should be that he doens't do this more often. It happens to everyone in the game, we're just not used to it from him.

Bob Harig
  (4:08 PM)

Okay, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. And feel free to fire them at me on Twitter: @bobharig. I'll answer what I can there as well. Thanks