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July 30, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (2:58 PM)

Hello all, thanks for checking in, hope you might participate by firing a few questions my way. Big stretch of golf upcoming. The women at St. Andrews this week, the men at a WGC event followed by the PGA Championship next week. Any and all golf questions welcome. I'll answer what I can. Please send 'em along.

Brian (Westborough)

I have a bet with a co-worker for the PGA. He has Rory McIlroy and have the club pro field. Who do you like?

Bob Harig
  (2:59 PM)

You don't like Rory to beat all of the club pros? I don't think Rory has been that bad. Of course, if he misses the cut and just one club pro makes it, you win, correct?

JY (TO) [via mobile]

Why do you suppose attendence was down this year for The Open?

Bob Harig
  (3:01 PM)

The organizers pointed to the warm weather as a reason, which seems hyseterical! The weather was absolutely perfect, certainly not hot. It was great. I think the bigger reason is prices: 75 pounds, or about $120 scared some away. Another good reason offered: A very big cricket match between England and Australia was being contested the same week. Some perhaps chose to stay home and watch both.

Brian (Westborough)

Is there enough time between the British Open and the PGA Championship? 18 days doesn't seem like a lot.

Bob Harig
  (3:02 PM)

If you're asking me, personally, I don't think there is enough time. For whatever reasons, this is the third straight year that there have been just two tournament weeks between the Open and the PGA. Used to be 3. Just seems way too crammed together, especially when you throw in this week's WGC event.

JY (TO) [via mobile]

When do you think Rory will snap out of this funk?

Bob Harig
  (3:03 PM)

I'm predicting this week! Seriously, I picked him to win at Firestone, as ludicrous as it sounds. I just don't see this slump lasting.

Brian (Westborough)

Why has the PGA not been west of the plains since 1998? They've always been the 4th major and I think bringing their event to Bandon Dunes would be a home run. Plus they could end it at 10PM ET and get huge ratings. Yes attendance would be down but i'm guessing they make up for that in ratings. Plus I think a lot of die hards would make a pilgrimage to Bandon to see it.

Bob Harig
  (3:05 PM)

I think those are two separate issues.First, why it hasn't been west since 1998 is the ultimate mysetery. What about a Colorado venue? California? Anything to get out of the heat and thunderstorms of the Midwest and East and South. It just seems crazy.As for Bandon, that is another story altogether. My guess is infrastruce to host an event of this magnitude is just not there.

Paul (Sunriver, OR)

Hey Bob who do you think will win Player of the year? If i had a vote it would be for Tiger but collins said yesterday that Mickelson would win it if the season ended tomorrow. What do you think?

Bob Harig
  (3:06 PM)

I'm not so sure it's an easy answer. Tiger has 4 wins. Phil has 3 including the Scottish Open, and one of them is a major. you could see votes going to either and nobody would be wrong. My guess is the last major, perhaps the WGC and the playoffs will have an impact.

Griffin (NY)

Bob, where does this rank in hardest major venues? Merion was brutal, murfield played tough, and oak hill is a us open type set up.

Bob Harig
  (3:08 PM)

Oak Hill is a tough course. Only a few players were under par in 2003 and as you say it is a U.S. Open type course. Early reports are the rough is brutal.

Sebastian (Baltimore)

Who will win in Akron?

Bob Harig
  (3:08 PM)

I picked Rory but I wouldn't go by me if any large sums of cash are at stake.

Brian (Westborough)

Do you need to win every major in a caldenar year to win the slam? Did the LPGA tour open a can on chaos on themselves by adding a 5th major? I assume if Park wins the British people will say she won the slam. But if she doesn't and then wins the Evian Masters i'd have a hard time calling that a slam.

Bob Harig
  (3:09 PM)

It's an unfortunate situation. Majors are supposed to evolve, not be declared, as the LPGA did with the Evian, a marketing money ploy it is best/worst. If Park wins at St. Andrews, it's 4 straight majors in the same year. To be, call it whatever you want, but that would be special.

Brian (New York)

How do you see Keegan Bradley defending his win at the WCG last year? People are quick to dismiss him as slumping since he hasn't won in 2013, but he has 6 top 10s still this year.

Bob Harig
  (3:10 PM)

Wouldn't be surprised if he won, you're correct that he's had a solid if not great year.

JY (TO) [via mobile]

Is the #1 final ranked player on the web.com tour still guaranteed the #1 priority for "new grads" for next seasons tournaments? Or will the 3 tourney setup with the top 25 on the web.com money list and the 125-200 from the PGA Tour determine the full priority ranking positions to start the year?

Bob Harig
  (3:11 PM)

It is my understanding that the NO. 1 player on the final money list gets No. 1 priority heading into the 2013-14 season. The next 24 are assured of their card, but their seeding is based on how they do in the 4-tournament series that includes the top 75 on Web.com Tour as well as 126 to 200 on the PGA Tour.

RJ (OK)

I'm amazed at people who say stuff like "Tiger would've won easily (at the British) if he had just made some putts." That's the stupidest thing i've ever heard. Tiger didn't play well enough, not just putt well enough, to win. Period. The guy hasn't passed Nicklaus and WON'T pass Nicklaus.

Bob Harig
  (3:14 PM)

Well, not completely. He putted poorly on the weekend, taking more than 30 putts in each round. However.... perhaps he putted poorly because he didn't hit it close enough. That's part of the equation also. He also wasn't sharp with the short game, which leads to more putts. It is true there is way more involved than just putting.

JY (TO) [via mobile]

I know it won't happen because of TV ratings, but doesn't it make a ton of sense to make the PGA matchplay? It would be a tip of the cap to golf's origins, and really distinguish the PGA from the other majors, all of which are unique. The PGA is almost just a regular tour event aside from the prestige that comes with winning it.

Bob Harig
  (3:15 PM)

You answered your own question, really. It's about TV. Match play is very difficult format for TV and holding viewership into the weekend.

RJ (OK)

4 wins (no majors) and 3 wins (1 major) seems no-brainer for Phil to me. Of course, it all could change, but a major is worth 3 times any other tourney win IMO.

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

That is certainly a fair way to look at it. In 2008 Harrington was player of year with 2 majors to Tiger's 1 major and 4 total victories. Majors carry a lot of weight.

Tom (Verona, WI)

Jordan Spieth is not playing this week. Did he not qualify for the WGC event or did he decide to rest for the PGA?

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

He did qualify but decided not to play

Brandon (Lodi)

What happens to guys like Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer when the belly ban comes into play in 2016? Are the done even on the Champions Tour?

Bob Harig
  (3:16 PM)

Not sure about that. Langer, especially, has been resilient throughout a career of putting woes.

Robb (Colorado)

Bob, It seems like Tiger has become a better person over the past few years at the expense of having that killer instinct on the course. He will still win when he is playing better than anybody, but seems to be struggling when things get tight. Seem accurate or far fetched?

Bob Harig
  (3:19 PM)

I am not sure how the personality part plays in. But it does seem that he has struggled to get past everyone when he is clearly not better.

Jefe (MN)

Follow up for RJ (OK)...Tiger would have won if he didn't keep choking on the weekends in major tournaments....+23 on Sat/Sun the last 6 majors....33 putts over the weekend at The Open....see a pattern of choking .. but, of course, no one can say that about TW.

Bob Harig
  (3:20 PM)

People have tough standards. He's had 9 top-10s in his last 17 majors. True, he's been poor on weekends. But choking? At Muirfield, one of the final 22 players broke 70 -- Mickelson. Nobody else. Tough game.

Brian (New York)

Do you think Dustin Johnson has what it takes to win a major? Has a ton of game but seems to have the big mistake waiting on the horizon as was displayed again last weekend at The RBC Canadian.

Bob Harig
  (3:21 PM)

One of the qualities that would seem a hinderance I think can serve him well: he just seems like nothing bothers him. That should help him when he gets in the mix at these big tournaments.

Dre (D.C.)

Do you think that with Tiger's limited schedule that he might be more better off next week at the pga cause he is not as rusty with playing this?

Bob Harig
  (3:22 PM)

Tiger's limited schedule this year was due in part of the elbow injury. He missed 2 tournaments he was scheduled to play. Certainly being in a rhythm is good. Playing this week's WGC event should help.

barb (fl)

who will do better at oak hill - tiger or phil?

Bob Harig
  (3:24 PM)

Ah, putting me on the spot. Would love to see them both in contention.

Brian (Westborough)

Will they ever use the North course at Firestone for this event? Has a lot more water holes and would make for great TV viewing. I love the south course (easily one of the best 5 on tour) but why not rotate in the North once?

Bob Harig
  (3:25 PM)

If I'm not mistaken, Jose Mario Olazabal won the old World Series of Golf on the North about 20 years ago. I've not heard of any plans to use it for the WGC event.

RJ (OK)

True Jefe...the other problem is that the media lets Tiger set the agenda to some degree. Tiger: "I just couldn't make any putts." Media (and others): "Tiger woulda won had he made more putts."

Bob Harig
  (3:26 PM)

Not true. As pointed out in an earlier response, it is also reported that the reason for not making more putts had much to do with where he hit the ball. He had 3 putts twice from 80 to 100 feet on the final day at Muirfield. You can't be expect to putt well from that distance.

Ed (Long Island)

With the season going to a wrap-around season starting in the fall this year, would the consider moving the PGA to the fall as "Glory's First Shot" to spread them out a bit?

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

Sorry, a bit of a technical issue there for a moment. Apologies.As for the PGA, they like going last, although it would be cool to have a major in the fall and have the Open Championship be the final major.

RJ (OK)

Bob....that certainly isn't directed at you. But are you saying there aren't those in the media (and in the blogverse) that don't parrot what Tiger says? My point is that way too many people buy Tiger's party-line about everything related to his golf game.

Bob Harig
  (3:32 PM)

Well, sometimes you have to report what he says, and make up your own mind. You can only put out there what he says and then decide for yourslef. Certainly Tiger isn't going to delve deeply into the reasons why he isn't winning majors. Putting is a simple explanation, but I think we all know a lot more goes into it.

Tom (Verona, WI)

Where are you this week, Bob? St. Andrews? Firestone?

Bob Harig
  (3:33 PM)

I'll be in Akron starting tomorrow, followed by the PGA in Rochester. We have a writer from ESPNW.com in St. Andrews.

Jeff (NV)

Honset question: Do you think TW really hurt his elbow? He said he did it at the Players, but I ever saw anything that would indicate that. Never hear what doctor he goes to, never saw him with any type of wrap or ice on it...he just posts stuff on social media and everyone believes him, then miraculously is back for the major.

Bob Harig
  (3:34 PM)

Judging by his reaction on the very first shot he hit out of the rough at Merion, I'd say he had an elbow injury. It was clear it was bothering him throughout the U.S. Open. He was asked about it repeatedly at that tournament. Now where it happened, I have no idea.

Chip (Stees)

Phil's win at Castle Stuart doesn't count for PGA POY does it?

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

Well, the players vote on PGA Tour player of the year, and they can factor in whatever criteria they like. Some might dismiss it, others might look at the total body of work.

JD (CT)

Say Tiger was a an up and coming player with only his last five years as his tour record. With all those high finishes in majors and tour wins and the #1 ranking, wouldn't you say he was knocking on the door to win a major, or multiple majors sooner rather than later? He's not the 2000 version of himself, but he's still pretty damn good.

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

I happen to think that is the best way to look at it. Not fair to judge him by his own past. Who is ever going to be as good as that?

Brian (New York)

Do guys on tour view any of the WCG events on par with say the other top non majors such as The Players Championship? Or are they a distant third in terms of regular season prestige?

Bob Harig
  (3:36 PM)

The WGCs are probably right there with the Players Championship. The problem is, the no cut deal makes it almost like a vacation. Once a guy is out of contention, he can take it easy and get paid a huge sum.

Brandon (Lodi)

Do you think problem with Rory is that he doesn't play enough?

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

It could be. He certainly had too light of a schedule at the beginning of the year. And when he missed the cut at the Irish Open, he had too little golf going into the Open.

Dre (D.C.)

Is oak hill a more open environment than merion cause that place was too condense

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

No quesiton it is a bigger piece of property

Tom (Verona, WI)

It's disappointing to read stats like "+23 on Sat/Sun the last 6 majors" without seeing the same stats for other players for comparison.

Bob Harig
  (3:39 PM)

Fair point. Tiger is scrutinized like no other.

Scott (OH)

I'll be attending the WGC event this Saturday. This is the first professional tournament I'll have been to. What do you recommend I do to have the best experience? Should I follow a group or find a spot in the gallery for the day?

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

A mixture of both. I think walking the course and seeing the holes when nobody is playing or with a small gallery is best, then trying to follow a favorite player or maybe camping out at a great hole -- like the 16th at Firestone -- are all viable ways to do it.

Robb (Colorado)

Tiger did not lose the Open. Nor did anyone else. Phil won it. Big difference.

Bob Harig
  (3:41 PM)

That should make it easier for Tiger to take. Then again, had he shot 69 on Sunday -- 2 under par -- he would have tied. And while nobody but Phil among the last 22 players shot in the 60s, that is what we required.

Steve (Long Beach, CA)

Do you think TW even LIKES to play golf, or does he just enjoy competition and this is what he is best at?

Bob Harig
  (3:43 PM)

I don't think Tiger likes golf in the way that Arnold Palmer does. But I do think he enjoys the pursuit of greatness at golf. There's a difference. Tiger has never been big on playing at some pretty cool places, which suggests he is more about working on his game than enjoying it.

Dre (D.C.)

To Jeffs question he missed his own charities tournament (it basically is his tournament) for his elbow so it must have been serious

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

That to me was the sign that something was truly up.

Tom (Verona, WI)

Sounds like you're in favor of a fifth major for the men! :)

Bob Harig
  (3:44 PM)

No, I like it the way it is.

RJ (OK)

Tiger is also widely hailed as "the greatest golfer of alltime", even though he's yet to (and IMO, never will) catch Jack Nicklaus. Not exactly fair to Jack either.

Bob Harig
  (3:45 PM)

Not sure he is "widely hailed" as the greatest. He is in the discussion. But those who believe it is Jack have the 18 majors to fall back on, which is typically what Tiger himself cites.

Dre (D.C.)

Is Tiger going to use mostly driver this week to prepare for oak hill

Bob Harig
  (3:47 PM)

Not sure. That will be interesting to see.

Jefe (MN)

It is disappointing to read things like "Tiger is scrutinized like no other" ... well, when you get special treatment in the media, have your own "Tiger Tracker", is condescending in interviews, approve arrogant NIKE commercials...what do you expect?

Bob Harig
  (3:48 PM)

I would hardly say he gets special treatment. He gets MORE coverage because there is an appetitle for it, a demand for it. The media caters to the wishes of the consumers who eat it up.And frnakly, nobody gets his game analyzed like Tiger, which was the point of the previous answer you are citing.With all due respect to Phil, if he missed a cut -- and he's missed like 75 in his career compared to 10 for Tiger -- nobody cares.

Ed (Long Island)

Do you think Phil winning the US Open will dramatically change his legacy? I think winning the British where he struggles add more to his legacy. He's finished 2nd 6 times at the US Open, I think that kind of says he can compete and play it well.

Bob Harig
  (3:49 PM)

If Phil wins the U.S. Open now, he will have completed a career Grand Slam, which is huge. But no quesiton winning the British was huge. It got him to a fifth major. The way he did it was incredible. He doesn't need to do anything else really. If that is the last thing he does -- which I doubt -- it would be a great end.

Andy (Syracuse)

Bob, any suggestions for where to set up camp to watch Sunday at Oak Hill? First time attending a big tournament and want to have a cool experience.

Bob Harig
  (3:50 PM)

Don't have a great memory of Oak Hill. Check with me next week!

RJ (OK)

Tiger's a huge draw for the sport, unquestionably. But true golf fans have to get a little peeved when we're seeing Tiger shot for shot down the last 9 holes of a major that he trails by 8. It happens all the time. Enough already.

Bob Harig
  (3:52 PM)

I think that is a bit of an overstatement. True, Tiger is shown more, even when out of contention. But from what I could tell at the Open, many of his shots over the closing 9 were not shown.

Scott (OH)

But then you have to look at Tiger's competition compared to Jack's. Would you say the competition is much tougher nowadays than back in Jack's day?

Bob Harig
  (3:54 PM)

Yes, this is a great argument.Jack had to beat more major winners. Watson, Trevino, Miller, Floyd, Arnie, Player for example just to name a few. All won majors in Jack's era.But there is only one "flukish" winner in Jack's time, Charles Coody at the '71 Masters.Look who Tiger has finished second to: Beem, Campbell and Yang. None have won since. Cabrera has won the Masters since he beat Tiger at the 07 U.S. Open but those are his only U.S wins, which is incredible in itself.Tiger has had to deal with a bigger pool of potential winners.

Aaron (Wisco)

RJ (OK) should be thanking Tiger. Without TW, there might not be golf on network TV...let alone a tournament every week.

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

There is something to be said for that.

Dre (D.C.)

I understand where Jefe is coming from though, when tiger wins a regular tour event he gets about the same publicity as phil got for winning the open.

Bob Harig
  (3:56 PM)

Tiger moves the needle unlike any other player. As big as Phil's win was, as incredible as it was, I found the attention it got far less than it deserved. And I'm not talking here. I'm talking in general.

Steve (Long Beach, CA)

I also think that the conditions in Jack's day were tougher...courses were scruffier, clubs less forgiving, ball didn't travel as far. Just tougher.

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

You could also argue, however, that technology has brought players closer together today. Jack used lousy equipment and beat everyone. But today's equipment takes away some of that advantage. It helps players hit is farther, straighter. That is what Tiger has to combat.

Ed (Long Island)

Do you think more players will experiment with the "Phil 3 wood on steroids" after the success he's had?

Bob Harig
  (3:59 PM)

Golf being a copy cat game, I wouldn't be surprised.

Sean (NJ)

Dont you think people need to just lay off Rory a bit? Hearing things like "he needs a good wife" is just absurd to me. He can do whatever he wants, and if his golf game suffers, that's for him to deal with. Give it a rest with these older pros telling him what to do

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

I love Gary Player ,but the good wife thing makes me cringe. Happiness is what matters and that doesn't come off very well.

RJ (OK)

Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Hale Irwin, Tom Weiskopf, Ray Floyd, etc. etc. IMO, the top of the heap was better in Jack's day; the middle of the road golfer is better in Tiger's day.

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

maybe so, but the point I was making was Jack had to beat, say, 20-25 guys. Tiger has had to worry about 100. The depth is great today. Jack had his hands full with players who were big winners. Tiger has had to take shots from all corners.

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for a lot of great questions. Much appreciated. Please feel free to hit me up with questions on Twitter: @bobharig.. Will be busy at Firestone and Oak Hill the next two weeks so hit me up with your questions and I'll get to whatever I can. Enjoy the golf.