Chat with Bob Harig
Harig covers golf for ESPN.com and provides columns, features and analysis on the world of golf, specifically the PGA Tour. He has contributed to ESPN.com's golf coverage since 1997.
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Harig Archive: Columns
Bob Harig (3:59 PM)
The beauty of golf is that it never really ends. Somebody is playing the game somewhere. So with that, if you've got questions about golf, I'll do my best to answer them. Let's get started.
Dave L. (Reno, NV)
In spite of the absence of Eldrick Woods for much of the season, 2008 was a phenomenal year for the PGA Tour. What do you see in 2009? The Tour has to be very concerned with the impact of our faltering economy on sponsors, tournaments, purses, and most importantly the money raised for charity. Your thoughts?
Bob Harig (4:01 PM)
Dave: There is no doubt, the economy is going to have an effect on all sports, especially golf. We might not see it at the top levels, where title sponsorships are virtually locked in for the next few years. But it takes a lot more than a title sponsor for a tournament to be successful. I'm sure the tour is deeply concerned. How this all trickles down remains to be seen, but it would not surprise me to see some tournaments fall by the wayside or perhaps purses stablizie with charitable dollars leveling off or even dropping. But the tour has weathered these problems before.
Hi Bob, Is it conceivable that Tiger could win the Player of the Year honors this year ? Granted Vijay won 3 tournaments out of 23 including the FedEx Cup, with 8 Top 10s and Padraig won 2 Majors out of 15 events with 6 To 10s, but Tiger won 4 out of 6 events plus a Major and placed in the Top 10 in the remaining 2 events. There probably is a number of events played requirement to be considered for POY ??
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
I think it is very possible, but we're talking about the PGA Tour's award, which is determined by a player vote. The PGA of America has a formula it uses and Harrington has already won that honor. I guess it is a matter of perspective. It is hard to ignore four victories in six appearnaces with nothing worse than fifth. Then again, do you base it on a half season of work?
Andrew, New York
When do you expect that they will name the 2010 Ryder Cup Captain and is there any chance that they will consider Mark O'Meara or will his past comments be a black mark. Tiger would do everything he could to win for him as captain and apparently he has a good relationship with Anthony Kim based on comments he made to him last year at the Shark Shootout about his attitude. If Azinger won't return and Couples is locked into the President's Cup, he would seem to be a better choice than Corey Pavin, wouldn't he?
Bob Harig (4:05 PM)
Andrew: I would think the announcement will come within the next month or so. The PGA of America likes to have its captain in place before the start of the new year. O'Meara's name has been mentioned before, but he will not get the job if the same criteria is in place: a captain who still plays on the PGA Tour. O'Meara is 51 and on the Champions Tour. The PGA of America likes the captain to be able to promote the event and be available at various tour stops. It's hard to say who would make a better captain. Pavin's name has been mentioned as Davis Love, although it appears Love would like to try and make the team as a player.
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QUESTION TO BOB HARTIG AT 4.10 HI BoB WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU HEARD SEVE ballersteros HAD A BRAIN TUMOR OPERATION
Bob Harig (4:07 PM)
Ray:Like most golf fans, I was saddened. Seve was a player that most Americans never got to appreciate. Can you imagine if the Golf Channel were around in his heydey? And then you consider that his career was really cut short. Greg Norman, who is two years old, nearly won the British Open this year and Seve has not been himself for a decade.Let's hope he recovers and makes an appearance at the Masters.
Just think about that for a minute. He won 4 out of 6 with a TORN ACL. And won a major with a TORN ACL & 2 FRACTURES in his leg.
Bob Harig (4:08 PM)
Justin: That is why Tiger will get serious consideration for player of the year. It is amazing what he did. Makes you wonder how he'll be when completely healthy.
what can we take away from this season?
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
Jake: If I wanted to be negative, I would say that it is quite obvious golf suffers a big deal without Tiger around. On the positive front, look at the great young players who stepped up in his absence: Sergio, Anthony Kim, Villegas. . .Those guys are the game's future and that should be exciting.
What was this masters of golf, I think it was called, tournament that took place yesterday? It seems like they kind of just snuck that one in there, no?
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
Paul: I believe you are referring to the Grand Slam of Golf that was played in Bermuda. This event has been around for awhile. The idea is to bring together the four major champions of the year. Since Tiger couldn't play and since Harrington won two majors,they asked other past major winners to play, hence Jim Furyk and Retief Goosen were in the field.
Young guys that stepped up, huh? How many majors between the three you mentioned?
Bob Harig (4:15 PM)
Justin: There were only two majors played without Tiger, won by the same guy. Garcia won the Players Championship and was in the hunt at the PGA. He lost two playoffs in the FedEx Cup. Anthony Kim won two pretty big tournaments, Wachovia and AT&T. Villegas won the last two playoff events. I'd say that's stepping up.
Can the PGA Tour learn anything from this season, in terms of how to market the game without Tiger?
Bob Harig (4:17 PM)
Evan: I'm not sure what they should do in that regard. They have always tried to marekt the young players, the new players, hoping they'll catch on. They did that with Villegas almost too much, as he hasn't won anything until recently. There's only so much they can do. Some of it is casual fans sticking around to watch some of these guys. Some of it is also fans not having the attitude that they are going to watch only Tiger. I can't believe a true, true golf fan really thinks that way.
When is Tiger to be scheduled back? Any word on how his recovery is going?
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
Nick: Tiger has said he will not hit a golf ball until January. He wanted to give himself six months of recovery after the surgery. The question then becomes, how fast does his game come back? Is there soreness? Setbacks? He says his recovery is going fine. Apparently he is walking with no problem. I think we could all speculate that he'd want to be back for the Masters, but as to when he'd return before that is all just a guess.
What do these guys do in the offseason?
Bob Harig (4:20 PM)
Many of them continue to play. Their are overseas events to play, as well as the remaining Fall Series tournaments on the PGA Tour, and then a smattering of "silly season" tournaments that make for nice Christmas money. Some relas, some tinker with equipment, some try to get in shape.
Okay. Fair enough. If I am correct though the Players, AK's two wins and Villegas' two wins all were in events without TW.
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
Justin: very true. But of course, Woods couldn't be there for any of them. We all wondered who might step up in his absence and these guys did. Not their fault he wasn't there. On the other hand, some guys like Mickelson and Els did not take advantage of the situation.
Still too many questions about Tiger. People need to realize Anthony Kim is the REAL DEAL. I say he's the rival everyone has been looking for for Mr. Woods. What say you?
Bob Harig (4:22 PM)
Joe: that remains to be seen. He certainly could be a rival to Tiger, sort of in the mode of Tom Watson to Jack Nicklaus. Kim is nearly 10 years younger than Woods. He's not been scarred by disappointing defeats. He hasn't been around long enough for that. One interesting stat to note: Kim has never finished ahead of Woods in any tournament they've played. Not been that many, but it is interesting.
DO YOU THINK ERNIE ELS CAN WIN ANOTHER BIG CHAMPIONSHIP OR IS HE DONE FOR GOOD?
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
Jason: I have long believed that Ernie would bounce back. But he's testing my patience. If you remember, he was in contention at both the 07 British and PGA. He won earlier this year at the Honda but seemed to fall back after that. I don't think he's done for good, but his windown of opportunity has certainly closed a great deal.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
How much is Tiger paying the guy that has to follow him around until January making sure he does not swing a club? It says something about his self-control to be as competitive as he is and not do what he does best.
Bob Harig (4:25 PM)
Cosmo: When you consider that Tiger defied doctor's orders to play the U.S. Open, it is pretty amazing. But I think he realizes what is at stake here. He is a young guy, has plenty of time. Why rush it? Others with knee injuries, including Ernie Els, admitted that pushed it too much, came back too soon, then suffered the consequences with bad habits and such. He is wise to wait.
I guess all I'm trying to say is until I see those guys stare Tiger down on Sunday they don't have alot of credibility with me. Not saying its right just my opinion.
Bob Harig (4:29 PM)
Jason: You are not alone in your opinion, but who has stared down Tiger on Sunday? Guys who won majors in which Tiger finished second such as Rich Beem, Michael Campbell, Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera, Trevor Immelman didn't exactly stare him down. If I'm not mistaken, they weren't in the same group. That doesn't mean it was easy They knew Woods was there, which is a feat in itself. But you're asking these young guys to do something that nobody has really done.
ben (las vegas)
who is gonna win the heisman this year?
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
Ben: Oops, wrong chat. But since you asked, I'm going with the quarterback from Texas. Realling going out on a limb, huh?
Is Mike Weir done winning golf tournaments? He played ok this year but couldn't win.
Bob Harig (4:32 PM)
Chris: I don't think he is done, but it does kind of show that winning is not easy. He did have a lot of high finishes,including a tie for sixth at the Tour Championship. But he was nowhere near as consistent as he'd like.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Phils or Rays?
Bob Harig (4:34 PM)
Cosmo: I live in the Tampa Bay area, so you know who I have to go with. However, they have yet to get past the Red Sox! How's that for paranoia?
Well you just made my point. We don't consider Mickleson and the rest of the guys as people who stepped up. So we can't say these young guys have either.
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
Jason: You said against Tiger. Nobody has stepped up against him. But he created a void this summer for people to do so: I'd say Garcia, Kim and Villegas -- along with Vijay, too -- did that.
Best course you have played thie year?
Bob Harig (4:37 PM)
John: I had the chance to play to play Hillside Golf Club when I was over for the British Open. It is right next to Royal Birkdale. Terrific. One of the best back nines anywhere. And I think we had the lone day of summer, just glorious. Stateside, I played World Woods' Pine Barrens course just last week. It's in Florida and a favorite.
Tommy (Green Bay, WI)
True or False: John Daly will be competitive again on the PGA or European Tour.
Bob Harig (4:38 PM)
Tommy: Sadly, I'd have to say false. His game has been deteriorating for several yeas, and he's not changed his habits much. You can't keep doing what you are doing and think you'll be successful. He certainly has the talent.
is zack johnson overlooked after the win at the masters.
Bob Harig (4:40 PM)
Kelly: Zach got a lot of attention after he won the Masters last year. He added another victory soon after in Atlanta. Then he struggled most of this year until winning last week in San Antonio. I don't htink he was overlooked. He just didn't do much this year to warrant a lot of attention. He was the first to admit it's been a tough year.
Webb Simpson has held the top national ranking at the junior and amateur level and just shot a 61 in the Nationwide event this week. Chances he holds the No. 1 spot at the professional level?
Bob Harig (4:42 PM)
Kevin: Way too early to say. As you know, there have been plenty of phenoms to come along who didn't amount to much as pros. The competition is just so keen. That is not to say that Simpson won't be terrific.
Paul (Louisville, KY)
Sandy Lyle vs. Paul Azinger in Wales....or does Zinger hang it up for Pavin? Or do you see other candidates becoming Ryder Cup Captains?
Bob Harig (4:43 PM)
Paul: I would love to see Sandy Lyle get the European captaincy. It is puzzling why one of Europe's Big Five -- along with Seve, Faldo, Woosnam and Langer -- never got the captaincy as they all did. He did win two majors and a Players. As for Zinger, it'll be interesting to see if he wants it again or if they want to give it to him again. It would buck a lot of trends.
I have a golf outing this weekend in less than ideal conditions. What are the best clothing choices when playing with the wind chills in the low 40's? Or should I just start drinking early and warm up from the inside?
Bob Harig (4:44 PM)
Mikey: I hate to break it to you, but the word is that drinking actually makes you colder. It's just an illusion.
Trent Pollard (Fort Gibson OKLAHOMA)
What do you think the chances are that oklahoma could bounce back into the conference championship?
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
Trent: Oops, another interloper, but hey, I can take a stab. I'll say the chances are poor since it will now take two Texas defeats for Oklahoma to win the division. Not bad for a golf guy, huh?
Brinker (Evansville, IN)
What's Jeff Overton's career ceiling?
Bob Harig (4:48 PM)
Jeff is in just his third full season on the PGA Tour, and I think you have to give it some time. It's hard to say because he has just one top three finish in his career. But you never know. He breaks through, and perhaps then is in contention all the time.
who is your favorite golf player present day.
Bob Harig (4:49 PM)
Brandon: How do you not say Tiger? Simply from the standpoint of what he has accomplished, how he has done it, what he has done. Pretty amazing to be witness to that.
Is the big 12 better that the SEC?
Bob Harig (4:52 PM)
Dexter: you really want me to answer that? Gotta be the Big 12. Look at all those strong teams.
Golf fans (Everywhere)
How many days until the Masters?
Bob Harig (4:52 PM)
Don't have the calender right in front of me, but it's approximately 180 days. . .Only six months away!
Do you think Padrig Harrington is the new tiger woods
Bob Harig (4:54 PM)
Kendall: I'd be hard pressed to call anyone the new Tiger Woods. Winning back to back majors for Harrington was impressive, but we also saw what it took out of him. I have a hard time believing Tiger would have missed back to back cuts in the playoff events as Harrington did.
Who are your picks for next years majors?
Bob Harig (4:56 PM)
Rafael: It's a long way out, but I'll guess right now that Garcia and Kim will each get one. How's that? And Tiger comes back and snags one, too. And how about Ernie Els breaking through after a seven-year major drought. Please don't hold me to it.
How many wins for Villegas next year?
Bob Harig (5:00 PM)
Sky is the limit now. Having broken through to win twice, I'm sure it'll be much easier for him. Putting is a big key and if he can continue to improve there, a multi-win season is not unreasonable.
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
Thanks for all the questions, but I'm out of time. Hope you enjoy the weekend. Look forward to doing this again soon.