Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig will stop by to talk about the 2010 golf season.
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.
Send your questions now and join Bob to chat Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Bob Harig (3:59 PM)
Hello, thanks for checking in today to chat about golf. There is obviously a lot going on in the golf world, not all of it between the ropes.This week has one of the most popular events on the PGA Tour in Phoenix. And then there is the Tiger situation. Any and all golf questions are welcome. I'll do my best to answer them. Fire away.
Alex (New York)
what is YOUR take on Tiger Woods???
Bob Harig (4:02 PM)
Well, we might as well start with Tiger.As far as his statement last Friday, I thought he did fine. I'm not sure what more he could have done. There seems to be a lot of angst over his delivery or if he was sincere. All I can think about is how diffiuclt that was. Tiger is not used to being in uncomfortable situations like that. He laid it out in front of the world.Was he supposed to be more casual? Speak without notes? I have a feeling that no matter what, he would have been criticized by some.Given that, he did well to get the issues out there and touch the key points.Now it remains to be seen if he will be able to follow through on what he discussed.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What does the PGA or the LPGA do if a golfer tests positive for either Steroids,PED, or HGH?
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
Chris, the tours have differeing policies, but simply put, if you test positive for banned substances, a minimum one year suspension comes into play.
I read recently that pros were going to contribute earnings from Wed pro-ams to support Ken Green and Chris Smith, good to hear, but I didn't realize they earned anything for playing on Wed?
Bob Harig (4:05 PM)
Mike, I am not aware of Wed pro-am money being donated, although it is a great idea. There is a small amount of money up for grabs on Wednesdays that typically is donated.
Steve (Atlanta, GA)
I want to pull for John Daly and was glad to see him make the cut, but should PGA pros really be shooting 81 outside of the US Open? Where do you think he ends up on the money list this year?
Bob Harig (4:06 PM)
Steve, Daly remains a mystery. There was nobody else in the field who failed to break 80. Daly was in the top 20 after the second round. I am guessing that he is still struggling with his weight loss and how it affects his game. I'm not sure he has taken that into account as he has sought to get back.
I thought Anthony Kim had rededicated himself to golf? If so the results haven't matched up yet, what is holding him back?
Bob Harig (4:08 PM)
Mike no question, Kim has been a disappointment so far this year. He's played in just two tour events, losing in the first round of the Match Play last week. But I think we have to give him a bit more time to see where this goes. There is no doubt that 2009 was not what he wanted, with just three top-10s and only one tournament where he truly contended.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Tiger's OWGR pts avg will be about 10.78 the week after Augusta. Will be be #1 then?
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
Brian, the various estimates of the World Golf Ranking require No. 2 Steve Stricker or No. 3 Phil Mickelson to have a good bit of success in order to pass Tiger by the Masters. A more likely point -- if Tiger is not back yet -- is closer to the U.S. Open, again depending on what the others do.
I was playing in a scramble this week and my friend got a hole in one on the closest to the pin hole. First prize was a $500 gift card. The guy who came in second put up a stink and said that my friend should not win because he did not hit the green in regulation (the rules said closest to the pin in regulation). My friend got the gift card but the other guy was insistant he was right, was he?
Bob Harig (4:11 PM)
Scott, I must be missing something.The guy who made the hole in one can't be any closer to the hole than that. And he did it in regulation. . . Please clarify if I did not get the question correctly.
Will we see a desert major in our lifetime? Regular tour, not the old tradition on the Senior tour.
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
Chase, I seriously doubt it, due to the timing of the only two majors where it could be played -- the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. Those tournaments are in June and August and the heat, I would think, just would not allow for it.
How does this tournament feel about both the later date on the calendar and TGC haveing all four rounds? I'm guessing the later date should all but eliminate the occasional frost delay they've had here but i can't imagine they're happy about no network tv.
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
Brian, although Phoenix has embraced the Super Bowl weekend in the past, it should help them get even bigger crowds not having to deal with it.As for no network TV, that was part of the negotiations with the new title sponsor, Waste Management. I do not know the details, but being on cable costs less, so I'm guessing the title sponsor is getting a break. They might like it this way.
Had Tiger decided to return here this week did CBS or NBC own an option to televise this? It would have been strange to have his return to golf not be carried on network TV.
Bob Harig (4:15 PM)
Brian, my strong suspicion is no. These things are worked out well in advance. NBC has the Olympics to worry about. CBS puts golf away until the Masters. It was done this way for a reason.
John (Little Rock, AR)
This doesn't seem as promising after this past week, but if David Duval or John Daly (or anyone else without exempt status on the PGA tour) were to win early this year, would they become exempt immediately this year, plus get the 2011 and 2012 seasons? Or would this season count towards their two years for the win?
Bob Harig (4:16 PM)
John, the exemption includes the rest of the season, plus the next two years as well.
John (Little Rock, AR)
Why are golf writers always trying to "fix" things they see as wrong with golf? From the Match Play to the FedEx Cup, all I keep seeing is how they think these competitions should be "tweeked" to make them more exciting. What's wrong with just watching the best players in the world play golf like the rest of us? Ian Poulter is one of my favorite players and watching him win 4&2 was great!
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
John, I guess the simple answer is that is what we do! You have folks suggesting the NCAA tournament should be expanded; or that the NFL overtime rules should be changed. Discussion and debate is a big part of sports.
Any word on if Tom Watson will be playing on the regular tour before Augusta?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
Brian, there has been no word, and it appears doubtful. I think there is a good chance Watson might play the Champions Tour event the week prior in the Dominican Republic.
Professionally, and in vacuum of sorts, how much is Tiger regretting possibly missing two majors (US Open and British) that are returning to two of his absolute best courses?
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
Dan, he hasn't missed them yet and we don't know that he will. But there is no question, this was setting up to be a big year for Tiger before the scandal came along. Having the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the British Open at St. Andrews was going to put the spotlight right on him. Now all of that is up in the air.
Your thoughts on Camilo for this year? I still see all the experts not giving him any chance!!!!
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
Rafael, Camilo had a tough year last year, and his putting ocntinues to plague him -- as we saw at the Match Play where he should have advanced to thie final. Still, he seems to have a better attitude about things. He realizes how good he has it and how tough it is. I don't think he has been written off, that's for sure.
Should Tiger be suspended for conduct unbecoming? Since Fincham has denied Tiger being suspended, that essentially means that he hasn't.Based on his actions and the negative publicity it brought to the tour, I think Tiger should be suspended. And assuming that he was suspended, would it take place after he's "returning" or would it run concurrent with his rehab?
Bob Harig (4:26 PM)
Bob, this is an excellent question and a great issue.The problem is, we really don't know what constitutes a suspension on the PGA Tour because they don't lay it all out. What is conduct unbecoming? Does it have to do with morals?The fact the tour never announces these things does not help matters. How does keeping it secret help to curb the behavior that led to the suspension, whatever that might have been?
Yeah you got it right, he said technically a hole in one does not count as a green in regulation.
Bob Harig (4:27 PM)
Scott, that doesn't make sense to me. If the ball lands on the green and rolls into the hole, it hit the green in regulation.
is waste management open the worst possible name for a golf tournament? can you think of a worse sponsor?
Bob Harig (4:29 PM)
Matt, there is no doubt it is not a great name for the tournament. But Waste Management is the name of the company. And I'm sure the PGA Tour feels they are a great sponsor.
Mike (Los Angeles)
Bob, how do we know other golfers on the PGA tour aren't having affairs as well? Tiger's is only this publicized because he's Tiger. How could Finchem suspend him for basically just being the highly-publicized Tiger machine?
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
Mike, I thnk you could make an argument that this whole deal has hurt golf, and that's why he could be suspended. Then again, does the tour or should the tour legislate morality? Tough issue.
Thoughts on Sergio shanking two irons on the par 3s against Poulter and Casey laying up 30 yards short of the water? Were the conditions really that bad?
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
Bob, the weather was brutal. It was in the 30s temperature wise. I chalk it up all to the conditions.
Any chance that Tiger makes his return to golf on the European Tour? Since they allow appearance fees for players i'm guessing he could net 8 figures out of it.
Bob Harig (4:33 PM)
I guess anything is possible, but I just don't see that happening. I'm guessing he wants to come back at a place where he has some familiarity.
big ben (nc)
If Tiger comes back and wins right away, does that say more about Tiger or about the weakness of the overall PGA field right now?
Bob Harig (4:34 PM)
I think it probably says more about Tiger. For him to win would require a heck of an effort, because there is always somebody who is playing well every week.
Has there been any talk from Kenny Perry regarding the "incident" in the playoff last year?
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
Brian is referring to the playoff where some wondered if Perry improved his lie when he put the club behind the ball. But all of the rules folks signed off on it and although Perry was asked about it into the summer, it seems to have died down.
Fernando (Miami, FL)
Speaking of Villegas, what major do you think is suited for his game?
Bob Harig (4:38 PM)
My guess would be a British Open, where putting isn't such a huge deal -- although let's face it, you always have to putt -- and neither is driving accuracy.
John (Little Rock)
Any more talk about Sergio's comments following his 7&6 defeat to Poulter? Seems like sour grapes to me. The whole point was that Poulter couldn't hit the shot he wanted to because of the TV tower, wasn't it?
Bob Harig (4:42 PM)
John, I wrote an item about this in my birdies and bogeys column (shameless plug) and I agree about sour grapes. I don't quite understand Sergio's problem. And he won the hole!
Bob Harig (4:43 PM)
For those of you who are fans of another game played with sticks. . . The USA hockey team just scored to take a 1-0 lead early in the third period against the Swiss.Memo to Boss: I'm not watching, I just heard about it:)
Any word on how Champions Tour attendence and TV ratings are doing this year? The events have been great theater so far
Bob Harig (4:44 PM)
Nelson, no word on the ratings, and the event in Boca Raton had free admission so that had to help.But I agree, Tom Watson winning the first event and Fred Couples now playing has given the Champions Tour a boost. It is good to see.
James (Columbia, SC)
How many majors is Lefty going to win this season?
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
James, I have said all along I like Phil at the Masters. I bet he'd be thrilled with that one alone, but he's won at Pebble Beach as well and he's sort of due a U.S. Open, isn't he?
So, in 2016, will it be gold for Ryo in Rio?
Bob Harig (4:46 PM)
Bob, that very well could be the case. And Ishikawa will be all of 24 years old at the time.
James (Columbia, SC)
What golfer that we have not heard much about will capture our attention in 2010?
Bob Harig (4:49 PM)
James, Alex Pugh might fit your description. He's a rookie who had top-10s in his first three tournaments and was on his way to a fourth at Pebble Beach before the 14th hole on Sunday and a 9 got in the way. Still, he's off to a great start.
Alex B (Amherst, MA)
Thinking ahead to the US and British Opens, are there any players who you find exceptionally good (or bad) in the wind? And what do you think makes someone a good wind player -- good ball control, not getting frustrated by bad breaks, or a combination of these and other qualities?
Bob Harig (4:56 PM)
Alex, the biggest key in the wind is being a good ball striker. That means someone who hits the ball solid. Not all tour pros do. Tom Watson is exceptional when it comes to this. So is Greg Norman. It is one of the reasons they contended at the last two British Opens despite being in their 50s. Not getting frustrated by bad breaks certainly helps.
Do you think if Tiger comes back rather soon, like at or before the Masters, that some people might be disappointed because they think he won't really have fixed his issues that soon?
Bob Harig (4:56 PM)
Nelson, I'm afraid you are right, although how would any of us really know? But I'm sure that perception would be there.
Alex B (Amherst, MA)
In terms of the qualities which make PGA Tour players so good, what do you think the general public most overrates/underrates? And what abilities most differentiate the Tigers from the Briny Bairds?
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
There are lots of factors beyond obvious differences in skill. I would say the biggest is being able to turn a bad score into a decent one. There are many, many times when Tiger should shot 76 or worse and somehow shoots 72 or better. He manages to turn a bad day into a decent one. Not everyone can do that. When it goes bad, it goes bad.
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
Okay folks, I am out of time. Thanks for all your participating and check back again next week. Thanks