Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig will stop by to chat live from Augusta National, where he will be covering the 2010 Masters.
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 Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Bob Harig (3:00 PM)
Hello, checking in today from the most famous dateline in golf, Augusta, Ga. The year's first major is almost upon us and of course there is lots to talk about. Fire away with your questions and I will hang in here for as long as I can. Thanks
Brian (Westborough MA)
Prediction time. The Masters doesn't start until the back 9 on Sunday, will Tiger and Phil have a chance at that point?
Bob Harig (3:05 PM)
Brian, my prognasticating powers are suspect, as you all know. But I like both their chances to be there. I just have a hard time ever betting against Tiger, as difficult as it may be for him this year to content.
Brian Shanely (Tampa Area)
Hello Bob I understand why some reporters are reluctant to ask certain questions in regards to Tiger Woods.But I have yet to hear someone ask him. "Whould you be in favor of mandatory blood and urine testing in the PGA". What differentiates the PGA from any other professionally sponsored athletic event.
Bob Harig (3:05 PM)
Brian, the tour has a drug-testing policy, but it does not include testing blood. Tiger was very much in favor of the current policy being enacted. Prior to July 1, 2008, the PGA Tour had no anti-doping policy.
Tom (Cleveland, OH)
Let's get to the important topic: Do you get to play Augusta in the days after the tournament? What's your best there? Is Sobel banned from playing there due to his weak game?
Bob Harig (3:07 PM)
Tom, I played Augusta have last year's tournament. If you do a search on the ESPN.com site, you might be able to find the piece I wrote afterward. It is some place, obviously. And too tough for me. But it was great, even though it rained most of the day. As far as I know, Sobel is not banned -- although I could understand why.
Armaan (Milwaukee, WI)
Looks like some thunderstorms early Thursday and then near perfect weather (sunny, mid 70s, little to no wind) the rest of the week/weekend. Do you think this translates to some low numbers this year?
Bob Harig (3:08 PM)
I guess it depends on how much it rains. It has been very warm so far this week, with temeperaturs in the high 80s. The course is very dry and getting fast and firm. Rain would certainly make it softer and perhaps easier. But a small amount of rain won't matter much. And if there is some wind over the weekened, you never know.
Bob, while I'm sure Augusta will coddle Tiger in terms of his pairing, what are the odds that in the US Open, they'll organize a (er) plick pairing of Tiger with Jesper Parnavik and Rory McIlroy?
Bob Harig (3:10 PM)
To be honest, I don't believe they coddled him here. Tiger is paired with K.J. Choi and Matt Kuchar. That threesome would be perfectly viable under any circumstances here. As for the U.S. Open, Parnevik is unlikely to be playing there unless he recovers miraculously from a back issue. And McIlroy is a possibility, but I'm guessing the USGA is more concerned about putting players together based on their pedigree.
Gus (New City, NY)
Hi Bob, If Tiger is around the projected cut line on Friday morning, will the rush of people to the live internet feed cause the entire web to crash world wide? Thanks
Bob Harig (3:11 PM)
Gus, I suppose it is possible. . Tiger's 10:35 tee time on Friday means he almost certainly will not be on live TV, meaning you'll have to watch the end online.
Steve (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Bob, I see there are a couple "Open" tee times on Thur and Fri. Are you busy or do you think they can get us out there?
Bob Harig (3:12 PM)
There are two Open tee times and the last thing they'd want to do is put us out there to clog things up. It sure would be nice though, I must admit.
Scott (San Diego, CA)
Bob, how is Tiger hitting it so far in his practice rounds? Does he look rusty?
Bob Harig (3:14 PM)
Scott, from what I saw -- and it's limited -- he looks typical. It is hard to say if he is on top of his game the way he needs to be to contend, but there did not appear to be any glaring issues. He misses his share of tee shots, then stripes one down the middle, too.
Joel M. (Duluth, MN)
What is your take on Tiger's comment about keeping his cool and not swearing and throwing clubs, but also not getting too annimated when he makes an important putt? Obviously his swearing and throwing clubs is wrong, but I hope he continues to pump his fist and get excited if he makes a winning putt. But, I've heard that has riled some of the other PGA players. Is that correct?
Bob Harig (3:16 PM)
It will definitely be interesting to see how this unfolds. Such emotions are hard to control. I'm not sure he riled other players, or that what he did in good moments was wrong. Certainly his anger didn't look good, but it never appeared to get the best of him.
Are Boo Weekley and Bubba Watson not in the field? Were they not ranked high enough or is there anoher reason?
Bob Harig (3:17 PM)
That is exactly the reason. The best way to get in the Masters is to keep yourself among the top 50 in the world. If you are there at the end of the year or again at the week prior to the Masters, you are in. That doesn't require winning, nor does it necessarily require a high-list finish. Making the Tour Championship or finishing among the top 30 money winners at the end of the year also gets you in.
Haven't heard much from Sergio Garcia in stroke play lately. Do you like his chances this week?
Bob Harig (3:18 PM)
Not really, and for the reason you mentioned. He's not been better than tied for 37th in a PGA Tour event this year.
Is Tiger playing the Par 3? After all, he did say he wanted to reconnect with the fans.
Bob Harig (3:20 PM)
Marc, you make a good point, but Tiger is not playing the Par 3 Contest
Joe O'Connor (Kansas City MO)
Do you think it is an advantage for Tiger to go out on Thursday afternoon having seen what the early guys: Phil, Els, Kim etc have done and how the course is playing and what is a good score? In addition, by the time he is done on Friday he can set the bar for the afternoon guys to shoot at assuming he plays well.
Bob Harig (3:21 PM)
In this case, I would think the advantage is to play early and getting going. It's a long time to wait until almost 2 p.m. By then conditions can get tougher. . .But, if he were to have a decent start, the morning round on Friday does offer that opportunity to get into a great position for the weekend.
What is the weather outlook for the week? Any advantage to early or late tee-times on Thursday or Friday?
Bob Harig (3:22 PM)
There's a chance of thundershowers on Thursday, but not quite sure when they are supposed to arrive. Then it's supposed to be nice for the weekend. All depends on when bad weather, if any, moves in.
Ian (Kirkland, WA)
Fred Couples is everyone's (non) sleeper...he can certainly make the cut (and almost always does) but does he have the stamina to compete for four rounds?
Bob Harig (3:25 PM)
I don't think stamina is the issue, unless you are referring to his back and whether or not it will hold up. I think it's more about getting his game to translate to Augusta National. He's played great this year on the Champions Tour and that should help his confidence.
Brian (Westborough MA)
Is this the major that is least affected by the new groove rule? Also how does the rough look this year? We've heard in the Florida swing how the southeast had a very cold winter, any effects of that here?
Bob Harig (3:28 PM)
I think grooves could have more of an effect here because the rough is of a length where it can create the types of flyer lies that make being in there such a guessing game. The rough is not deep, of course. But there is enough grass that can get between the clubface and the ball to make it interesting.
Hey Bob, why can't someone convince Arnie and Jack to follow their golf balls down the first and play nine? I leave it to you and Sobel!
Bob Harig (3:30 PM)
It would be great if they kept going and nobody would mind. It would be fantastic for the tournament and for golf. But it doesn't appear they are going to do so. The tee time is at 7:40 a.m., by the way, on Thursday.
With Els start to this season, is he your favorite for this weekend? Thanks.
Bob Harig (3:32 PM)
I like Els' chances simply because he's playing with confidence again and seeing some putts drop. It's been a long time since he had that feeling. But I don't necessarily consider him a favorite. to me, it's pretty wide open.
Jared (Twin Cities)
Bob - I may be biased because I'm a big TW fan, but I thought his press conference was great! But still writers are hammering him, saying he didn't say enough about the night of the accident or more details on what he did - what gives anyone the right to demand that. It's his personal life - really none of our business!
Bob Harig (3:34 PM)
It's not all of his personal business, unfortunately. I agree that I felt his news conference went well. Some are never going to be satisfied no matter what he says. But all of the questions were fair. The accident started this whole mess, he suffered injuries on a public street, was taken to the hospital and maybe have been under the influence -- I say may. It's fair to ask what happened.
Joe (Stamford, CT)
You surprised they put so many other popular players in the late Thursday TV window? You've got Sergio, Freddie, Duval, Stricker, Scott, Vijay, and more. You'd figure these guys will get the shaft as part of, what will surely be, all-Tiger, all the time coverage.
Bob Harig (3:36 PM)
I think they've thought it out pretty well. Phil is playing in the morning on Thursday, as is Ernie Els, Anthony Kim, Ishikawa, Furyk, Allenby. . those guys will get the TV window on Friday.
With Phil being kind of up down this season during tournaments how much of a chance to you give him?
Bob Harig (3:38 PM)
I look at it this way: who gave Angel Cabrera, Trevor Immelman or Zach Johnson a chance during the past three years? Anything is possible. Phil could find his putting touch and then everything changes. But I certainly understand the point that he has not been at his best this year, making you wonder about his chances.
Kevin (Glen Rock, NJ)
Which European has the best chance to win this week?
Bob Harig (3:38 PM)
I like Harrington. Just a feeling.
Paul S (Kernersville, NC)
How is David Duval playing?
Bob Harig (3:40 PM)
Since tying for second at Pebble Beach, Duval has missed three cuts in four tries, with a tie for 41st at the Transitions Championship. . So probably not so good. Duval has missed the cut in his past four appearances here, the last of which was in 2006.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
So last week was essentially a 4 round qualifying tournament for the Masters. Where was JB Holmes? He lost in a playoff last year and is not eligible for the Masters this year, doesn't this make you question his commitment?
Bob Harig (3:41 PM)
Brian, it was odd that Holmes did not play last week. I did not see a reason given.
Hew (St. Louis)
Any chatter to bring the course back to what it once was (undo some of the changes)? Was catching highlights of past Masters last night (before they changed the course)...just a much better tournament, though still the best.
Bob Harig (3:42 PM)
There is always chatter about these things, but last year's Masters had a pretty exciting back nine. Some of the so-called lack of excitmenet in recent years may have been due to the weather. But there were few changes this year and there's not yet been any discussion about future changes.
Hi Bob. With players staying more fit and playing competitively on the Tour much longer, what does this mean for the future of the Champions Tour? Should they raise the age of elligibility? Make an older version (Legends Tour?)? And what of the 50-year-olds: You figure they'll split time between the 2 tours, or prefer to dominate the Champions (like Couples right now)?
Bob Harig (3:44 PM)
I think they need to leave it as is. There was a time when they talked about lowering it to 45. It is true that players stay in better shape. And several compete into their late 40s. But not all. Some struggle at that age and very much look forward to turning 50.
What channel will be covering Tiger's second round play? ESPN says they don't come on until 4pm that day, is that a typo? Surely this has to be on TV somewhere.
Bob Harig (3:45 PM)
It's not on TV until 4 p.m. both Thursday and Friday. That is by Masters decree. They have always believed in the less is more phiosophy.
I can't imagine the answer being no, but will all of Tiger's first 2 rounds be televised live? Doesn't the ESPN coverage pick up late afternoon?
Bob Harig (3:46 PM)
The answer is no. SportsCenter will show his first tee shot on Thursday and then ESPN does not pick up the telecast until 4 p.m. -- or about the time he is finishing the front nine. On Friday, it is unlikely that any of his round will be shown live. As stated earlier, these are the rules set forth by the Masters.
Do you think that Ernie Els having Dan Quinn caddy for him over Ricky Roberts is a bad choice due to the last 2 times he used him?
Bob Harig (3:47 PM)
In this case, I really don't think it makes a difference. Ernie knows Augusta pretty well. He's been here a bunch of times.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Any update on Casey and Singh?
Bob Harig (3:48 PM)
So far, both are scheduled to play. Casey said he is fine, that he slept funny, hurting his shoulder. But he appears to be okay. Singh is likely trying to make it to Thursday to see how he feels after withdrawing from the last three tournaments.
Adam (Austin, TX)
I'm still waiting for the emergence of Adam Scott in a major championship. Is it time for me to stop picking him, or does he have a chance on Sunday?
Bob Harig (3:51 PM)
Scott remains a mystery to me. He's shown some flashes recently, but hasn't contended on the PGA Tour. His best finish at the Masters was a tie for ninth in his first attempt in 2009.
Can you watch Tiger's round online? Like maybe by following the featured group (assuming it would be his)?
Bob Harig (3:52 PM)
Yes, some of his round will be available on line as part of the featured pairing or at the various hole locations that are part of the on line coverage. Also the broacast comes on line an hour before the television coverage begins.
Which of the 20 somethings do you think has the best chance to grab their first green jacket?
Bob Harig (3:53 PM)
I like Charl Schwartzl and Martin Kaymer, but Schwartzl is playing in his first Masters.
Erick (Princeton, NJ)
Read an interesting article this morning about how this "softer" side of Tiger could take away from his aggressiveness on the course during tournament play. Your take?
Bob Harig (3:54 PM)
Erick, that is probably what he has to guard against. Does trying to be nicer or calmer change the way he plays?
As a member of the media, is this your favorite major site?
Bob Harig (3:55 PM)
It is hard to pick against Augusta National. The place is truly amazing.
Tiger talks about being more accessible to the fans. Will he play in the Par 3 on Wednesday?
Bob Harig (3:56 PM)
Dave, Tiger is not playing in the Par-3
Joe (Morristown PA)
Do you think the tiger pairing was random? Did they put about 20 non contorversial, non sexy names into a hat and picked 2?
Bob Harig (3:58 PM)
Joe, I think they simply followed their formula. Typically they put Tiger with his contemporaries, and there has often been an international player in the group.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Is DL3 in the Masters, he has been playing well? I would love to see he and Els battle it out.
Bob Harig (3:58 PM)
Davis did not qualify, unfortunately.
Bob, the Masters website typically shows Amen Corner live online.
Bob Harig (3:59 PM)
This is true, and they also show some other holes as well. They continually enhance the on line opportunities.
Why 4 PM? The Masters is one tournament that I could watch for 12 straight hours. The Masters is certainly different, but they seem to go out of their way to restrict viewing.
Bob Harig (4:01 PM)
You should write them a letter. This is an issue every year. They have relaxed their restrictions over the years and offer more weekend coverage as well as the on line coverage. But still, many wonder why they don't show more.
Bob Harig (4:02 PM)
My time is up. Thanks for checking in and for all your questions. Enjoy the Masters.