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 participating in this golf chat. Still plenty going on in the golf world. Another star player is retiring in her prime; Tiger and Phil return next week in Charlotte. Jim Furyk wins again. Fred Couples keeps playing. . Anything golf related is fair game. Fire away.
Will we ever see the day where Tiger and Phil are honorary starters at Augusta? Or even the years where they are not competitive, still playing and paired together ala Tiger/Jack and Arnie?
Bob Harig (4:01 PM)
I wish I had a crystal ball for something like this. Seeing as it took Jack until age 70 to become an honorary starter and Phil is not yet 40, I'm guessing we're at least 30 years away from such a scenario -- if it could ever happen. Whether they choose to play the Masters when they are no longer competitive -- and who is to say that eithe one of them can't be competitive into their 50s -- is hard to say. Many have said they would not keep going and then kept playing for a long time.
When will Quail Hollow be awarded a major championship? who do you like next week? I say Phil
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
Mike, Quail Hollow is still in the running for a PGA Championship and there has been rumblings that it will no longer host the PGA Tour event when its current contract expires . .. which is not for another four years. It'll be inteeresting to see what happens, because it's a great course and worthy of a major if they can work out the logistical details.
Is the USGA playing with fire scheduling a Primetime finish for Sat and Sun for the Open? While the rain shouldn't be an issue they had fog issues there 10 years ago. I know primetime draws raitings but Monday finishes sure don't.
Bob Harig (4:07 PM)
Brian, you raise a strong point. Sure, it's a risk, especially on Saturday. They are taking the telecast to 8 p.m. local time. That leaves very little margin for error if there is any kind of weather delay. I suppose if they had an unfavorable forecast, they could start earlier -- which happens from time to time on the PGA Tour. The Sunday finish isn't as bad as it is expected to end at 6 p.m. local time.
Help me out, I have a hard time watching this event every year. The field isn't great, it's not close to a major, not much history, and in my opinion (and for a tour course) terrible course (I liked English Turn). So what is the hook for this tournament to get me to watch?
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
I'll make a couple of arguments in favor of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. . . First, it does have history. The tournament dates to 1938 and has been played every year since the late 1950s. It does have No. 3 Steve Stricker and No. 5 Ian Poulter in the field. Sergio Garcia is playing for the first time. I can't speak for or against the course. It is a TPC designed by Pete Dye. I guess the best hook is it's golf. Any golf is good golf to watch.
Besides The Majors and The Players is the Quail Hollow Championship the best tournament?
Bob Harig (4:10 PM)
Mike, I think there is certainly room for debate. Quail Hollow gets a lot of accolades. I think the Memorial is up there. I guess it depends on what your qualifications are. Pebble Beach? Torrey Pines? Lots of choices. But Quail Hollow seems to offer a lot: great date, great course.
Eric Ray (Eight oh Six)
Why is Lorna retiring? She is killing it on the LPGA
Bob Harig (4:13 PM)
The only surprise is the timing. Ochoa has been saying for some time that her career would not be a long one, that she wanted to have a family and concentrate on her charitable efforts. She was married late last year. Still, I think most people felt she meant that she wouldn't play much into her 30s. She's still only 28! She's only in her eighth year on tour! There is a chance that she is simply taking a leave and will return. Golf fans should hope that is the case.
Don't you think next Thursday will be a zoo with Tiger? No pun intended. Who says that TMZ won't buy a dozen tickets and send each one of his women to every hole to heckle him. I think it could get very ugly for him next week. Thoughts?
Bob Harig (4:15 PM)
Nick, there is a lot of anticipation over Tiger's return to a PGA Tour event for the reasons you speculate about. But I don't think heckling will last long, if at all. Anybody who does will get tossed. But tournaments won't tolerate it and they will be watchful. It is more apt to happen at a regular event than at the Masters to be sure.
What is your favorite US open venue? I really like Bethpage and Pinehurst No. 2
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
Mike, Bethpage is a great course but logistics make it one of my least favorite venues. Sorry Long Islanders! It's just a tough place to get to. I love Pinehurst. Love Pebble Beach. Torrey Pines turned out to be a great venue. Shinnecock is also excellent, but logistics are tough there, too. Lots of good ones.
who is your favorite golfer? or at least who's game is your favorite to watch?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
Mike, it is hard not to enjoy watching Fred Couples play golf. He makes it look so easy. You've heard it before. Effortless power.
How hard do you expect Pebble Beach to play this june? somehow I see the USGA adjusting the course so 2000 does repeat?
Bob Harig (4:20 PM)
Mike, what you have to remember about 2000 is only one player broke par! Tiger was 12 under ,the next best score was 3 over. Excpet for one guy, it played exactly as they wanted. I don't think they have to do much to make Pebble Beach play mighty tough.
It sounds like Monty want to turn the Ryder Cup into a late 80s US Open venue. Does he fear that the US team could overpower the course as it currently is and their roster is shaping up to be?
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
Brian, I take it you are referring to some of the measures Monty took to toughen up the course? I'm not sure that was done to hurt the Americans. If anything, making the greens harder can play to their strengths.
What do you think of Poulter's chances this week?
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
George, I actually picked him to win. Just a hunch.
Interesting stats I realized about Phil and Tiger: In the last 3 tournaments they've both entered, Phil has gone Win-Win-Win, with Tiger going 2 (Tour Championship), t6 (in Shanghai, while playing in the final group with Phil), and t4 (Masters). Those are 3 pretty big tournaments, too. This has got to be bothering Tiger, right?
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
Yes, that stat has sort of been lost in all that is going on. Phil has won the last three tournaments in which both he and Tiger played. Hard to imagine that's ever happened. I'm guessing it bugs Tiger to no end, but probably more because he lost than who won.
I agree with what you are saying, but I just find it hard to believe that nothing will happen. This is the exact senario that TMZ wants. Tiger out of his comfort zone with some sort of reaction. I'd be more worried about this return for Tiger than the Masters.
Bob Harig (4:24 PM)
I don't know how TMZ operates, but I'm not sure they want Tiger out of his comfort zone. I don't deny that they might not try to have people at the event. But once they are spotted or figured out, they'll be gone. And I would not be surprised if something happened.
Over/Under on # of wins for Annika Sorenstam from here out 1. Which way would you go? I hear things that she may be coming back so...
Bob Harig (4:27 PM)
First, I am not sure she is coming back. I don't think anybody knows. She left the door open but there's been no indication. That said, if Annika does return, I'm guessing she will only do so if she can be competitive, and that means winning frequently.
Fred Couples (Raking in the dough on the Champions Tour)
How many more Champions Tour events will I win this year and can I win a pga tour event too?
Bob Harig (4:31 PM)
I'm guessing Couples wins 4 more times on the Champions Tour, knocking off major wins at the Senior British and Senior U.S. Open. . . Can he win on the PGA Tour? No doubt, if he gets the flat stick working.
Anthony Kim (LA)
How long before I win a major?
Bob Harig (4:36 PM)
It wasn't that far from happening at the Masters. Kim has an amazing ability to make birdies, but also makes too many mistakes. I think there needs to be some more consistency before Kim wins a major -- which still might not be that far away.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Now that we've all pushed hard and gotten Tom Watson into the US Open is there any push to get him into the PGA? It's the major he's never won and with Whistling Straits is a long course it does have a links feel to it and he did well there in the Senior Open in 2007.
Bob Harig (4:37 PM)
Brian, the PGA of America has the most leeway with exmeptions of any major. It has a full field, it doesn't have qualifying -- except for 20 club pros -- so has lots of spaces. This is certainly possible. But last year the PGA explored the possibility of inviting Watson and he declined, due likely to the hectic Champions Tour schedule he committed to. . Remember, after the Open comes the Senior British Open followed by the U.S. Senior Open.
Now that Poulter has withdrawn, who do you have? Steve Marino going to continue his run of golf and get his 1st TOUR win?
Bob Harig (4:40 PM)
Yes, I just learned that Poulter withdrew today. . So a second choice. Hmmm, I do like Steve Marino but will have to ponder.
Dave (Madison, WI)
Bob, Can we back up for one moment to the Masters? I think you missed the mark by giving Lee Westwood a bogey for his performance this week. He played remarkably well and was gracious beyond belief in defeat. His post round comments were in stark contrast to Tiger's surliness. He bettered his previous best at Augusta by 10 shots. Think of all the second place finishes Jack Nicklaus had to endure. Do you give Jack a bogey for that?
Bob Harig (4:42 PM)
Dave, good points, all. But I wasn't beating him over the head, just point out that on a day when everyone else in the top 9 went lower than 71, he didn't. He had a one-shot lead and got beat by 3
Eric (Washington, DC)
Bob-The NFL just suspended Big Ben for actions that, while not criminal, brought embarassment to the league. Should the PGA tour suspend Tiger for his actions, which were not illegal, but certainly embarassing?
Bob Harig (4:43 PM)
Eric, it's a fair point. I would say that had the PGA Tour decided to suspend Woods, it would have been difficult to argue against it. There is no quesiton the fallout hurt the tour and the game.
How do the tournament organizers in New Orleans feel about their current spot on the schedule. It seems when they had the week before the Masters about 12-15 years ago they had a better slot.
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
Brian, there are different ways to look at it, I suppose. The weather is likely not as good the week prior to the Masters. But two weeks after the Masters has proven to be a very tough date, no matter who gets it. There is no question a Masters hangover that lingers for a couple of weeks. And then you've got two of the better tournaments coming up, Quail Hollow and Players. It's been said many times that there are so many good tournaments, meaning some really good ones get skipped.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Bob, any word on if the Olympic comittee is going to change the qualifying rules for Golf. A lot of players have said they want it to feel like the Olympics and not another PGA event.
Bob Harig (4:47 PM)
Blake,there are many who wish the Olympics would adopt a format that is not run-of-the-mill stroke play like we see every week. But it needs to have some form of stroke play, in my opinion, so you can crown an individual champion. There are plenty of ways to incorporate a team competition into the mix while players still compete individually. Let's hope they do that.
Toby Baird (San Francisco)
Can Phil win the US Open at Pebble with his high ball and sometimes erratic driving? Who's game right now is set up best for that golf course?
Bob Harig (4:51 PM)
Well, he needs to drive it less erratically, I suppose. Certainly Phil can win at Pebble. He's won the tournament three times, and he's been runner-up five times at the U.S. Open. Had he putted better last year at Bethpage, he would have won. That seems to be the difference.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Bob I was refering to the Olympic qualyifing using world rankings. I think players would like to see maybee 2 to 4 players from every country.
Bob Harig (4:54 PM)
My apologies. .. For right now, it's just two per country. I'm not sure if that will change, but it could with a format alteration that allows for some sort of team competition. Not sure why they want to limit it to just 60 players. There should be more.
So who's your pick?
Bob Harig (4:55 PM)
After losing Poulter -- and Steve Stricker too -- I'm going with David Toms. He's won before in New Orleans, Louisiana native, due for a victory.Please keep in mind my woeful track record. Although I did hit it with Jim Furyk last week.
Bob Harig (5:00 PM)
Okay, I'm out of time and questions. Thanks for your participation. Look for me to check in with another chat next week from Quail Hollow. Enjoy.