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 (4:01 PM)
In keeping with a busy year in golf, nothing seems to slow down. The FedEx Cup playoffs begin Thursday, Monty makes his Ryder Cup picks Sunday, 4 U.S. spots are still to be decided. .. You know the drill. Fire away with your questions. Thanks
During some down time of the PGA Championship coverage on the PGA network, Bucth harmon implied that Phil Mickelson would most likely skip one of the play off events. I would assume he was meaning the BMW at Cog Hill. The Barclay's is one of his sponsors and he has won at TPC Boston. Cog Hill though he has never had much success. Your thoughts.
Bob Harig (4:02 PM)
Phil has not said that so far, but yes, it would almost certainly by the BMW if he were to skip one. Mickelson could easily make the Tour Championship without playing it, especially if he has any success the next two weeks. But as yet there has been no official word that he's skipping.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
What do you make of Justin Leonard and David Toms' chances of making the US Ryder Cup team? They both have played well of late, both have plenty of team experience, both have won match play tournaments and majors and they are similiar in playing style to Captain Pavin.
Bob Harig (4:04 PM)
I don't give them a great chance of making it, but there is definitely a good reason to take a good look at both of them: putting and experience. Putting has killed the U.S. in its cup losses, you need some guys who can hole crucial putts. We tend to look at the names of those players who barely missed qualifying but the entire point of having picks is so that guys like this could be considered.
What is you opinion on what Rory McElroy said. To me the media is making WAY too big of a deal of this. This seems very simmilar to the way that the media jumped all over what Steven Aames said several years ago which was basically NOTHING! Is too much of a deal being made over this?
Bob Harig (4:06 PM)
I'm not sure way too much has been made of it. His comments were reported. He said he'd love a crack at Tiger because he's not on top of his game. I'm not sure that is a big deal, really. It's strange, maybe, when someone calls out Tiger. And Ames called out Tiger, even if it is was true or in a joking fashion. And the reason that became a big deal is because Woods referenced it after his win.
Mike S (CT)
Bob, there is always a lot of talk about young stars like Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott having not fulfilled potential with major championships. However, at least both won the Players, several other big events, and were top-2/3 in the world. What player did you see coming up that you figured would be a major champion only to never come close to the heights reached by Sergio/Scott/etc?
Bob Harig (4:07 PM)
One who comes to mind recently is Charles Howell. He had a lot of fanfare when he came out of Oklahoma State in 2001. He's won just two PGA Tour events. That is well below the expectations, never mind the idea of winning majors.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Forgive if me i've asked this before but if the PGA Tour wanted high profile players to play in lesser events why not rotate the playoff events? They could easily rotata a New Orleans Memphis, San Antonio, Tampa and Hartford as part of the schedule every 5 years or so and fit that need.
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
Sounds good in theory, but for practictal matters it would be very diffiuclt. You'd have a tough time playing in Tampa, New Orleans, Memphis, San Antonio this late in the year and having the golf course be suitable. The logistics and planning that go into these events his huge. Plus the sponsorship of them is much greater than a regular event. You'd need all those sponsors to sign on. And the ones who sponsor the playoffs now would have to go back to regular events at other times of the year? It's not going to work.
What in the world does Monty do with the European Ryder Cup team? Is there even a decision he can make that won't cause mass controversy at this point? Bet he's praying for Eduardo Molinari to win at Gleneagles to get him on the team automatically...
Bob Harig (4:11 PM)
Good question. No good answer. No matter what he does there will be controversy. Do you leave off a three-time major winner in Harrington (even though he's won just a single point in the last two Ryder Cups)? What about Justin Rose, who has won twice this year? Or Paul Casey and Luke Donald? They're both ranked top 10 in the world! Molinari would make a great pairing with his brother Franceso, who has made the team. I do not believe, however, that a victory will get him on the team this week.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Tiger won the Fedex cup last year and Phil the tour championship. If a player could only win one of those, which do you think most would take?
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
It probably depends on the player. If you could put the money aside, I think every one would rather win the tournament. And I got the feeling Tiger would have rather won the tournament than the overall FedEx Cup. . . But to somebody else, where $10-million is huge, maybe they go for the cup instead.
Tiger, AK, Z. Johnson, and Rickie Fowler. Give me guys who play with fire and emotion at the Ryder Cup. Fowler and Bubba would be a force in foursomes and fourball.
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
Yes, there is something to be said for new blood, emotion, firepower, all that. It's hard to say what is right or wrong. Fowler would be an intriguing pick, but there are some who say you should have to make your first team. The other guys who are being considered have all played on a Ryder Cup team in the past
If Tiger plays poorly this week and misses playing the rest of the playoffs, do you think he passes on a Ryder Cup bid to be with his children? Golf is second to him now. (or so he says)
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
I've been saying all along that he'll be on the Ryder Cup team, but you do have to question that if he fails to advance to the next playoff event. That means he won't have done much at the Barclays and has no other tournaments for which to find his game. It will get very interesting if Woods does not have a decent tournament this week.
Gotta ask about Furyk. Understand the rule about pro-ams for regular tournaments, but to have this rule in place in a playoff event seems a bit harsh, no?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
I just think the rule is harsh, period. There has to be a better way to punish someone for not playing in the pro-am. The problem is only the top 40 to 50 players are required to play in the pro-am -- and it's every tournament they play. People do pay a lot of money to participate, so you can't have these guys blowing it off, but to bounce him from the tournament, especially a playoff event? That's a bit much.
Who has looked good at the Barclay's? Not that rainy pro-am's are all that useful
Bob Harig (4:22 PM)
I am not at the Barclays, so have not seen anyone in person.
Common Sense (PGA Tour Headquarters)
Dont you think the powers that be on the PGA Tour should use some common sense with the Furyk issue? Wasnt like he didnt try make it after he woke up late. Trying to tell me they couldnt hold his group up for 15 minutes? It would be one thing if he never called or showed
Bob Harig (4:25 PM)
It's a very good point. What would have been the big deal if he met his group on the second tee? Or third tee? They would have understood. I think you'd have to then say the next time something more drastic. Maybe they're afraid of guys taking advantage. I understand the premise: they want there to be a severe penalty for missing out on a huge day for the tournament's bottom line. But to boot him out of the event is just too much.
Why even have pro-ams in a playoff event to begin with? If you want to hype up the playoffs and give them added importance, give them the status you think they deserve and eliminate the pro-am.
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
Here's the problem: these tournaments have to pay their bills. And the pro-am is typically the single biggest revenue source outside of the title sponsor. And all of the money from the title sponsor goes to the purse, television production, required TV ad buys and the tour. There is very little, if anything, that goes to the local tournament organizer -- which pays to put on the event. Pro-am money is crucial. Unless you can write a deal with a title sponsor -- and basically get them to throw in another $800,000 to $1-million -- you can't get rid of the pro-am.
Am I the only one amused by seeing Tiger going first out tomorrow morning? Kudos to the powers that be by sticking to their pairing format and letting everyone fall where they may.
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
It's not exactly based on where you finished in the points. There is a early-late/late-early component to the tee times. But Tiger is grouped with the guys around him in the FedEx points and does have an early tee time.
Pam (West palm beach)
Would you say that it is bad sportmanship to comment on to the media regarding the poor form of a fellow golfer, as what Mcilroy did re TW. Especially done by someone who is new to the tour and is not even close in achievements of the person. Also what is wrong in saying to the media when asked- I will not comment on someones game or form. the lamrnt golf is a "gentlemans game"
Bob Harig (4:36 PM)
No, we'd prefer they be honest. And he was asked about playing against Tiger in the Ryder Cup and he said he'd love to play him. And I think he was just being honest.
If you're in Seattle, which tournament would you rather go to? The Amateur held at Chambers Bay or the Champions Tour at TPC Snoqualmie?
Bob Harig (4:38 PM)
Any way you can do both? I know they're not that close to each other, really. Perhaps the best way is to go to the Amateur before the weekend and then check out the Champoions on Saturday or Sunday.
Pam (West palm beach)
Yes, he was being honest but not diplomatic. Also what about wanting to play against someone at the top of their game as opposed to playing them at the bottom of their game. What does that say about the player? How does that give satisfaction?
Bob Harig (4:41 PM)
True, he could have said he'd rather take a crack at Tiger playing his best, as there would be more satisfaction in winning that way. Remember, McIlroy is just 21.
Does you or anyone know the scenarios for the #1 ranking this week? I noticed Phil took out a large gap between him and Tiger in just this past week (obviously merited by their play during the last week)
Bob Harig (4:44 PM)
I do not know all the scenarios, but Phil has several ways he can pass Tiger. Winning, of course, would get it done but there are various other finishes that would get him to No. 1 depending on Woods finishing below a certain point.
Rory's comments were great and honest, and probably a silly thing to say. Tiger pretty good at match-play as is, can't imagine Montgomerie was happy about it (or Rory's more seasoned teammates)
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
Yes, there's probably no point in providing Tiger motivation -- not that he really needs any.
Pam (West palm beach)
Should we take anything from the performances of the automatic Cup players from the Playoffs as a signal for their performance for the Ryder Cup. A lot of these guys have been inconsistent during the year.
Bob Harig (4:49 PM)
You can only take so much. How a player did in April or May is going to have no bearing in October in Wales. Certainly you'd like these guys to be playing decently, have confidence, etc. It's not going to help having someone playing poorl and expect him to turn it around. All that said, it's a different game. Match Play can expose weakness. You can lean on a partner for a few holes. A triple bogey doesn't end your tournament, you just lose one hole. So while good play and good form right now is important, it can also be over rated.
Steady players or birdie (and bogey) machines better for ryder cup? Especially as captains picks?
Bob Harig (4:53 PM)
I think you need a combination of both. In best-ball especially it is good to have some birdie machines. You don't win a lot of holes making pars in match play, especially when it is best ball. But in alternate shot it is good to have steady players. You are playing just one ball between two guys.
Pam (West palm beach)
Who is your pick for the Barclays ? darkhorse, birdie buster, long shot?
Bob Harig (4:55 PM)
Shameless plug for my piece on ESPN.com which you can read shortly. . I picked Els to win, but you'll have to check it out for the rest:)
Odds on Tiger playing next week? 2:1?
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
I think his chances of advancing are really strong. Obviously he has to make the cut -- he's missed just 6 in his career. And then he needs to finish in the top 50 or so. Because the points are 5 times greater in the playoffs, he could almost lock up a spot at the BMW if he has a good tournament.
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
Okay folks, I am out of time. Thanks again for all your questions. We'll do it again next week.