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 after a stirring Ryder Cup finish on Monday. It was the last really big event of the year and lived up to the billing. I'll get to as many of your questions as I can. Fire away.
Bob, was Pavin's worst decision sending out Tiger/Stricker in alternate instead of four ball?
Bob Harig (4:01 PM)
I criticized it at the time because I thought -- given a choice -- you'd much rather have Tiger and Stricker playing their own ball, and allowing Stricker a chance to putt on every green. They got hammered in theat alternate shot match, but to be fair, they had made six birdies in winning the same format in the second session. So I understand Pavin's reasoning.
Its is easy to say the Phil/DJ pairing did not work becuase they did not win, but what in your opinion do you think is the REAL reason why?
Bob Harig (4:02 PM)
A pairing will always work great if the players play well. Neither Mickelson or Johnson played well until Monday. They simply hit too many poor shots and putted badly, too. I don't think it mattered that they were paired together.
Corey Pavin has received alot of negative comments regarding his captaincy, but in your opinion do you think it is justified or that some media have a negative image of Corey becuase he really did not give them anything?
Bob Harig (4:06 PM)
Pavin did take criticism, mostly because he didn't say anything. The malfunction with the rain gear didn't help. But in the end, the U.S. lost by a half point. Hard to blame that on him.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Phil pulled out of the PGA Grand Slam for "rest." What are the chances he pulls out of China and Singapore and calls it a year?
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
I believe the reason he is skipping the Grand Slam is becaue he has those two events on his schedule. He won the China event last year so I doubt he will skip it.
I know the players do not get paid for the Ryder Cup(expenses aside), bu due the captains make any money?
Bob Harig (4:10 PM)
The captains are not directly paid, but having the job is said to be more seven figures for what it brings a player in outside endorsements, speaking engagements, etc.
How much can a Ryder Cup do for a player like Jeff Overton who going in maybe the casual fan did not know very well. How many more fans can a guy like that make?
Bob Harig (4:11 PM)
There is no doubt that Overton helped himself at the Ryder Cup. A lot of people who only casually follow golf now know who he is. And it is likely that he gave himself a confidence boost as well.
Mike S (CT)
Bob, do you think that Rickie Fowler might be the most fortunate player coming out of this Ryder Cup? Thanks to the rain overshadowing a lot of the early results, his birdie binge to swipe a halve vs. E.Molinari, and Hunter Mahan's unfortunate 17th hole in the final match, Fowler's "second ball" gaffe seems to have been lost in the shuffle. When the other players spoke about the extra half-point coming from anywhere else besides the Mahan match, that error, not Hunter's, seems to be more relevant.
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
It is true that the penalty could have cost he and Furyk that match. But then again, we'll never know for sure. We won't know if they would have lost the hole anyway.
Hey Bob,A lot of what ifs from the Ryder Cup. Mine is what if Rickie Fowler wouldn't have dropped the wrong ball? Something he should have known was wrong. If he doesn't do that we win. Can't say I blame him though. Mickelson and Johnson couldn't do anything.
Bob Harig (4:13 PM)
I think the Fowler incident is making it way too simplistic. We just don't know how that match or hole would have gone had he not made that mistake. There were far more tangible results that could have meant they extra half point, on Sunday and Monday.
Is the media taking it too easy on Pavin? It seems like everyone is hinting at what a bad job he did overall, but then say it's the players who are ultimately responsible. That's true and all, but the captain does have some role in setting the tone. I thought he was over his head before it even began, and am wondering why no one in the media will just come out and say that he was terrible, and deserves a significant portion of the blame.
Bob Harig (4:16 PM)
Pavin was due for a heap of criticism if the U.S. team had been blown out. But I've said all along, it's the players, not the captain. As it was ,the U.S. won every session but the fatefull third session in which they were hammered. Not sure that is Pavin's fault.
Hi Bob- Just a question regarding Ryder Cup qualifying. Do you ever see a time when all events (European and PGA) count toward qualifying for the respective Ryder Cup teams? It would seem that European players are at a disadvantage for playing on the PGA Tour mostly (i.e. Paul Casey, Justin Rose)
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
When they play PGA Tour events, those tournaments count toward the World Rankings portion of European Tour qualifying. The European Tour understandably wants there to be a reward for playing on the European Tour. And remember, the majors and world events count. If they took away that criteria, they'd be hurting their own tour.
Ed (Long Island)
With Tiger working on a new swing, seems it would make sense for him to play in a couple of the Fall Series events to measure his progress. Is there an "unwritten rule" that the top players don't play in these events to give some of the lower ranked players an opportunity to earn their Tour Card?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
That isn't going to happen. I'm sure Tiger sees the next month as a good chance to regroup and work on moving forward. It has been a long grind from the Bridgestone -- where he had his worst tournament -- to now. He played in four tournaments and then the Ryder Cup and was working on changes in his swing. And he still has the HSBC Champions, Australian Masters and the Chevron World Challenge to go.
Garcia seemed to genuinely be happy on the golf course for the first time in years. Do you think this vice-captiancy helps him rediscover his love of the game?
Bob Harig (4:20 PM)
I think you are exactly right. Garcia seemed to be having a ball. It was weird that at 30 he was not playing. That, I'm sure, was the reason for taking the time off and asking to be part of the Ryder Cup.
I thought Tiger's comments after his singles match was telling. He had no idea how the team was doing. Doesn't this hit on the point that for Tiger is and will always be about individual accomplishments?
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
I think I took that differently. He simply didn't know exactly where they stood. If you're playing, I doubt you are adding up all the scenarios.
Patrick from Hanover must have been watching a different Ryder Cup than I was. Not only was the criticism of Pavin justified, the media went far too easy on him. In the last two Cups, we've seen perfect examples of how to captain a team, and how not to captain a team.
Bob Harig (4:22 PM)
I'll say again, that while I thought Pavin made mistakes, how do you blame the captain when your team loses by a half point? Mickelson went 0-3 in team matches, Furyk was once again poor at the Ryder Cup, Stewart Cink missed two putts inside of 5 feet over the last four holes Monday. All of that would have meant a victory had those results been different.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Given the Lee Westwood has about 2 months of Euro Tour events left would you say he is the favorite to end the year #1 in the world?
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
It looks good for Westwood to move to No. 1. He can do so this week if he finishes first or second in Scotland. Woods is losing ranking points as well, so that combination makes Westwood's move to the top a near certainty.
The field for this week's tournament is pretty good. On top of that, the course is really good as well. Do you think this tour stop moves up from the fall finish to be a regular on tour?
Bob Harig (4:25 PM)
The McGladery Classic is new on the PGA Tour and is being played at Sea Island, Ga., which looks like a terrific venue. Whether it moves into a regular spot depends on many things. The tour would need an opening -- a strong possiblity given the enconomic climate. And McGladery would need to want to pony up a lot more than it is paying for a Fall Series event. Perhaps a good week will move it in that direction.
Ok I am officially completely confused by the OWGR. I know it's over a rolling 2 year period, but I'm pretty sure that TW wasn't playing at this point 2 years ago, so how is he still losing points? Lee getting to #1 by playing well this month makes sense, but by sitting on his but?
Bob Harig (4:28 PM)
Tiger was second at the Barclays, tied for 11th at Deutsche Bank, won the BMW and was second at the Tour Championship last year. He didn't even play the Tour Championshp this year and didn't have as high of a finish in any of the corresponding events. When one year rolls by, you lose some of the points from that previous year, so Tiger has not replenished those points this year, hence his dropoff.
Should I dress up as Cigar Man this Halloween?
Bob Harig (4:28 PM)
Miguel Angel Jimenez is the most interesting man in the world.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
How do you explain to a PGA Tour player who has their card but isn't in the FEDEX Cup that they can only play in 1 full field, non opposite event August and 0 in September. It seems that if you're not in the top 125 come the end of July you're chances of keeping your card are severly limited given that the top 125 in FEDEX Cup points (granted a different list but very similiar) can play in many of these events. Even once October comes the events are few and the purses are greatly reduced. The break in the late summer/early fall is longer for these guys than the break at the end of the year.
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
It is no question one of the oddities of the PGA Tour schedule. If you are not among the top 125 in FedEx Cup points, you have to sit out about six weeks. However, there are five events for you to make up for it, and guys who were outside of the top 125 in money are likely all in the same boat. So they all face the same issue.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Johnny Miller said Mickelson wouldn't be anything more than a used car salesman without his shortgame. What would Johnny Miller be without his 63 at Oakmont?
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
Johnny Miller still won a British Open and some 25 other PGA Tour events.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Did anyone find out who was in either captain's envelopes on Monday? If not who would you have guessed ended up in there?
Bob Harig (4:32 PM)
Both captains said that is something that would never be disclosed unless necessary. Very, very hard to say who would sit in that situation.
How is TW losing ranking points? Since he didn't play at all after June 2 years ago and didn't play in October last year anyways?
Bob Harig (4:33 PM)
As stated earlier, he has lost a ton of rankings points from 2009 due to lower finishes in 2010. After one year, the points you earned are cut way back, and replaced by what you do now. In September of this year, he lost a ton of points based on what he accomplished in 2009.
So, now that everyone knows that the Ryder Cup was played in October in miserable weather, not September in tolerable weather, solely because of the FedEx Cup schedule, are we going to see a change in the FedEx Cup before then?
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
Although I made fun of the FedEx Cup for being the reason for this, let's not get carried away. Would two weeks really have made a difference? Maybe. That said, I believe the powers that be will get together and try to figure something out. I'm not sure it will be that big of a deal in 2012 at Medinah. The weather is often fine in Chicago the first week of October. It could be lousy in September. Who knows? The big deal, however, is 2014 in Scotland. To play that far north in October would be a bad idea.
Stew (Kansas City)
Bob: Why is Phil the worst Ryder Cup player ever?
Bob Harig (4:36 PM)
Lefty actually had a very good Ryder Cup record in his first four appearances. His last four have been bad, and it makes no sense. That coincides with when he's won his four majors. He's not a worse player, that's for sure. Also, he has more losses than any U.S. player in Ryder Cup history, not overall. And part of that is a product of playing on so many teams.
don't really think there should be much criticism on pavin. if cink makes a putt on 18, US has the cup. so many more examples of players just not making putts that turned matches. bubba watson with a really tentative putt on the short par 4 on sunday, euros ended up halving that hole.
Bob Harig (4:37 PM)
I tend to agree with this. I put it on the players. Lots of examples of guys who could have turned a match and didn't and it has nothing to do with Pavin.
Who do think is the frontrunner to be captain for the US in 2012? I have seen that Davis Love III is a favorite but what about Fred Couples?
Bob Harig (4:38 PM)
Couples has no chance. He is going to captain the Presidents Cup team next year and the PGA of America is not going to name him Ryder Cup captain this fall when there is a Presidents Cup first. I think Davis is a lock.
Can one say that this Ryder Cup is kinda tainted? Especially since the USA was handicapped by playing everyone for 3 straight sessions? Gotta believe Dustin Johnson would have sit out at least one session?
Bob Harig (4:40 PM)
I was one who did not like the format change. I understand why they did it, but doing so changed the complexion of the matches. For example, instead of Tiger getting to play 5 matches -- or Phil or Cink or Stricker -- he only got to play 4. Or, as you pointed out, there was no chance to sit somebody -- which is always one of the great dilemmas of the Ryder Cup. But I would not say it was tained. Both sides agreed to the changes .They still had 28 matches, same number of foursomes and fourballs.
What is your thought on Miller's "used car salesman" quote about Phil Michelson?
Bob Harig (4:41 PM)
That's Johnny Miller for you. Perhaps a bit over the top. Phil has 4 majors. Yes, he's got a great short game, but obviously he needs a lot more than that. And who is to say that being a car salesman in San Diego isn't a pretty good gig?
Is it just me, or are we potentially on the verge of a golden age for the Cup competitions? With all the young guns on the US side who should be part of the team for years to come - Fowler, Kim, DJ, Overton, Watney, not to mention all the years Tiger has left, to the Euros with Rory, Kaymer, Rose, Donald, and Casey, to the Int'l team for Prez Cup with all the Asians and Aussies, it seems like the cupboard is full with young talent, and we should have some really exciting competitions every year.
Bob Harig (4:42 PM)
Well said. The potential for great cups is certainly there.
Will Tiger be the favorite come April at Augusta?
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
It's quite possible. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the three events he has left this year. If he shows progress with his swing, that ought to propel him into the offseason in a good frame of mind. He'll then have another six weeks before he starts his 2011 season. I'm sure it will be here before we know it.
Of the seriously hyped young guns, who is the one most likely to win a bunch of majors? and who is the most likely to go Sergio/Scott and not quite justify the hype?
Bob Harig (4:47 PM)
I am not sure you can say any of them are going to win a bunch of majors.I certainly think McIlroy has a chance to win them. We've already seen Kaymer with one. I'd like to see Rickie Fowler win a tournament before proclaiming that he'll win majors.
Were you as surprised as I was about the emotion the US team showed after the match? I definitely was.
Bob Harig (4:52 PM)
Yes, I suppose I was suprrised. And it was good to see. I hated that Mahan felt as bad as he did and took it so hard, but I guess that is better than if he showed no emotion or didn't care. I think we all know it wasn't his fault, it was collective. Only Stewart Cink didn't lose a match, and yet he had a half point Monday that probably should have been a full point. Furyk was very good talking about how much the players care, as was Mickelson.
Will Tiger lose his #1 ranking and if so how long do you think it will take him to regain it?
Bob Harig (4:56 PM)
Yes, it appears Tiger is going to lose is No. 1 ranking. But he's playing three ranking events -- China, Australia and Chevron before the end of the year. He could get it back just that quickly, depending on how he fares.
Bob Harig (5:00 PM)
Okay, I'm out of questions and out of time. Thanks again for participating. Hope everyone enjoyed the Ryder Cup. I'll be back again in two weeks to talk about whatever golf you want to talk about. Be well.