Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig will stop by to talk about the 2011 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)
Hello, thanks for participating in another golf chat. Been a few weeks for me, so glad to jump back in and try to answer your golf-related questions. Feel free to fire away.
Do you think belly/long putters will end up being somewhat of a fad? Or will its popularity continue to grow?
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
It looks like we are well past the fad stage. I think we'd have seen them go away long ago. They've actually been in the game for a long time, but now more and more players seem to be trying them. Here's thing thing, however: not everyone putts great with them. They are not necessarily a cure. And yet, we've seen plenty of guys who are having success.
will we ever see rickie fowler a contender or a major champion he gets so close to winning then falls the final round
Bob Harig (4:04 PM)
There's no question that Fowler has been somewhat disappointing when it comes to final rounds. He was there again Sunday at the Deutsche Bank and had a poor final round. It's been quite a while since he's been there with a chance heading to the back nine on Sunday.
will tiger be back anymore this season and accually win and will he be back full time next year also do you ever think he will finaly break the alltime win record anytime
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
Tiger is playing again this year, at the Frys.com Open which is a Fall Series event two weeks after the Tour Championship. He's also scheduled to play the Australian Open, the Presidents Cup and the Chevron World Challenge. Barring injury, we should see a full schedule next year, when his chances to win will be better with more tournaments, more consistency in his practice and schedule. Whether he gets to the all-time victory or major record first depends on him getting his game back.
How would you rate the Cantlay/Hensley match at the US Amateur? has to be right up there all time for amateur matches.
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
Cantlay helped put the U.S. Amateur on the radar this year and had several great matches before finishing second and the Hensley match was a classic. As great as Cantlay's summer was, he was unable to win either the Western Amatuer or the U.S. Amateur, which shows the difficulty of making it through the format.
What has been behind Thomas Bjorn's recent great play, and doesn't it put things in perspective that here is a guy who was considered old and washed up has 3 wins this year and Rory McIlroy who has been annoited as the greatest of all time has 3 professional wins period
Bob Harig (4:13 PM)
Good point about the number of victories this year for Bjorn compared to McIlroy overall. And to think, Bjorn had told his coach early this year he was considering quitting. At age 40, he's got three wins. Darren Clarke won a major at 42. David Toms lost a playoff at the Players and won Colonial and he's in his 40s.
What do you think the Fedex Cup will ultimately be "worth" on a HOF resume? Equal to a major title? Would Furyk have better chances with two majors, or one major and one Fedex Cup?
Bob Harig (4:15 PM)
To be honest, I don't think the FedEx Cup title will mean much as far as the Hall of Fame is concerned. It's the tournament titles you get along the way. The fact that Furyk won the Tour Championship is more important than having won the FedEx, even though a good bit of money came with the latter. So two majors, to me, is better than one major and one FedEx Cup.
I don't really see two more qualified at-large picks for the President's Cup than Tiger Woods. Why is this pick so controversial?
Bob Harig (4:16 PM)
It is controversial because based on performance, there are more deserving players. Not too many guys who are 29th in the points would normally get picked. Now Couples can certainly make an argument for Tiger. Past performance. Good partnership with Steve Stricker. Experience. Leadership. But he's done little this year, and his injuries have prevented him from playing until recently, it made for a controversial choice.
Are we witnessing the gradual decline of lefty? Past two years have been down.
Bob Harig (4:17 PM)
I think it is too early to say that. He did win the Masters last year. And he won at Houston this year. He contended at the British Open. He's well up there in FedEx Cup points. He is just maddeningly inconsistent, but that is really nothing new.
WHat can the PGA Tour do to fix its schedule? Taking a week off in the playoffs kills whatever minimal buzz there is this time of year. Why not get the playoffs over with before the NFL starts and increase the fall schedule?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
I don't have a problem with the week off right now because asking these guys to play four straight weeks just after a major championship is tough. You'd have guys -- like Tiger did a few years ago, like Phil also did -- skipping playoff events. I agree they should either get it over with before football even starts, or let it linger a week or two longer -- it's already into football season - so as to space it out. One solution would be to have only three playoff events. Not sure that is going to happen, but if you did that you would not have to have an off week.
Raul (San Francisco)
Anyone to watch during the fall series? Do you think most of the big names (except Tiger of course) will skip most of the events?
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
There are only four of them -- Justin Timberlake Las Vegas, Fry's in San Jose, McGladery in Sea Island, Ga., Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney. Unlike last year, these 4 follow right after the Tour Championship, meaning it is less likely for the big names to tee it up. They've had their long season. One guy to watch is Paul Casey. He didn't qualify for the playoffs and needs more tournaments to reach his PGA Tour minimum.
Better performance this year I agree. But if you needed to win a match in singles, you would pick Tiger Woods before you picked anyone else 11-28 on that list, even right now. Does America want its hopes riding on Bo Van Pelt or Jonathan Byrd?
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
You make the perfect argument for Tiger in match play. He has been very strong in that format over the years, even though his Ryder Cup record is average. But he's always been good in singles and has found a partner in Stricker.
Do you see alot of similarities with Dustin Johnson and Brittany Lincicome?(who have both won recently) Both have 5 wins( Brittany of course has a major and DJ should have at least one), both are very long hitters and rediculous talents but both can have mental lapses at times as well.
Bob Harig (4:25 PM)
Yes, you make an interesting comparison. On their respective tours, their length turns many courses into par-68s. That is especially true for Lincicome, who could be a dominating player because she can truly overpower LPGA courses.
Adam (The Office)
I don't understand how anchoring a putter to the belly or chest can be legal. From what I can tell, it can only help a player. I have yet to hear one player say it has hurt their putting. The only thing they say is it's awkward. Why are these hideous putters till legal?
Bob Harig (4:28 PM)
There are many who share your view, that anchoring the putter to the body should be illegal. It certainly helps you keep the putter on line. The wrists don't break down. But you still have to read the putt correctly. You have to hit it the right speed. That won't change. And yet, I'm not sure why it was ever allowed.
Oh, please spare me the Tiger history. He hasn't performed anywhere over the past two years and doesn't deserve a sniff at a Presidents Cup spot. This is all about TV ratings and selling tickets. If this were the Ryder Cup, it wouldn't happen. But since it's the let's shake hands and call it a draw Cup, Tiger is in.
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
And that is the other side of the argument. If you base it on performance over the past year, he doesn't deserve his spot. Does his stature in the game and overall record deserve a captain's pick? You can certainly argue it. But your point is valid. No doubt the people of Australia, those televising the tournament and the PGA Tour are thrilled.
Tiger has 71 PGA Tour wins, 14 majors and many other worldwide wins as a professional, amateur, and junior with three different swings now and you and so many other analysts/players question why he feels the need to change his swing once again. So my question is why is this? Tiger is arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the game (in my mind, he is the greatest) and because of one scandal in his personal life, every loses all respect for not only Tiger the person but also Tiger the golfer - WHY? I just don't get it.
Bob Harig (4:33 PM)
I don't think I personally have questioned his decision to make the change. That's up to him and I figure he should know enough about his game and his swing to make an educated decision as to what is best. However, I can certainly see why it would be questioned. Why change something that worked so well? He has said he moved away from Butch Harmon due to take stress off of his knee. And it was Hank Haney who technically left him. Tiger obviously likes having someone to work with but he has invited the questions because of his lack of victories.
Mike (Charlotte, NC)
Since Anthony Kim has all but been forgotten in the discussion about the next US star, do you think he has the motivation necessary to turn his game around next year?
Bob Harig (4:36 PM)
He showed flashes later in the year, and like 2010, I think he might have gotten caught up in results rather than just working on his game. He lost time due to the injuries and last year found himself trying to make the Ryder Cup team and this year trying to make the FedEx Cup. Now if healthy he can get back to working on his game.
How do you feel Tiger will perform at the frys.com event, and furthermore if he doesn't finish in the top 25 do you think Freddy should reconsider his captain's pick?
Bob Harig (4:37 PM)
It's hard to say how he will perform. Once again, he'll have gone more than a month without competing. There has to be some competitive rust. But unlike the last time, he'll have had plenty of time to work on his game. That will help. As for the captain's pick, it'll be too late to change it.
There is no question that Tiger got picked because of who he is and not how he is playing, but to be honest can you really blame them? Whether you like him or not Tiger Woods makes people intrested in golf and that in itself is very important, i'm glad he is playing on the president's cup team
Bob Harig (4:38 PM)
There is no question that the event will be more interesting with Tiger, whether you think he deserves his spot or not.
Everyone who claims Tiger doesn't deserve a spot never names a player they would rather see on the team. I find that very telling.
Bob Harig (4:40 PM)
This is a good point. I can name guys who are more deserving based on recent play -- Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas. But if you really had to choose one of them over Tiger, would you?
Any chance we ever see playoff events come out to the west coast? The humidity and rain is terrible back east.
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
It would be great, wouldn't it? In fact, I think the playoffs would be enhanced if you at least moved the Tour Championship around every year, sort of like the Super Bowl. But for now, the Barclays has a rotation in the East, and the BMW will at least go to Denver in 2014. The Tour Championship is locked in to Atlanta due to Coca-Cola's sponsorship.
Tiger's lack of victories is due to a combination of a new life being a single dad, working through a swing change, and injury. These things take time to adjust to. He hasn't had the proper time to practice and play so yes of course he is not going to win under those circumstances. All I am saying is people need to lay off the man because by this time next year he is going to make all you doubters look very, very stupid. And as for the president's cup, the rules are set up the way they are for a reason. If they wanted the top 12 in points, they would take the top 12 in points. But they decide they want the top 10 in points and want to leave 2 picks up to the captain of that year. And obviously, Fred Couples feels the exact way about Tiger as I do. He knows Tiger will be sharp for the Presidents Cup and that without injury, Tiger would of made the team on his own.
Bob Harig (4:47 PM)
Regardless of the reasons for his lack of victories, it is a bottom line sport, hench the controversial nature of the captain's pick.
I can tell you how Tiger will do at the Frys.com. Since the Presidents Cup pick will be locked in at that point, he'll tweak his back or ankle on the MOnday before the tournament and withdraw. He has no intention of playing a Fall Series event. It is beneath him.
Bob Harig (4:49 PM)
I really don't see that happening. Tiger needs to play and he knows it. What good does it do him to sit out another three months? He should view the Frys.com as Jeter views an injury rehab assignment in the minor leagues -- even though the tournament is far from that.
Jim (NY, NY)
Freddy's job is to put the best team out there. He doesn't have to apologize to anyone for putting on a player that went 3-1 in the Ryder Cup last year and has 3 top 5's in his last 6 majors. Also can you imagine how foolish he would feel if he left Tiger off the team and then Tiger went out to the Frys and looked great and won?
Bob Harig (4:51 PM)
Lots of conversation on this topic, and for good reason. I truly can see both sides. I understand why Couples wants him, also understand why many think it's an unfair or bad decision.I will say this: Couples could have sold it better had he waited. He picked Tiger 2 weeks after he shot 10 over at the PGA. He has two more weeks to make the picks. By then, a month would have gone by. He could have sold us on the idea that Tiger is improving, feeling better, playing. That he added the Frys, etc.
Webb Simpson has been using that belly putter for seven years, it just seems like it would be wrong to outlaw them because they became a fad. No one wanted to outlaw hybrids after Y.E. Yang won the PGA. A lot of good players would be adversely affected.
Bob Harig (4:53 PM)
I think that is why you won't see a rules change. There are players who are using them who have used them for years. It's probalby too late to go back.
Ed (Long Island)
If the PGA truly wants to market its stars, it needs to significantly reduce the amount of players allowed in the playoffs. There are a lot of talented players, particulary in one week stretches, but if they haven't done anything during the "regular season" they shouldn't be allowed in the playoffs. This way the stars would have more exposure and be rewarded for being the best players over a prolonged time period.
Bob Harig (4:56 PM)
The problem with your idea is the tour also wants to provide playing opprotunities to its membership. How do you ask so many players to sit out this signficant amoutn of time if that is one of your motives? I am of the believe that the fields should be bigger, like regular golf tournaments, with cuts all the way until the Tour Championship. Let guys not in the playoffs still play the tournaments. There are numerous ideas out there, all with some merit.
Keith H (Seattle)
Bob, FWIW, I'll be watching the Fall Series for the drama of avoiding Q-School. Guys are playing for jobs. I'd say that's identifiable drama. How about you?
Bob Harig (4:58 PM)
It is a kind of drama, but unfortunately one that is not embraced by the masses. Because I follow it closely, I'm intrigued by the guys fighting to keep their cards.But let's be honest, if you drop to 130th on the money list, you still have playing opportunities next year. Even if you drop to 149th. Outside of that, you can go to Q-School or have status on the Nationwide Tour. So it is not the do-or-die scenario that is often suggested.I'd love to see them turn the Fall Series into a mini shootout for tour cards in some fashion. That might be more compelling.
Also, I don't know if anyone mentioned this but when Bones was on the Feherty show, he was asked if he could change one thing about the game of golf, what would it be. He answered that he would take away the long putter because he thinks being able to attach the putter to the body is bad for the game. Then, two weeks later, Phil changes to the belly putter. I was just wondering if anyone spoke to Bones about this and got his opinion on Phil making this switch. I find it a little bit interesting and wanted to know also if maybe they had a conversation about it.
Bob Harig (4:59 PM)
I saw that, and it is interesting. My guess is that Phil feels the same way. But if the rules allow it, why not take advantage.
Cory (Inverness, IL)
Bob, what were your thoughts on Erin Hills? Seems like a tough, tough golf course...they can set that up past 8000 yds for the open in a few years noone will break par...doesnt seem like a flat area anywhere on that course.
Bob Harig (5:00 PM)
I only saw it on TV but it sure looks interesting. And they've got tons of space there. Will be intersesting when the U.S. Open goes there.
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
Okay, I'm out of time. Thanks again for all the questions. And please feel free to fire more at me or ones that didn't get answered to my mailbag: firstname.lastname@example.org. . Thanks again.