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 golf fans, thanks for checking in again. As you know, the golf season never really ends. A lot of good golf was played all over the place last weekend and continues. Plenty to chat about if you so desire. Please fire away with your questions.
Tiger. Tiger. Tiger. You should just make an opening statement about him, then we can move on to golf questions. That's what this chat always turns into.
Bob Harig (4:02 PM)
You started it, not me. I answer the questions that are sent in -- if applicable. All golf topics are welcome. Carry on.
Buck Wargo (Las Vegas)
Hey Bob. It sounds like the Tour is going to ultimately start the season in Asia in November before restarting in January. Sounds like its good for the PGA Tour in Asia but why so much complaining about sports writers about it because of the time it will be on TV. Not everything has to be about American broadcast windows.
Bob Harig (4:05 PM)
I am not sure that is the case. Certainly not yet. There have been some rumblings about an Asian Swing, but it is hard to believe the PGA Tour would start its official season abroad. There have also been rumblings about the tour starting its season in the fall, which is an idea that has some merit. That way, you make the Tour Championship the true "end" to the season. Not sure what you mean about complaining about the TV window. Ultimately, the tour decides what works financially, and often times, if a tournament cannot be broadcast to a large audience in the United States,it is not as viable.
Why doesn't Tiger play in any Asian events, or does he? I guess just in general, why such a limited schedule for TW?
Bob Harig (4:06 PM)
Tiger has played the HSBC in previous years, but this year is not eligible. He has also played numerous times in Japan.
For all the talk about Asia there is a WGC going on in China right now that many big name Americans are choosing to sit out. Says something about the WGC's too
Bob Harig (4:11 PM)
I think it says more about how much money these guys make, the numerous opportunities that they have to play big-money tournaments. It's easy for a guy who has made a ton of money this year to rationalize skipping a WGC event. There are so many good events that guys can skip good events.
Matt (Bethlehem, PA)
Bob, Do you see Sergio taking the momentum from his back to back wins into the 2012 season?
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
No doubt. Sergio's confidence and desire had been lacking. Even after coming back last year, he seemed to be missing something. He needed a spark and he slowly but surely got back on track. He had two top-10s at majors -- when at one point it appeared he would miss both the U.S. Open and British.
Patrick (Charlottesville, VA)
Bob, I'll ask the same question I asked Collins: Does Sergio ride the momentum of his victories, and win a few on Tour next season? Maybe even a major?
Bob Harig (4:13 PM)
More on Sergio. He's only 31, so there's no reason to think he can't win a major. Will he? Hard to say. I thought he'd have at least one by now. So much of it is putting, and he seems to have found something with that claw grip he is using. If Sergio putts even average he should be a frequent contender.
Any idea when we'll see Tim Clark next season?
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
Have not seen anything about Tim Clark recently. I have a feeling it'll come up at the Presidents Cup as he is an assistant captain for the International team.
Can you explain how the reshuffle works for pgatour grads from the nationwide circuit. It confuses me greatly.
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
You are not alone. The "re-shuffle" occurs a various points during the season. Here's an attempt at an explanation.Other than the No. 1 player on the Nationwide money list (who is fully exempt on the PGA Tour and gets a spot in the Players Championship), Nos. 2 through 25 are ranked in order along with the top 25 from Q School.So basically players from the Nationwide are mixed in with Q school grads all the way down to 50 players.When a re-shuffle occurs, they look at the money you have made in the year up to that point. And the player with the most money goes to the top of the list. So if you were 50th in the pecking order coming out of the Nationwide Tour (the last guy to get his card, say) and at the Sony Open you finished second an maybe had another top 10 somewhere, by the time the reshuffle comes around, you'll probably be at the top of the list. And that greatly enhances your ability to get into tournaments, as fields are filled based on the order of the re-shuffle.Don't feel bad if it doesn't make sense.
It's amazing how much perception changes over time: If one were to go back to how Phil was viewed at 31 for instance
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
Good point. Phil had yet to win a major. Now he's got 4.
Ed (Long Island)
Any Phil sightings or rumblings?
Bob Harig (4:20 PM)
Phil is scheduled to play next week at the Barclays Singapore Open.
Have we seen the last of Jim Furyk or Stewart Cink as regular contenders? I'm sure they will pop up from time to time, but they both seem like they've hit that age where the game begins to slide and the drive to get better has slipped away.
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
It is probably more disappointing with Cink. I figured the British Open win would propel him to more victories. He's not won since, which the long time goes by, the more it appears a fluke.
So do the people who make it through Q-school get ranked higher than Nationwide grads when they begin at Sony?
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
They actually alternate spots. So I believe it goes osmething like this No. 1 Nationwide (fully exempt), then No. 1 Q-school; then No. 2 Nationwide, No. 2 Q School. . all the way down to 25 Nationwide, 25 Q school. That's 50 players.If a tournament after taking care of all the fully exempt players who want to tee it up has just 10 spots, left, it's the first 10 off the list.That is why making it through Nationwide or Q School does not guarangee a place to play every week. Then it reshuffled a couple of times a year, which means if you are in the top two or three or 10 or 20 you better take advantage of your opportunities.
If you had to pick a player of the year who is it?
Bob Harig (4:24 PM)
To me, there is no doubt it is Luke Donald. Money title, low scoring average, 2 tour titles. .. and has been No. 1 since the end of May.
Ed (Long Island)
Are the TV ratings greater in Europe and Asia for golf tournaments compared to America?
Bob Harig (4:25 PM)
I don't have any figures, but I think it is pretty well understood that the television rights for the U.S. brings much more.
Since we're apparently chatting Tiger today: do you see him adding an event or two this winter/spring before the Masters
Bob Harig (4:27 PM)
Not sure. A lot depends on if he is eligible for the WGCs in the spring he normally plays. There has been no mention of him adding anything overseas as of yet. The Honda Classic, near his new home, would make sense for a tournament to add.
On the topic of the reshuffles...can you give us an idea of how big an advantage it is to be, say, 10th on that list instead of 40th?
Bob Harig (4:28 PM)
It could be the different between getting in 5 or 6 West Coast events as opposed to 2 or 3. Sony, Bob Hope and Pebble Beach are usually events where a lot of players get in. Fewer get in at Torrey Pines, Phoenix, L.A. If you're one of those who gets in them all, you've had that many more chances.
So the Puerto Rico event plans to invite Yani Tseng to play next year. She has nothing to gain by playing a PGA Tour event, and hardly has the charisma of Michelle or Annika. I think it could hurt her more than help. Thoughts?
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
She has apparently said she is interested in playing an event on the PGA Tour. And she actually does have a very outgoing and friendly personality, make somewhat more challenging by the language barrier -- which she has really worked hard to overcome. I agree that it's risky. The physical limitations for even the best women players are very difficult to overcome. We're often talking about a different of 700 to 800 yards on the golf courses they play.
Ed (Long Island)
Does Yani play a PGA tour event next year?
Bob Harig (4:32 PM)
It'll be interesting to see if she does play or not. She's won 11 times around the world this year. I'm sure there is a curiosity for her to see if her game stacks up.
Yani speaks better english than most of the guys on the pga tour, anyone who claims the language barrier is a problem now, is just looking for an excuse (my opinion)
Bob Harig (4:33 PM)
She has come a long way, and it is admirable. I think about putting myself in Taiwan and how I'd fare and I commend her for the way she has learned English along with dealing with the demands of playing golf.
It's November, man. Why are the Champions and LPGA tours still playing official events? Does anybody look at a calendar? Nobody wants to watch golf when it's snowing outside.
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
It is the nature of golf. It never really ends. The tours are going to place where golf can still be played. I have long maintained you need a break to build up an appetite for golf, that fans need to want to see it again. But just about every week on the calender has a golf event somewhere.
No Comeback Player of the Year on the PGA Tour ballot? Is that because Steve Stricker didn't have a comeback this year? Seriously, there have to be some good comeback stories this year. Just because it isn't a big name doesn't mean somebody isn't deserving.
Bob Harig (4:36 PM)
Brandt Jobe is a pretty good one. Not sure if it is official there will be no comeback player of the year, but surely there are some candidates.
Tiger is playing golf in Asia this year, this week in fact. It's just at private corporate events. How common is that sort of thing btw?
Bob Harig (4:37 PM)
Yes he has some corproate commitments, I believe an exhibition. I am not sure how common it is, but many players have sponsors, design deals and such overseas.
Any movement on that ridiculous idea of having those who don't qualify for the playoffs play against Nationwide players for the final set of Tour cards the following season? Seems to me the powers that be want to do away with Q-School as a means of getting to the Tour and bypassing the Nationwide. That would be like telling baseball teams that players have to spend xx amount of time in the minors before they can play in the majors.
Bob Harig (4:39 PM)
They are still studying the idea which now appears wouldn't be able to go into effect until at least the 2013 season heading into 2014. Your analogy is not quite true. Players do have the ability to get sponsor exemptions and earn enough money to rank among the top 125. In that case, no Nationwide or Q School. They could also try to Monday qualify and do the same thing. But your point is well taken. Short of that, a player would have no access to the PGA Tour through Q School and would then be forced onto the Nationwide Tour to earn his way.
Matt (Bethlehem, PA)
Bob, What do you make of the high-profile splits of Els, McDowell, and Rory from Chubby Chandler?
Bob Harig (4:41 PM)
To me, it's just business. Golfers are individuals who have varying needs. In the case of McDowell, he felt that he might not have been getting the proper attention. Maybe he missed out on some endorsements or outings that he felt he should have got? McIlroy appears more the opposite. At 22, maybe he thinks he was being spread too thin.
Ed (Long Island)
Does Stricker play the President's Cup? If so, how long does it take for the rust to come off his game?
Bob Harig (4:43 PM)
He has said he intends to play, and now that the evnet is just two weeks away, I think he would have pulled out by now if he wasn't going to give it a try. I believe he is the only player on the U.S. team who will not compete in a tournament the week or two prior. But Stricker is used to working his game into shape being from Wisconsin.
Patrick (Charlottesville, VA)
Could be just as simple as all three want to focus on the US Tour, and Chubby is more at home in Europe.
Bob Harig (4:44 PM)
That almost certainly has something to do with it in Rory's case. Chubby did not particularly want him to play the PGA Tour.
Are you heading over to Australia next week? and does that mean we'll get a 4am chat :)
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
I am going. Chat is to be decided, and it's possible, certainly during the week of the Presidents Cup. 4 p.m. ET is 8 a.m. in Australia -- the next day.
Rory McIlroy (Hollywood, Ireland)
Luke's a great player and deserving of No. 1 right now, but I'll be No. 1 at the end of 2012. Don't you agree?
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
Yes. I could very easily see McIlroy getting to No. 1 next year.
Matt (Bethlehem, PA)
Your thoughts on the 2012 major venues, aside from Augusta.
Bob Harig (4:48 PM)
Olympic Club in San Francisco is an old-style well respected course that should be very good for the U.S. Open. Lee Janzen won there in 1998. . .Royal Lytham is not everyone's favorite British Open venue but I think they are all good in their own way. Quirky in that it begins with a par-3. And the PGA is going to Kiawah, which will be interesting due to logistical factors and the heat.
So Michael Jordan has pulled out as Presidents Cup ass. capt. because of the NBA lockout. Isn't that just a convenient excuse to keep him away? One time was a cute novelty. Two times is ridiculous.
Bob Harig (4:50 PM)
I don't think it's an excuse. Jordan is an NBA owner and they are in one heck of a mess right now. Probably wouldn't be too good for him to be in Australia while all that is going on. It was a bit of novelty two years ago, and nobody really took his captaining duties seriously. But the players loved the idea of being around him, and Couples was looking for something different in an assitant captain. Let's be honest, is there really anyting of huge significance for an assitant captain to do?
Bob Harig (4:53 PM)
You are not the first to raise this issue. He actually is playing mostly on the Japan Tour and finished second at an event there last week. An event gets more ranking points the more highly-ranked players are in the field so it becomes self-perpetuating.
People mock Couples as a captain, but he seems to keep the atm light and put guys who want to play together. The US performance last Pres Cup was pretty good. Maybe a RC captain or two could take notes
Bob Harig (4:56 PM)
Couples has been mocked more for his aloofness and the way he dealt with Tiger Woods as a captain's pick. He talked about Zach Johnson needing a good week at the Tour Championship to get a pick when Johnson wasn't in the field; he picked Tiger way before he had to announce it. Sure, he lets guys play together, just as Jack Nicklaus did as captain. But really, that's what Paul Azinger did in 2008. And Pavin no doubt sought his players' input on pairings. For all the talk about Pavin and his captaincy, the team was one half point -- one other match going from a loss to a tie or a tie to a win -- from retaining the Cup.
Patrick (Charlottesville, VA)
Will we see a rebound in Martin Kaymer's game next season? What the heck happened to him this year?
Bob Harig (4:57 PM)
Not sure what happened to Kaymer, who has now slipped to No. 6 after being No. 1 in February. He tried to make some ill-advised swing changes in the spring and never really got back on track.
Comparing the Ryder Cup to the President's Cup is ridiculous. I think the Americans could careless and so does the International team.
Bob Harig (4:59 PM)
The comparisons are made because the event is so similar in style. Match Play. Foursomes, fourball. Sunday singles. For the Americans, it is much easier to see who can play well together from year to year. But there is no doubt, at the Presidents Cup, the pressure is far less. I find that to be especially true for the International team. Part of what makes the competition so great is the constant second-guessing and the subsequent criticism when one of the teams loses. Who is criticizing the internationals when they lose?
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
Okay, I'm out of time. Be sure to check back next week or Presidents Cup week. We'll try to do one of these from Australia if logistics cooperate. Thanks again.