Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig will stop by to talk about the 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 Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Bob Harig (2:59 PM)
Plenty to chat about this week. Tiger, Rory, a WGC event this week (that neither is playing). Let's get started. Please fire away with your golf questions and I'll attempt to get to as many as I can. Thanks.
Is the 10 year $250 million Nike # real? If it is (or even close to it) it's just a formality at this point right? He'd become one of the highest paid athletes in the world, nobody is turning that down.
Bob Harig (3:00 PM)
I can't sayif it's for real or a formality. I do know it's been rumored for some time, and whether the numbers are correct, Rory is certainly in line for a big endorsement payday. And he's got plenty to consider. You figure Rory is going to make plenty of money in his career. Much of that comes through winning. Do you risk success on the course for money now? Interesting dilemma.
Why do you think that Rory McIlroy, with a slightly better scoring average, so much more consistent this year? Other than Rory's slump.
Bob Harig (3:02 PM)
The knock on Rory going back to his amateur days has been his putting. He's been basically average on the greens. Hits the ball great, misses too many putts. That's very simplistic, but that is often what separates players. You'e not always going to hit it to 5 feet, 10 feet. You better knock in some 15 footers. And you better not miss the 4-footers for par. Rory has gotten better each of the past three years on the green, improving his strokes-gained putting statistic. Still, there is room for improvement. He ranked 80th on the PGA Tour this year in that stat and yet is No. 1 in scoring average.
Jake (Chattanooga, TN)
If Rory joins Nike, who will they put in advertising more, Rory or Tiger?
Bob Harig (3:03 PM)
That will be one of many interesting questions to be answered if it happens.
Remember the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs when everyone was excited about seeing Rory and Tiger in the same group? Boy, we overkilled that one.
Bob Harig (3:04 PM)
Believe it or not, they've still gone head to head just 11 times, and two of those were exhibitions. Just five of those head to head matchups have been in official PGA Tour events.
Who's the best non-U.S. golfer in history?
Bob Harig (3:04 PM)
It has to be Gary Player, no? The South African won nine majors. Only three players in history won more, all Americans.
Can you clarify how the 4 tourney play-off will work next year with the 125-200 on the PGA money list and top 50 web.com players? Is it that the top 25 on the web.com automatically have their cards and are playing for seeding positioning, and the others for the remaining 25 cards? If so, how does the seeding work the following year on the pga tour between the Top 25 cards obtained through the web.com and the other 25 gained through the play-off series?
Bob Harig (3:06 PM)
You pretty much have it nailed.As for the seeding, my understanding is it will be determined by how you finish in that four-tournament money list. So if you're in the top 25 on the Web.com, you are assured of your card, but not your seeding -- except for No. 1 on the season money list, who gets to keep that spot.
What happes to a current tour member that finishes outside the top 150 this year? Does he have status on the Web.com tour next year? Or is his only hope Q school and then sponsors exemptions next year if Q school doesnt work out?
Bob Harig (3:07 PM)
That is my understanding. If you finish outside the top 150, you must go to the second stage of Q school. Only by making the finals are you assured of some status on the Web.com Tour. Past winners have some status.
Nick Rolando (Orlando)
You think TaylorMade-Adidas could be a landing spot for Rory or he is for sure going to Nike?
Bob Harig (3:09 PM)
I suppose it is possible. All of what is out there is speculation so neither would surprise me.
If Nike requires that you use their equipment, apparel, etc. . ., then why is Tiger able to use the FUSE science bag? Also, being reported that Oakley is "in negotiation" with Rory, but wouldn't he have to forego that contract as well? I guess better question: are all his contracts due to expire at the end of this year?
Bob Harig (3:10 PM)
Tiger has always been allowed to have somebody else on the bag. For years, it was Buick. Not sure how Oakley affects things or where his other contracts stand. Typically Nike players where the hat, shirt, etc. with no other logos.
Say what you will about the Tour and Finchem, but they are really performing at a high level. To not lose tournies or purse sizes bsaed on the recent economy was a minor miracle. And I was GLUED to the TV watching the web.com final tourney this past weekend. Cant say I've ever been that into "minor league" golf before. Good for them.
Bob Harig (3:12 PM)
It's true that the tour has done a remarkable job in a tough economic climat. It has managed to stay almost fully sponosred and not lost events. That's impressive. Purses have risen, playing opportunities have not waned. They've lost some Champion Tour events. But they've made a better deal for themselves with the Web.com finals. I'd still say they need more like you if you were glued to the Web.com tournament.
Keith H (Seattle)
Auto update? Also, are you going to cover the last Q-School with a direct shot to the Tour?
Bob Harig (3:13 PM)
You'll have to give me more on the first part!As for Q school, no I will not be there. It is played at the same time as Tiger's event at Sherwood, where I'll be again.
Anyone from the Top 25 of the Web.com graduates stand out for you to have a big year in 2013? As a Canadian, very stoked to see another one of our own make it - Brad Fritsch - and another, Adam Hadwin, just miss after a closing 65.
Bob Harig (3:14 PM)
Always so hard to predict, but curious to see how Casey Wittneburg does after making it back to the tour. And yes, it was a tough blow for Adam Hadwin, who just missed his card.
Keith H (Seattle)
Auto update was for the moderator. Otherwise we have to keep refreshing the screen.
Bob Harig (3:24 PM)
Gotcha. .. there are not many questions today, so if you've got them folks, please fire away.
James (East of Sandy)
Why did the tour change the Shell tourney date. I thought players liked that course right before the Masters.
Bob Harig (3:29 PM)
They really didn't change it. The Masters is a week later this year. Masters always ends on the second Sunday in April. This year, the second Sunday isn't until April 14 so there is an extra week in there. The San Antonio event got moved into that date. Not sure it's good for Houston or San Antonio.
James (East of Sandy)
OK. I thought the tour tried to set it up so the Shell was right before the Masters.
Bob Harig (3:34 PM)
They did when there was just a one week gap in there. The issue is a bit complicated. You could have just put Valero in the Houston spot and moved Houston to a week prior to the Masters. But Valero has a clause in its contract that it can't be Easter weekend. Next year, Easter is March 31. So to make it work, Valero had to go after Houston.
Is there a reason there aren't more PGA's and US Opens on the west coast?
Bob Harig (3:35 PM)
I could go on and on about this. Of course there should be more. The weather is almost perfect. The last three U.S. Opens in California have been huge hits. The PGA hasn't been to California since 1995 and not to the West Coast since 1998. Makes no sense, really. Some of it has to do with available venues for sure. In the PGA's case, they've got financial deals with several venues in the Midwest and East. Still, hard to believe there are not more majors played there.
How will the timing of the qualifying events work with the start of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season? Will the Tour take a few weeks off so that all the qualifying can take place, or are the qualifying events going to be played on the same weekend as some PGA Tour events?
Bob Harig (3:37 PM)
This is why Q-School will no longer feed the PGA Tour. There is not enough time to stage a proper Q School when the new season is beginning in just a few weeks time. Hence, the Web.com finals played over four weeks. Q-School will still be at the end of the year, but it will only feed the Web.com Tour. .. Those four Web.com events will be played in August/Sept around the same time as the FedEx Cup playoff events.
What were your thoughts on the Tiger/Rory exhibition? Seems quite disingenuous to play a one-round money grab and then skip a legitimate WGC tourney a few days later.
Bob Harig (3:39 PM)
I thought it as surprising they both skipped a WGC when they were close by for regular tournaments the week prior, regardless of the exhibition. Rory was in Shanghai, Tiger in Malaysia. I asked Tiger about it back in August when he said he was going to Malaysia and at the time his agent had scheduled some corproate stuff in Asia before heading home.
Re: Tiger's comments about his short irons. Does he realize that Haney's method(along with several other teaching pros) is the way to go? I'm not advocating he should return to Haney either. I just don't think highly of the steep swing with his short irons.
Bob Harig (3:40 PM)
Tiger has gone with the philosophy that he is all in with his instructors. He doesn't just use bits and pieces. He incorporates it into everything, including the short game.
Seems like the guys who graduate from the 4 tour series will get no off season, or time to recharge after graduation. Congrats on your card, hope you have a flight booked to Frye's
Bob Harig (3:41 PM)
you could say the same for the guys who come through the FedEx Cup. There's little break, although nobody said they had to play. The guess is thought that guys who get their card are not going to want to wait. They're going to want to play as many tournaments as possible, which can make for a hectic fall.
What does it say about WGC's in general and the HSBC one in particular that so many are skipping it (esp Tiger & Rory)? Can't imagine that HSBC is all that happy either
Bob Harig (3:43 PM)
I'm sure they're not happy at all, especially that both players were in the region. Another example of too many good tournaments. Lots of choices. For Rory, he's still got 3 more tournaments -- Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai! Guess is next year they play, especially since it will count as one of the 15 on the PGA Tour.
David (Orlando,Fl) [via mobile]
Hey bob heard Tiger pretty much forgot he was mic'd up at his duel event vs rory. Any tv networks do any coverage? Hearing tiger unguarded is about as rare as well something very rare.
Bob Harig (3:44 PM)
I have an item on this today in Birdies and Bogeys column on espn.com. . . My guess is he didn't know he could be heard. There was no US TV coverage by the event was streamed on line.
Seems like not many of the guys who graduate are going to get in a lot of tournaments from January-April when all the big names resurface, so maybe it's good they have to play straight through the fall.
Bob Harig (3:45 PM)
True, but the problem is they have less chance to try and get their card for 2013-2014. For one year, the season is really condensed. After Wyndam it's over. You're in or you're out. If you're out, you go to the 4-tournament Web.com series.
Tiger had no problem playing the HSBC a time or two before it was a WGC event. It becomes official on the tours, then poof - he doesn't show up. Anything to read into there?
Bob Harig (3:46 PM)
It's possible it might have to do with no appearance fees being allowed. Just speculating. He might be making more this week by not playing. And he did say he needs to take time off somewhere. He's now got 4 weeks until Sherwood, then at least another month until 2013 season.
Guys who play fed ex cup aren't subject to re-shuffle, guys who get their card through web.com tour have to play early
Bob Harig (3:47 PM)
True, and this is where their best opportunity to get into tournaments will come because the fields, in general, should be weaker.
Why is no one able to confirm or deny that they knew they were mic'd up? The microphone was visible on the live feed. DO we think he just imagined the conversations would be edited prior to being released? And if so, do you think he is mad about this?
Bob Harig (3:48 PM)
I don't think Rory's was working very well and maybe he thought his wasn't working either. I'm not sure how it transpired that way. If he didn'tknow he was being mic'd, I'm sure he's not too thrilled about it!
It sounds like Tiger wants to cut back next year, but I'm not sure where he would do it? Esp if he wants to keep playing two weeks before a major, he'd actually have to add Shell
Bob Harig (3:49 PM)
I don't see him adding Shell. I could see him not playing an event between Abu Dhabi and the Match Play, possibily. I could see him skipping Greenbrier. Or maybe he skips Quail Hollow, where he hasn't done that well lately? Not sure where else he could cut. Not going to cut Bay Hill, Memorial or AT&T. Or any of the majors obviously.
Watney walked in a 61 with a shot at 59...I was a little bit surprised that he just cashed in the W instead of playing for the magic number as well. You think most high-earning Tour Pros do the same there - the Wins always trump?
Bob Harig (3:50 PM)
I think when he hit his tee shot in the rough at 18, he decided he better not get to worked up about 59. Didn't want to make a big mistake. Had it not been the final round, perhaps he'd have looked at it differently.
Doug G (San Antonio)
Bob-love the chats. Do you think it is purely age that prevents the "over 40's" from putting together 4 strong rounds to win a big tournament (major)? It seems like guys like Vijay, Stricker, etc., struggle wiht consecutive rounds that would keep them in the mix until the end.Thanks
Bob Harig (3:52 PM)
I don't think there's any question that it gets harder as you get older. Most of the guys who excelled in their 40s -- including Vijay and Kenny Perry -- were not proflific winners early. Vijay didn't join the PGA Tour until he was 30. I think it's harder to putt well as you get older, hence the small number of players who win as they get older.
Doug G (San Antonio)
Have you ever herd guys like Phil, or Vijay, or Stricker talk about actually playing on the senior tour when they are 50+? That just sounds strange to think about, but not totally far away.
Bob Harig (3:53 PM)
Vijay turns 50 early next year and he's said he wants to stay on the regular tour. Phil is only 42 so it's still a long way off. My guess is that Stricker will embrace the senior tour and make a killing.
Did Turkey knock out HSBC for Tiger? He generally does two abroad tournaments a year. As for Rory if he played hsbc that'd be 5 in a row & hsbc is the only one not offering appearance fees
Bob Harig (3:55 PM)
Turkey very well might have sealed it for Tiger not playing HSBC. I know it's golf, but it's been a pretty intense schedule for Tiger going back to the U.S. Open. Even after the Ryder Cup, Turkey was 10 days later and then two weeks after that it's Malaysia. As for Rory, not sure why he skipped HSBC when he could have skipped Singapore. Hong Kong he is defending champ. Then a week in South Africa, where he's not playing, before Dubai.
The more I think about it, the more it seems like $250 million (or whatever) is a lot for Rory. Can Rory command the atteention and popularity that Tiger did? Can he sell? Can he even be at the level of Phil in terms of being a spokesman? Seems like you're not getting value out of Rory at $250 million.
Bob Harig (3:57 PM)
All great questions. I think it's hard for any of us to envision anyone having the kind of return necessary to be able to pay someone that amount, even Tiger. But clearly Tiger paid off for them. Can Rory? I suppose if he wins. He's a worldwide player, which helps. He's a nice guy, likeable. But is he really worth that?
Whatever happened to Kenny Perry anyways? Peaked quite high around age 48, then seemed like he just accepted his fate as a Champions Tour golfer really quick. Disappeared from the regular tour quickly.
Bob Harig (3:58 PM)
It might have been different if he had won the Masters in 2009. He would have been the oldest major champion
Doug G (San Antonio)
Just for fun, who are/were some other great left-handers other than Phil, Bubb, Weir...Flesch? Thanks
Bob Harig (3:58 PM)
Bob Charles. First lefty to win a major, did so in 1963 at Royal Lytham.
it seems like the bigger issue is that with the extra week between the opens, the schedule just gets to condensed at the back end, but there's nothing to skip there. I do wonder about Barclays at Liberty though
Bob Harig (4:01 PM)
Starting with the British Open, it then goes Canadian Open, WGC-Bridgestone, PGA Championship, Wyndham, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, off week, BMW, Tour Championship.. . If you're one of the top players in the FedEx, that's likely a minimum of seven tournaments in 10 weeks. Then after another off week, the Presidents Cup if eligible. It's almost too much.
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
If you want to say 143rd on the money list -- so he's not outside the top 150 -- is feel good, I guess so. Daly's played better this year but still going to be 6 years since he was a fully exempt player on the PGA Tour.
I think the Bridgestone event has been at that spot in the schedule for awhile, but that may be the one event that needs to migrate to the spring.
Bob Harig (4:04 PM)
It has been the week prior to the PGA since the FedEx schedule went into play in 2007. Problem is, they want to make it convenenit for international players. Makes it nice for them to play that tournament then a major. And if you move it, who do you displace?
Doug G (San Antonio)
How do players actually receive the money they win in tournaments, and is it taxed first? do they leave with a "real" check or is their a direct deposit plan?
Bob Harig (4:05 PM)
It is my understanding that they have a choice, but most prefer direct deposit. And taxes are their responsibility.
Bob Harig (4:06 PM)
Okay, out of time, folks. Thanks for rallying with the questions. I'm also available on Twitter: @bobharig. Thanks.