Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Harig Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Bob Harig (3:01 PM)
Hello, thanks for checking in. Plenty to chat about. Big news for the Match Play and Harding Park. British Open (Open Championshp to be correct) around the corner. And, oh, Tiger. Fire away with your questions.
Mike P (Greater Kc Metro)
based on Tiger's play at Congressional, should we be surprised if he misses the cut at The Open Championship due to it being only his second tourney since surgery.
Bob Harig (3:05 PM)
No, I don't think we should be surprised either way, frankly. It's a lot to ask for him to play good golf at this point. The return at Congressional seemed a bit rushed. He's got a lot of ground to cover in the next two weeks.
Mike P (Greater Kc Metro)
In two weeks will be the 1 year anniversary of Jordan Spieth's breakthrough win... How do we (as fans and you in the media) judge the year that has been since that victory?
Bob Harig (3:06 PM)
That is an interesting subject. Certainly there is some merit to wondering why he hasn't won again. But I tend to look more positively about it... Let's say he hadn't won at the John Deere last year but had a bunch of impressive finishes. Would we think less of him? I doubt it. I think we would view him as a guy who is getting experience and getting better and recognizing that he is only 20. But that win meant higher expectatoins. Now people waiting for the next one.
Mike P (Greater Kc Metro)
If The Open Championship started tomorrow, who would have the higher finish Phil or Tiger?
Bob Harig (3:07 PM)
Another interesting topic. If it started tomorrow, I think the safe choice is Phil. He's not been playing that well but he also doesn't have the physical issues to overcome.
Bobby J. (West Palm Beach)
As Tiger ages and ails, and the gap since his last major win widens, which do you think would be more damaging to his "mystique" on tour as far as his competitors go... For him to miss the Open cut, or for him to say he misjudged his readiness to come back and withdraw?
Bob Harig (3:10 PM)
Not sure either would damage his mystique. Missing cuts is part of the game. He's happened to miss so few of them it's ridiculous. If he's not ready to go, that would be understandable too. The surprise should be that he is back.
Jake F (San Francisco, CA)
Hi Bob,TPC Harding Park has spent a lot of time in the news recently (2020 PGA Championship and 2015 WGC-Match Play). You ever played it? And what other West Coast courses would you like to see featured in the regular schedule?
Bob Harig (3:12 PM)
Have never played it but was there for the 2009 Presidents Cup. It is obviously highly regarded to get such big tournaments. Not sure there is room for more in the regular schedule, but obviously getting West for the majors more often is desirable for so many reasons.
Doug g [via mobile]
How are pairings set up for the British open (the open?). Other than the Scottish, will Phil play before then? Thanks Bob.
Bob Harig (3:13 PM)
The R&A makes the pairings, somewhat similar to the USGA for the Open, perhaps with not as much zeal. Phil is not playing this week and the Scottish is next week so that is it.
Kenneth Chavez [via mobile]
Would it suprise you that Tiger contends at Hoylake even without enough tournament reps he needs?
Bob Harig (3:15 PM)
While I said earlier it wouldn't surprise me if he missed the cut, I wouldn't be surprised if he contended. How's that for wishy-washy! Seriously, him contending would be a mild surprise. Just think he's got a long way to go to get to that point. I wonder just how much practice time he can really put in. But he's done so many amazing things, you never say never.
Tigers short game was terrible. I was actually expecting it to be sharp with the amount of time he supposedly was working on it during rehab. What happed? Please don't tell me Rye Grass...
Bob Harig (3:16 PM)
Rye grass was an odd thing for him to say. It's not harder to hit out of than Bermuda, which he practices in at home. And I agree, I was surprised, given that the short game was one area he could work on the longest. That said, for how much time could he spend on it? He couldn't stand on the putting green for hours on end. Same with chipping. So how much work did he really get on that?
How will Harding Park being backed up against Players affect the 64 entrants in to the Match Play? Even with private jets that could affect the players who decide to be there for the week.
Bob Harig (3:17 PM)
It's going to be played the week before the Players. They threw us a curve ball on that one. So it won't have any impact. My guess is you'll see a lot of the big names play their first event back after the Masters as the Match Play.
I know there's always a debate on who's the greatest player, but after watching the Duel in the Sun last night, Jack will always be the greatest champion. I can't imagine a player of today being gracious in defeat. Do you think Tiger would put his arm around Phil? God he couldn't even acknowledge Phil's final round at Muirfield. Tigers the most talented and complete but Jack should be the standard.
Bob Harig (3:19 PM)
I'm not sure anyone in the history of sport has been as gracious in defeat as Jack. He's just built a different way. It's not a knock on Tiger, who I don't imagine putting his arm around Phil but certainly acknowleding a job well done. No doubt the Duel in the Sun really stamped Jack. To shoot 65-66 and lose by one? Amazing.
Does Kaymer's game match well with the Open? What do you expect of him?
Bob Harig (3:20 PM)
It should. A guy who can hit all the shots to win a U.S. Open should be able to handle the Open as well, even though it is a different style. I'd be surprised if he weren't a factor.
Week before Players means if you win you have to travel three time zones to get ready for Sawgrass. You don't think some of the FL based players decide to stay home?
Bob Harig (3:21 PM)
As much as the PGA Tour would love to believe that the Players Championship elicits that kind of respect among the players, it just won't be a factor. You'll only have 4 playres still in San Fran on Sunday. They've got plenty of time to get to Sawgrass, a course they know. And remember, plenty of them went from Ariz to Florida in the old format.
Scott (San Diego)
Thoughts on the "New" Match Play................................go
Bob Harig (3:22 PM)
Not sure I like the date, but I love the format. I know it's not traditional match play, but traditional match play is really tough when TV and sponsors are involved. The Match Play to me has always felt like a dud on the weekend. Wed is great and then it deteriorates. Now you'll have 64 players around for 3 days. The potential for playoffs to get to Saturday. And then straight match play. It's sort of the best of both worlds.
Good point, that's why we ask, you answer.
Bob Harig (3:23 PM)
Ha. Just one man's opinion. To me, it would have been worse if the Match Play followed the Players.
Ian (Carbondale, IL)
If Tiger heads over early for some unofficial practice before the British ( like he did in the early 2000s playing courses like Waterville in Ireland) will his people likely let the media know to take heat off preparation concerns?
Bob Harig (3:23 PM)
No! They'll tell us -- or he'll tell us -- when he gets to Hoylake. But my guess is he's not doing that.
Kenneth New York) [via mobile]
Looks like Tiger will be going away from playing back to back weeks from now on. Do you think he does this more in the future
Bob Harig (3:24 PM)
Well, he's going to play back-to-back at the Bridgestone and PGA. And if he were to somehow make the playoffs, he'd potentially face playing at least two weeks in a row. But I can see where he might try to avoid back to back weeks as much as possible.
Isn't it amazing how similar Tiger and Jacks careers are? 14 majors at 38, Tiger had 10missed cuts Jack had 9, both lost their dads at 30. It really is something?
Bob Harig (3:25 PM)
I had forgotten about the dad part. And the cuts thing is also amazing. I think Jack actually has Tiger on that one. Jack didn't play nearly as many no-cut events. There were no WGCs back then.
What courses out west could potentially see a major that hasn't seen one yet, a la Chambers Bay.
Bob Harig (3:26 PM)
To be honest, I'm not sure. It's hard to find venues that can be a good test and have that proper infrastructure and also want to to host one. Some others might weight in on this.
Realistically, when do you expect Tiger to be competitive? Graham Delaet said it took him a year to feel good from same surgery.
Bob Harig (3:28 PM)
My initial thought on this was that he would ease his way back into this later this year with hopes of getting ready for 2015. And ultimately that is what he could be doing. But he clearly seems intent on trying to be competitive for the Open, the PGA, making the FedEx playoffs.
I hear that Inverness is being changed so they can get a possible major in the future. You think it could happen in the next 2020s? I think PGA more than an Open is likely
Bob Harig (3:29 PM)
They are doing renovations and apparently it is to try and get a major. PGA was last there in 1993 when Paul Azinger won. And the next available dates are in the 2020s. But my guess is they are not ruling out either tournament.
Lisa Hamburg (Illinois)
I'm currently watching OTL and I disagree that with Dan that the US is not big into soccer. I'm a mom of two young adult children and we have been watching as many games as possible. I've loved being able to have soccer parties at the house & decorating for the USA game.
Bob Harig (3:30 PM)
Think this question landed here by accident! But as a shoutout to the US team, we'll roll with it.
Mike P (greater Kc metro)
Any particular reason the R&A limits the rotation of Open courses to 5 and would the USGA ever consider something like that for the PGA or US Open?
Bob Harig (3:34 PM)
They actually have 9 in the rotation and with the recent announcement that Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland has been invited to host a future Open, likely 2019, that brings the total to 10. Since 1990, they have gone to St. Andrews every five years, with the others mostly on a 10-year rotation -- although Turnberry went 15 years from 1994 to 2009.With Portrush being brought on, some wonder if perhaps Turnberry -- which has had access issues -- and Royal St. George's and/or Royal Lytham could be in trouble.Beyond that, they are committed to a true links test and obviously the infrastracture to host is necessary, limiting them to those venues.As for the PGA/USGA, they have so many venues to choose from they don't want to be limited.
billp [via mobile]
What are your expectations for golf in the Olympics in 2016... riots? Lol
Bob Harig (3:36 PM)
Should be interesting to see the lead up to it and how much the players may or may not be into it. In 2016, it is going to almost directly follow a condensed major schedule, with the FedEX playoffs to follow and a Ryder Cup. I love the idea of it, hope they can work through some scheduling issues beyond 2016 -- and also re-examine the format.
My friend and I were talking about this, but not having a consistent tour stop in Chicago seems like a real miss. The midwest is very under utilized.
Bob Harig (3:37 PM)
The problem is the BMW Championship in September -- which is the former Western Open -- runs up against a lot of other things. Chicago sports fans likely spoiled, although they did well at Conway Farms last year. But this year, no PGA Tour and it it is odd for such a golf-mad market.
Bob Harig (3:42 PM)
Well, anyone in the top 9 at this point really needs one more good week to wrap it up. Patrick Reed is ninth and he is dubious at this point given his poor play since winning at Doral. Jim Furyk has moved up based on a few solid tournaments but no wins. If he doesn't make it, I wonder about him being picked. Phil is outside the top 10 and I expect him to make the team on points. Chris Kirk and Harrison English are close behind.Which leads to the question: regardless of how Tiger is playing, are there three players you'd pick ahead of him?
I asked this to MC on Monday. I'm not a Tiger fan, I root against him but I do feel bad for him. Last week, some on the golf channel actually predicted he would contend last week! Then for some , his 5 wins aren't good enough. Is it possible for his greatness to be underrated and overblown?
Bob Harig (3:45 PM)
I've said many times that he is against his own standard, one that is unrealistic. Last year was proof. He won 5 times, including a Players and two WGCs and many thought it wasn't a good year. He didn't win a major, but he still won more than the rest.. And despite playing just 4 times this year, he's still won more times worldwide than anyone since the start of 2012.
Any idea on next 5 US Ryder Cup captains?
Bob Harig (3:46 PM)
When they went outside of the box and picked Tom Watson, I'd say it's wide open. There's not a specific pecking order. They could bring Azinger back. Certainly you'd think that Furyk, Mickelson and Tiger would be among those in the future.
Curios, what did TW do to John Feinstein to make him knock him all the time? I thought media was supposed to be somewhat objective.
Bob Harig (3:47 PM)
Feinstein is a columnist/commentator so he offers his opinion. That doesn't mean you can't be objective. But John has been a long-time critic.
Thanks for taking the time Bob. New match play format create a "Group of Death?" 1-32-33-64; 2-31-34-63 format?
Bob Harig (3:49 PM)
Not sure how they will pit the original groups but you would think it would be somewhat along those lines...Certainly the top seeded players in the tournament would be given some advantage, if there is such a thing.
Mike (Charlotte, NC)
I thought Wells Fargo had it in their contract to have the date right before the Players? Looks like the Match Play will be before the players next year?
Bob Harig (3:50 PM)
My guess is they worked with the tour on this because the last thing they woul want would be the date before the Players with the Match Play following the Players. They would lose a ton of players that way. I'll be easier for them to follow, I would think.. And my guess is this is a one-time thing.
Curious (East Coaster)
You didn't give an example of WHY Feinstein has an anti-Tiger agenda. Because a 21 yr old TW didn't like him calling him out for an off-interview joke? Feinstein should be called out on it already. But he won't.
Bob Harig (3:51 PM)
Not my business to get into this here, but you've got those stories mixed up. Feinstein wasn't the author in the example you site. But it is true it goes back quite a way.
Jake [via mobile]
Think Hoylake will play tougher than 06?
Bob Harig (3:53 PM)
I hate to say it played easy, but Tiger did shoot 18 under par. The difficulty is almost always up to Mother Nature. It was warm and dry that week so the ball rolled forever. If it's rainy leading up and the rough grows, the course is much tougher. Or if it's cold during the tournament.
So as a Tiger fan I should expect the rest of the year to be a lost year for Tiger. And hope he gets healthy and competitive for next year. Is that the more realistic goal?
Bob Harig (3:56 PM)
Well, it might be too early to say that. But... if Tiger didn't come back until the Open or even the PGA, that would have been the case anyway. Then it's a matter of picking a few tournaments to play with the idea of building to next year. But coming back when he did, he gave hope to the idea that there is still a chance this year.
Adam (San Diego, CA)
Tom Watson expressly said his interest in having Tiger on the Rider cup team. Did he say anything about Mickelson? If he has a decent performance at the Scottish open or British open, would he leave him off the team if he doesn't earn a top 9 points place?
Bob Harig (4:00 PM)
Watson's qualifier for Tiger was: if healthy and playing well. So he clearly needs to see some form it would seem. Phil, to me, is a different story. If he's 10th, even 11th, in points, hard to imagine leaving a guy off who has been on all these teams dating to 1994 -- and only once was a captain's pick.
Bob Harig (4:01 PM)
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. Appreciate the interaction. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @bobharig if you want to engage further. Thanks.