Chat with Andy North
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, golf analyst Andy North chats live from Muirfield Golf Links in East Lothian, Scotland, site of the 2013 Open Championship.
North is a two-time U.S. Open champion, for two of his 14 professional wins. He was also a three-time All-American at the University of Florida.
Send your questions now and join North Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET!
What's more likely -- someone wins their first major or we get a repeat major winner this week?
Andy North (9:23 AM)
I think you're going to get a guy who is a former champion. Experience factor will be important.
How serious was Tiger's injury? Just an excuse as to his recent poor play or something that we need to watch?
Andy North (9:25 AM)
Tiger was truly injured and the fact he missed his own tournament shows how much he really was injured. He gave it some time to heal up and he says he's ready to go. It looks that way too.
Louis (Torrance, CA)
Which is your favorite of the British Open Courses?
Andy North (9:26 AM)
This one. St. Andrew's is probably the most historic and sort of classic because of the town but I think Muirfield is the best venue. There are a lot of different wind directions which is unusual.
Ernie Els kind of came out of nowhere last year to win....anyone fit that bill this year?
Andy North (9:27 AM)
I like Branden Grace, he played great last week. He is a terrific young player who has won multiple times over here. He came in and played a practice round early last week. He's a good dark horse.
How come there aren't more links-type courses here in the States? Wouldn't it be easier for pros to practice for The Open if there were courses here?
Andy North (9:28 AM)
It takes a certain type of turf, you can't have the lush manicured turf.
Kyle (Randolph, NJ)
How are the greens looking this week? Faster than a usual British Open?
Andy North (9:29 AM)
The greens are terrific they are going to run close to 11. Muirfield is probably the best manicured links course I have seen. It's just gorgeous.
Most difficult part of Muirfield?
Andy North (9:30 AM)
Under the current wind conditions the very first hole. It's a brutal start, you can start out with a bogey or double bogey in a heartbeat. The rough on the right is brutal.
Joe (Geneva, NY)
What adjustments do players make to flight their ball lower with the wind?
Andy North (9:31 AM)
You have to have a whole different mindset this week. You'll be trying to lay the ball 20 or 30 yards short of the green. It's all controlling your ball flight this week. You have to hit it solid and control the ball flight.
Kyle (Randolph, NJ)
Andy, in your honest opinion if Tiger can be within four going into the weekend, does he finally show up in the last two rounds to win? Without a diver and those blistering 2/3 irons
Andy North (9:33 AM)
History says no but he's playing well enough. If he's within four I think he can come back and win.
Andy North (9:33 AM)
Ernie Els was 6 back last year.
John (Chapel Hill)
what's your prediction for winning score?
Andy North (9:34 AM)
I think the scoring will be good this week. Maybe a 274, 10 under is reasonable. I think it could be even lower than that if the wind doesn't blow too much
Just how different is it playing courses over there as compared to the U.S.?
Andy North (9:36 AM)
It's a totally different game. You still have to hit it solid but it's more of a different mindset. You have to change and embrace bouncing the ball. You have to understand the funky bounces and deal with it.
I think the Open Championship gets the wrong reputation here in the states i.e., it's the major that "unknowns" can win because of the weather. Heck, unknowns can win American majors too (Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Steve Jones) and the fact that it's a European unknown like Paul Lawrie or the like winning it doesn't mean the British Open is any more of a crapshoot than any of the other majors. Even if the wind really blows, personally i don't see that being any more of a fluke-ish thing than long rough at the U.S. Open....it's just part of the deal. You agree?
Andy North (9:38 AM)
If you look at the history of the Open Championship at Muirfield every player has been a great player. The last 6 winners here have all won at least 4. This is a golf course that produces great champions.
In terms of playing the wind, do most players turn the ball back into the wind or ride the wind direction?
Andy North (9:39 AM)
It really depends on the shot they are trying to play. Most of the good players will do both.
James (Lowell, MA)
Is there a key stretch of holes that either players have to survive or take advantage of for scoring?
Andy North (9:40 AM)
With the current winds you have to do well on 5 or 17. And 9. The par 5s you have the take advantage of. Two of the par fives everyone can reach in two. You have to play those holes at least 3 under, maybe 4.
Geoff (Easton, PA)
Do you think Jordan Speith can possibly contend this week or is it going to be too much for him? Seems like he's been a Top-25 machine of late!
Andy North (9:41 AM)
I wouldn't be surprised. He's played so well. He is proving that he is a class player. He has 6 top 10s already this year and doesn't seem to be afraid of the big stage at all. He has a ton of confidence. I think there is a very good chance he can play well -- a top 20 finish would be good.
Andy North (9:43 AM)
He played in 2011 Walker Cup. That kind of experience is good. There's not a lot of trickery here. It's a very straight-forward quality golf course and I think that's why you have such good winners here
Do players try to curve every shot or do they play their natural shot shape most of the time?
Andy North (9:44 AM)
Most of the time they try to play their natural shot. There are a lot of good players who only work the ball one way. Stricker and Tom Lehman are examples. Sometimes players get in trouble trying to do too much. why not go with your best
Roger (Mount Pleasant)
Why do you think Muirfield has produced so many great champions?
Andy North (9:45 AM)
Simply it's a really great design that forces the players to play a lot of different shots under a lot of wind conditions. also it's not tricky it's pretty straight forward.
Zack (Springfield, MO)
What do you think will be the key for Tiger to get a win this week? His ball striking or short-game?
Andy North (9:46 AM)
I think that comes down to if you look at the majors he hasn't won it's been his short game. To me it was his putting as much as anything else. And at The Open Championships you can't afford to make mistakes with your putter.
Andy North (9:46 AM)
If you look at when Tiger wins majors he almost never 3 putts. The difference between him winning and losing is less than a shot a day. If you make a mistake with the putter you lose.
how do you think Sergio Garcia will finish do you think he'll ever win a major?
Andy North (9:47 AM)
He has a good history on this course he won the British Amateur here. This could be the ideal spot for him.
Andy North (9:48 AM)
Shot making. If you're working on mechanics this week you're in trouble.
Andy North (9:49 AM)
Phil is coming in here playing great. He's never had much success in this major but this is a week he could win. Dustin Johnson is another American who has played well. Snedeker is another. And how can leave Tiger out of the mix?
Andy North (9:50 AM)
Thanks for the questions everyone!
Andy North (9:53 AM)
Thanks again for all the questions. I'm off to a meeting.