Category Archives: Golf
Capital traffic and sporting headaches
What is it about state capitals and traffic?
I lived for nine years in Baton Rouge, where the capitol and state offices are at the western edge of the city along the Mississippi River, but the majority of population lives to the east.
Today, I was stuck in a parking lot at an exit off of Interstate 80/35 in Des Moines. Lucky for me, I did not have to go any farther north, because the traffic was worse.
The Iowa capitol and state offices are at the southern edge of Des Moines along Interstate 235. Most of the population lives to the north and east, and that makes I-80/35 look like the end of a football game in Ames or Iowa City.
Topeka has the same problem: state capitol and offices on the east side, most of the population living to the south and west.
As for other capitals, I’ve been to or through Lincoln, Oklahoma City, Austin, Little Rock, Jackson, Montgomery, Tallahassee, Atlanta, Columbia and Nashville, but don’t have enough experience to say much.
Frankfort is way too small to have traffic. The Commonwealth of Kentucky plopped down the capital there because it’s halfway between Louisville and Lexington. Good move. If you’re driving on I-64 between the big cities, be sure to stop in Frankfort to visit the Kentucky capitol and its beautiful floral clock.
Considering what’s happened the last two weeks, traffic was a welcome distraction.
I had a bad case of tonsillitis the week of March 20. Kelsey Lahey Templeman, Dr. Custer’s physician assistant, prescribed me penicillin and dexamethasone, and that cleared it up quickly.
Then there’s the world of sports.
I’m still angry over the way LSU shamed itself in what should have been one of the university’s greatest moments. It’s embarrassing to think people representing the school you (barely) graduated from could act like that.
I did not watch one second of the game live. I slept through it. In fsact, I had a dream while napping that LSU won when Alexis Morris tapped the ball straight into the basket off of a throw-in with two-tenths of a second remaining. There was then a long delay as the officials determined whether or not Morris tapped the ball straight towards the basket, or she caught it first, which would have invalidated the basket.
Under basketball rules at all levels, if there is fewer than four-tenths of a second remaining on the clock, a player may not catch and shoot. This rule was brought about from a 1990 NBA game in which the Knicks’ Trent Tucker caught a inbounds pass with one-tenth of a second left, turned around and drained a 3-pointer to defeat the Bulls at Madison Square Garden. In fact, here’s a link to Tucker’s shot on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP0t-BXCi1c
I avoided looking for the result until approximately two hours after the game ended. I accidentally surfed to ESPN’s home page, and there was a big picture of Kim Mulkey smiling and wearing another ridiculous outfit.
Then I saw a headline about Caitlin Clark, Iowa’s superstar and the National Player of the Year, receiving a technical foul for supposed disrespect towards referee Lisa Jones.
Clark had to sit out much of the first half with three fouls, as Jones and her colleagues, Pualani Spurlock-Welch and Michol Murray, thought the game was about them, not the Tigers or the Hawkeyes. (Where was Dee Kantner, arguably the greatest woman to ever officiate the sport?)
Forty fouls in a Division I national championship game? FORTY? An average of a foul a minute is asinine. That’s what you expect out of a middle school game, not the highest level of collegiate basketball.
I hope LSU has extra money in the budget for rings for Jones, Spurlock-Welsh and Murray. I have heard enough bitching about MLB umpire Angel Hernandez, but I’ve never seen him call anything as egregious as what this trio of robbers did to Iowa.
Jones, Spurlock-Welsh and Murray remind me of another infamous trio of incompetent officials–Patrick Turner, Gary Cavaletto and Todd Prukop, the three NFL zebras who suddenly came down with cataracts when the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman flagrantly interfered with the Saints’ Tommylee Lewis in the NFC championship game in January 2019.
I thought about going to Baton Rouge for an LSU baseball series. Not happening now. I’m still angry about LSU’s disgraceful display in Dallas.
Why should I be surprised? LSU has embarrassed itself so many times over the years it’s now commonplace.
This was far from the worst. Covering up rape by football players takes the cake. Add in the former football coach–married with four children–acting like a frat boy towards female students working in the office, women’s tennis coaches ignoring a rape complaint by one of their players (committed by a football player) and former men’s basketball coach Will Wade breaking every rule in the NCAA manual before he was finally shown the door, and I wonder why I bother supporting that school anymore.
The Masters started today.
I will not watch.
I hate everything about The Masters, especially the haughty attitude of Augusta National members and golf fans who think The Masters is the only tournament that matters.
Memo to those who dismiss the other majors: The Open Championship started SIXTY-TWO YEARS before The Masters. Golf started in SCOTLAND, not the United States.
I’ll look at the leaderboard. But I will not watch a single drive, chip or putt.
The Masters was a great reason to escape Russell. My parents will be glued to it.
Worse, Brooks Koepka, one of the assholes who took the Saudi blood money to join LIV Golf, is tied for the first-round lead.
The West Des Moines Sheraton. A happy place. Reminds me of good times. I have work to do, but there will also be enough time to slip away to Omaha for Pibb Zero, and maybe to the Quad Cities for some hard-to-find sausage.
Time to stop for now. I don’t need to raise my blood pressure.
(Slight) Sunday cooldown
The heat wave which gripped Kansas from Wednesday through Saturday has abated, thank God.
The high temperatures the previous four days soared to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), with the heat index hovering between 42 and 44 (105-110) each day as well. It was enough to keep me sheltered in the cool confines of my basement for three full days. I hated having to miss my favorite trivia game at 1930 Thursday evening, but I felt I could skip one playing in this case.
It’s cloudy in Russell and Hays, with the thermometer now hovering between 25-27 Celsius (77-81 F). Tomorrow is going to be nice with temps around 27 Celsius, so it will be a very good day to go to Salina and Wichita to get the car washed and play some trivia at either Buffalo Wild Wings or Old Chicago.
I had to get away to Hays today after lunch at home. Playing ‘semi-blind’ at Starbucks. The only problem you don’t see clues, so you only have a 20% chance of getting the answer right. Then again, if you’re certain of the correct answer, you don’t need clues. Through 21 questions, I’ve only struck out on one.
I watched exactly ZERO holes of The Open Championship.
Why bother? The tournament sucked. Big time sucked. So much for the hoopla surrounding the first Open Championship in Northern Ireland since 1951.
Rory McIlroy missing the cut in his home country took the air out of it. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were gone after Friday as well. The big names who got to play the weekend–Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia–were way down the board.
Shane Lowry of the Republic of Ireland won.
I cannot stand him.
I’m sure many in Kansas were thrilled to see Lowry win it.
I’m betting because Lowry has a thick, bushy beard, he is the second favorite golfer of many Kansans behind Gary Woodland, the Topeka native who won the U.S. Open last month at Pebble Beach.
I won’t grow a beard. Got it? Don’t ask. I won’t do it. If a woman thinks a beard is necessary for her to be attracted to a man, she needs serious psychiatric evaluation.
I will never, ever comprehend why beards are so “manly”. Those who need facial hair to feel more “manly” are not real men. They are insecure little boys.
That makes you an insecure little boy, Ted Cruz. The U.S. Senator from Texas is now sporting a beard. Although it isn’t as gross and unruly as many beards worn by rednecks in Kansas, it looks terrible nonetheless.
The sun is out and it’s up to 30 C (86 F) right now. Good thing I put the sunshade up in my Buick.
A lady was in Starbucks FaceTiming with the volume all the way up. Didn’t need to hear that conversation.
I’ll probably change locations after the next game. I’ll have about seven minutes to get to a new place. Besides, I bet the employees at Starbucks are suspicious as to why I’ve been here for almost three hours. Then again, I did buy food and a beverage and I’m not exactly bothering anyone just sitting here. Oh well.
Forget Jesus; Tiger is God this Palm Sunday
The Masters teed off at 0630 (0730 EDT) this morning in order to beat anticipated heavy rain in Augusta. I was not watching.
Why bother? Tiger Woods is going to win and every talking head and writer is going to pee their pants and drool all over themselves about Tiger being the greatest golfer who ever walked the earth.
Francesco Molinari would win his second major in less than a calendar year if he holds on. But if you want to read about it, I suggest finding an English-language version of an Italian newspaper, because all the coverage from American journalists will be about Eldrick Woods and his greatness.
Tiger is one reason why I do all I can to avoid watching SportsCenter these days. Tiger is part of a privileged class that can do no wrong. The class also includes Tom Brady, LeBron, Serena Williams, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Warriors, Alabama football and Duke, North Carolina and Virginia basketball. ESPN doesn’t give a crap about the NHL, so nobody is listed here, although NBC is strongly biased against the Canadian teams (especially the Canadiens–you can figure out why) and in favor of the Rangers, Flyers, Capitals, Kings, Ducks, Golden Knights, Lightning and Panthers, even though the last team in that list sucks most of the time.
Tiger is a great golfer. I won’t deny it. However, I get nauseous whenever he is referred to as the “Greatest of All Time”. No. Not for me. The problem is people today have ridiculously short memory spans. I bet many people under 40 would have no idea who Jack Nicklaus is, even if they watch golf regularly. On the other hand, someone who couldn’t tell the difference between a golf ball and a tennis ball knows about Tiger Woods because he’s been forced down America’s throats for over 20 years.
I don’t begrudge anyone who is a member of Augusta National. Good for them. Congratulations on your success. However, I have no earthly desire to join a country club of any kind. Not my thing.
LSU and Missouri wrap up their baseball series at 1200. The home team won yesterday 4-1, its first win over LSU in Columbia in eight tries, and just its second in 17 games all-time. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
I recall LSU won seven consecutive series vs. Arkansas when the Razorbacks joined the SEC in 1992 until the Hogs finally broke through in 1999. Arkansas swept twice within four years (2001 in Fayetteville, 2004 in Baton Rouge).
However, my stay in Columbia is not over. I’m not departing until Tuesday. I have work that has to get done tonight and tomorrow, and the rest must be wrapped up by 1200 Tuesday so I can make the two-hour drive west to Kansas City. It also means more White Castle. I had waffle sliders for breakfast. Great as ########################################################################
Max Scherzer’s number 31 was officially retired before yesterday’s game. Of course, the honoree was with the Nationals in Washington, so his parents accepted the honor.
The Royals must have been stuck on stupid when they did not draft him #1 overall in 2006. Instead, they took Luke Hochevar, who was drafted #1 overall by the Dodgers in 2005, but did not sign, so he spent time in an independent league before re-entering the draft in 2006.
The 2006 draft was the last act of Allard Baird as Royals general manager. He was fired the previous week and Dayton Moore was hired as his replacement, but Baird was allowed to conduct the draft. Had Moore been in charge, it may have been very different.
Scherzer would not have been with the Royals right now, because he would have been too expensive to control. However, he would have come to Kansas City quickly and allowed the Royals not to spend a lot of money on Gil Meche, and maybe Zack Greinke would have stayed. Who knows. But Hochevar definitely was a big-time miss when Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw were available.
Speaking of the Royals, maybe they need to play Cleveland more. They have beaten the Indians 8-1 and 3-0 so far and can sweep the series today. Prior to that, Kansas City lost 10 straight, getting swept in three by the Tigers and four by the Mariners.
As I drove to Columbia Thursday, I got a glimpse of the upper deck at Kauffman Stadium during the game. I estimated there were maybe 80 fans in the entire upper deck. Attendance has slacked off since the 2015 World Series championship.
The Brewers were swept in Anaheim by the Angels, but can sweep the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine today. That’s baseball.
Back to CoMo
I couldn’t help but feel guilty and nostalgic driving to Columbia today.
Of course, it’s Columbia, Missouri. If it were Columbia, South Carolina, I would have had to have left on Tuesday to make it there in time.
LSU plays Missouri this weekend, the third time the Bayou Bengals have visited Columbia since Mizzou joined the SEC in the 2012-13 school year. LSU is 6-0 in Columbia, with the series in 2013 and 2016. Last year, Mizzou defeated LSU in the second game of the series in Baton Rouge, its first win ever over the Purple and Gold Tigers.
The Bayou Bengals lost to Southern Tuesday, just the third time the Jaguars have defeated their cross-town rivals in baseball. Southern won in 2001 and 2005 at the old Alex Box Stadium, but this was the first time the Jaguars defeated LSU at their home park, Lee-Hines Field, in north Baton Rouge.
My dad wanted to go on this trip so bad, but he has been battling a terrible infection. He wasn’t sure he would be able to make the nearly six hour drive from Russell without something happening.
My gut was churning from Russell to Lawrence with guilt. I wish he were with me. I called home when I stopped in Liberty to get my car washed. He told me it would be okay, although he wishes he wasn’t having these episodes.
The nostalgia part comes from last year’s trip to Baton Rouge, which happened to be the same weekend as this year’s trip.
Last year, it was more about seeing everyone I had not seen in ages–Brenda, Dorinda, Dan and Lisette Borne, Bryan Lazare, Kent Lowe and others–than it was about LSU’s performance vs. Tennessee. Of course, it was a much happier return to Russell after the Bayou Bengals swept the Volunteers, with Daniel Cabrera’s three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the Sunday game being the final play of the series.
This will be pretty much a repeat of 2013 and ’16. I’ll have fun watching baseball, but most of my down time will be spent working in my room for stuff which needs to be done for Monday. It has to be done.
One of the best things about Columbia: WHITE CASTLE!
Columbia is one of only two SEC cities with White Castle. The other is Lexington, not surprising since White Castle’s corporate headquarters are an hour north in Cincinnati. I got hooked on White Castle when I stopped near Louisville on the way out of Lexington.
Of course I had to stop there on my way in this evening. Great decision.
White Castle has introduced a crab cake slider for Lent. YUMMMMM! It also has clams, and those are good, too. I think I’ll have to go back for more tomorrow. I order A LOT of sliders tonight. That means I’ll have plenty of leftovers Saturday and maybe Sunday. Sliders for breakfast? Not the first time.
The Masters is this weekend. Tiger is playing, so tickets at Augusta National are running much higher than they did for Super Bowl LIII, which was played in Atlanta, 145 miles west of Augusta on Interstate 20. Five thousand would have bought you six to eight tickets to see the Patriots beat the Rams in February. Five thousand might not get you into the gate at Augusta National this weekend.
Not that I want to visit Augusta National. If I had a choice of any golf course in the world to visit, it would be St. Andrews, where the game was born. To me, The Open Championship is more prestigious than The Masters, the same way Wimbledon is more prestigious than the others in tennis.
That’s the beauty of St. Andrews. ANYONE who pays the greens fees can play. Same with Carnoustie, another Open Championship course in Scotland. Augusta National? You’d better have a friend in a VERY high place, or you’re out of luck.
Tiger ended the day 2-under par, four shots back of co-leaders Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. Koepka has won the last two U.S. Opens and last year’s PGA, and if he wins the green jacket, he will enter the exosphere of major championship domination, occupied by only Tiger and the Golden Bear. Phil Mickelson, who turns 49 later this year, is 5-under. The oldest champion at The Masters was none other than Jack Nicklaus, who won it at 46 in 1986.
It’s getting late. I didn’t get enough sleep last night (or the night before), and the effects of all that time on the road is taking its toll. Have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow.