Category Archives: Golf

Tiger won! Not really, but some would have you believe otherwise

Did Brooks Koepka win the PGA Championship? I couldn’t tell. By the homepage of ESPN.com, CBSSports.com, and many newspapers, Tiger Woods won, even though the scoreboard I checked showed Woods two shots behind Koepka.

The drooling love affair with Eldrick Woods has gone on since the weekend of April 10-13, 1997, when he won The Masters, the first of his 14 major championships. When Tiger was forced off the course by injury following the 2008 U.S. Open, and again by various injuries earlier this decade, fans on message boards bitched and moaned and said they would not watch golf until Tiger was playing again.

It’s not as if golf is going to die without Eldrick Woods. Koepka has won three of the last six majors. Jordan Spieth is only a PGA away from the career grand slam, and Rory McIlroy will wrap it up if he wins The Masters. Dustin Johnson is the top ranked player in the world, with Justin Thomas a close second. Phil Mickelson is still chasing the career slam, needing the U.S. Open.

There are a lot more marketable players out there today than there were 50 years ago, when it was Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and a whole lot of good but not great players who really didn’t move the needle. Lee Trevino took Palmer’s place among the big names in the late 1960s, and once Player and Nicklaus passed their prime, it was wide open, even though nobody had the star power that the Golden Bear and Arnie had.

People were scalping tickets for as much as $2,000 in St. Louis for Sunday’s final round at the PGA. That’s enough to buy season tickets for the Cardinals or Blues. Kopeka and Adam Scott were the final pairing, and both played with far smaller galleries than what Woods and Gary Woodland did.

Eldrick is part of a cadre of athletes American media drools over. The others are Serena Williams, LeBron and Tom Brady. Baseball doesn’t have a specific athlete, but the Red Sox and Yankees get all the headlines, with the Cubs getting them to a lesser extent. The NHL has not had that problem as much, although the national media couldn’t stop peeing in their pants about the Vega$ Golden Knight$.

I don’t watch very much golf, simply because I’ve had enough of Mr. Woods. I don’t watch any tennis. Haven’t since the late 1980s. I’m sick of the Williams sisters on the women’s side, and the men’s side is the same people over and over and over: Federer, Nadal, Djokovic. The NFL holds little appeal these days, at least the AFC does. And don’t get me started on the NBA.

In sports I actually watch, Liverpool flexed its muscles Sunday by thrashing West Ham 4-0 at Anfield. The Reds appear to be well-positioned to be Manchester City’s chief challenger for the Premier League championship. City opened with a 2-0 victory at Arsenal, ruining Unai Emery’s first match as manager of the Gunners. I didn’t watch the Liverpool match, simply because I knew West Ham had zero chance. I instead streamed Southampton-Burnley, which ended 0-0 at St. Mary’s.

Now there are no Premier League matches until Saturday morning. I’m stuck between bad MLB and NFL exhibitions until then if I want to watch live sports. Of course, there’s the Little League World Series, which I absolutely refuse to watch because of the “mandatory play” rule.

I’m now on to season three of The O.C. UGH. I hated season three, simply because there were so many characters whom I despised: Dean Hess, Charlotte Morgan, Taylor Townsend (the evil version; she makes a 180 in season four), Veronica Townsend (god I love Paula Trickey, but Veronica was downright mean, which shows Trickey is a tremendous actress), the scuzzy loan sharks who beat up Jimmy Cooper, Johnny Harper, Casey, Seung-Ho (the sexually obsessive boyfriend of the equally sexually obsessive Taylor) , the “Harbor  Heckler” (an unnamed character who is so cruel to Seth and Taylor that I want to climb through the screen and squeeze his testicles until they pop, then go Lorena Bobbitt on his penis) and of course, Kevin Volchok and all of the lowlife scum associated with him, particularly Heather, the evil bitch who does all she can to make Marissa’s life a living hell at Newport Union.

Then again, I wish Volchok would have found the heckler and beat the living crap out of him. If it were possible to hate a character more than Volchok and Oliver Trask, the heckler was that character. He and Felix Tagarro from One Tree Hill always make me extremely nauseous.

The only bright spot I could think of that season was Dawn Atwood (Daphne Ashbrook) putting her life back together. Josh Schwartz and the rest of The O.C.‘s production staff should have brought Dawn back in season four so she could rescue Ryan from his deep depression caused by Marissa’s murder.

Not to say season three was 100 percent bad. Just saw the scene where Seth scratches his face with his middle finger, flipping off Taylor. Priceless.

Three slow days

Saturday was fantastic. The final day of my stay and I wish it could have gone on forever. I got to spend almost 10 hours with Brittany and Raymie, and five with Liz. If I did not drive back to Russell the next morning, I would have stayed until closing time at 1 a.m. There will be a weekend for that coming up.,

I miss Brittany, Liz, Raymie and everyone else already. I’m sad I didn’t see Lisa, but I will very soon.

I left Kansas City at 7:30 Sunday morning. I stopped at the Topeka Hy-Vee, and again at the Quik Ship in Salina on I-135 and Crawford to use the restroom and get a frozen Pepsi. Got home right at noon, in time to eat salmon with my parents for Father’s Day. It was delicious, although I was sad to leave my friends. I didn’t get to see Alexandra Mullinax, who didn’t come back from her vacation and back to work until Sunday night.

I watched the U.S. Open most of Sunday evening, simply because there was nothing else on. Jordan Spieth did the unthinkable, bouncing back from a double bogey on 17 to birdie 18 and eventually win the tournament win Dustin Johnson choked with a three-putt on 18. He had an eagle putt to win and missed, then missed a short birdie putt which would have forced an 18-hole playoff Monday. Louis Oostheizen shot 67 Sunday to move into contention, but he ended up tied at 3-under with Johnson and Adam Scott, he of the illegal putter (at least as of January 1) and the arrogant caddie, Steve Williams, who was fired by Tiger Woods.

I like the fact the U.S. Open has refused to let go of the 18-hole playoff if it is still tied after 72 holes. To me, it is the fairest way to determine the champion of a major tournament.

The Masters stinks in this regard, because it has been sudden death since 1976 (the first sudden death playoff was 1979, when Fuzzy Zoeller defeated Ed Snead (?) and Tom Watson in two holes). The last 18-hole playoff was in 1970, when Billy Casper won by five strokes over Gene Littler.

The sudden death playoff is fine for minor tournaments, but it absolutely sucks for a major. Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros found this out in 1987, when Larry Mize chipped in from 43 meters (47 yards) on the second playoff hole to win the Green Jacket.

The PGA Championship was the first major to use a sudden death playoff, when in 1978, John Mahaffey topped Jerry Pate and Watson at Oakmont on the second hole.The sudden death playoff was used five more times, the last in 1996, when Mark Brooks left Louisville and local hero Kenny Perry hearbroken by winning on just one hole at Valhalla. Perry would redeem himself in 2008 when he helped the United States win the Ryder Cup on the same course.

Beginning in 1997, the PGA adopted a three-hole format, which was first used in 2000 at Valhalla, when Tiger topped Bob May. It has been used three more times, most recently in 2011 when Keegan Bradley bested Jason Duffner at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

The last 18-hole playoff at the PGA was in 1967, when Don January topped Don Massengale by two strokes at Columbine Country Club, not too far from the site of the Columbine High School massacre 32 years later.

The Open Championship did not move away from the 18-hole playoff until 1985; however, the last time a fifth round was needed to determine a champion was 1975 in possibly the most famous golf tournament ever played.

Tom Watson and Jack Newton were tied through 72 holes at Carnoustie, as each finished at 9-under par 279. The playoff of July 13 was played in a driving, blustery rain, not unusual for the east coast of Scotland in mid-July. With the golfers tied at 1-under heading to the 18th, Watson, the native of Kansas City, hit his second shot to within 25 feet of the hole, while Newton’s approach found the front left bunker. Watson made par and Newton could not, and Tom had the first of his eight major championships.

The Open Championship did not test out its four-hole playoff format until 1989 at Royal Troon, when Mark Calcavecchia won by three strokes over Wayne Grady and Greg Norman.

Watson was involved in the most recent playoff at the Open Championship, bowing to Stewart Cink only 46 days shy of his 60th birthday. Tom had the lead going to the 72nd hole at Turnberry, but he bogeyed to give Cink new life.

Not much has gone on since Spieth’s victory. It’s too hot to do anything anyway. A little work, some Shark Tank, some college baseball, and some The O.C., where I am beginning my review of all 92 episodes, which I have done every summer since 2010.

I have an appointment with Crista Thursday at 9. Looking forward to that.

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the signing of Title IX, the infamous amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act which guarantees women the same opportunities as men in education. That has been largely interpreted to mean women deserve as many sports as men at colleges and high schools.

Tomorrow is a much more tragic anniversary, at least as far as New Orleans is concerned.

Better to be away on Saturday

I’m up earlier on Saturday than usual, but that’s not unusual for the road. When I’m at home, I have the terrible tendency to sleep all day.

The third day of The Open Championship is almost complete. There was a double tee off from the first and tenth holes due to a forecast of heavy rain, which is very rare for a major championship.

The only major championships which use a double tee off are the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, and the double tee is only used on the first two days, prior to the field being cut. The Open Championship usually does not need a double tee off, since there is usually 18 to 19 hours of daylight in July. The Masters only tees off from 1 and 10 if rain is threatening or time needs to be made up.

Rory McIlroy still leads at 13-under, but Rickie Fowler is challenging. He got to within one stroke before a bogey at 13 set him back. Sergio Garcia was at 9-under and Dustin Johnson still at 8-under. Tiger is currently 1-under for the day but 1-over for the tournament.

I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings earlier today. I’m going to eat lunch there, but leave earlier, probably around 8, maybe earlier. It’s back to Russell in the morning.

Rory runs away

So much for the prediction Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be playing in the final group Sunday at The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

McIlroy will be playing in the final group, barring a major collapse tomorrow.

Woods, meanwhile, will likely be on his plane back to south Florida by time Rory is on No. 5.

McIlroy has taken total command of The Open, firing yet another 6-under par 66 to go to 12-under, leaving him four shots ahead of Dustin Johnson and six ahead of six others. McIlroy and Johnson will have the last tee time Saturday.

I can’t stand Dustin Johnson. He’s a foul-mouthed jerk who somehow snared Wayne Gretzky’s gorgeous daughter, Paulina. Why do beautiful women fall for jerks? Lindsey Vonn, I’m looking at you.

Maybe Rory dumping Caroline Wozniacki, the Danish tennis pro, was the best thing he could have done. He seems to be focused like a laser on golf right now, and barring the unforeseen, he will be the toast of the United Kingdom come Sunday evening.

Ms. Vonn won’t have to worry about her man under pressure this weekend. Eldrick is a mere 14 shots off the lead, and he will barely make the cut at 2-over. There are 16 players tied at 2-over, meaning Tiger will be in one of the first eight groups tomorrow, all of which will tee off by 5 a.m. Central.

ESPN has to have mixed feelings about this situation. Sure, McIlroy is one of the most popular players on the PGA Tour and has worldwide name recognition, but his large lead may prompt some to not tune in. The situation was much worse at the U.S. Open last month, since Martin Kaymer had a big lead early, and Kaymer has nowhere near the name recognition as Rory.

Major League Baseball resumes tonight. The Royals are in Boston. The Brewers are at Washington. The Dodgers are at St. Louis. It used to be there were four-game series following the All-Star break, but due to the stupid unbalanced schedule, there are only three-game series after the break. At this rate, the break will extend to a full week in the near future.

Tiger’s back. UGH.

Tiger Woods shot 3-under par in the first round of The Open Championship earlier today at Royal Liverpool, leaving him three shots behind leader Rory McIlroy, and immediately, everyone who considers themselves a golf expert immediately proclaimed Tiger will be playing with Rory in Sunday’s final grouping, and some went as far to predict Tiger will win his 15th major.

I had this sinking feeling Tiger would come out strong. This is is first major in nearly a full calendar year, he’s always played well at The Open, and he won the last Open contested at Hoylake in 2006.

Tiger Woods is a foul-mouthed womanizer. I don’t know what Lindsey Vonn sees in him. Then again, she dumped her husband to be with Tiger, which I’m guessing she did just to have kids without having to get pregnant, because now she’s stepmom to Tiger’s daughter and son he conceived with Elin Nordgren, his ex-wife.

Phil Mickelson’s hopes of repeating as Open champion are down the drain. He shot a 2-over 74 and is eight shots back. He’ll be on a plane back to the United States by this time tomorrow, if not earlier.

The pressure right now is all on Rory McIlroy, who has the pressure of expectations, but now also has the pressure to keep the Claret Jug in the United Kingdom. Nobody else from the UK is close.

The second round tees off in less than two hours. It’s already a few minutes after 5 a.m. in the United Kingdom, and the sun will be up in a few minutes and not set until after 11. That’s what being above 50 degrees north in July will do for you. They’ll pay for it in the winter when there is less than six hours of daylight.