Tag Archives: golf

Not a Soccer Blog…Top Eight From The News

Thanks to the absence of the venerable Nick and Austin, I have heard rumors of this blog turning into a “soccer blog.” While I have no problem with that, I thought I would appease all my eager fans with a mixed bag of non-soccer news.

Here are the top eight stories today and my not-so-humble opinion on them.

1. Brett Favre and the J-E-T-S? Who saw this one coming? I don’t think Favre will pull a Namath and win a Super Bowl, but I do think he takes a team that won just four games last season to the playoffs.

I also would like to see the Jets release Chad Pennington already so that the Bears can add him to their stable of unreliable, mediocre quarterbacks. One positive about Pennington: he is much better than Grossman and Orton.

The Patriots are safe on the top of this division for at least another year.

2. In honor of Landy I will delve into the Packers. This was a huge mistake. Plain and simple. ESPN’s Rachel Nicols asked the question that I would like to see answered: “Are the Packers better off with Aaron Rodgers than Brett Favre?”

How can they answer that with a yes? They have never seen Rodger play for a whole season, and while I am sure he will be decent, Favre is a Hall of Famer. There is no comparison. This is a win now league and the Packers just shot themselves in the foot.

3. Because we are The Looper I have to mention something having to do with golf don’t I? How ironic would it be if Sergio Garcia won the PGA Championship this weekend? The man that was expected to challenge Tiger Woods wins his first major with Tiger sidelined with an injury.

But, to tell you the truth, I hope he wins it. I think without the pressure of having to beat Tiger, Garcia will be loose and this could mark a significant turning point in his career if he is able to pull it out. He is just one shot off the lead after most of the field finished the first day and he is one of the top five most talented golfers there so why not?

4. Have you lost count of how many players Georgia has suspended this season already, because I have. They are named the preseason number 1 and immediately their players begin to act like they just won the National Championship.

Let me be the first to say that I don’t think Georgia will finish in the top 20. They obviously don’t have the maturity or leadership, their coach, Mark Richt, doesn’t have the experience to withstand the pressure and while their star running back, Knowshon Moreno, will be a front runner for the Heisman, he is not prepared to lead this team through the heart of an impossible SEC.

5. Can’t you see it now. Kids all over L.A. with dreadlock wigs and wearing number 99 Dodgers jerseys on Halloween as the Dodgers battle deep into the playoffs behind midseason acquisition, Manny Ramirez. So far Manny has hit four home runs in just six games and has energized this team that was struggling mightily to score runs.

I still can’t believe the Red Sox made the trade. I know Jason Bay is good—I have seen him 16 times a year when the Cubs play the Bucs—but he is not Manny. This is a team that is fighting for their playoff life and they traded away their best bat.

If they are able to overcome the Rays and withstand a run from the Yankees and make the playoffs it won’t matter but I don’t know if they will be able to without Manny in their lineup.

6. Sticking with baseball, how can I not mention the Cubs. Just a week and half ago people said they were going to fail as they fell into a tie with Milwaukee. But just five days later the Cubs were the proud owners of a four game sweep of the Brewers and a five game lead in the division.

Since that series the Cubs have continued to roll winning nine of their last 11 games. Meanwhile the Brewers have been winning but have also been fighting—Parra and Fielder’s little shoving match in the dugout the other night—and seem frustrated after not taking advantage of a great opportunity with Chicago in town for four games.

In no way am I writing off the Brewers but I do think they need to pull themselves together the rest of August in order to avoid a catastrophic collapse like we witnessed last season.

7. Why is there football on tonight? It is not that I am not ready for football—it reminds me that fall is coming and that is always a good thing—but it seems so early for people to be hitting each other.

Am I going to watch any of the games tonight? No. Maybe I will turn on the Bears game for five minutes to see Orton beat up by the Chief’s fourth string defense, but otherwise these games are absurd.

These EXHIBITION games are more for the coaches than anyone else and all the hoopla that comes from these games is completely ridiculous. The football writers need to wait until at least Labor Day, please.

8. I guess I will finish up with the Olympics, which begin tomorrow. I am excited to see the summer games. Great athletes competing in the largest competition in the world is always good time.

Highlights for me have to be whether the USA basketball team can actually win gold, Michael Phelps (why did he grow that disgusting ‘stache, by the way?) run for eight golds and how many people asphyxiate do to the poor air quality.

Should be a good time had by all.

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed and hope that it inspired Nicks and Austins everywhere to come out and write once in a while.

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Want Ads and The Masters

WANTED: Compassionate, philanthropic Augusta National Golf Club member (or Masters Champion) to provide invitation for one round of golf at the home of the Masters.

WANTED: Actual golf coverage of The Masters before 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday — more than four minutes of commercial breaks would be tolerated.

WANTED: A Green Jacket — or at least be allowed to wear one for five minutes of my life.

WANTED: Un-Tiger-proofing of Augusta National, to bring the course back to the field and turn the Masters back into a shootout.

(ALSO SEEKING: Prohibition of the term “Tiger-proofing” from any golf broadcast ever — if courses were Tiger-proofed [something that is not possible, by the way] he would never win. I think by now everyone should get that the endeavor is futile.)

WANTED: Arnold Palmer to provide the ceremonial start to every Masters; Gary Player to never age.

* * * * *

For all of the social flaws of Augusta National and Jim Nantz’s overly melodramatic, hushed tones — and his overuse of the phrase “A tradition unlike any other” — The Masters never ceases to be about the coolest thing going in golf. It leaves me, as you could guess by now, wanting even more.

But how cool is The Masters, the epitome of golf with its combination of excellence and history, really?

For starters, The Masters is so big it makes announcers change their vocabulary. The Masters doesn’t have fans; it has “patrons.”

There is no other major played on the same course every year. None of the other three majors feature a smaller field or allow every (essentially every) past champion a spot in the field.

There is no tournament in golf with a more notable following than the Masters, primarily because so many names don’t change, the pin placements are almost always the same on each day from year to year and even the bridges have names.

The Masters even has its own set of TV graphics. It has its own theme song. It basically screams at the U.S. Open and British Open (which is almost twice as old) to just try to be cooler.

So delightfully tacky and yet so refined. I want one.The Masters is so huge now, so revered and so beloved, it makes a seemingly unattractive prize — a tacky green jacket — the most coveted and subsequently baller item in golf. You get a green jacket and you’re set for life. I want one.

Badly.

No other course in golf looks quite like Augusta, either.

The flowers, the towering trees, the absurdly well-behaved gallery — excuse me, patrons — the sparkling white bunkers, the incredible greens, Amen Corner … The Masters has everything and then some

But really, I just want to play.

I want to play where you don’t have to pretend the 15-foot putt with 10 feet of break is a must-make at Augusta National, it actually is at Augusta.

I just want a shot.

Addendum to Most $$$ (1.29.08)

A point not mentioned in my last post, Most $$$ (1.29.08):

Tiger Woods tore up the course (Torrey Pines South) that will be hosting the U.S. Open this June. Yowza. A 67 on Friday and then a 66 on Saturday seem to be a pretty solid prep-stop for the toughest tourney in the land –– granted, the course will certainly be set up differently for the Open, Woods is all-t00 familiar with Torrey Pines, having won there several times at several levels.

This summer’s South-Course Siege will be very interesting indeed.

Ernie Els: Underachiever, or, Great Golfer and Globetrekker Extroardinaire

After a 6:24 a.m. phone call from the Cynic’s publishing company, Denton Publications, and the upstairs neighbor’s blaring TV set at 6:39, the illusion of getting back to sleep vanished.

But after perusing some of my favorite Internet haunts, I came across this lead-in to a golf story on ESPN.com:

“Long thought to be an underachiever who plays too much golf around the globe, Ernie Els will invoke some big changes to his schedule for the 2008 season in hopes of some more major hardware.” (Story here)

In his “Weekly 18” segment, our man, Jason Sobel –– a senior golf editor at ESPN.com and previously famous at The Looper for his foray into caddying –– throws around a label for the Big Easy that I had kind of heard before but had not noticed anywhere with the display space of the ESPN.com golf page. And I must disagree.

Maybe you can joke in your caddyshack, around your poker table, by the water cooler, or in your fishing shanty about Els’ shortcomings as a golfer –– incredible talent but only thre majors to show for it –– but there are few more accomplished players in the game of golf right now. Calling a man with three major championships an underachiever in the Age of Tiger is preposterous.

There are only two currently active golfers –– and that’s really a stretch at this point –– who have more major wins than Ernie Els: Tiger Woods (13) and Nick Faldo (6). There are only two others with three majors (Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson) and only four golfers still active with two majors (John Daly, Retief Goosen, Sandy Lyle and Jose Maria Olazabal).

Are we calling Els an underachiever in that crowd?

I don’t think so. If any big name golfer can be considered a true underachiever, I would nominate Davis Love III and not because I almost caddied for him. Love was so good for so long and only has one major to show for it. At this point in his career, those close to him have conceded his heart is not into being the best in the world any longer.

Admittedly, Els one of the most gifted golfers in the world, but whether or not he follows the Tiger Woods track to success (fewer total events, more scheduling strategy) is completely his prerogative and I applaud him for, up until now, doing things his way.

I’m pretty sure there’s more to life than golf, or major championships, or millions in endorsements. Those are all nice things, but to measure someone’s success or achievement on those terms is unfortunate.

If I had it my way, obviously Tiger is tops. Among the world’s other top-tier pro golfers, I’d certainly take Ernie’s game and jet-setting, globe-trekking lifestyle over Phil’s rumored gambling issues, and I would most definitely take Ernie’s life over John Daly’s incredible talents (Tiger Woods has called him the most talented golfer on the PGA Tour) and domestic troubles.

Note to Ernie: Keep doing your thing, baby. If you want a travel buddy I’ll have my cell phone at the ready.