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@PGA_JohnDaly Is “Magic”

October 13, 2012 by

John Daly is one of the few pro athletes on Twitter worth following.

When I first got on Twitter about two and a half years ago, I tried to follow every athlete imaginable.  Of course I thought it would be awesome to see what my favorite people in sports had to say, and hopefully interact with them.  I quickly figured out that following pro athletes is just dumb.  They rarely ever have anything interesting to say or they are just sending out links to something they are sponsoring.  But there is one athlete I have kept following… Read the rest of this entry »

Darren Clarke wins his first Major Championship

For the 2nd straight major, a Northern Irishman was holding the trophy.  After 22 year-old Rory McIlroy dominated at the U.S. Open, 42 year-old Darren Clarke captured the British Open for the first major of his career. Clarke’s final total of 5-under, was three shots clear of Americans Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

Mickelson came out like a man possessed early on. Phil started the day at even par, but made birdies at 2, 4, and 6 to get to minus 3. At the par 5 7th, Lefty sunk an eagle putt that put him in a tie for the lead at 5-under par. Unfortunately for Mickelson, that was the last time he would be in the lead.

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With the wind and rain, Rickie Fowler looked like he was ready to take a pie out of the oven. Not hit a drive.

By Joe DeJesu

Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke took advantage of his late tee off time and posted a third round 1 under par 69 to take sole possession of the lead heading into the final round of the 2011 British Open.

 18 players began the day under par and in contention for the oldest, most historic, and possibly the most prestigious championship in golf.  By day’s end, a cast of six random characters remain in the red, making the final round guaranteed entertainment for any golf fan. Dustin Johnson, a man with a knack for recent final round major drama (and not in the good way) will join Clarke in the final grouping tomorrow after posting a third round 68 (tied for low round of the day with Rickey Fowler). Thomas Bjorn, another infamous name known for the late-hole meltdown (at this course no less!) is currently two under after three rounds. As is Rickey Fowler, the young fiery American who finished the day with three birdies on the final six holes.  The 2009 U.S. Open Champ Lucas Glover follows at one under.  And last but not least, we have the 47 year old pony-tailed, cigar-smoking aerobics instructor, Miguel Angel Jiminez, who continues to play well and is one under par.

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After putting on a stretching display for the ages, Miguel Angel Jimenez (-3) finds himself just one stroke behind Darren Clarke (-4) and Lucas Glover (-4).

The only way to describe what the leaderboard at the Open Championship looks like is…well….Open.  In all my years of watching major championship golf, never have I seen a leaderboard that had such a cast of characters on it.  Amateurs, qualifiers, PGA Tour veterans, Senior Tour players, European Tour players.  On and on we could go with describing the 71 players within 7 shots of the lead.

After 35 players were under par in their opening rounds, only 21 could register a red number today.  The winds began to howl and the course began to dry out as the sun beat down on the course all day.  Many players found themselves with peculiar lies in the multiple pot bunkers, some we forced to hit off of gravel paths, and a few players wound up visiting the hospitality tent after a drive went awry.

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English amateur Tom Lewis is tied for the 1st round lead after shooting a 5-Under 65. The lowest round ever by an amateur in the British Open.

Once the first round of The Open Championship was complete, the leader board resembled the scrambled letters after you shake up a Boggle cube. European Tour vet Thomas Bjorn and English amateur Tom Lewis are tied for the lead at 5-under par.

It was here at Royal St. Georges 8 years ago, where the now 40-year-old Bjorn, collapsed down the stretch in epic fashion. He led the final round by two shots with three holes to play but needed three shots to get out of a bunker on the 16th hole and ended up losing by one shot to Ben Curtis. The other Tom tied for the lead, is 20-year-old amateur Tom Lewis. Lewis played along side the man he was named for, 5-time Open Champion Tom Watson. Lewis not only played like the man he was named for, he shot the lowest round by an amateur in the history of the tournament. The 5-under par 65 bested the 66’s by Justin Rose in 1998, Tiger Woods in 1996 and Frank Stranahan in 1950.

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With Tiger not playing in this week's British Open, it will be nice to see other golfers on the telecast. "Oh hey, look! It's Rory McIlroy!"

Boo Hoo. “Mr. Wonderful” is not going to be playing this week at the British Open. I couldn’t be more excited to hear that.

I’ve written about it before, and I’m going to write about it again. Watching golf is better without Tiger Woods. Sure, Tiger brings in ratings, which leads to sponsors, which leads to more money. That’s all great. But when I turn on a tournament, I’d like to watch some of the other 100 players in the tournament as well.

When Tiger burst onto the scene professionally in August of 1996, I was a big fan. I was 16 years old and was starting to become a pretty good amateur golfer. Tiger was everywhere. Tiger used the same clubs and balls (Titleist) I did, and he showed emotion on the course just like I did. Tiger Woods was cool. Golf was cool.

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Over the years, I have started to lose my interest in watching professional golf.  It’s pretty surprising considering I have played competitive golf for half of my life.  So when I found myself watching the PGA championship this weekend, I was shocked that I was so locked into the tournament.  The PGA Championship is like the Red-Headed Step-Child of the PGA Majors.  Honestly, I think more people care about the Players Championship, than the PGA.

So I thought about it over the last 2 days, and I now understand why I cared.

#1 – Tiger was out of contention.  This was probably the main reason I was watching.  There’s nothing worse that turning on a golf tournament that Tiger is seven strokes off the lead in, and the only guy on the course that TV cares to show, is him.  Seriously, no one really cares that much about him anymore.

#2 – The course.  I’ve seen it on TV a few times, and loved everything about it.  It’s a bizarre combination of a links course and a traditional inland course.  I liked that on many holes, there were multiple options off the tee.  Do I try to cut the corner? Do I lay back?  Do I grip it and rip it?

#3 – All the young guys.  I love all these young guys who are starting to take over.  It seems to me, that the days of Phil, Tiger, Ernie and Vijay are coming to an end rather quickly.  The young players these days are winning at the age of 20-25.  Back only about 10 years ago, 30 was considered young on the tour.  The PGA tour is in great hands with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, Anthony Kim, Martin Kaymer (If he decides to play in the US full-time), J.B. Holmes, Bubba Watson (he’s 32, but essentially new to the tour), Rory McIlroy (Same boat as Kaymer), Jeff Overton, and Camilo Villegas to name a handful.

While watching the back 9 on Sunday, a buddy of mine and I were watching and BBM’ing (for those non-tech savvy people out there, that means Blackberry Messaging) back and forth about what was going on.  I just kept telling myself that Dustin Johnson is my guy today.  This kid is gonna get it done.  To hell with the US Open fiasco!  So when he got to the 12th, I sent the message “Dustin is gonna win it.”  I was real confident in my statement.

When Johnson drilled the birdie putt on 17, I’ll admit that I let a little fist-pump go.  After all, this was the guy I picked to win when he was 2 or 3 strokes back with 8 holes or so to go.  Now when he stepped up to the 18th tee, needing only a par to win, I immediately thought to myself, “Don’t block-slice this to the right into the gallery, a la Phil Mickelson in the US Open”.  FORE RIGHT!!!!!  Ugh, no shocker there.

Now I’ll get to what everybody has been talking about the last few days…..Grounding the club in a hazard is a 2 stroke penalty.  Almost everyone who plays golf or even watches it on TV knows that.  But to lose the chance to win one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, due to crowd control, is ludicrous.   Most people feel bad for the guy, and I’m gonna say that I do too.  I’ll be honest when I say that when you get the rules sheet at the beginning of a tournament, you read through it quickly and basically forget about what you just read.  Sure, there were notices put up all over the locker room about the 1,200+ bunkers out there, but seriously, how can anyone (other than Gene Wojciechowski) call out Johnson for not knowing that a trampled down dirt patch was a bunker?

Between Junior, High School, College, and Amateur tournaments, I have never encountered a situation where spectators are allowed to stand in a hazard.  NEVER.  Granted, the largest gallery I ever played in front of was probably 200 people, but still, the fact that 5,000 people were standing within 10 feet of the ball was a complete joke.  There is no way that he had any idea that the ball was in a bunker.  First of all, there was no clearly defined lip of a bunker near him.  There was sand or dirt just spilled onto the ground.    Secondly, no $400 per round, PGA Championship course should ever have a bunker with weeds, clumps of grass, and no defined lip.  Third, when they showed the bunker with no people standing in it, you could see that there was kind of a lip up on the right side, but HOW THE HELL could Dustin know that there was a “lip”, when there were 4 rows of spectators standing in front of the lip, and IN the bunker?  Not outside of the bunker, but IN the bunker.

Can anyone see a bunker here?

I give Dustin Johnson a ton of credit on this one.  At least not publicly, did he flip out, start screaming expletives, or anything like that. He gave a very mature interview after the ruling had been made. I’ve been called for the same grounding of the club in a hazard penalty in a tournament before, and I went ballistic.  I thought the guy I was playing with was just a complete asshole and wanted to be a moron.  Granted, it was my own fault, but it had no where near the ramifications that this shit show did.

The stupidity of the PGA not only cost Dustin Johnson the possibility of winning the PGA Championship, but it also possibly cost him over $1 million in prize money.  I hope the PGA learns from this mistake, and keeps fans off the playing area.  I am now officially a Dustin Johnson fan.  Not only because I love his game, but I want to see him get vindication and win many, many major championships.

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Black is the new Red

April 11, 2010 by

Black is the new Red by Admin

No more than 2 minutes after Peter Kostis had a nice little chat with Mister Wonderful, I mean Tiger,  Phil Mickelson locked up his 3rd green jacket.  I find it pretty fitting that as Tiger is gracing Kostis with his sheer existence, Phil, dressed in all black, is acting out his role as the Anti-Tiger.  He drains his birdie putt on 18, hugs his caddie, and makes a bee line to his sick wife.  Amy, surrounded by their kids and Phil’s dad, fights back the tears.  As Phil kisses his wife, the cheers got even louder.  A nice big EFF YOU to Mr. Woods.

How could you not root for this guy?  He’s everything you want in a player.  Early in his career, he was ultra aggressive, and sometimes reckless.  Whether in the lead or behind, he was always the gunslinger.  But after years of just coming up short, his style changed a little bit, and he became the #2 player in the world.  3 Masters and 1 PGA Championship later, Phil is no longer “the other guy”.

I could go on and on about how Phil had a great putt here and a great iron there, but there were 2 shots that made Phil a champion today.  The 12th hole, a 155 yd par 3, has never been kind to him.  But as I said yesterday, Phil was in “The Zone”.  He took out his 9 iron, and put the ball exactly where he wanted it.  12 feet past the hole.  It left him a relatively easy downhill, left-to-right putt.  The green is located on the other side of Ray’s Creek.  So the fans are essentially 200 yards away, back behind the teeing area.  So when Phil nailed the putt, he gave a massive fist pump and the crowd reacted as if on a tape delay.  Everyone was just waiting to see Phil’s reaction.  After an errant tee shot to the right on 13, he found himself behind two trees, spread about 5 feet apart.  In classic Phil style, he unleashed an aggressive hard swing.  When the club made contact with the ball, there was a collective gasp from the crowd.  It sounded like  “Oh my god, what is he doing?”  But Phil pured it.  Right through the uprights.  The ball had eyes for the green.  It soared over Ray’s creek and landed within 15 feet.  Phil emerged from the trees pumping his fists and never looked back.  His 2-putt birdie put the stamp on his 3rd career Masters.

Mickelson’s birdie at 18 gave him a 5-under par 67 and a 3 shot win over Lee Westwood.  Maybe, just maybe, this will quiet all the Tiger hoopla for a few weeks as some of the real TV and print journalists get their heads on straight and report about the tournament.  Not the side-show.

Tiger’s Sunday staple has always been the blood-red shirt and black slacks.  Phil came out in all black.  Black shirt, black slacks and black shoes.  I hope Phil keeps this look going.  Black is the new red.

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Master-Phil

April 11, 2010 by

Master-Phil by Admin

“The Zone” –  Some athletes describe it as seeing everything in slow motion.  Some describe it as seeing the basket the size of a swimming pool, the baseball the size of a grapefruit, the defense is just not there.  Well Phil Mickelson found it during the 3rd round of the Masters yesterday. 

 For a 3-hole stretch, “Lefty” was in “The Zone”.  On the par 5 13th, Phil was trailing Lee Westwood by 5 strokes.  Knowing that he needed to make a move, Phil locked in and hit the green in two.  He drained the eagle putt and now was only 3 strokes off the lead.  The crowd went absolutely nuts and Phil was locked in.  The par 4 14th, has a very tricky and undulating green.  But when you start feeling it, it doesn’t matter where the pin is.  The pin was in the back of the green, about 15 ft to the right of a giant ridge that runs though the middle of the green.  The ball landed 10 feet to the left of the pin and just made a right turn.  No blinker or even a hand signal.  Just a good ol’ Cross-Bronx expressway cut-off. 

You would have thought that a fighter jet had just taken off,  but that was the sound of the crowd roaring as the ball went right into the clowns mouth.  With arms raised and fists pumped, Phil walked up to the green with a hero’s welcome.  2 eagles in a row, 4 strokes shaven off the lead. At the same time, Ian Poulter was 3 holes behind Phil, but had to back away from his putt as he could hear the roar of the crowd (Of course he missed the putt).  You could just sense that you were witnessing something special. 

The par-5 15th was up next.  Phil was licking his chops.  As he stood over his 3rd shot, you knew this was going to be close.  With his sand-wedge as his tool of choice, he fired right at the stick.  One bounce.  2 bounces.  Left turn.  Right across the cup.  It was almost like the crowd was disappointed that it hadn’t gone in.  Phil’s tap-in birdie moved him to 12-under par, and into the lead. 

That 3 hole stretch might have been the greatest in major golf history.  He was in the Zone.  One stroke behind Lee Westwood going into the final round, Phil is easily the favorite.  Westwood sits at 12-under, Phil at 11-under and  Mr. Entitlement and K.J. Choi are at 8-under.  It’s going to the a great final round.  Let’s go Phil!

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English Muffins

April 10, 2010 by

English Muffins by Admin

Two of England’s top golfers are tied at the top of the leaderboard after the 2nd round of the Masters.  Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are tied at 8-under par, 2 strokes clear of  5 players (including God, I mean, Eldrick). Westwood followed up his 67 with a 69 and Poulter fired his second straight 68.  On a day in which only 3 players shot under 70, the two tied at the top posted 2 of them. 

In the 5-some that is 2 strokes behind the leaders is Tiger Woods….where else would he be than a 5-some?…”The Peoples Champ” Phil Mickelson, KJ Choi, Rickey Barnes and Anthony Kim.  Phil had a 65-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole  that slammed the back of the cup and popped out.  Had that putt dropped, he would have been in Cpt. Transgression’s group on Saturday.  I’m actually glad that Phil didn’t hole that putt.  He deserves to be the focus of his group.  Not playing second fiddle to some self-centered loser. 

Of the 3 members of AARP that had fantastic 1st rounds, Sandy Lyle was the one who failed to miss the cut.  After posting an improbable 69, he shot an 86 today.  He must have had a bridge game, or something that he need to make sure he was at on Saturday morning.  Freddy Couples and Tom Watson didn’t exactly light the course on fire Friday, but they remain in the hunt.  They both fell back to 3-under for the tournament, 5 strokes off the lead. 

3-over par was this year’s cut line.  Favorites such as Jim Furyk (+12), Vijay Singh (+10), Stewart Cink (+8), and Paddy Harrington (+5) all missed the cut. 

All the storylines are there for a great weekend.  Can one of the two Brits take home the green jacket?  Can Phil win his 3rd Masters?  Can Tom Watson and Freddy Couples get the DeLorean up to 88-Mph and go back in time?  And will mistress number 20 show up at Augusta National looking for her cut of the winner’s check in order to keep quiet?  Personally, I’d love to see Phil and the guy who’s “In treatment” battle it out in the same group on Sunday…..with Phil CRUSHING him. 

Let’s all tune in tomorrow morning for “moving day”.  Wait?  It’s not on in the morning?  Oh ok, I’ll tune in at lunch time.  Stop, why can’t I watch the leaders tee off at 2:45 PM EST?  Oh, that’s right, because The Masters doesn’t want you to see the 1st few holes at their precious course.  So Live TV coverage will start at 3:30PM. 

Wasn’t  this attitude and arrogance the EXACT cause of Eldrick’s “transgressions”?