Golf Wrap

Seriously Phil?
Seriously Phil?

 

The Quail Hollow Championship ended this afternoon when Tiger Woods posted an opening round 65, putting him two shots clear of the field, an advantage he hardly needs.  So maybe the tournament isn’t technically over, but Woods had that look about him today that suggested a strangle hold.  To Phil Mickelson’s credit he rose to the challenge in the afternoon and posted a 67 to stay within range, and at least give Tiger something to think about.  The potential for another Woods and Mickelson pairing should leave golf fans pleased, unless of course you happen to like one of the other 150 players in the field.  CBS has prepared two cameras for the weekend.  One to follow Tiger, and another to follow Tiger and maybe get a shot of Phil if Tiger ducks into a porta-john. 

How about a John Daly update?  John managed to wear an uglier pair of pants than yesterday, but apparently they weren’t distracting to him, and he opened with a 2-under par round at the Open de Espana.  Long way to go for Daly, but he looks like he’s going to make the cut, which means we’ll get to see his fashion choices for the weekend.  I’m thinking skort, but stay tuned to find out. 

David Duval, whose troubles I mentioned yesterday, opened at Quail Hollow with a lackluster 76.  It’s not a round to be ashamed of at a tough layout, but Duval is in need of a breakout week, not a week where he’ll need a rally to make the cut.  We’re still pulling for Duval, but it’s looking like a weekend off, and I don’t know when he’ll play next.  He’s not in the field next week at Sawgrass, where ten years ago he won, and ascended to the number one ranking in the World.

Arachnophobia

The "Spider" is a Bad Man.

The "Spider" is a Bad Man.

Anderson “The Spider” Silva will make his Philadelphia debut at UFC 101 on August, 8th.  Silva is considered the best pound for pound fighter in MMA, and despite a recent lackluster title defense against Thales Leites, he possesses scary knockout skills.  The video below attests to that.  Silva is going up in weight to face Forrest Griffin in a non-title bout at 205 lbs.  Griffin is a fearless fighter, and skilled striker who should stand in front of Silva, and give the fans an epic showdown.  Silva’s last venture to 205 netted an easy win over James Irvin, but Griffin is the former champ at light heavyweight, and will provide a much sterner test.  For anyone interested in checking out some UFC action, this is a golden opportunity.

UFC’s card of the year will come one month earlier in Vegas at UFC 100.  The night will feature dual main events.  A title defense by Georges St. Pierre, and a heavyweight title unification rematch between Frank Mir, and Brock Lesnar.  The rest of the night is full of big names, and rising starts as the UFC is trying to make its 100th promotion its best ever.  Information on Tickets and both of these events can be found at www.ufc.com

In humorous MMA news its being reported that Jose Canseco is preparing for his mixed martial arts debut.  Canseco is just recently removed from a quasi-celebrity boxing match up with Vai Sikahema.  Vai, who has extensive boxing experience, knocked the former AL MVP out.  Canseco is scheduled to face Hong Man Choi at DREAM 9 on May, 26th.  DREAM is a Japanese promotion, but if there is a way to catch this action in the states it might be worth a look.  I don’t know a thing about Choi, but Canseco should get pummeled. 

SILVA HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

Lunchtime Shadiness.

Let's Make Out.

Let's Make Out.

 

This story is not going to sound true for a number of reasons, first and foremost it took place while I went for a little lunchtime jog at a local park (Please post all jokes in comments section).  Anyway, I was lumbering around the perimeter of the property not really paying attention to my surroundings.  It’s hard to pay attention to anything when you are gasping for breath with every step.  Anyway I came up over a little hill, and  lo and behold there was a middle-aged couple engaged in a pretty intense make-out session behind a tree.  I haven’t seen something like this since recess in 5th grade.  It is very hard for me to sneak up on anyone, but I caught these two by surprise.  They quickly disengaged, and actually came around to the front side of the tree, and started staring at the trunk like they were bark experts or sizing up a nice piece of lumber.  For my part, I wheeze/laughed.   I’m just glad I didn’t show up five minutes later.  Who knows what would have been going down.  Heh, heh.

A-Rod is a Mess.

Already Juicing?

Already Juicing?

–A-Rod is almost ready to return to the Yankees, and to celebrate his return more allegations regarding his past steroid use have surfaced.  ESPN has picked up a story that claims a new book by SI’s Selena Roberts reports A-Rod not only continued to use steroids once he got the Yankees, but possibly had done them as far back as high school.  I went looking for a picture of a rail-thin high school A-Rod, but didn’t find the shot that said there’s no way this guy was on the juice.  Regardless of what is true it seems that A-Rod inspires no loyalty in his teammates.  From former high school teammates had no problem making accusations, and members of the Yankees revealed a secret nickname for A-Rod that associates him with steroid use.  It rhymes with “witch mitts”.  A-Rod, deservedly so or not, remains a punching bag.  I’m sure the Yankees can’t wait to get him back. 

–Another story that I saw yesterday and forgot to mention, Freddie Mitchell has a blog.  Mitchell was famous for about a week in Philadelphia after making a 4th and 26 catch in the playoffs against the Packers.  It spurred the Birds unsuccessful Super Bowl appearance that year.  Mitchell had more nicknames than catches in his career including “Fred-Ex” and “First Down Freddie”.  His blog is a pretty amazing read.  Essentially he answers questions from “fans”.  The fans either attack him mercilessly, or praise him sarcastically.  Mitchell, of course, takes the praise as genuine and gives a heart-felt response.  Freddie Mitchell, a classic example that first round money doesn’t last forever.

An Example of an exchange on the Blog:

Chas said…

Hey Freddie. Please tell me you remember the “Freddie Mitchell stole my girl” sign from a preseason game at the linc about 6 years back?? That was one of the highlights of attending an Eagles game. All I can remember is you giving the guys next to us your gloves for making that sign.. Pretty cool move.
Later Fred-Ex
Chas

You know … that was a classic! Hopefully, I left you with a lot of memories at the “linc” …. BTW … how is your girlfriend … lol!

There’s A Pizza on my Pizza.

The Quiet Strength of the Original Pizza Hut Logo

The Quiet Strength of the Original Pizza Hut Logo

 

   So, I got a comment tonight that referenced something new on the Domino’s menu, and believe it or not I was not aware of their new “Pasta Bread Bowls”.   I’m not a fan of fast food pizza places serving pasta, but over the years I been swayed by some of the crazy ideas that our favorite national pizza chains have come up with.  A quick top-5. 

5.  Stuffed Crust Pizza.  The founding father of the specialty pizza genre.  A pretty simple premise.  People like cheese, especially when it’s melted.  Don’t like to eat the crust?  How about we fill it with cheese and give you a dipping sauce?  That’s what I thought. 

4.  Domino’s Dippin’ Dots.  The cinnamon dessert craze swept the pizza industry, and while some may prefer the cinna-stix, or the cinnamon pizza, I am a firm believer that almost everything is better in ball form.  Bite-size and delicious, the Dippin’ Dot.  More than makes up for Domino’s ill-fated Oreo Pizza.

3.  Big New Yorker/Brooklyn Pizza.  Aside from being a complete insult to any pizza actually made in New York, these were decent pies when judged on relative terms.   We all know that a local pizza place is better than a national chain, but sometimes you get that craving for something pre-fab.  These pizzas eased that transition, a completely bastardized version of actual NY Pizza.  Well played. 

2.  Twisted Crust/Cheesy Bites Pizza.  Pizza Hut hits a home run here.  In the Twisted Crust each piece of pizza has an extra piece of crust that doubled as a breadstick.  For anyone that played with transformers as a kid, this was the pizza for you.  Is it a pizza, or a breadstick?  It’s whatever you want it to be.  The natural evolution of this pizza was the Cheesy Bites Pizza that combined the ideas of twisted and stuffed crust.  It seems there is no where to go from here, certainly this would be number one, if it wasn’t for:

1.  The INSIDER.  For every great Pizza Hut idea there is an awful one like the P’zone, and I know a lot of people probably think I’ve lost it with this pick, and gone over to the dark side.  My response to these people?  You don’t have the heart to eat the Insider.  Did it look good?  Not particularly.  Did you feel okay after finishing it?  Maybe not, but you damn sure were proud of what you had accomplished.  The Insider was clearly the most unhealthy thing that Pizza Hut ever concocted, and for that it should be celebrated.

–Please Leave Your Picks, I know I missed a Ton–

John Daly Dresses The Part

Can't Wait for Tomorrow's Pants.

Can't Wait for Tomorrow's Pants.

Would you want to be John Daly for a day?  I guess it would depend on whether or not you could pick your day.  Daly’s playing this week at the Open de Espana, and it appears that if his game doesn’t draw any attention he is still determined to be the story.  The best part of this shot?  I think he’s actually pulling the pants off.  Only Long John can mix argyle and a beer gut. 

I’ve always been a Daly fan.   I’m a big believer in making your own decisions, so it’s never bothered me to watch Daly’s repeated attempts to run his career into the ground.  He’s had drinking, gambling, and women problems, but every couple of years he straightens out for a week or so and plays some good golf.

I agree with the assessment that Daly is obscenely talented, but his days of winning on talent alone are long gone.  There are plenty of big hitters with a soft touch on Tour now.  Phil Mickelson is likely longer than Daly at this point, and we know about Phil’s short game. 

Daly has no status on the PGA Tour, and being a threat to withdraw from any event he enters its hard to see him picking up a lot of sponsor exemptions despite still being one of the most recognizable golfers on the planet.  This week John is capitalizing on his popularity overseas, and just in case anyone didn’t know he was playing, he threw on a pair of pink and orange pants. 

I don’t know where Daly goes from here.  Without some decent golf we’re unlikely to see much of him in the states until he becomes eligible for the Champions Tour.  Big John out there with the old guys is an interesting possibility, but as it stands now he’s reminding me a lot of the character Mickey Rourke played in “The Wrestler.”  He’s still putting on the same show, but it’s becoming a lot harder for him to find the venues. 

To Follow Daly’s performance this week, and look at a couple more pics of this outfit go to www.europeantour.com

 

Permission To Engage Tiger

Did I hear a Camera?

Did I hear a Camera?

           

             It’s safe to watch the PGA Tour again.  The portion of the schedule I refer to as “The Tiger Tour” picks up tomorrow in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Quail Hollow Championship.  Tiger is back, he’splaying the pro-am today with Peyton Manning.  I wonder how Woods would fare as a host on Saturday Night Live?  That’s a question for another time.  More importantly, after suffering through the last two weeks, and fielding questions from casual golf fans like, “Who is Jerry Kelly?”  I’m ready to get back in front of the television.

           Quail Hollow is a marquee tour stop that boasts a great course, and a choice spot on the calendar right before The Players Championship.  The result is that it gets one of the best fields of the year, and that includes Tiger, the prize that no tournament director could put a price on.  It has to be the first question on any potential sponsors lips, will Woods be there?

             Tiger has become more important than ever to the Tour, a recession proof superstar that carries events, TV ratings, and possibly even the future of the Tour itself on his back.   For all this, however, Tiger’s real value to the Tour is that he creates other stars.  When you play in Tiger’s World you suddenly get noticed.  The classic example of this is Rocco Mediate, who lost the U.S. Open playoff to Tiger last year and became an overnight fan favorite.  Mediate wouldn’t have been doing late-night talk shows if he’d lost the playoff to Stewart Cink. 

            The scenario doesn’t need to be as dramatic as last year’s U.S. Open.  I’d argue that Sean O’Hair greatly increased his visibility by collapsing down the stretch against Woods at Bay Hill.  He lost, but everyone saw it.  More golf fans knew O’Hair after the week was over, and that is all that counts.  It could happen again this week.  There are dozens of young, great players on Tour, and these weeks that Tiger plays are the best chance to get to know them. 

              Think of what it could do for Nick Watney’s career if he were to successfully duel Woods down the stretch this week.  Watney won on tour earlier this year, was a popular sleeper pick at Augusta, but probably doesn’t even raise the eyebrow of a casual golf fan.  Give him four hours in Tiger’s TV shadow, and that could all change.  Tiger will never have just one rival so it is essential that he have as many recognizable challengers as possible. 

              The golfers that occupy the level of fame just below Woods are the ones that battle him the most on the course, but challenging him in any way instantly increases exposure.  Rory Sabbattini and Stephen Ames are the most obvious examples of taking this root to notoriety, but Tiger can’t be challenged if he’s not around.  He has to show his face, play events, and win.  That is the only way to start this process.  If the fans can take their eyes off Woods long enough they might notice that there are some other guys worth watching out there.

**Other Golf News:  An interesting article on David Duval, one of the game’s mysteries is posted at Golf World**

       I’ve almost given up hope on Duval making a return to prominence on Tour, but I still root for him to turn it around.  The guy gives great interviews, always tells the truth, and when he was on top of his game he was absolutely fearless.  If some of Tiger’s rivals had Duval’s attitude from the late 90s the Tour would probably be a lot more interesting.  Duval is in the field this week at Quail Hollow, a tall order, but I hope he plays the weeked.

The Mysteries of E.S.B.

Early.  Spring.  Beer.

Early. Spring. Beer.

 

–Early Spring Beer?  Or, Extra Special Bitter?  The answer it seems is up to the brewery.  For years I thought that E.S.B. stood for Extra Special Bitter, and I even delighted a little bit in knowing this information.  It had been gleaned off my friend Haz, a trustworthy dispenser of information if there ever was one.  And, he was correct.  Red Hook, the beer we were drinking at the time calls its E.S.B. an Extra Special Bitter.  Enter those shifty Californians at Sierra Nevada.  They hijack the acronym, and make an Early Spring Beer.  The verdict is:  Put the discrepancies aside, and enjoy two great beers.  I got a case of Sierra E.S.B. today, and even was going to post a picture of myself drinking it, but I couldn’t get it formatted correctly and I needed a little more cheek suck.  True story. 

–Got an email from the Golf Association of Philadelphia today reminding me that I have a vanity handiap.  I never wanted to be that guy, but right now I’d be the worst member-guest partner in America.  My index is 1.0.  Cringe.  I don’t even know how it got this low.  I just know I can’t play to it.  I need about one a hole at this point.  The email was actually about US Open Qualifying.  The thought of going to US Open qualifying is pretty hilarious.  I’d probably be banned for life after shooting double Ulysses S. Grant (that’s 50-50-100).  I must be the only 1 in the World that didn’t shoot under par for 18 holes last year.  The handicap system is biased against players who score well exactly 50% of the time of hard courses.  I want my strokes!

–Think of the coldest person in the World.  Now think of the exact opposite of that, and you have Raul Ibanez.  Think of someone just a little bit hotter than that, and you have Chase Utley.  Take your time pitchers, we got it for a while. 

–Playoffs?  The Celtics and Bulls just keep getting it done.  Overtime every game it seems.  The Celtics pulled one out at home.  I knew a couple guys at the game and was waiting for a report, but I think one of them was watching the Sox game in a box, and the other was downloading Guns & Roses secret tracks onto his backup guy-pod. 

– The Caps pulled it off, coming back from 3-1 to beat the Rangers in seven.  It sets up Crosby v. Ovechkin, the NHL dream scenario.  For real information on the Capitals check out OffWing an excellent Washington sports blog and home to photographer Peter Silver who has plenty of great shots there like the one below. 

The Game Winner

The Game Winner

Cole Can’t Catch a Break.

Ugly Ankle Turn For Hamels

Ugly Ankle Turn For Hamels

        Cole Hamels had seemed to have it figured out tonight against the Nationals.  The Nats are a good team to get well against, but their offense can show pccasional signs of life.  They roughed up the Phillies staff last night, but Hamels had his best combination of velocity and command tonight.  He dominated Washington through 4 and 1/3 innings at Citizens Bank Park.  The injury occured as Hamels raced off the mound to field a bunt attempt.  Replays showed a nasty turn of the ankle, but Hamels did walk off the field under his own power.  It’s the latest set back for the Phillies ace who left his last start after being struck by a line drive off the bat of Prince Fielder, and missed time in Spring Training with elbow inflammation.  The Phillies can’t afford for Hamels to miss too much time given the suspect strength of their starting rotation, but the offense remains healthy, staking Hamels to a 5-0 lead courtesy of homeruns from Pedro Feliz and Chase Utley who added his second homer of the night in the fifth.

Memories…

Joe Cowley '85 Donruss, One of the Great Sets of All-Time.

Joe Cowley '85 Donruss, One of the Great Sets of All-Time.

 

            Considering the Phillies are having some pitching trouble this year I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane to remember some of the truly awful Phillies pitchers of my youth.  There certainly are a lot of arms to choose from, and perhaps I’ll canonize one a week or so until the Phils turn things around, but I’m starting with the inimitable Joe Cowley.  Why Cowley comes to mind is that I watched the 1987 Phillies Video Yearbook at least 40 times from about 1988-1991.  It’s a great video, the Phillies had added Lance Parrish (hahaha), and were coming off a 2nd place finish (26 games behind the World Champion Mets).  At one point early in the video Mike Schmidt refers to the Phillies as “The Purple and White” team.  And here I thought they wore maroon all those years.  Along with Parrish, Joe Cowley was an anticipated addition, but his only appearance in the video is during a “montage of ineptitude”.  Cowley is on the mound, the hitter delivers a swinging bunt to the right side of the infield, and Cowley lumbers off the mound after it.  When he bends down to pick up the bunt, he trips over himself, rolls over the ball, and his hat falls off.  At this point he retrieves the ball, and rolls it over to first base.  Needless to say, the runner beat the play easily.  Cowley then  lays on the ground for a moment like a beached whale until the video goes to the next scene. 

Cowley’s final stats for the ’87 Phils:  0-4, 15.43 ERA.  11 2/3 Innings pitched.  21 hits.  17 BBs.  (3.26 WHIP)

Can you imagine being Mike Schmidt, a future Hall of Famer, playing third in your purple and white uniform, and having to watch this? 

Cowley’s ultimate claim to fame:  He’s the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter, and then never win another game.  Yes, you read that right.  He threw a no-hitter late in the ’86 season, didn’t win again that year, came to the Phils in ’87, made 4 starts, and that was it, goodbye career.  Cheers Joe, you were a shooting star of my youth. 

Coming Next:  Don Carmen, Marvin Freeman, Bobby Munoz, Pat Combs…I don’t know.

**BONUS: AN INTERESTING LINK FOR ANYONE THAT PLAYED FOOTBALL VIDEO GAMES IN THE 80s & 90s**