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Signs of the Apocalypse: 50 Reasons to Hate Sports

Poster child.

This post is dedicated to Louis Oosthuizen.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think it is. Granted, it’s not Heat fans (should they exist). It’s not Spain. And it’s certainly not the immediate family of the funny looking dude who crushed everybody at the British Open.

To everybody else: sports in 2010 kind of sucks, no?

Now I’ve been kicking this (blasphemous?) thought around my subconscious since at least the end of 2007, when my beloved Miami Hurricanes pretty much blew off their own toes in a nationally televised game against football powerhouse Southern Calif the University of Virginia.

48-0. We bulldozed the Orange Bowl months later out of sheer humilation.

That was the first “things will never be the same again” epiphany for me, and maybe the inevitable moment in every man’s life when you realize that sports is primarily about money and ego (and doing everything in your power to destroy legacy/history/dynasty). The actual loss, though emasculating in every sense, wasn’t the impetus for such a flood of emotion. It was instead the fact that we’d let our once-proud program come to this – a whipping boy for mediocre competition, a team without a home, and worse, a casualty of disinterest.

The most startling thing about it all? It happened so damn fast.

National champions some five years prior.

I imagine the people of Baltimore had this same feeling when the moving vans left for Indy; or Beantown when Clemens fled north of the border; or Packers fans every time Ted Thompson opens his mouth.

Crushing blows happen. They’ve always happened. And it used to be that I’d let them soak in, bitch about them for a couple days, then collect my thoughts and convince myself that the worst was over.

This is as bad as it gets. This will not happen again – not to my team, not to my town, not to the guys I love.

As you, the jaded skeptic, already know, such a line of thinking is irrational and naive.

But that hasn’t stopped me from clinging to the things I know I can bank on. So when Tom Glavine won his 300th game with hated rival New York, when the Braves traded Kevin Millwood for Johnny Estrada, dumped childhood hero Andruw Jones and railroaded an aging John Smoltz, I let baseball go for a little while and shifted my focus to three immovable pillars: Tiger, LeBron, The U.

What now?

Again, maybe things have always been this bad or maybe it’s just my sports optimism coming back to bite me in the ass. But it seems to me that era-defining debacles are in fact multiplying and subdividing – that we’re headed face-first into an irreversible black hole of narcissism, cheating and straight cash homies.

Apathy, too. After all, letting go is much easier when there’s a giant snow shovel repeatedly wailing on your fingers.

Of course, it’s about this time every year that I’m reminded by ESPN’s resident tear-jerker Chris Connelly that there are at least five good things left in sports. And these good things make me think of other good things – Derek Jeter and Tim Duncan. But at this point, I wouldn’t be half surprised if the Spurs ship Timmy to Dallas and Selena Roberts exposes Jeter’s ’98 ‘roids bender with Greg Maddux.

Padres great Greg Maddux

I’m also aware that – had I the wherewithal and America Online – I could’ve written this post as a 9-year-old dumbstruck by the OJ murders.

I think Chuck Klosterman is on to something: sports atheism. Love the game, hate the players… or rather, just write them off altogether. And their teams, too.

Still not buying? Let me change your mind. Here are some of the things that I hate about sports as of July 19, 2010.

I hate…

1) That a guy I’ve never heard of blitzed the field at one of my favorite golf tournaments. Again.

2) That Tiger Woods is a scumbag, a scumbag I will always root for.

3) That the 2008 U.S. Open – the greatest individual sports achievement I’ve ever seen – is now guilty by association.

4) That our star NFL quarterbacks have turned to assaulting defenseless women, you know, instead of defenseless canines.

5) The Geriatric Who at the Super Bowl. Thanks, Janet Jackson Nipple.

6) LeBron’s hour-long Make Out Session With Himself.

7) That LeBron James referred to LeBron James in the third person multiple times during LeBron James’ Make Out Session With Himself.

8) That LeBron forfeited his G.O.A.T. legacy.

9) That maybe LeBron’s an okay dude and Delonte West’s getting off scot free.

10) That Floyd Landis even exists.

11) That vuvuzelas even exist.

12) The confluence of women, hotel rooms and star athletes. See: Bryant, Kobe; Roethlisberger, Ben; Irvin, Michael; Woods, Tiger; and

13) Dead McNair, Steve.

14) Baseball’s power outage, the tarnished record books, and the fact that the dramatic offensive decline just makes the last quarter century look like a bigger farce than it already is.

15) That head injuries will inexorably change the way tackle football is played.

16) The University of Southern California, Calipari’s tenure in Memphis, Meyer’s tenure in Florida, Lane Kiffin’s tenure on Earth.

17) The professionalization of prep sports and the idea that 18-year-old John Wall isn’t good enough for the NBA, but Wall + 6 months of college makes him a No. 1 pick.

18) That there’s a giant, lonely, inexplicably sad hole where the Orange Bowl used to be.

Once-sacred ground.

19) That these are the mental images – in order – I will take from seeing a rookie Stephen Strasburg in person.

20) That the best golfer in history is no longer good at golf.

21) Andre Agassi’s biography and the notion that “too much information” doesn’t apply to anything anymore.

22) That I’ve “forgiven” Tiger for something that is none of my business to begin with.

23) That I’ll never fully forgive LeBron, even though he’s only guilty of what I’m guilty of – pride.

24) That T.O.’s Ego hasn’t diminished along with T.O.’s Skillz.

25) That, at this point, Number Four’s just doing it to mess with us.

As Neil Young would say, "Old man, take a look at yourself. You're being a dick."

26) That a headbutt, a handball and a few bad calls are the only things I remember from the last decade of soccer.

27) That anybody, including Curt Schilling, can have their own blog.

28) That Manny Being Manny stopped being funny when we found a needle in his ass.

29) That we only blackballed Barry Bonds when he stopped hitting home runs.

30) Plaxico’s abject stupidity.

31) Peter Angelos’ abject stupidity.

32) The NBA’s vendetta against common sense.

33) Contract disputes.

34) Pending lockouts in most of the sports I still care about.

35) That Floyd Mayweather has big money and a big mouth, but won’t put one where the other is.

36) That Tiger, LeBron and Big Ben preempted a thousand heartwarming stories.

37) That I have egg on my face for defending the indefensible Milton Bradley.

38) The Tour De France. Enough already.

39) That Lawrence Taylor can’t find a better person to speak for him than Lawrence Taylor’s wife.

40) That I have zero good excuses for not caring about hockey.

41) That David Reutimanns are few and far between.

42) That there will never be another Tim Tebow.

43) That Junior can’t play forever.

43) That my alma mater’s “lack of institution control” no longer refers to the crappy parking situation.

44) That basketball’s biggest breath of fresh air plays for a stolen franchise.

Kevin Durant, Zombie Sonics

45) The rape and pillaging of small-market teams at the trade deadline.

46) The fact that, on top of everything else, sports is just indiscriminately cruel (RE: Tom Watson @ Turnberry).

47) Villifying an Olympic hero for a little weed.

48) That we’ll never hear from Armando Galarraga again.

49) That the sports gods will get me back for this.

50) That if something’s too good to be true…

It probably is.

– Robbie

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“Breakthrough?” and Other Google Trends: The Week in Review, Redux

Guess who I'm pulling for.

It’s Tiga Tiga Woods, ya’ll.

Does it speak to my cruel sensibilities that I get almost as much joy from watching Phil carry himself like a plus-sized Care Bear than I do from seeing Tiger’s name on the first page of the leaderboard at my favorite golf tournament?

Was that sentence too long to understand?

I appreciate the fact that Phillis has to keep things tight with Amy – allowing his wife to dress him without any regard for what his bros may think. But come on…

Like a puff pastry with hair.

Man up, Phil.

As you already know (because you woke up at 4 a.m.), three-time Open champion Tiger Woods shot an opening round 67 at personal whipping post St. Andrews. Tiger stands one behind cautionary tale John Daly, three behind a guy I’ve never heard of, and four behind personal inspiration Rory McIlroy (pictured below).

Time to reevaluate pink? Hmm... no.

On a side note, crazy kudos to Mike Tirico for saying he “wouldn’t be at all surprised” to see John Daly pop up on the leaderboard. That takes balls… and the wherewithal to know that nobody watches ESPN2 at 5:30 on a Wednesday.

Here are some random observations from the 15 or so minutes I’ve been awake with the TV on (timeline: Thursday, 9:30 a.m.) .

1) St. Andrews plays like your local hackers’ course when the weather cooperates. Does it hail in Scotland? If so, I’m hoping for a Friday hail storm.

2) It’s hard to tell whether ESPN’s on-course reporter Wendi Nix is genuinely hot, or whether she’s just benefitting from the British crowd.

3) My father and his snap hook are no doubt heartened by the news that “long and left” plays at the Open.

4) There’s a whale on the fi Mark Calcavecchia is on the fifth green.

5) (via last night) Props to ESPYs standout Erin Andrews for her classy hotness. If 98 percent of Gainesville was as classy-hot as Erin… we wouldn’t have a “Midtown.”

Erin at the ESPYs

6) Props to ESPYs standout Michelle Beadle for her classy hotness. If 98 percent of ESPN was as classy-hot as Michelle… we wouldn’t have a Jenn Brown… who’s just kind of skanky.

So hot all the other pics were burned.

7) Props to ESPYs standout Brooklyn Decker for… just everything, really.

Brooklyn: The Sixth and Seventh Boroughs

8) My pops asked me yesterday if I’d wear a LeBron jersey if his friend could land us opening night Heat tickets. I told him I’d wear a white headband and a crown, too. My motto: forgive, forget, join bandwagon.

9) I’m either going to see “Inception” or Stephen Strasburg Friday night. Either way, my head will explode.

10) The Dallas Mavericks’ Omar Samhan lauged (via Twitter) at one of our jokes last night. This is noteworthy because Shrek has never laughed at our jokes before.

Just kidding, Omar. Go Gaels.

11) Just realized Tiger was wearing pink, too – obviously to mock Phil. Obviously.

Pink, for the ladies.

12) “For us, he was like mannah from heaven.” ~ T-Wolves GM David Kahn on Darko Milicic. Seriously. Watch the rest of his transcendent interview with SC favorite Chris Webber right here.

(You didn’t click on the link, did you… I promise that the 4:53 mark will make your day immeasurably better. Click on the damn link.)

13) Robb Hilson – the aforementioned “pops” – is riding an unprecedented hot streak. His temporary stay in The 305 heralded the arrival of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and UM stud recruit Seantrel Henderson. He’s also factored prominently in Tiger’s hot start – “I was up at 3. Watched the whole round.”

14) I’ve just managed 14 observations in 15 minutes. This is some kind of record. Let’s finish the week up so I can pat myself on the back.

__________

On Monday, Arizona’s Chris Young, New York’s Nick Swisher and Milwaukee’s Corey Hart participated in the Home Run Derby. Capitalizing on this wave of momentum, I entered an ’87 Fiat at 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Yes, David Ortiz won the Derby and, no, that mysterious package marked “sharp objects enclosed” was not what you’re suggesting it was.

Smart ass.

Sticking with All-Stars, Boston third basemen Adrian Beltre announced that a tweaked hammy wouldn’t keep him out of the Midsummer Classic. In similarly relevant news, Publix held a 10% off sale on disposable Gillette razors.

On Tuesday, ex-Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas signed with the Miami Heat. Makes perfect sense to me – foreign refugees generally flee to South Florida to escape deceptive, egomaniacal leaders. Just one tiny hang-up…

In “no sh*t” headlines, RE: CNN – “Obese children at risk for acid reflux.”

Over the weekend, American cycling star Lance Armstrong suffered a hopes-dashing crash at the Tour de France.  In a possibly related turn of events, bike trails in Miami are seeing a drastic decline in grape smuggling.

You see where I'm going with this?

On Wednesday, the New York Red Bulls signed former French National star Thierry Henry to a multiyear contract. Though Henry will face lesser competition in the MLS, American rules will prevent him from using his hands.

Cheating: a staple of the international game.

Said Henry on the competitive fire that burns deep within his soul:

Also on Wednesday, aforementioned T-Wolves GM David Kahn traded 25-year-old stud power forward Al Jefferson to Utah for two heavily protected draft picks. Not to be outdone, Braves GM Frank Wren traded 27-year-old shortstop Yunel Escobar to Toronto for journeyman Alex Gonzalez and his career .294 OBP.

The winner in all of this? Wal-Mart, the former poster boy for “race to the bottom.”

On Friday, the U.S. swapped Russian spy Anna Chapman for Heat spy Dwyane Wade, cash considerations and a player to be named later.

Last Saturday, Cincinnati Reds rookie Travis Wood came within three outs of throwing 9 perfect innings in an eventual 1-0 loss in extras to the Phillies. On a day when New York’s Javier Vasquez and Baltimore’s Chris Tillman took no-hitters into the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, Wood’s efforts almost resulted in the third perfect game and fifth no-hitter of the season.

On Sunday, disgruntled fans filed a motion to reintroduce what made them love baseball in the first place.

Steroids.

In the span of two weeks, I will have watched an Atlanta Brave win an All-Star Game MVP and the ‘Canes land the top recruit in the country, received a Pearl Jam shirt as a gift from a friend, and attended a Smashing Pumpkins concert. In other words, I’m still living in 1994.

On Wednesday, fans of redemption set their alarms for 4:09 a.m. Fans of bra fat slept in.

Have a subpar weekend.

– Robbie

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The U.S. Open: A Father’s Day Diary

 

Come spend the afternoon with Mr. Sunshine.

It’s Father’s Day, which means I’m in front of my TV chewing my fingernails off. My dad is 3,000 miles away doing the same thing. Tiger time. Let’s do this.

5:03: Spent several minutes on the phone cracking Phil jokes to ease the tension. I take issue with the pinstripes – “he’ll suit up for the Yanks tonight.” Pops points out the “bra fat.” Phil, unphased, chips in on 1 for birdie to move to even.

5:05: My money’s on Tiger. I predict 67, though both my dad and I like Dustin Johnson a lot. He reminds me of Josh Beckett, and not just with the intimidating facial hair. He’s got the “Yeah, it’s the World Series. It’s the Yankees. Whatever” mentality. He’s also a solid dresser, unlike, say, Phil Mickelson – who looks like a European gangster from the 1930s… With bra fat.

Phil sans gangsta attire.

5:12: “I guess all that conditioning and working out is paying off for Phil,” says world’s foremost expert on everything, Johnny Miller… Ernie Els and Phil both hit approach shots stiff on 2. Tiger leaves himself a tester on 1. I’ll bet even money you hear the word “ticklish” sometime in the next 90 seconds.

5:16: Tiger misses his 6-foot slider after “one of the worst putts he’s ever hit.” Dan Hicks opts for “delicate” over “ticklish.” Foreboding start on both fronts, or as Miller would say, “The most foreboding start I’ve ever seen.”

Update: Phil at E thru 2; Tiger at E thru 1; Leader Johnson at -6

5:22: Martin Kaymer, who’s just birdied his third in a row to move to +1, is apparently the 12th-ranked player in the world. Kaymer conjures images of beige paint drying and is proof enough that golf needs Tiger Woods… And a little Phil, who just turned an ugly bunker lie into a 10-foot birdie op on 3.

5:34: Sunday’s first ray of light – DJ dumps his approach shot on 2 into a mess of overgrowth short of the green. My joy is quickly zapped by a Tiger snap-hook on 3 and Phil driving the green on 4.

5:38: Second ray of light. Johnson hits two straight shots that I would’ve hit as a 9-year-old: the first a left-handed hozzleknocker out of the fescue and the second a duffed flop shot. Starting to think maybe he’s the 2009 Josh Beckett.

5:41: Check that. Johnson plays four straight Hilson shots. Seven. “Phil the Thrill” three jacks from 15 feet on 4… Tiger drains a 15-footer for par on 3. I’ve awoken the neighbors from their Sunday afternoon nap. Game on.

Update: Tiger at E thru 3; Phil at E thru 4; leader Johnson at -3 thru 2

5:45: If DJ sh*ts himself, it’s going to show through those white pants.

5:47: “That wasn’t just a triple bogey. That was a bad triple bogey,” my father says as Dustin Johnson deploys a search and rescue party to his find his ball on 3. He’s looking square in the eyes of back-to-back triples, as Els stays at -2 with a clutch par putt on 5.

82.

6:03: Text from a friend: “Golf is absurd.” I tell her I’ve been hollering for 20 minutes… Follow-up: “Are you sure it wasn’t from laughing at the commentary?” Brilliant. Even people who don’t watch golf can tell these guys are morons. Great call, Meaghan. Please come back to Gainesville. 

6:09: Ernie Els takes a share of the lead at -3 with Graeme McDowell as Dustin Johnson goes off a cliff at 4… his ball, yeah, but his game, too. He’s looking at triple, double, double, which kinda sounds like a LeBron James stat. That’s never good.

6:19: You know Tiger’s kicking himself right now. The guy hasn’t hit a ball straight all day. Just pulled a “Kramer” on 5 – i.e. popped a whale in the blowhole. I should also point out that Gregory Havret – no. 391 in the world – is a shot off the lead through 5. He’s not gonna win (read: is European), but if he does, it’ll be the biggest French success on American soil since Lafayette’s Revolutionary campaigns.

Update: Phil at E thru 7; Tiger at +2 thru 5; Leaders Els and McDowell at -3

6:29: Text from Pops: “Tiger will birdie 7.”

6:30: Tiger birdies 7. Twenty-five-foot curling bomb.

6:44: Tiger, Ernie and Johnson make a mess out of their respective holes, while aspiring Civil War general Graeme McDowell moves to -4 and is currently looking at an easy two-putt par on 7. Havret, or “Frenchie” as he’s known to my father, drops a shot as well. Davis Love, meanwhile, is setting the three Davis Love fans up for inevitable disappointment. I checked out on Davis when he stepped out of the clubhouse wearing a checkerboard over his shirt.

Graeme McDowell/Colonel Mustard

6:54: Dottie Pepper on Els, who almost fell into the Pacific Ocean trying to find his ball on 10: “I think the key now is not to multiply a mistake.” On cue, Els multiplies his mistake, finding hay with his third shot. All of a sudden, the unassuming Irishman McDowell looks to have a death grip on the Open trophy. Somewhere, Tony Jacklin is wondering why he’s only heard his names 57 times today.

Your '70 champion.

7:08: This Sunday’s turning out to be less of an event than a 10 percent off Memorial Day sale at Kohl’s. I intended to write a post on Tiger Woods, but a bunch of Plain Janes – McDowell, Havret – hijacked my afternoon. Tiger’s “got a chance at a 4” at 10, which would have me mildly enthused if we weren’t talking about a par 4. The Man in Red makes bogey. Again. And if I was in my Gainesville apartment with Hi-Def DVR, I’d probably be watching reruns of “Mad Men” right now. This is an absolute disaster.

7:14: Havret yesterday: “Golf can be hell or paradise.” My thoughts exactly.

7:18: The only thing holding my interest after Tiger’s 38 on the front side is NBC’s promo for “The Event,” which could very well fill the gaping hole that “Lost” left in my network drama life.

7:21: Note to self: Make sure Tiger’s in contention before you commit to a full four hours of Sunday afternoon blogging. WTF?, Hilson.

Update: Leader McDowell at -3 thru 9; Havret at E thru 10; Els at E thru 12

7:26: A shot from NBC’s crack camera crew suggest that Phil is in the market for a corset, which perhaps would help straighten him out off the tee. Mick finds more crab grass on 13, but recovers nicely with a stiff approach to about 15 feet. At this point, I’m actively rooting for Els, who just dropped the f-bomb on 13. I hope Jim Nantz was wearing his earmuffs.

7:34: Dan Hicks: “Tom Watson could be playing this hole in the U.S. Open for the final time.” I’m gonna go out on a limb and guarantee that this is the case, unless Tom’s still shooting his age at 70.

Pure class.

7:45: McDowell still has a two-shot lead on Havret and Els (I know, contain your excitement), after hitting a bunker shot on the par-3 12 to three feet. Tiger briefly quickens my pulse with his birdie attempt at 13. Misses right edge. McDowell finds another fairway, as I settle back into my coma.

7:54: “There you go. Like a champion.” A teary Watson knocks his sand shot to 18 inches on the 72nd hole. I’d muster something to eulogize his brilliant career, but I’m just too damn depressed. Plus, Watson missed the putt.

7:58: Graeme “Ice Cold” McDowell hits the best shot of his round so far – approach on 13 to eight feet. I’m high-fiving people and screaming like a maniac… Just kidding. I’m in my house alone. Checked out 90 minutes ago. I know Pops did the same, because he hasn’t called since 6:30. McDowell whiffs on the putt, as I ponder whether Lance Armstrong really drinks Michelob Ultra.

Update: Els at +1 thru 14; Havret at E thru 13; Mickelson at +1 thru 13; Leader McDowell at -2 thru 12

8:05: Never been in a sleeper hold before.

8:06: Miami Hurricanes Devin Hester and Reggie Wayne cameo on a Sunday Night Football promo. Easily the best part of my afternoon. Easily.

8:08: “Phil has drawn a very good lie here,” says a befuddled Dottie Pepper as Mickelson hits off a pair of electrical wires.

8:10: ’94 and ’97 Open champ Easy E chokes up a lung after knocking stiff his second on the par-4 15. Runs the birdie putt four feet by, while McDowell struggles to find the green on the impossible 550-yard par-5 14. Dan Hicks begins his recap with “If you’re just joining us…” Let me finish: “… you lucked out.” I’m thinking about curse words that don’t even exist right now. And the only possible way this round could get any worse is if Phil Mickelson backdoors his way into a fifth major.

That kind of day.

8:22: “I took a chance, Bones, and it didn’t pay off.” Mick finds more deep stuff on 16, as a glimmer of sunshine touches the darkest part of my soul.

Update: Leader McDowell at -1 thru 15; Havret at E thru 15; Els at +1 thru 16

8:26: Miller observes for the upteenth time that “nobody” is playing well, which makes Tiger’s Sunday suckitude even more difficult to swallow. He’s made strides – as evidenced by Saturday’s back-nine 31 – but days like today would’ve been blood in the water for the Woods of 20 months ago. A disheartening performance anyway you slice (or duck hook) it, though it’s worth noting that he’s still good enough for back-to-back top-5 major finishes to constitute a minor disaster.

Remember this guy?

8:31: Chinese water torture/2010 Open: toss-up.

8:33: “A high hook right at the flagstick,” says a cataracts-stricken Dottie Pepper as Els’ tee shot on the par-3 17 finds sand 20 yards to the left of the hole.

8:43: McDowell, holding on for dear life, calmly two-putts from 50 feet on 16 to stay a shot clear of a sand-going Havret a hole ahead. Meanwhile, Johnny Miller insists that Dustin Johnson will have a hard time sleeping tonight after his 80-ish final round. I disagree. I think he’s passed out with a bottle of Jack by 9.

8:48: Havret pussies up an 8-foot par putt on 17 to fall two back. That was the round in a microcosm. For everybody. Absolutely pitiful. Half-assed, bereft of fireworks, just flat painful. People who hate golf hate golf because of days like today.

Update: Leader McDowell at -1 thru 16; Havret at +1 thru 17

8:56: More crap golf. Els forfeits a shot at victory with a lame attempt from 10 feet for bird. McDowell drops a stroke at 17… Secret icing on cake that nobody’s mentioned: if Tiger chips in for eagle, he jumps into second a shot back. Just sayin’.

SAP looking vigorously for new spokesman.

9:02: No luck for Tiger. Finishes with 75. Havret’s staring down a birdie putt in a bid to become the first Frenchman in 103 years to win the Open… Never seen a guy pull-hook a putt before. McDowell needs five to become the first European since Jacklin in ’70 to take my father’s favorite major. 

9:15: McDowell pulls the strings on his third shot into the par-5 finishing hole. Guy’s cool as a cucumber. Still talking to the camera on his walk up 18… Cozies the put to 10 inches and finishes this day like it began: with a whimper. Here’s salt for your wound – 72 gets Tiger into a Monday playoff.

A star is born... Yeah, probably not.

To all you dads out there: Happy Father’s Day. It’d be nice if you didn’t polish off every single last Corona on your vacation trips home, because just one would really come in handy right about now… I’m sure your sons love you anyway.

– Robbie

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“Celebration Day” and Other Google Trends: The Week in Review, Redux

 

OLE! OLE, OLE, OLE!

No blues. Just abstract truth. Let’s do this.

As you can tell by my random Friday outbursts, I’m usually a crank come end of the week. What with term papers, blogging duties, oil spills and hot ladies resisting my advances, Week In Reviews more often than not come off as mere forums to air my laundry list of grievances. And with good reason. For those of you who’ve never been to Gainesville, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: it’s really, really hot. Like oppressively hot. Picture yourself sitting on a black tarmac in the pit of Hell.

Now add homework… Gainesville.

But this week, I’m feeling light, bright and airy. So instead of bitching about little things bereft of any real tangible significance, I’m going to pull a 180 and tell you why the last eight or so days have been pretty damn awesome.

But first, a little Zeppelin.

1) Tiger Woods, sans bandwagon jumper Hank Haney, has decided that maybe playing from the short stuff at Pebble is the way to go. I wouldn’t believe it had I not witnessed it with my own eyes, but I swear he just hit a stinger 3-iron off three. Haven’t seen that since last decade. Advantage: guy who once won the Open at Pebble by 15.

2) Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa took it upon himself to play as an Easter egg on Thursday. 

Ryo Ishikawa as played by Peter Cottontail.

3) Sticking with Open Golf, Kenny Perry decided this week that he’d start dressing like a man. Seriously, this is more startling than The Fab Four’s transformation from “A Hard Day’s Night” to “Beatles for Sale.” Perry looks – dare I say it – sinister. Too bad he still sucks.

Before

After

4) Sticking with Open Golf some more, Pebble Beach is currently being graced by the presence of one Robb Hilson, who’s pre-gaming for Father’s Day by heckling Phil Mickelson in person. Just kidding. He’d never do that… Or would he? 

5) Sticking with Robb Hilson and Father’s Day, this is indeed the weekend that I repay my pops for a year’s worth of awesomeness by filling one of the gaps in his jazz vinyl collection. I have faith in you, Priority Mail. Please don’t bend the corners. This one is epic.

6) Bryan Holt Tuesday via Twitter: “On behalf of everyone watching Rays/Braves: How in the hell does Kawakami have a major league contract?” What Bryan doesn’t know is that interleague rules dictate that opposing teams must spot Atlanta a game any time Kenshin Kawakami (now 0-9) makes an appearance on full rest. So really, the Braves have already won the series on the strength of Axl Rose lookalike Tommy Hanson’s 7 inning, 3 hit performance Wednesday. I’d also like to point out that if you erased KK from the space-time continuum (something I’m sure Frank Wren has tried), the Braves would have the best record in baseball. 

(UPDATE: Braves took the series anyway. Suck it, Holt.)

7) My sister just graduated from high school, enrolled at a local college in San Francisco, and is currently pursuing her career as Undisputed Champion of the World. I can’t show a picture of her on account of our young male readers, but I can share some of her incendiary art work.

She doesn’t get it from my mom… or dad.

Feel free to wave to her if you’re ever in Orinda, CA. She’s the one in the black BMW driving unsuspecting bicyclists off the road.

8) I am 100 percent sure that Kobe will top the Celtics tonight, thereby singlehandedly nullifying 6 months worth of bad bets in a mere three-hour span. If, however, the Lakers don’t win game 7… um… look for me at a Mexican outhouse near you!

(UPDATE: VICTORY! Ron Artest scores 20 points and the greatest post-game interview of all-time… Kobe takes my words to heart… Phil Jackson coins the phrase “one for the toe”)

9) Mandy Drury’s proving to be a better closer than Michael Jordan. Outstanding Friday.

10) Leaving for The 305 tomorrow, which means next week’s posts should be filled with firsthand accounts of awkward run-ins with the world’s preeminent Latina talent. CALIENTE! I’ll use any spare time to brush up on my Spanish. 

Pero ahora, vamos a hacer esto.

__________

On the 6/10 “B.S. Report,” Adam Carolla channeled my innermost thoughts when he told Bill Simmons, “I just want to say this to all the soccer idiots out there: leave us alone! We don’t like your sport. We have superior sports.”

Channeling Bryan Holt’s innermost thoughts, Carolla added, “The phenomenon of it is the drunk hooligans.” 

Last Friday, photos leaked of Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin partying wildly with beautiful women on a private yacht. Caps management did say they wanted Ovechkin to spend his offseason “on ice.” Simple, but unfortunate mix up.

Ovechkin heard “Smirnoff on ice.” 

Consolation for first-round exit.

As Americans jumped on the soccer bandwagon for this year’s World Cup, several first-time viewing audiences were confused as to why ABC chose Carrot Top as lead analyst. 

Lalas/Top: Separated at birth?

On Friday during his post (alleged) assault media blitz, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger promised fans they’d see “a new Ben.” I think I speak for all sober people when I say, I don’t care if “Ben” got a makeover or not. Keep him in your pants, Roethlisberger.

Over the weekend, Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg backed up his 14-strikeout debut with 5 1/3 innings of 2-hit ball – or as Strasburg would call it, “an unmitigated disaster.” 

On Sunday, Fox re-aired “The Simpsons” curling episode, painfully reminding 50 million Americans of the only sport they’d rather watch less than soccer.

DOH!

Also on Sunday, at the St. Jude Classic, journeyman Robert Garrigus blew a three-stroke lead on the tournament’s 72nd hole, or as French fans would say, “Pulled a John F****** Van De Velde.” 

Note to self: start drinking merlot AFTER finishing hole.

News broke this week that FedEx is offering $10 million to the BCS conference that accepts the University of Memphis. I really hope there’s a taker. Can you imagine the marketing synergies? 

Tiger Football: Where “Mailing It In” Isn’t Just a Pretense.

On Monday, Japan shocked Cameroon 1-0 in World Cup play. This marked both Japan’s first WC victory outside of its homeland and the only time Asians have topped Blacks in a sport not involving swords.

In non sequitur news, can somebody please explain to me why former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain did a Lovaza commercial?

Then

Now

After game five’s loss to the Celtics, Kobe Bryant told Yahoo! Sports that L.A.’s defense “belongs on milk cartons.” In Kobe’s defense, he would’ve toned down his remarks had he known teammate Adam Morrison’s actually been on a milk carton.

Have you seen me?

And finally, on Monday, the I-75 “Touchdown Jesus” statue in Ohio was burned to the ground during a thunderstorm. While state officials suspect lightning struck the six-story figure, a number of travelers have since claimed to have seen Charlie Weis miles down the road with matches and a can of kerosene. RIP, Notre Dame program.

Your thoughts, Ron?

– Robbie

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“Panic Mode” and Other Google Trends: The Week in Review, Redux

 

This can't be good.

This is part two in a two-part installment. To read Bryan Holt’s irreverent commentary on real sports and faux sport, please click here. Or simply scroll down, lazy ass. No, I’m only kidding. Enjoy.

Before we get started, I’d just like to say for the record: Greece, you suck.

You’ve given us Andy Milonakis, couscous, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the inspiration for Little Caesar’s and Brutus, or as I like to call it, “nothing.” And now, as it were, you’re dangerously close to sinking our already fragile financial markets.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up from a fabulous, tequila-induced night’s sleep Thursday morning to find that, Hey!, the Dow’s down 998 points! Alright! Rock ‘n roll! I just blew a third of my life savings! 

My first three thoughts upon stumbling out of bed and flipping to CNBC: 1) I’ve really just dreamed the last 24 or so months – it’s really still May ’08 2) Erin Burnett looks really hot when she’s in a panic 3) EFFING GREECE.

The perk of financial meltdown.

In case you missed it, amid violent civic protest, our friends over in the Greek parliament took a page out of the Tim Geithner playbook and agreed to an IMF-funded $110 billion bailout package (like they had a choice). Does this mean Americans get a discount on lamb shish kabob? Hell no.

Luckily, the market rebounded about 600 points in the same day, meaning a handful of eyes-peeled traders got more lucky than a Eugene Robinson on Super Bowl eve. Plus, the Euro is tanking like the ’07 Boston Celtics – perfect timing for all my friends that bailed on me to travel France and Austria and Germany and all the other super white countries that are good for a war every few decades or so.

On a separate note, it looks as if Tiger Woods – not Greek – is going to make a cut today, which means I’ll have something to do this weekend besides contemplate my loneliness in 110 degree heat. 

__________

Now, if you were one to plunge all of your hard-earned pay into the stock market this week, I hope you at least counteracted this act of abject stupidity by taking my gambling advice from last week. If you recall correctly, I told you to “bet your house, your dog’s life and your grandmother’s estate against” each of the teams/athletes I liked to do well in the near future. So how did we do?

1) San Antonio Spurs – In an 0-2 hole against the Suns and looking older than Larry King and water combined.

2) Detroit Red Wings – In a 1-3 hole against the Sharks and looking gimpier than LeBron’s elbow.

3) Looking At Lucky – The Derby favorite finished 6th to the chagrin of rich people loaded on mint juleps everywhere.

4) Angry Germans – Last remaining angry German Dirk Nowitzki was bounced from the NBA Playoffs. I’m sure there are Germans still playing hockey. But nobody watches hockey.

Like I said, can’t-miss moneymaker. If you didn’t bet the farm against these guys, you have nobody to blame but yourself. 

Small guy, big money.

In further news of the SC Jinx, in January, I cashed in on a quarter of my Visa stock to load up on shares of Transocean. Roughly 3 months later, the former company hit an all-time high and the latter watched one of its deep-water rigs burst into a ball of fire in the Gulf of Mexico… So, uh, sorry about that, Millions and Millions of Dead Sea Creatures and Cratering New Orleans Fishing Industry.

My bad.

As oil continues to seep out into the Gulf, environmentalists are condemning BP and Halliburton among others for the bursted drill and countless aquatic casualties. Non-environmentalist Pat Riley, on the other hand, gave the new water cosistency nothing but glowing reviews, citing savings on personal hair products.

Oil spill.

On the 4/29 episode of “The B.S. Report,” Bill Simmons and analyst Matthew Berry both proclaimed the death of the fantasy draft, shilling instead for ESPN’s fantasy auction.

Auctions? Come on, America. Aren’t we past paying for Black men?

Speaking of paying for things, Thursday brought us news that Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor may or may not have raped a 16-year-old prostitute. 

The sex wasn’t consensual. But LT did stay at a Holiday Inn that night.

In related news, a bunch of hacker golf courses in Miami just lost their star patron. And, uh, apparently Nutrisystem forgot to list the “increased sexual appetite” side effect. Hey, but look at the bright side, LT: at least you’re already used to eating crappy food.

Enjoy prison.

And to think, if the guy would’ve just waited 4 more years for this girl, he would’ve gotten nothing worse than a botched investigation and a 4 to 6-game suspension.

Sticking with NFL news, the Oakland Raiders cut former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell Thursday. While some are using the word “bust,” I’m of the belief that Russell has a bright and productive future as either a…

  • flotation device
  • garbage disposal
  • Lazy Boy
  • clipboard holder
  • plus-size model
  • bouncer
  • black hole
  • check on Al Davis’ ego
  • left tackle
  • partner at the firm Carr, Couch and Russell
  • cautionary tale

Chin up, big guy. The sky’s the limit.

JaMarcus in the arms of His Future.

In non sequitur news, DIVERSIFICATION ONLY HELPS IF THE ENTIRE MARKET ISN’T CRASHING, JIM CRAMER!

We’re in the heart of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which means its time for sports analysts and talking heads from all over to start sentences with, “Now I don’t know very much about hockey, but…” and then go on for 20 minutes like they know very much about hockey. Or as this phenomenon is more commonly known, “The Tony Kornheiser Show.” 

While discussing the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Monday’s airing, our good friend Mr. Tony described celebrity guest bartender Rachel Maddow as “smoking hot.” Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, Kornheiser is also a huge fan of broadway musicals and the Fox hit “Glee.”

Just sayin’.

To Beadle news, during the greatest “B.S. Report” in the history of the world, Simmons said to “SportsNation” co-host/uber-babe Michelle Beadle of Pittsburgh and QB Ben Roethlisberger, “You’ve won two Super Bowls. Let the guy get a fresh start somewhere else. Get a fresh start as a city.”

Though Steelers fans had mixed reactions to these comments, they were pleasantly surprised to hear Pittsburgh and “fresh start” used in the same context for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.

Please click here for analysis of other NFL cities that suck (and a few that don’t).

In further “B.S.” news, ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney said on Monday of his odd sleeping habits, “Peter Angelos, the Orioles owner, is very much like that. He sleeps about two or three hours a day during the week.” Unfortunately for Peter, th0se two or three hours are always during major decisions.

Discussing how decreased amphetamine use has coincided with a decline in alcoholism, Olney also said, “One all-star caliber player, I remember hearing a story about how he drank 24 beers on an East Coast to West Coast flight.”

Look, I knew Bryan Holt was a good ballplayer, but all-star caliber

Among other musings, Olney told Simmons that Jason Heyward “will be a guy we’re talking about for the rest of our lives.” And though ecstatic, I temper this with his assertion that Jamie Moyer is one of the “five best sports stories of our lifetimes.”

I leave you with two bits of super hero news:

1) “Iron Man 2” has already reeled in $121 million overseas at the time of writing. 

2) Golf fans in attendance for practice rounds at the Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass were shocked to learn that the player they were following was not Tiger Woods, but in fact the Incredible Hulk with a vicious double cross. 

Probably just weights and protein shakes.

Don’t get caught, Tiger.

– Robbie

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“Jim Effing Nantz” and Other Google Trends: The Week in Review, Redux

 

"My sh** does not stink."

This is part one in a two-part installment. Much like when “Sunday NFL Countdown” airs on a Saturday, I stubbornly refuse to pull the “redux” from the title. Stay tuned for Bryan Holt’s irreverent commentary on real sports and faux sports. It will be typically glorious.

I can see the light, Casualtists. And not the kind of light Larry King and Hubie Brown will be seeing any second now. No, I’m talking about that blazing beacon of freedom that is April 26, my first official day of summer. Starting two Mondays from now, Sports Casualties kicks into high gear for an endless stretch of globe-spanning, kick-ass coverage. And when I say “endless stretch,” I of course mean “about 10 days” – at which point I go back to school and Bryan goes to work. The life of a college blogger is a hard one, friends. The hours are long and it’s only socially acceptable to drink six nights out of the week. Alas. But my promise to you is also CC Sabathia’s take on barbeque: I’m gonna suck it up. And in all seriousness, thanks for reading – the progress we’ve made over a mere semester is enough to give Bryan the inkling that we can actually cover beer money with this thing. And Bryan’s not a lightweight. Your clicks mean the world to us – even if you’re a 12-year-old looking for hot pics of Kate. 

Enough empty praise. Let’s do this, Casualtists… before I go all Dick Vermeil on you.

__________

Though finishing fourth at Augusta after a nearly 5-month layoff, Tiger Woods noticeably struggled with his swing and short-game touch all week. After carding a 70 on Friday, Woods told media members of his post-November practice routine, “It’s very similar to what Hogan was going through coming off the accident.” 

Totally agree… Was Hogan driving an Escalade, too?

The way to stop the jokes.

On Sunday, new Phillies acquisition Roy Halladay pitched 9 innings of 7-hit ball to edge the Astros 2-1. “I don’t think about going the distance,” Doc told reporters afterward, adding, “I don’t think about anything. At all. Ever. I’m actually a cyborg sent from the AL East to destroy the National League.” When asked whether he’d ever consider switching leagues again, Halladay said simply:

“I’ll be back.”

Also on Sunday, home run king Barry Bonds was set to attend San Francisco’s day game with Atlanta to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Giant’s 2000 team. Bonds, however, showed up later than expected after experiencing difficulties fitting his head through stadium gates.

At the time of writing, ESPN is reporting that Tracy McGrady will not play unless he can “regain his form.” T-Mac is of course referring to “make eight figures by sitting on the bench in street clothes” form.

Rentals of “The Longest Yard” skyrocketed in Pittsburgh after Steelers WR Santonio Holmes’ trade to the Jets this week, as cheated fans turned to fictional criminals Paul Crewe and Deacon Moss to give them some idea of what the Roethlisberger-to-Holmes connection would have been like. 

Upon news of the trade, Manhattan night clubs collectively filed a motion to insure all glassware

Sticking with Pittsburgh, in his first public appearance since involvement in an alleged sexual assault, aforementioned Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger announced to national media Monday that he has hired ESPN analyst Barry Melrose to cut his hair.

Melrose or Michael Bolton. One or the other.

Milledgeville police – who suspected that assault did indeed occur – weren’t able to prosecute Big Ben because the DNA sample was too small. But look at the bright side, Smalltown Georgia: at least you don’t have to pronounce “Roethlisberger” anymore.

Black Monday was also the day the Texas Rangers demoted 30-year-old closer Frank Francisco after an underwhelming first week. On Monday night, the Alias Sports Bureau confirmed that this was the fastest anybody had ever lost his job without the help of theft or alcohol.

Turning now to celebrity news, Conan O’Brien’s surprising move to TBS figures to shuffle the station’s late night lineup, as Frank Caliendo will most likely move to the 10 p.m. slot and George Lopez will most likely move to Mexico.

In non sequitur news, are we 100 percent sure that Mike Holmgren isn’t the forbidden lovechild of William Taft?

Like son...

 

...like father?

Commercials airing this week for SC’s favorite new sandwich the KFC Double Down unveiled that the fast food chain is offering the item as a grilled option… the ordering of which is like splurging on a four-carat diamond with a plastic band. 

Go the extra mile, Fat America. Go the extra mile.

If there was ever any doubt that Jeremy Shockey wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, this week the colorful Saints tight end asked for personal video submissions via Facebook of women who would like to win a date with him. If this kind of ingenuity isn’t a plug for University of Miami education, I don’t know what is. Take note, Donna Shalala.

On Tuesday’s “Pardon the Interruption,” new Redskins acquisition Donovan McNabb told Mike and Tony, “Initially when the trade happened – and I had the opportunity to be here with [coach Mike] Shanahan – I thought it would be an outstanding thing because of his track record and the things he’s been able to accomplish with young quarterbacks, as well as older quarterbacks.”

McNabb added, “And he had one year of uncanny luck with a flyer sixth-round pick that turned into a 2,000-yard runner.”

TD: Mike Shanahan's one-time meal ticket.

Wednesday morning, Dolphins fans rejoiced as the team landed star receiver Brandon Marshall in a trade with the Broncos. Some Miami natives think Marshall is the straw that breaks the camel’s back – the camel being the New England Patriots, not the South Florida penal system.

Marshall 2010 fantasy prediction: 84 catches, 1290 yards, 1 DUI.

Turning briefly to politics, Michelle Obama this week chose Mexico as her first destination abroad as first lady. No truth to the rumor that the White House is looking for a new secretary of landscaping.

Just joking, Mexico. We kid because… we figured, hey, already pissed off Canada. Might as well polish off the continent.

After cell phone cameras captured Cowboys owner Jerry Jones besmirching Tim Tebow’s good name in a bar, SC co-author Bryan Holt tweeted, “Jerry Jones still has his heart set on drafting Johnnie Walker in the third round.”

I know this was meant as a shot at Jones, but as a longtime Cowboys fan, I think Bryan’s definitely on to something. Walker would be a much better investment than Roy Williams. The difference between the two is cut and dry: Williams gets knocked on his ass. Walker knocks others on their asses.

And now, without further ado, it’s time for the hit feature that’s sweeping the nation… 

RIPPING JIM NANTZ A NEW ONE

 

Formally banished from SC.

On April 13, Nantz joined Bill Simmons on the hit ESPN podcast “The B.S. Report,” a courageous move considering Keith Olbermann had just poisoned him with Ego Juice. Here’s what we learned from the conversation: CBS’s head announcer is an enormous dick, and not in the Greg Oden sense.

Nantz railed on Tiger Woods for his alleged poor behavior, his “ungrateful” post-tournament interview with Peter Kostis, his frequent use of the four-letter word “damn,” and a host of other perceived disgraces to the game.

“He unfortunately reverted back to the old Tiger,” Nantz said.

When asked about his pointed Woods commentary on Saturday, he told Simmons, “He let loose some profanity on the sixth tee and I reacted to it. That’s what I was gonna do. I was gonna tell people what I saw.” 

Nantz added, “You know, because the vast majority of golf fans are deaf and blind.”

Jimmy went on. And on. And on. And on. Cliff Notes version: Jim Nantz thinks Jim Nantz is the greatest announcer to ever live. Jim Nantz does not rank Tiger’s 1997 performance in his top 3 Masters (’86 Jack, Phil, Phil). Jim Nantz thinks himself an exceedingly grateful individual, but said of CBS’s massive weekend audience: “It means nothing to me.” Nantz on Tiger’s language: “He’s so conditioned to be able to say anything he wants.”

Jim Nantz is no longer a friend of this half of SC, and much like FSU and baggy jeans, has been permanently Anti-Hilsoned. 

This buzzer beater-free conclusion brought to you in part by The SC Announcer Boycott.

– Robbie

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What We Learned from the Masters

 

The next great rivalry? Uh... No.

Much like a Tiger Woods round, this post could be all over the place.

To The Winner Goes the Spoils I’m done cracking Phil jokes. No more “Phillis” barbs, no more “Philsbury Dough Boy” jabs, no more goofs about his sagging C-cups, no more snide commentary about how his wife dresses him like a European catalogue model. Mick’s earned the right to look like a clown and “ahh-shucks” his way through his every adoring gallery. He dominated over the weekend with back-to-back 67s to hold off three of the world’s best players in Woods, Westwood and Kim. And he did it with style. I never thought I’d use “style” and Phil in the same sentence, but then again, I never thought I’d see Lefty dawn a third Green Jacket. His Saturday eagle-eagle-bird charge up the leaderboard on 12, 13 and 14 was nothing short of iconic – an ESPN Classic-worthy stretch the likes of which was only topped Sunday by that ballsy, “you stupid shiOHMYGAAAA!” long iron out of the woods on 15. He then throttled all challengers with workmanlike pars on 16 and 17, and polished it all off with a cake-icing three on 18. I say All-Time stuff, stuff that makes you change your mind about Phil if you weren’t already part of his massive legion of idolizing fans. He did everything that Tiger usually does over the weekend, only he did it with humility. That’s the highest compliment I can give.

A sight for sore eyes.

The Cat’s Still Got It Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee is an anti-Tiger propagandist that would make Joe McCarthy blush. On Sunday night, my post-Masters conversation with my father was monopolized by I-can’t-believe-he-said-that Chamblee one-liners including, among many more, “Tiger’s game has slipped considerably.” Think of Chamblee like you would Keith Olbermann, except his Democrat is Phil and his ‘Pub is Tiger…

Block out what the blowhards are telling you. Tiger Woods did absolutely everything you could have asked of him short of winning. And you probably shouldn’t have asked for that. The guy looked unstoppable on Thursday and then defiantly fought back the rust over the weekend with enough spectacular shots to play -5 golf with 10 bogeys. Ten. His game was erratic, no doubt about it. Those two duffed drives on the back nine Sunday looked like Robbie Hilson Specials circa eighth grade. But to rebound from that disastrous start on the final day with a hole out for eagle on 7 and subsequent birdies on 8 and 9… Nobody does that. Nobody. Just like with the ’02 PGA when Tiger told Stevie he needed to birdie the last four holes to catch Rich Beem – and did – this is a tournament that will add to his mighty legend even in defeat.

I’m telling my kids about this one. I’m telling them how Tiger wore red Nike on Sunday, how he carded two eagles when his swing was going to hell, how he shook off a month of feebleness by almost wrapping his putter around Peter Kostis’ neck in the post-round interview. And by the way, he’s healthy. We didn’t hear one peep about the once-ailing knee. In fact, the biggest revelation was that he was playing all of ’09 with a torn achilles. Absolutely incredible. Chalk up the double-crosses, the block-handed short game, and the traitorous putter to a winter of chaos. Because if you’ve ever played golf – or really, if you’ve ever used common sense – you know that a five-month hiatus in which you were embroiled in an apocalyptic sex scandal, spent 30-plus days in rehab, and, in general, saw your whole world come crashing down around you has a tendency to get in the way of practice time. Kostis asked Tiger walking off 18 how he felt he performed. “Well, I finished fourth.” Translation: “I did’t win. And I always play to win. Always.” Sounds to me like a man who knows he’s still got a full tank.

Forgiven.

America Still In Love with Greatness Not a heckle. Not one word. Not a whisper. Here’s the dirty little secret about the United States: we have a lot of dirty little secrets. So when somebody crashes and burns so monumentally – when they f*** up so colossally – we take the guy under our wing, we feel for him, we thank our lucky stars that it didn’t happen to us. The gallery at Augusta shot the collective bird to every holier-than-thou moralist brazen enough to get up on his squawk box in the last 130 or so days. They loyally cheered him Thursday on that most awkward of first tees, and they continued to cheer him 71 holes later. That’s Southern Hospitality for you – that’s a crowd that’s well aware that immaculate golf is the only reason they ever pulled for him in the first place. America loves flaws in its perfection, and it seems to this observer that we’ve found our new tragic hero… Sunday gave me the feeling that Phil wins because he’s got better things in his life to take the pressure off. Sunday, too, gave me the feeling that Tiger wins because the Burning Desire to Be Great is the only thing he’s ever had.

Until Pebble.

– Robbie

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