Friday, April 30, 2010

Do Not Adjust Your Computer Screen

I know what you're thinking, but no, I have not gone soft. This is the first and last time you will ever see Phil Mickelson as the topic of a blog. Moreover, the only purpose of this post is to cut him down more than I already have. In the past few days we have learned that this "upstanding" and "family focused" bag of fat not only passes out and pukes on the reg, but also is a disgrace to the most famous golf tournament in the United States. Let us all revel in taking Fat Phil down another peg. The man who is supposed to be the "anti-Tiger" is in fact a sick monster in real life.

I don't know how Phil did it, but somehow he got his hands on Lee Westwood's Masters jacket from this year. He must have hired someone because that is a steal that not even this man could pull off. Even more bizarre is that the jacket fit him perfectly. Most shocking and disgusting however, is that when he got his hands on it he decided to wear it to a Krispy Kreme donuts. What a piece of shit. "I'm going to show my respect for the most sacred vestment in all of golf by wearing it to a Krispy Kreme donut shop." Have another donut Fat Phil, you should be banned from Augusta for life.

As if that faux pas wasn't bad enough, we just learned recently that Fat Phil is in the habit of passing out and puking everywhere. Said the bucket of baby fat, "I'm two-for-two. The last two times I've fainted and woken up in a pool of vomit, I've won." Phil is clearly an addict of some kind, or he somehow gets off on passing out and throwing up. I've seen it a hundred times... This guy, this is not the kind of guy we want on the PGA Tour.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see Fat Phil on an upcoming episode of "Intervention." He is clearly obsessed with eating. He will do anything to binge on Krispy Kremes, including stealing Lee Westwood's jacket to pass himself off as the champ in some sort of hare-brained scheme to get free donuts. Then he becomes overcome by guilt and makes himself vomit up the donuts to the point where he passes out. Simply disgusting. The man who is trying to play the "family man" foil to Tiger has way more problems in real life and needs much more help. I think it would be wise for Fat Phil to take a few years off and get the help he needs. He is only creating enemies right now.

Also, TPLIYP officially predicts Koey's team to win in fantasy baseball this week.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Strasburg: Who's Next?

With my fantasy team in the depths of the Hard Hittin' Mark Whiten Fantasy Baseball League cellar my thoughts have begun to focus on what, if anything, could bring my team back from being the laughing stock of the league. I quickly scan my roster; Hunter Pence? No way. Brett Gardner? Doubtful. Ben Sheets? Tricked ya, I cut his ass. Then I land squarely on Stephen Strasburg. Hmmm. It is clear that Stephen Strasburg has got the whole Double A thing down, so why not send him to Triple A or the bigs? Come on Nats! Give us the great white hope!

On a limited pitch count earlier this week Stephen Strasburg threw a no-hitter for Double A Harrisburg through 5 innings. The only batter to reach base did so on a dropped third strike by the catcher. In 17 innings for the Senators, Strasburg has 23 strikeouts, only 3 walks, and is sporting a dental floss thin 0.52 ERA. I think it is time to move this kid up to some tougher competition. Though he is probably the only thing keeping the city of Harrisburg on the map right now, it is doing him no good to stay there.

It is time for Strasburg to take his game to Triple A, and eventually up to the big show. Provided that Strasburg can continue his success at Triple A for a few starts, it would really behoove the Nationals to bring him up as soon as possible. I understand the whole "he needs to refine his game" and "we don't want to rush him" argument, but there is a business side to this too. Strasburg played in college and dominated, now he is dominating in the minors so I would argue that he is adequately prepared for the majors very soon. Every game that he doesn't play in a Nats uniform is costing the team a lot of money too. Think about it, if the Nats announced that Strasburg is starting on Sunday, how quickly do you think that game would sell out? Let me some it up for the Nats in one sentence; "You're sitting on a winning lottery ticket, and you're too much of a pussy to cash it in. And that's bullshit."

Financially speaking, the Nats can't afford to keep Stephen Strasburg in the minors for much longer. Moreover, with the team doing fairly well so far this year Strasburg could be a real shot in the arm for the rotation. Not to mention, my fantasy team could really use the help. So come on Washington, for all these reasons and more, bring Stephen Strasburg up. Pretty soon he will have us all saying, "Strasburg: WHO'S NEXT?"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What The Hell's Going On Out There!?!

I chose to open this post with the legendary words of Vince Lombardi, but I will not be talking about football or Vince Lombardi today. No, what I am in fact referring to is the lousy product that is both the NBA and NHL playoffs. The only reason that I even have an inkling of what is going on in the NHL playoffs is because the Flyers are still alive and trounced the rival Devils in the opening round. Somehow, six days after the Flyers dispatched the Devils in 4 games, they still do not know who they are playing in the second round. What in the hell is with the wait? The NBA playoffs are no different, and something has got to be done about these god damn lagging playoffs.

The Washington Capitals opened up their series against the Canadiens on April 15th. That was the day I saw the Swami lecture at UNH. Since then I can't even remember what I have done, yet the Capitals and Canadiens still have not decided a winner. Is there a reason that the hockey and NBA playoffs should drag from mid-April to mid-June? Honestly, two months for playoffs? Something needs to change here.

Why is it that teams get a day off in between every single playoff game? I don't understand this. If they are not traveling, why do they need an extra day off? Scheduling should reward those who win quickly, and punish those who go deep into series by forcing them to play a more grueling schedule with more and more back to back games. Quite simply, if this were done, it would make the playoffs way more exciting and cut the playoff time in half.

It is fairly obvious that the systems in place in both the NBA and NHL for the playoffs are not working. The NHL got worse ratings that the NFL Draft this weekend, and the NBA has been losing hundreds of millions of dollars for a few years now. They need to do something to make the playoffs more interesting. The way it is now, half the teams make the playoffs and the post-season is almost as long as the regular season. It just doesn't make sense.

Both the NBA and the NHL need to either eliminate teams from the playoffs, shorten the playoffs, or do both to garner more interest. The way it is now, my hometown team making the playoffs doesn't really mean that much at all to me. Whereas in football and baseball, if your team makes the playoffs it is a huge deal. Take the hint guys.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bartender, I'll Have A Draft

It has been months since the Super Bowl, and now every NFL team should have at least some idea of who they would like to take in the now prime time NFL Draft. Does anyone else think that moving the draft to prime time is stupid? I will be watching either way, but personally I have always thought of the NFL Draft as a solid Saturday and Sunday event that coincides with the relentless pursuit of Mark Forwooding. There is no need to move it to prime time and spread it out over three days, except to reinforce the fact that the NFL Draft has taken over the NBA Draft as the preeminent draft in pro sports. Something that I have been saying for a while. But that's all I have to say about that. Let's mock it up!

1. St. Louis Rams- Sam Bradford
Bradford has a tender shoulder which could spell disaster behind that offensive line in St. Louis, but the team only has Keith Null on their roster right now. A quarterback is the only logical choice and Bradford will be the face of this franchise for many years.

2. Detroit Lions- Ndamukong Suh
Suh is a great choice for Detroit. He will be a stalwart on the defensive line, and announcers can disguise all the boos by claiming that the fans are yelling "Suh" instead.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Gerald McCoy
McCoy is the Silver Medal to Suh, but should be a pretty solid cog in the defensive line.

4. Washington Redskins- Russell Okung
The Skins will need somebody to protect McNabb's brittle bones. Prediction: McNabb misses at least 3 games this year.

5. Kansas City Chiefs- Trent Williams
The Chefs are another team in desperate need of pass protection. They could also be a candidate to trade down here if a team really wants Eric Berry ::cough:: Eagles ::cough::.

6. Seattle Seahawks- Eric Berry
This guy is supposedly the next Ed Reed in the secondary. A solid pick for any team, and a home run for Pete Carroll in his return to the pro coaching ranks. By the way, how many times has Pete Carroll broken his nose?

7. Cleveland Browns- Jimmy Clausen
I'm going out on a limb here! New GM Mike Holmgren has signed Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace to head up the QB situation for the Browns. Seems like the perfect "groom a young quarterback" cast.

8. Oakland Raiders- Dez Bryant
With Jimmy Clausen stolen right before his eyes, Al Davis makes a solid Al Davis pick.

9. Buffalo Bills- Bryan Bulaga
Buffalo gets a nice bookend tackle to protect Tim Tebow whenever they select him.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars- Joe Haden
The Jags don't take Tebow at #10, but they add another Gator to help shore up their secondary.

11. Denver Broncos- Dan Williams
This guy will remind Josh McDaniels of VW75, but will not be as good. Denver might also trade this pick if they can't get Dez Bryant.

12. Miami Dolphins- Rolando McClain
University of New Haven alum Tony Sparano makes a solid pick here to help replace Jason Taylor.

13. San Francisco 49ers- Earl Thomas
Thomas will shore up the SF secondary, but more importantly, caption contest; what is that cop thinking in the picture?

14. Seattle Seahawks- C.J. Spiller
Seattle gets a solid running back and kick returner in Spiller. Good first round so far for crooked nose Carroll.

15. New York Giants- Maurkice Pouncey
The G-Men draft a center. Koey says "huh?"

16. Tennessee Titans- Derrick Morgan
Tennessee's offense did fine with Vince Young at the helm. They need to improve their pass rush. Jevon Kearse just isn't gonna cut it any more.

17. San Francisco 49ers- Anthony Davis
San Fran wraps up a good first round with a nice tackle to protect Alex Smith. Koey is sad because his team did not pick the Rutgers player.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers- Jason Pierre-Paul
Pittsburgh is pretty much screwed on offense, so they bolster their defense by picking a man with 3 first names. Just another lucky Pierre.

19. Atlanta Falcons- Brandon Graham
Atlanta needs some help on the defensive side of the ball and adds a versatile pass rusher.

20. Houston Texans- Mike Iupati
If the Texans can keep Stump the Schaub on the field, they are pretty good. Adding another lineman will help. Pretty scary dude.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Bruce Campbell
The Bungals add the final lineman in a deep first round class to help protect Carson Palmer.

22. NEP- Kyle Wilson
BB needs help at CB. Look for them to add KW. If not him, maybe an RB. But remember, Stats are for losers.

23. Green Bay Packers- Jared Odrick
The Pack take a defensive end to help replace Aaron Kampman.

24. The Iggs- Taylor Mays
The Birds need secondary help, especially in the toughness department. This dude is a bruiser in the Brian Dawkins mold. Perfect fit.

25. Bal'mer Ravens- Sergio Kindle
Ray Lewis isn't getting any younger.

26. Arizona Cardinals- Sean Weatherspoon
The Cards take a linebacker to try to replace the departed Karlos Dansby. This could be an ugly season for them.

27. Dallas Cowboys- Devin McCourty
Dallas bolsters an already strong secondary by adding another one of Koey's favorite players.

28. San Diego Chargers- Ryan Matthews
The Fresno boy will take over for LT and not miss a beat in the San Diego offense. Seriously, this guy could win rookie of the year.

29. NYJ- Terrence Cody
The NYJ have pretty much addressed all of their needs via free agency and are gearing up for a Super Bowl run. Therefore, they add a big fat man-o-lantern to fill up the middle.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Kareem Jackson
The Vikings need a little help in the secondary. Even though help in the secondary doesn't stop your QB from throwing picks.

31. Indianapolis Colts- Carlos Dunlap
The Colts usually draft offense in the first round, but with some injured guys returning combined with not much available at the end of round 1, the Colts grad Dunlap.

32. New Orleans Saints- Brian Price
This cool dude will help the Saints revamp their defense this offseason.

That's the way I see it, though I am no expert. Here are a couple other thoughts I have on the later rounds:

- I don't see why no one likes Colt McCoy. I could see him being better than every other QB in this draft, and he would be a steal for any team in the second round.

-Toby Gerhart IS being pre-judged because he is white! A feeling I know all too well living in the ghetto of New Haven. Stay strong Toby! He will be a steal for whomever takes him as well. New England might want to consider him in the second round. He could be the NFL version of Larry Bird.

-Golden Tate, Jahvid Best and Mardy Gilyard will all be solid round 2 pickups as well.

-Tebow in Buffalo.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Never Get Shotgun

Todd's favorite holiday is upon us! That's right it is 4/20, and now that you have had a few hours to come down from that massive bubbler hit you took of the hindu kush at 4:20 p.m. let's take a look at a few other people in the sports world who might be celebrating with you. So grab a box of soft batch cookies, take a few drops of visine and try to stay focused. Here is a list of athletes who were definitely grillin' the grass today along with the countless hordes of rich white kids from Colorado who have Dave Matthews Band on repeat right now with a cool 6 pack of Magic Hat #9 sitting next to their bean bag chair.

The NBA has got to have the highest concentration of players who smoke the dank. They have teams called the Nuggets and the Blazers for crying out loud! It seems only right that those two teams should play every year on this day. Even if they don't though, we know that Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, Josh Howard, Scot Pollard are all. As a matter of fact, the NBA should change their logo from Jerry West to this man because so many of their athletes are puffing the Panama Red.

Dock Ellis. If you don't remember him, he was the man who threw a no hitter while tripping on acid. He was probably smoking j's in the dugout in between innings.
What do you think Manny was doing in the Green Monster in between innings. That's right, being Manny. A.k.a. grillin the ganja.
What about Josh Hamilton? He was definitely high when he got all those tats.
Tim Lincecum got busted at a high school party with some sticks and stems in his pocket, but the cops let him go because they thought he was a minor and didn't want his 'rents to ground him.
Last but not least we have two old dudes; Ron Washington and Bill "Spaceman" Lee. Definitely tokin' today.

I'm gonna guess Ricky Williams didn't show up for voluntary workouts today. He definitely rolled up a honey dutch of Cambodian red and watched Beavis and Butthead all day. Michael Vick and Randy Moss were probably comatose on the couch next to him. How did they pay for the weed you ask? Straight cash homie.
Then there is the king of them all, Nate Newton. Many years ago, he was caught with 212 pounds of kush in his car. Probably on his way to Todd's.

The Bode Man definitely smokes blizzies along with his raging alcoholism. Vaya con dios, brah.

There you have it. With athletic success comes a lot of dough, and with a lot of dough comes a lot of reefer for most of these guys. Let us salute them on their national holiday, and salute Todd and Todd Dog as well.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Tribute to TumsRum

While strolling through the blog graveyard this evening I came upon the vestiges of TumsRum. This blog seemed dedicated to highlighting the humorous side of animals through various forms of multimedia. Unfortunately, it appears to have begun its demise when another author started posting on the site, leading to massive viewer outrage and boycott. Since then, it could not win its viewers back and eventually went under. In honor of the fallen TumsRum, I shall now post a number of humorous and intriguing videos from the sports world.

Dwight Howard is a real wiz at impressions.

I wish these videos weren't of Fat Phil.

This video is way better.

Todd and I lolled at this video on Friday.

This is how you do it, son.

The new face of Philadelphia sports.

I like this commercial.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Losing Touch With Its Heritage?

Ladies and Germs, this week in golf we have the Verizon Heritage at Harbour Town. You would think that a week after the Masters the golf world would be abuzz, but for some reason the Heritage tournament is slipping. For the life of me, I can not figure out why. Let's take a few moments to look at the Verizon Heritage and how it might be saved in the future, as well as allow for some conjecture as to who might take home the plaid jacket this weekend.

The Verizon Heritage, formerly just The Heritage, is a tournament that has been around for 45 years now. It features past winners like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Payne Stewart and Greg Norman. Last year, the tournament's winner was Brian Gay. Gay. What used to be a welcome stop on the tour after Augusta is now skipped by many of the stars (8 of the last 9 winners of the Masters have not participated, including Lee Westwood this year). Moreover, next year the tournament is losing its title sponsor in Verizon and has yet to find a new one. What has gone wrong at Harbour Town? Honestly, I don't know. The only thing I can think of is to follow the money.

Harbour Town is obviously a beautiful location. Having been down there only a few weeks ago, this time of year is absolutely perfect in South Carolina. Hilton Head is also a very family oriented town so that golfer's can bring their families with them. Moreover, Hilton Head is accessible via plane, car or boat, and is only a short jaunt from Augusta, so it can't be travel that is the problem.

What about the course? Harbour Town is simply awesome. A shorter course, it tests players by making them place their shots perfectly on the fairway, and especially on the tiny greens. Distance is not king at Harbour Town, you gotta be accurate. The 18th hole is also one of the most picturesque holes in golf with Hilton Head harbor providing the backdrop. Clearly the course is not the problem.

What about the money? The purse this year is over $1 million. Shouldn't that draw some players who want to cash in? You would think so, but this is the only area where I can find issue with the tournament. The problem is that every tournament pays so much now that players don't need to participate in every one. I know we can't turn back the clock, but if the purses were lower I think you would find players entering more tournaments. Certainly money is a factor, but it doesn't explain everything. Honestly, I can't explain it. Can you?

Why would a tournament with seemingly so much going for it have such a struggle? It may not seem that bad, but the fact that they can't find a willing sponsor for a tournament with such history is pretty bad. I have no answer for you, but would love to hear your thoughts. One thought I had perhaps to fix the tournament would be to take a low ball offer from Nike, Ecco Skater Shoes, or some other sponsor tied to a single popular golfer. This would ensure that a guy like Tiger or Freddy would play. They need to start drawing some bigger stars if they want to sustain themselves.

All in all, the Verizon Heritage is not doing too badly, and I don't want to make it seem like a doomed event, but it has certainly dropped a bit in prestige over the years. I can't understand it at all, but here is who I like to win it this weekend:

Rickie Fowler- This is the perfect event for a kid like Fowler to break through for his first win.

DL3- The Donk's boy has won at Harbour Town, and also designed the nearby Eagle's Pointe Course in Bluffton, SC. A real gem of a course.

Boooooooooo- Another past champ looking to get his year going.

Big John Stud
- It's not totally out of the question.

K.J. Choi- Shot a 64 today, and played very well for all but about 4 holes last week. Not sure about his child labor practices though. Probably only paying the kid two dongs a day or something.

Honestly, as someone looking to get into this business I would like to hear your thoughts on why you think this tournament has taken a step back over the years. I have broken it down from several angles and just can't figure it out. Maybe I'm over-analyzing. Maybe you don't think it's that bad. Let's get the comment board going.

An Evening With the Swami

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the sports management program at the University of New Haven, the school hosted an evening with Chris Berman. The format was a sort of running conversation with a UNH grad whom also works at ESPN, along with some time allotted for questions from the audience. I was going to ask for him to give a shout out to UNH at the NFL Draft next week, but unfortunately two jerks decided not to wait their turn and cut me off. The program ended right after that and I was basically left with my dick in my hands. Nonetheless, it was an interesting lecture and it was good to see a different side of the Swami.

Over the past few years, the Swami has been given a bad rap by a lot of people, myself included, but when he is able to let his guard down he's not such a bad guy. Granted the questions Berman was asked were scripted, but I think for the most part he is a pretty genuine guy. A lot of stuff about him has just been blown out of proportion. Tonight, Berman was in a pretty jovial mood. He made fun of himself for plugging both Applebee's and Nutrisystem, and also asked the audience if they thought he was a short fat guy. He is in fact 6'4", a tall fat guy.

The Swami also forecasted his predictions for the baseball season, prophesying a Phillies/Twins World Series. He mentioned that his most memorable experience ever was announcing Cal Ripken's 2,131st game in a row, a game in which he also interviewed President Clinton (he recalled telling Buck Martinez during the game that there were snipers on the roof aimed at both of them should they make any sudden movements when Clinton was in the booth). A close second and third were covering "The Catch" and "The Earthquake." His favorite nickname, which he said started by accident when he said "Frank Tanana Daquiri" on a 3 a.m. Sportscenter episode, is in fact Bert "Be Home" Blyleven. Lastly, Berman said to remember that the sports business is a people business, something that I won't soon forget.

My opinion changed drastically on the Swami over the 2 hour program. He is probably considered such a dick in real life because he has to spout out that stupid shit all the time to appease the people on ESPN, and it puts him in a bad mood. But when he gets to be himself, Boomer is a real funny guy with some very interesting things to say, and some unique life experiences. SportsCenter still blows though.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Masters Recap

Wow! What an exciting four days of golf! It got pretty crazy at the end; Freddy charged and then faded, K.J. Choi was steadily climbing the leader board but stumbled down the stretch, Tiger tried his best but just couldn't play consistently enough, and for about half an hour there was nobody hotter than Anthony Kim. In the end though, Lee Westwood was able to hold off the rest of the field and win his first green jacket, ending a 20 year drought for the folks from across the pond. Let's take a look back at the week that was and see what we can learn going forward.

Let's first take a look at something that could be a sign of things to come. Eldrick Woods was nowhere near as sharp as he was before his layoff, but still managed to shoot -11 and come in 3rd. The fact that he can be extremely erratic off the tee, putt horribly, chip even worse and still finish tied for third speaks to just how good he is. Soon enough he will shake off the rust and start to dominate the tour again.

Our next exhibit is one Anthony Ha-Jin Kim. In a four hole stretch on the back nine, Kim was 5 under. If that is not coming through in the clutch then I don't know what is. He is not done winning on tour this year, and made the Masters extremely exciting down the stretch by giving Lee Westwood a run for his money. Congrats on the 2nd place finish Anthony. You'll don the green jacket soon enough young man.

Next we have the man in the skater shoes. Freddy had us all believing that a geezer could win a major tournament again this year much like Tom Watson and Kenny Perry did in '09. These are always the best stories at major tournaments. When someone that is well old and revered in the PGA ranks takes the lead at a major tournament, they instantly become the crowd favorite. Again though, Freddy's falter down the stretch speaks to how difficult it is for an old timer to actually win a major. This in turn makes you appreciate just how amazing Jack Nicklaus' Masters win in 1986 at age 46 was. Probably the best win of all time. Regardless, I will probably be investing in a pair of these puppies sometime soon.

Finally, let us congratulate Lee Westwood, who shall now be known as "The Wizard", on his first major championship. The Wizard was able to weather the storm all weekend, bouncing back from seemingly devastating bogeys and handling charges from many different golfers while staying atop the leader board. Congratulations Lee, you are the 2010 Masters champ and nobody can take that away from you!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Good First Day

The eyes of the entire world were on Tiger Woods this afternoon as he hit his first tournament golf shot in nearly half a year. Right down the middle. After one day of golf, many of my picks to be competitive are hanging out at the top of the leader board. Meanwhile, Pat Lyons' "Lock of the Week", Louis Oosterhuizen, is sitting at +3. Not so good. However, as the old saying goes; "you can't win a tournament on the first day, but you can lose it." Keeping in mind that the tournament is far from over, and these scores could change in a hurry, here are a few thoughts after the first round at Augusta National in bullet form.

  • One of the most interesting things that I noticed during the entire televised segment of round 1 was that Tiger was talking with his playing partners a great deal. I even saw him laughing it up with Matt "Hoochie" Kuchar. In days gone by, Tiger would basically stone wall his competition and focus only on his own game. It will be interesting to see if this continues into the weekend, especially if Tiger is in the lead.

  • Boom Boom has got a legitimate shot to win this thing. I made fun of his skater shoes at the beginning of the round, but if they help him play better more power to him. I bet he could even borrow a pair from Todd if he needed to.

  • Tom Watson is ageless. At age 60, he looks as fit as a fiddle and put up his best score in 20 years at Augusta. I hope this continues, but Watson seems a bit worried that the length of the course could get to him.

  • On the flip side, Fat Phil looks entirely too comfortable out there. He hasn't played great all year and all of a sudden he just turns the switch. Our one saving grace is that he missed a short putt on 18 to take the outright lead. A good sign for sure.

  • Though I picked him to perform well, I was a little surprised at Tony Kim's solid start. He is putting the ball amazingly. On some putts, he was walking to the hole to pick the ball up out of it before it even dropped. If he can keep that going, I like him to win it.

  • How about Furyk's 44 on the back 9, including a triple bogey 6 on 16? Makes us hackers feel pretty good.

  • Matteo Monassero shot a 71 at Augusta. Not bad. Did I mention that he was born in 1993? Any smug feelings of joy brought on by Furyk's 44 are erased by this.

  • Keep in mind going forward that today's pin placements were very easy. This weekend's placements will separate the men from the boys, so don't take too much stock into today's performances. It certainly doesn't hurt to get off to a good start though. Let's hope this weather holds off, and see what tomorrow brings at Augusta.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Mother of All Masters Previews

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time for a tradition unlike any other. The Masters is upon us this week, and if that wasn't enough, we will also be witnessing the return of Tiger Woods. Even if you are not a golf fan, there is no reason why you should not be glued to the TV screen this weekend. One of the greatest golf tournaments in the world and the return of arguably the most famous athlete in the world should make for some great television. Though all eyes will be on Tiger Woods this week, don't be surprised if two groups of golfers make a statement this weekend. Both the internationals and the young guns will be represented very strongly at Augusta and we should not be surprised if one of them takes home the green jacket on Sunday. On the other hand, don't be surprised if Tiger takes it home either.

Augusta National Golf Course is one of the finest tests of a golfer in the world. Its narrow fairways, extreme undulation and super fast and contoured greens make a round of even par 72 nothing to be ashamed of. Other than some of the British Open courses, I would argue that Augusta is one of the most complete tests of a golfer. There is no bias toward being super long off the tee, which is often the case with some of the newer courses, so golfers young and old all have a chance at Augusta as we saw with Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera in '09. It all comes down to limiting your mistakes. That being said, I don't necessarily like any of the geezers this week. In my opinion it could very well be one of the young guard breaking through at Augusta this week, or the trend of internationals taking home the green jacket could continue. Let's have a look at who I like this week:


Anthony Kim- If Tony Kim can play like he did last week at the Houston Open, he could very easily win his first major. However, putting and accuracy off the tee (as you can tell) are a problem for him. If those problems start to surface, he will be in big trouble.

Hunter Mahan- Hunter picked up the second win of his career in Phoenix earlier this year amidst a star studded field. He also finished in the top 10 last year at Augusta. Look for him to be there again in 2010.

Sean O'Hair- O'Hair has struggled a bit this year, but something tells me he will pick up his game for the Masters. He had a top ten finish last year and usually shows up for majors. Maybe Augusta will be his break out tournament this year.

Nick Watney
- This dude has 3 top tens already this year and has been playing some pretty solid golf. I know I said that driving distance isn't a big factor at Augusta, but this kid can boom it.


Ernie Els- The Big Easy has already won two tournaments this year, resurrecting a fading career. Look for him to make a charge at his 4th major this year at Augusta, even though he typically doesn't play great here.

Ian Poulter- The Poultergeist won his first tournament in America this year at the match play, and usually plays pretty well at Augusta. Regardless of his play, he will stand out with his flashy attire.

Lee Westwood- Not really sure what's going on in that picture, but Westwood's name always comes up when we talk euro-trash at the majors. Perhaps this year will finally be the year for him.

Vijay Singh- Vijay is a past champion, and is playing better this year. It all comes down to his putter basically.

Rory McIlroy- McIlroy played well in his debut at Augusta, and rumor has it he has been scouting the grounds at Augusta for a few weeks now. Look for this young gun/international to be in the hunt on Sunday.


David Duval- God would I love to see Duval win this thing and pump those fists like crazy. So far his two returns from golf obscurity have come at the U.S. Open last year and at Pebble Beach this year. He seems to rise to the occasion at big time courses. Maybe we can see a return to the Duval of old when between 1998-2001 he had a lower average score per round at Augusta than Tiger.

Matt Kuchar- I wanted to put him in as a young gun, but Kuchar is 31 now and it seems like ages ago that he stared down Tiger at Augusta as a amateur. Nonetheless, the Donk's boy has been playing well this year and has handled the pressure of Augusta, and playing with Tiger, well in the past.

Fred Couples- Boom Boom is a past Masters champ and has played very well on both the Champions and PGA Tour this year. He could be the Tom Watson of 2010, making a final run towards major championship glory.

Tiger Woods
- I previously opined that there is no way Tiger could be sharp enough to win his first tournament back from exile. One thing I failed to take into account though, was how sharp he will be mentally. Can you imagine all the things that were running through Tiger's mind the past few years when he was trying to focus on golf? The lying, the sneaking around, the thinking up dirty text messages, the stress. God, he probably couldn't escape his own thoughts. Now that all his dirty laundry has come out to the public and he has gone through rehab, Tiger is finally mentally free. This is a bad thing for everyone else. Even in his interviews this week, Tiger seemed to be so much more at peace, relaxed and happy. Imagine what that guy could do on a golf course, even if he is rusty. All his focus can be on golf now. Tiger has a serious chance to win this week, even though it is his first tournament back. The crowd will be pulling for him too.

This could go down in history as one of the greatest Masters tournaments ever. There are so many different story lines that could unfold. Can one of the young guns establish themselves as the next major contender? Can an international, and possibly even a limey, continue the trend of international winners? Can one of the past winners win another jacket? Can Tiger win his first tournament back? Anyone of these things would be great. Let's sit back and watch with the rest of the free world.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My 1 Cent

That was easily one of the greatest basketball games I have ever seen. The one thing I took away as very interesting was that, though I may have spaced out for a bit or been looking away, I did not see one dunk the entire game. THAT is how basketball is supposed to be played folks. Did you see the screens, the passing, the defense and the well drawn up plays? THAT is basketball! I may have been wrong about Butler winning (is it really a surprise at this point?), but that game did come down to the last shot and was a classic. If all of college and pro basketball was more like that, we would all be much richer for the experience. Well played Butler and Duke.

The Butler Did It

With the NCAA Championship upon us this evening, I figured I would offer my insights on the importance of this game. Let me start by saying, holy lord there are going to be a lot of white boys on the court tonight. While you already know my thoughts on white quarterbacks, I would never venture to say that only white basketball players win the title. However, I think that these pasty, ugly, gangly white boys are symbolic of the right way to play basketball. While I will be rooting for Butler to pull it out tonight, I must say that both of these teams offer us hope for the future of basketball.

Effort. Teamwork. Passing. Running the offense. Staying in school. This is what you think of when you watch both the Butler Bulldogs and the Duke Blue Devils play this season. Does it have anything to do with the fact that a lot of their players are white? Probably not. But it is certainly interesting to note. Many years ago, it was a Texas Western team with all black guys that shocked the world by winning the NCAA Championship. This year hopefully it will be the Butler Bulldogs, a team with a bunch of corn fed white boys, that shocks the world by winning the title.

Whether it is the Bulldogs or the Blue Devils, both of these teams play the right way, and Duke should not be vilified just because they are playing Butler. Duke has earned everything they have gotten this year and are no doubt the favorite to win the championship now. Either way it turns out, this game should send a signal to all coaches that recruiting the one and done guy is not an avenue to success in college basketball.

I know I am beating a dead horse, but guys like John Wall, Greg Oden, Kevin Durant and the like should be avoided by big time college basketball programs. Think about all those things I mentioned earlier when I talked about what comes to mind while watching Butler and Duke. One and done guys don't care for any of these things. John Wall only wants to get his 25 points, dominate the highlight reel on ESPN and make his draft stock rise. Does this sound like a guy who is going to lead your team to a championship? I don't think so.

Though my brackets were destroyed very early this year, I couldn't be happier with the way that this tournament has shaped up. Butler versus Duke is exactly how college basketball should be played. Hopefully tonight will only make that even more obvious. I am predicting a thriller being won by Butler on the last shot. Coming soon on TPLIYP: Masters Preview.

April Is The Coolest Month

What a huge week in sports in only the first week of April. We've got Butler going against Duke in the NCAA Championship tonight, Donovan McNabb traded to the Redskins, the beginning of the baseball season and, oh yeah, Tiger Woods' return to golf this week at the Masters. When it rains it pours baby. I will try to break everything down in the next few days, but let's focus on one thing at a time. Let us usher in the Kevin Kolb administration with a hearty "here here!" and look forward to a fruitful year in Philadelphia.

The Eagles were successfully able to pawn Donovan McNabb off to the Washington Redskins for a 2nd round pick this year, and either a 3rd or 4th rounder next year. As worried as I am that Donovan could torch the Eagles for the rest of his career since he was traded to an NFC East team, I think the deal had to be done.

Kolb is the answer people, I'm telling you. He's got a good arm, he can run the offense, he is confident and he is symbolic of the youth transition in Philadelphia. Over the past few years, Dawkins, Westbrook and McNabb have been sent out of town on a rail. The regime of the old guard is over. Sure we had some good times, but we never reached the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl championship. Every other team in the NFC East has accomplished this feat more than once. A change needed to be made and the right offer came along. If Andy Reid can't be successful with this team, he might very well be the next one to go.

Now the Eagles have a late first round pick and two second rounders with which to acquire even more young talent in 2010. For the first time in a while, they've got all of the skilled positions covered. Now the focus should be on both lines and the secondary. I'd like to see the Eagles take a safety, a linebacker or defensive end, and a mammoth offensive lineman with their first three picks. This would give them a solid corps at pretty much every position, and further bolster the youth movement going on. If the Eagles choose wisely, they could very well reach that final goal of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan could make beautiful music together down in Washington, but this move needed to be made in Philadelphia. Long live Kevin Kolb! Next subject, the NCAA Championship.