Sunday, March 31, 2013

No Competition

With Tiger Woods back in his rightful spot of number one in the Official World Golf Rankings, many golf fans are wondering what has happened to Rory McIlroy.  The world's next great golfer signed a fat contract with Nike in the offseason and was supposed to take over Tiger's spot as the face of golf.  Now an equipment change can always be a struggle for a golfer, and it is far too soon to claim that Rory has disappeared, but Rory will never be the next Tiger regardless of if he finds his game or not.  The proof is in the way each player goes about the game.

How many guys that were supposed to be "the next Tiger" have come and gone on the PGA Tour?  David Duval, god bless him, challenged Tiger early in his career and even took over the #1 spot in the world for a little while.  Soon enough though, he fell back to earth.  After battling Tiger down to the wire at Medinah in 1999, Sergio Garcia was destined to win many majors before he turned 30.  14 years later, we are still waiting for major number one from Sergio.  Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have gotten hot and picked up several majors in their careers, but eventually Tiger always reigns supreme.  What makes people think Rory will somehow avoid the same fate?

Watching Rory McIlroy's struggles the past few weeks have led me to believe that he does not have the competitive fire that burns so strong inside of Tiger.  Rory continues to skip important tournaments like the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament Tiger has won eight times now, in favor of watching his girlfriend play tennis and partying in Miami.  Moreover, Rory recently just announced that he will play in San Antonio next week after struggling in Houston this week.  That does not sound like someone who is committed to their routine or in control of their game.  Tiger Woods has played just about the same golf schedule every year of his career, and has his routine locked into place.  Never would he enter a tournament at the last minute to try and find his game.  Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, we saw Rory withdraw from the Honda Classic a few weeks ago, citing a toothache as the reason for leaving.  Contrast that story with Tiger Woods winning the 2008 U.S. Open in a Monday playoff on a torn ACL and a broken leg.  That should tell you everything you need to know about Rory, and about Tiger.

The future is still very bright for Rory McIlroy.  He has two major championships at the age of 23, and is obviously supremely talented.  However, Tiger Woods has seen guys like him come and go throughout his career.  Tiger lives and breathes winning golf tournaments.  It is why he gets up everyday.  If Rory McIlroy really wants to be the next Tiger Woods, he ought to take notes on how Tiger Woods does everything related to the game of golf.  Only when you commit yourself that fully to the game will you be able to truly compete with the greatest golfer that has ever lived.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

All Risk No Reward

It is now apparent that "Plan A" of bringing Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia is going to completely explode in the face of Sixers fans and ownership.  With his ever creaky knees still acting up, and his  "It's my life" attitude to playing through pain, it looks like Bynum won't play a game in a Sixers jersey this year and possibly ever.  It is extremely disappointing for a franchise that appeared to be looking up the past few years.  Like always, Philadelphia fans are looking for someone to blame.  While I can't fault ownership for taking a chance like this, I can fault them for just about everything else.

A healthy Andrew Bynum is a game changer.  No doubt.  He is a legitimate seven-footer with range and defensive prowess.  If he is healthy, he is worth what the Sixers gave up to get him.  However, when has he ever been completely healthy?  Never.  This is where the Sixers brass made such a huge mistake.  They paid top dollar to bring in an injured guy when they should have been getting a huge discount.  Not only did they give up Andre Iguodala, an all-star in his own right, but they gave up their first round picks from 2011 and 2012 (Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless) and a future first rounder.  And if that wasn't bad enough, they also took on Jason Richardson's huge contract and diminishing talent (who is out for the year as well now).  A lot to give up for a guy you are not completely sure is healthy, right?

Sixers management should have gone into this trade like one of the fat guys from Pawn Stars.  They should have brought up Bynum's knee history as a concern at every opportunity and tried to get something (which turned out to be nothing) for nothing.  Instead, it seems like they were starstruck and got hijacked by every other team involved.  To make matters worse, it seems like the Sixers management might have known Bynum's knee was not in good shape from jump street and tried to cover it up with cryptic statements and misleading reports.  Bottom line, this has to go down as one of the worst deals of all time.  Now the Sixers are assured to be basement dwellers for the foreseeable future. 

Again, I can't say that I didn't like this trade from the outset.  A young team trying to get that missing piece to get over the hump.  But the more details that come to light, the more it seems like the Sixers knew they were getting damaged goods and still paid a huge price for it.  That I can't support, and management should not have done that to the team or the fans.  It's been a pretty bleak year in Philly, and this only made things worse.