Could this NFL season be any better? Honestly, what else could we ask for? We have witnessed the greatest offensive explosion in league history with transcendent play from three Hall of Fame quarterbacks while watching the rebirth of a storied franchise under the direction of what once was a “#1 Pick” bust and an up-and-coming coach (49ers) and one of the most exciting and divisive stories in the history of sports (Tim Tebow). My goodness. In addition to a full breakdown of past, present, and future NFL Playoff games, I also spend some time on the College National Championship game, Tim Tebow’s future, the current state of the NBA, and I certainly take a poke at the tackiness of Hank Haney’s upcoming book on Tiger Woods.
Tiger Woods won yesterday…in case you hadn’t heard yet. Already everyone is debating if it is a big deal or not. The tournament features a field of only 18 players, the victory doesn’t count as an official PGA victory, and the money earned doesn’t count toward the official PGA money list…and most say that the competition isn’t necessarily playing their best golf because it’s more of a casual, end of the year competition. Having said all that, why does this feel like a really big deal for Tiger Woods and for golf as a whole?
It has been two years since the greatest golfer of all-time (let’s just say it people…I could put an “arguably” in their or a “one of…” but let’s not try to over-analyze this one…Tiger’s the best of all-time and Jack is going to be 1A when it’s all said and done) won a tournament after the personal life scandal, the injuries, etc. We know the story. The guy has struggled for two full years now and many have questioned if he would ever regain his previous form again. We saw distinct signs of life these last few weeks, but we all kept wondering if he’d actually figure out how to WIN again. Although Sunday’s victory wasn’t the back nine at Augusta National with Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, and Phil Mickelson all in contention, we saw something from Eldrick Woods that we hadn’t seen in some time. He took control of a golf tournament late in the fourth round, and he won making back-to-back birdies while dueling with a really good player that showed no backing down.
Is Tiger back to his old self then? I don’t think we can honestly say that until we see him win that Masters (or another major) with McIlroy, Westwood, and Mickelson all lurking, but it is crystal clear (A Few Good Men reference) that we’re moving in that direction. And based on his post-72nd hole birdie reaction, this win might have meant as much to Tiger as any before.
When I was at the Masters last year I had a close encounter with Robert Allenby that I will never forget. I’m right behind the green on #18, and Allenby flies one almost right into my lap. He’s a good ten yards over the green, right below the TV tower. I’m sitting on the ropes, so I literally could reach out and touch him during his shot. The second he gets up to where I’m sitting, he starts going wild on his caddy about how he had misjudged his distance multiple times throughout the day. Understand that there are hundreds of people around there and he isn’t trying to keep the conversation private by any means. He then stepped up to the ball and hit it somewhere onto the green and then continued to undress his caddy in front of everyone.
Now a story out of Australia that right after the Presidents Cup was completed, Allenby got tired of hearing how poorly he played (the only player on both teams to not win one single point, 0-4) so he fired off on his teammates.
Courtesy of Bob Harig, ESPN.com -
Allenby said Retief Goosen had missed several makeable birdie putts after “I hit it inside 10 feet a few times” in Thursday’s foursomes (alternate shot). He said Y.E. Yang had left him playing alone too many times in the closing nine of Friday’s fourball matches. And he said that Ogilvy had “hit me in the tree three times off the tee and I had to chip out three times” in Saturday’s foursomes.
“Everyone’s making me look like I’m playing like s— and then it starts wearing on your mind a little bit, maybe you are,” Allenby said. “It’s quite draining … there was a lot of pressure on me to hit the shots and also make the putts and it was windy and it was tough conditions.
“It was a combination of a lot of things. People look and say how disappointing can you be, because you didn’t get a point, but when you’re relying on someone else as well, it’s sometimes not all just you, it can be other people hitting you in the s— ...
“Sunday was just a wipe out. [David] Toms hit every fairway [in a 7-and-5 victory over Allenby], every green and made six or seven putts.
“He probably would have beaten everyone on our team on that day — he played awesome. But there’s probably guys in their team that I could have played and probably would have beaten. It’s pot luck at times. I hit a lot of good shots before that Sunday, and just got nothing out of it, so I probably lost a little confidence from that.
“But that’s golf. It wasn’t as if I wasn’t trying, but I wasn’t overtrying either, just trying to go out there and play my game. But I’m not hitting the ball that bad, not playing that bad. I made some good ones when I needed to keep the matches going.”
Geoff Ogilvy didn’t take too kindly to Allenby’s remarks, so the two went at it Sunday night in Coolum at the resort used for the Australian PGA. Allenby invited Ogilvy to “step outside and settle it.” One glass was broken in the scuffle, but supposedly no punches were thrown…or maybe punches were thrown but none were landed (a la Mourning vs. LJ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3UDdF43cmo – thank you Jeff Van Gundy for one of the finest moments in sports history)???
The United States led the Presidents Cup from start to finish, winning 19-15. The U.S., in nine appearances, now has a 7-1-1 record against the International team. The hideous/amazing mustaches of Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel (who didn’t bust out his stache until the weekend…had to have been inspired by Ogilvy…or he just thought the stache was somehow going to land him one of the Australian women in the crowd) just couldn’t generate enough mojo to push them over the top.
Regardless of the win however, Tiger Woods is still the big news. He finished with a deceptive 2-3 record after winning the deciding match against Aaron Baddeley (who I for some reason generated some bitterness towards during the last four days…I think it had something to do with his continuously unkempt appearance…I digress…) Tiger’s ball-striking was about as good as we’ve seen in years. He struggled on the greens through his first few rounds and somehow was paired with guys that played the worst golf of the day each time they played with Tiger (Stricker in his first competitive round in months, and Dustin Johnson that just never got it going), but it was clear that his game is back. He hit 17 or 18 greens on Saturday, and looked like he couldn’t miss a green, fairway, or a putt on Sunday. I’ve never hidden my opinions about Tiger, and I won’t today….the dude will absolutely dominate the sport of golf again, and as long as he stays healthy, it’ll be far sooner rather than later. Hold on one second while I purchase my tickets for the Masters….
Yeah, I said it. I think most people weren’t factoring in his injuries as much as they should have when analyzing his last two years. I also think that people forget how dominant he played right before “The Scandal”. I watched every stroke of the Frys.com Open as well as the Australian Open this weekend. He has steadily progressed since coming back from injury just a few months ago, and gave himself a chance to win this weekend, finishing at -11, two shots from the top. You will continue to see steady improvement, including this next weekend during the Presidents Cup where he absolutely shined just two years ago. If Tiger stays healthy, you’ll see that dominance return. Don’t be shocked if that first win comes at Augusta National next April.
This has been a phenomenal week in sports. Football season is in full swing and it has not disappointed. The University of Utah got a solid road win at Pitt, but still leaving us wondering what they’re truly capable of moving forward. If Jon Hays can play solid football, this team could very well win out. The BYU season is growing more and more inconsequential while the general college football landscape becomes even more exciting as the true powerhouses begin to separate themselves. Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh almost went to blows highlighting yet another ridiculously entertaining week in the NFL. Oh, and in case I wasn’t clear…Tiger Woods is going to dominate the sport of golf yet again.
A monster thank you to John Wells Stevens for bringing his A game to the show this week. He brought it for his fans, and they shouldn’t be disappointed.
I think I’m having deja vu. If you have watched the University of Utah football team play the last two weeks, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
You’ve got to give Tim Tebow the ball at this point. The 49ers and Lions are for real. The Packers are without question the best team in the league, but don’t go to sleep on the Saints just yet.
The NBA is in shambles. Owners have been overpaying players for years…so the players are being overpaid. Watching Stern and D. Fisher talk about the status of the talks last night made me physically ill.
Tiger Woods will dominate the sport of golf again. There is nothing I am more sure of.
Tiger Woods should be on the U.S. Presidents Cup team and anyone that says otherwise is talking crazy. Michael Vick is going to struggle on and off this year. Arian Foster will see a 25-30% decline in production. Terrelle Pryor will never be the starting quarterback of an NFL team. Tim Tebow may not be the Broncos quarterback right now, but they at least need to get him on the field to impact the game. The NCAA needs to clean up this mess and they need to do it fast. The NBA owners and players association need to lock themselves in a room for two weeks and sort out their differences before we start missing games after having maybe the most successful season in the history of the sport. ….man, I needed to get all of that off of my chest…enjoy the show!
After being asked if God loves football, Jason Street responded that “everybody loves football”…we got to see the truth of that statement this week. The NFL lockout is officially over and a flurry of activity has followed. Reggie Bush to Miami, Ochocinco and Haynesworth to New England, Kolb to Arizona, V. Young cut, and so much more in just a few short days.
The Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps rivalry is heating up for the 2012 Olympic Games, Bob Bradley was fired today from his post as the head of U.S. Soccer, and I’m 99% positive that Stevie Williams wears nothing underneath his white jumpsuit at the Masters.
Who is going to take James Fredette (seriously people, he’s an adult now, let’s call him by an adult name) in the draft? Are my hometown Jazz going to pull the trigger under community pressure? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Please sit back and enjoy the last podcast about meaningful sports for the foreseeable future….NBA season is over, NFL in lockout, no Tiger Woods, no World Cup, no Summer Olympics…we are now to be tortured with 18 hours per day of Peter Gammons and Baseball Tonight.
I lost a little bit of respect for D. Wade when I found this picture, but I spend enough time praising him in this podcast that it should make up for it. Lebron James being the best player in the world for weeks at a time and then showing up and playing like C.J. Miles the next, T. Pryor and the mess in Columbus, Tiger Woods hurt instead of dominating majors, Rep. Weiner, and some movie catch-up….you’re not going to want to miss a thing.
Business, commerce, and obviously politics (Government shutdown on the way!) all seem to stop during the second week of April as The Masters takes center stage. My own flesh and blood, Stuart B. Anderson, talks about what The Masters experience is truly like from the fans’ perspective. Will Tiger Woods get in a fight with a spectator on the first tee? It’s more possible than you think.