Tag Archive | golf

High 5 Headlines: Silly Soccer Celebrations, Wie Wins, Kershaw’s Ks, and Penn State Pencils in Premium Players

dancing-soccer

OK, for the last time: This is MY dance space, this is YOUR dance space.

1 – The U.S. Men’s Soccer Team played to a 2-2 draw with Portugal on Sunday, much to the frustration of fans who, after the U.S. defeat of Ghana, were excited at our very real prospects of qualifying outright for the final Round of 16. Now we must at least tie Germany, who gave a Deutsche drubbing to Portugal last week, 4-0. Game time: 12 noon ET this Thursday (or as many Americans will call it, a sick day).

PS –Colombia’s team jubilation dance was one of the best moments of the tournament ; scroll down for a fun clip of soccer celebrations.

2 – Michelle Wie, who sparked the golf scene at age 10 when she qualified for a USGA amateur championship, won the U.S. Women’s Open Sunday. There’s a reason this is pretty cool. Since she turned pro at age 15, along with a flood of endorsements and the pressure of publicity, the 6-1 daughter of a professor and golf champ/beauty queen never won a “major” championship, but just the weekly tourneys that rarely merit any TV time. Frustrated, Wie retreated from the game for a time and attended Stanford, graduating with a degree in communications.

Now 24, she’s back in the golf spotlight at a more acceptable age—and must have experienced both happiness and concern for Lucy Li, 11. Li was the youngest player ever to qualify for the Open, but didn’t make the cut. Didn’t seem to bother her though; she wore braces, ate ice cream and joked with the media. Hopefully she will learn some lessons from Wie, and golf will remain fun, not forced.

3 – Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw threw a no-hitter June 18 against the Colorado Rockies. A no-hitter occurs when the pitcher allows no batter to record a hit. Batters can reach base in other ways, like a walk or error, but this is rare. Most no-hitters are also complete games and shutouts. However, one higher honor exists: the perfect game, in which no batters reach base at all. This is much rarer. There have been 284 no-hitters since 1875; there have been 23 perfect games.

4 – Now that college football’s National Signing Day, on which high school players make their formal college commitments, is behind us, news outlets have ranked the schools’ “recruiting classes.” Naturally the top schools are no surprise, institutions like Alabama, LSU and Ohio State. But what caught my attention is the inclusion of Penn State at around #24 although I’ve seen them as high as five.

I think this is kinda neat because 2014 is roughly the first year the Nittany Lions team will be comprised of players who did not have to endure the 2011 Jerry Sandusky child sex assault scandal. Since then, Sandusky rots in prison, head coach Joe Paterno was fired for allegedly covering up Sandusky’s acts and subsequently died, players transferred elsewhere, and the entire university was penalized by the NCAA for falling down on the job, a decision that, in my opinion only hurts blameless players and fans in the end. For PSU to be getting attention again from players and media is a good sign that, while we should never forget what happened, a historic program can return to its former glory.

5 – Granted I am little biased on this one, but I’m thrilled that one of sports’ most fun and exciting events is coming to my backyard in DC. The Winter Classic is the NHL’s annual game featuring two teams playing outdoors. Even if you don’t follow hockey, it’s great to see two teams take on the elements as well as each other in the old-fashioned way. The Capitals will play January 1, 2015, reportedly against the Chicago Blackhawks at a venue TBD. It doesn’t have to snow, but I would buy up all the milk and bread in the region for a chance to see it in real winter conditions. Fingers crossed!


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Baby, Baby, Baby, Ohhhh (Crap). Plus the Extra Point’s Future, Billion Dollar Brackets, and Tiger Declawed

—1—“The kick is up, and it…is…” no longer existent?

So, baby, you mean, baby, if I can't beat these charges, baby, I can't be an NFL kicker? Ohhhh.

So, baby, you mean, baby, if I can’t beat these charges, baby, I can’t be an NFL kicker? Ohhhh.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested this week that the league do away with the extra point or “PAT,” point after touchdown. “The extra point is almost automatic,” he told NFL Network Monday. “I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd attempts. So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.” Instead he suggests making a touchdown worth seven points instead of six, with an extra play after from the scrimmage line worth an eighth point. But, if the team fails, their touchdown is only worth six points.

You would think concussions and crime would be enough “excitement” for the NFL any given day, but I must admit I am intrigued.

—2—Ahhhh, Warren Buffett. Gazillionaire, Philanthropist, College Basketball Fan. And now he and Quicken Loans are offering a $1 billion cash prize to anyone who correctly predicts this year’s men’s NCAA Tournament Bracket in the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge. Unfortunately, the odds of getting all 63 games right, are around 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. That’s nine quintillion. But if you do win, you get 40 annual installments of $25 million or a lump sum payment of $500 million. If there are multiple winners, the pot is divided, and the 20 brackets closest to the perfect outcome will still receive $100,000 each from Quicken Loans to purchase or remodel a home or refinance a mortgage. Contest starts March 3.

—3—There are two new sheriffs in Tennis Town. If tennis players wore hats, spurs and funny mustaches. China’s Li Na had been contemplating retirement, but defeated Dominika Cibulkova (who had ousted #3 Maria Sharapova) for the Australian Open crown, and at 31 became the oldest women’s champion in the Open Era. Known for her funny remarks in broken English, Li joked in post-match interviews about her husband and his snoring, and thanked her agent “for making me rich.”

On the men’s side, it was Switzerland’s #8 Stanislas Wawrinka who finally hoisted the trophy after defeating #1 Rafael Nadal. Nadal had previously knocked out Roger Federer to reach the Australian Open final for the third time. It would have been Rafa’s 14th Grand Slam title. But he struggled with several small but nagging injuries, including a blister on his serving hand that drew gasps from the crowd when one TV camera got a little too close. Wawrinka was the first man in 21 years to beat the #1 and #2-ranked players (Novak Djokovic) en route to a Grand Slam title.

—4—For the first time in his career, world #1 Tiger Woods failed to make the PGA Tour’s secondary cut at Torrey Pines in San Diego. His 7-over-par 79 was his worst in an event he has won seven times. And it all means….meh, nothing. It’s the start of the season, and now, with girlfriend skier Lindsey Vonn sitting out the Olympics, they’ll enjoy a few free days before heading to Dubai.

5Finally, Saturday Night Live did two great sports parodies on “Weekend Update” the other night, one with Russian villagewoman, “Olya Povlatsky.” “So Olya, are your surprised the Olympics are coming to Russia?” “I surprised anyone would come to Russia…What was the other options, Haiti or middle of ocean?” The other had Kenan Thompson playing the Miami police officer who arrested Justin Bieber for drinking and drag racing. “You must have been shocked to pull someone over and discover it was Justin Bieber.” “Oh Cecily, I work in Miami. Nothin’ shocks me. When I pull somebody over, they usually got a tiger in the back seat, and an alligator in the trunk to guard their cocaine. It’s the only city where NBA players are the best behaved people.”

High Five! Home Runs, Princes, and Peace Out

Greetings sports fans and wanna-bes! It was a tough weekend in American news, so here’s your weekly High Five for a little fun with the office, the other half, and the offspring…

Still more hits than Prince Fielder.

Still more hits than Prince Fielder.

1. Today, both ends of the “Happiest Thing a Girl or Guy Could Imagine” spectrum are revving up: on the gals’ side, Kate and William are expecting a royal prince or princess any minute. For the guys, every little boy dreams of slamming a 400-foot home run. Tonight our American “Prince” (Fielder – Detroit) will attempt to be the first three-time champion at the All-Star Home Run Derby. But he has Bryce Harper (Washington), Michael Cuddyer (Colorado), and many other stars standing in the way. No matter what, a great TV night for the family – 8 p.m. ET ESPN.

2. Speaking of Prince, the “Basketball Player Formerly Known as Ron Artest,” Metta World Peace, is leaving the Lakers, following teammate Dwight Howard, who also said goodbye to Hollywood last week for the Houston Rockets. As of this writing, free agent small forward Peace wants to play for the New York Knicks, but has also said he doesn’t want to play for anyone at all, that he wants “to go to China, or coach or play arena football.” Peace out.

3. The San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, has struggled this season to regain his former glory. Saturday he did it, achieving his first “no-hitter” against the San Diego Padres, recording a season-high 13 strikeouts and a career-high 148 pitches for the 9-0 win. (For a pitcher to throw even 100 pitches in one game is considered the time to bring in a reliever.) A “no-hitter” has some nuances to it, but is basically a game in which a team cannot manage a single hit off the pitcher in at least nine innings.

4. Golfer Jordan Spieth, 19, won the John Deere Classic on Sunday in a five-hole, sudden death playoff with defending champion Zach Johnson and David Hearn. He is now a full PGA Tour member and the youngest winner of a Tour event since 1931.

5. As the Aaron Hernandez (former New England Patriot) murder case unfolds, the NFL continues to take hits—from its own members. Two Denver Broncos front office men, Tom Heckert and Matt Russell, have been charged with drunken driving (which the organization tried to hide, but had to confess after Russell allegedly crashed into a police cruiser July 6). Meanwhile, another Patriot, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving on Thursday. Dennard was already on probation for assaulting a police officer last year. Finally, Atlanta Falcon Roddy White has apologized for his tweet Saturday night suggesting the Trayvon Martin jurors should “kill themselves.”

The Martin case, of course, is a high-emotion one; many people, especially athletes, took to social media with immediate gut reactions. But drunken driving, assault, murder…when does the NFL begin policing itself? Are the teams responsible for holding players accountable for violent behavior? Is that even possible? I don’t know, and I’d love to hear your thoughts…