Tag Archive | "augusta national"

LOL at Terrell Stoglin — a half-decent player…yapping about being under-coached

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LOL at Terrell Stoglin — a half-decent player…yapping about being under-coached

Posted on 10 April 2014 by Drew Forrester

I’ve had four hours of sleep before, so I know what it feels like.

Actually, the night before I got four hours of sleep, I got four hours of sleep.

I returned from a phenomenal day at Augusta National this morning, actually, as my flight touched down just before midnight, which put me back home and in bed at 12:44 am.

Four hours later, I was up and at ‘em.

The night before (Tuesday, I think?), I got home in the early evening after a wild day on the golf course that saw my Calvert Hall team edge a highly talented McDonogh team in our conference opening match.  I didn’t wind up hitting the pillow until 11:00 pm on Tuesday and got up at 3:00 am to catch a 5:10 am Wednesday morning flight with a couple of friends who were making the Augusta trip with me.

It was my 4th time, but their first visit to the hallowed grounds of Augusta National.

Eight hours of sleep in two nights.

At my age, that hurts.

But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I treat the Masters and Augusta National like they’re Bruce Springsteen.  If Springsteen’s playing somewhere nearby, I’m getting a ticket and I’m going to the show.  I’ve seen “The Boss” twenty times in my life.

If Augusta National is going to host this little golf tournament every April, and I can get a ticket at a reasonable price, I’m going down there.

Some people go to the Smithsonian every year or two.  That’s what museums are for, right?

I classify Augusta National as a “museum”.

I’ll make that field trip every year as long as I can.

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Speaking of golf, the Washington Capitals will be teeing it up at their favorite course this coming Monday, after being eliminated from this year’s NHL playoffs last night by virtue of the Columbus 3-1 win over Dallas.

This, honestly, could be just what the Caps need.

The time has come for Ted Leonsis to take a long, hard look at his hockey franchise and plot out the next decade.

Start over with a new GM?

Adam Oates…should he stay or should he go?

Alexander Ovechkin?  Player to bank on or player to move?

There’s lots to discuss in the next few months with the Caps, but one thing’s for certain:  In 2013-14, they just weren’t good enough, plain and simple.

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Terrell Stoglin cracked me up the other night with his showboating on Twitter.

Speaking about Mark Turgeon, Stoglin quipped:  Sum ppl can’t coach talent

That’s weird…when I think of Stoglin, I think this:  Sum talent just can’t be coached

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#WNSTSweet16 Masters Moments of the last 30 years

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#WNSTSweet16 Masters Moments of the last 30 years

Posted on 08 April 2014 by Drew Forrester

The greatest golfing event in the world deserves its own list.

I’d like to think this one is right up my alley, particularly since I literally recorded every final round of the Masters (on those things called “VHS tapes) from 1986 through 2003.

I can tell you what Ashworth shirt Fred Couples was wearing when he won in 1992.  I remember what major league baseball team logo he wore on his sleeve in the Friday round of the ’92 Masters.  Do you?  How about 1998 when O’Meara won?  What was the name of the guy who had his first major title sewed up until O’Meara went birdie-birdie to steal the title?  When Angel Cabrera won in 2009, he edged Kenny Perry and some other guy you probably don’t remember in a playoff.

I remember all three of those things:  for the record, it was, in order, Florida Marlins, David Duval and Chad Campbell.

I can also tell you the sixteen most memorable Masters “moments” of the last 30 years, which you are about to read here.  Please note, before we start, you will NOT see anyone “winning” as a moment.  You might see someone making a winning putt as a “moment”, but you aren’t going to see Vijay Singh winning the 2000 Masters as a memorable “moment”.  Reason?  It wasn’t.

So, here, without further adieu, the Sweet 16 Masters Moments of the last 30 years.

(Please see next page)

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Gutless Caps, injured Woods highlight an Orioles-less Tuesday

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Gutless Caps, injured Woods highlight an Orioles-less Tuesday

Posted on 02 April 2014 by Drew Forrester

Our very own Ed Frankovic chronicled the Caps 5-0 drubbing last night with a perfect one-word description: quitters.

I know, that’s the worst thing you can say about a player or a team, but it sure fit the Washington Capitals last night when the Dallas Stars strolled into the Verizon Center and pasted Alex Ovechkin and Company with the playoffs essentially on the line for the home team.

With every point mattering now, the Caps turned in one of the all-time turd performances of the Ovechkin era.  He was essentially a no-show on Saturday vs. Boston, Sunday at Nashville and then again last night at home when the Caps scored zero goals with the playoffs waving in the foreground.

It was awful.  It was truly “old school” Caps hockey.  It made me harken back to the mid 1970′s when my Dad and I would settle in behind the goal at the old Cap Centre to watch the Caps get blasted by just about everyone on a nightly basis.

I felt like we were going to see Robert Picard or Hartland Monahan take a shift in the 3rd period.

Some of this heartless play can be traced back to the first period of a 4-3 shootout loss to Nashville on Sunday night when Predators in-house goon, Rich Clune, beat up on rookie Patrick Wey when all he did – gasp! – was check Clune into the boards on a completely fair and legit hockey play.  That Clune didn’t get the crap knocked out of him later on in the game by a gang of Caps was proof-positive of the yellow streak running down their collective backs.  I get it, you’re playing for points, not penalty minutes, but Clune’s punishing pounding of Wey deserved a massive dose of retaliation at some point before the night ended.

When Clune didn’t get the stuffing knocked out of him in the second or third period of that Nashville game, I knew then, for sure, this was a gutless bunch.

I wrote a piece here at WNST.net about the Caps a month ago and said then — and stand behind it now — that this organization needs a summer of ’14 overhaul that should include a deep, in-depth look at Ovechkin and whether or not the franchise can win on the ice with him.

People thought I was nuts.  ”He’s a 50-goal scorer, Drew!  You can’t get rid of those guys.”

Rob Carlin of Comcast Sports Net laughed at me on the air when I asked him about Ovechkin’s future in D.C.

No one was laughing last night.

Except the Dallas Stars.

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Tiger Woods out of the Masters isn’t a great surprise to me.

You can’t play golf when you’re hurt, even if he did win the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg.  Then again, he only had to beat Rocco Mediate.

Woods, though, needs more than a surgically repaired back to return to his form of old.

Let’s face it, he wasn’t winning the Masters this year anyway, bad back or not.  He hasn’t won there since 2005 when he beat Chris DiMarco in a playoff.  He can’t win at Augusta anymore because under the heat of the Sunday back-nine pressure, he can’t putt the greens.

That said, it’s not like Tiger has become Briny Baird or anything.  He did win five events last year.

But the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

Ever since Woods beat Mediate at Torrey Pines in that U.S. Open playoff, he has as many major wins as…well…Briny Baird.

There are only three things that can get Woods back on track in his chase to catch Jack Nicklaus and his record of eighteen major titles.  One would be complete physical health.  He’s had a myriad of injuries over the years, none overwhelmingly serious, but bothersome enough to derail him from time-to-time.  There’s one certainty about playing professional golf that Woods is now finding out in high-def:  You can’t possibly play high-level golf if you’re injured.  Number two would be Tiger Woods of 2014 putting like Tiger Woods of 2004.  For whatever reason, Woods hasn’t putted well since his return to the game in 2009 following his ACL surgery and personal bump-in-the-run with then-wife Elin.  Some of Tiger’s tee-to-green stats have improved under the tutelage of instructor Sean Foley, but putting certainly hasn’t.  You can’t win major championships if your putting is – no pun intended here – sub-par.  Third, and there’s no chance of this happening but it deserves mentioning – a reconciliation with former teacher Butch Harmon could be the tonic Woods needs to return to his past glory.  For starters, Phil Mickelson wouldn’t allow Harmon to “co-teach” both the lefthander and Woods.  And, as we know about Woods, the chances of him begging Butch to come back are slim and none.

With all due respect to some bad personal decisions Tiger made when he was chasing waitresses around Orlando in the late 2000′s, the worst decision he ever made was firing Butch Harmon.  Period.

More than anything, though, what has plagued Woods over the last six years is simple.  He hasn’t been healthy and he can’t make putts under the gun.

And he won’t get the chance to dispel either of those theories next week at Augusta, nor would it appear he’ll be ready to chase his 4th U.S. Open title at Pinehurst in June.

It all adds up to a semi-boring Masters, as we all know the truth about the PGA Tour.  With Tiger in the field, it’s must-watch TV.  When Tiger isn’t playing, you’re mowing your lawn.

 

 

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Drew’s Morning Dish — Tues., April 16

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Drew’s Morning Dish — Tues., April 16

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Drew Forrester

Consider this a full meal, rather than just a dish.

But it needs to be said by someone.  Most of the national media won’t criticize Augusta National over “Tiger-Gate” because they’ll lose their credentials.  Just ask Jack Whitacker or Gary McCord what happens when you ruffle those Georgia feathers.  And all you have to do is find Alex Miceli or Peter Kostis and ask either of them what happens when Tiger Woods gets his dander up after you’ve pointed the finger at him one too many times.

I’m a nobody, in Baltimore, so fortunately that means I don’t have to be afraid to speak the truth about what happened last Friday and Saturday with the greatest golfer and greatest tournament on the planet.

Tiger Woods had a chance on Saturday morning to raise the bar of expectations from our nation’s superior athletes.  He had that chance due to a strange set of circumstances that included his own mistake and some other oddities from people who should have known better.

Rather than distinguish himself forever, Woods elected to do what virtually every other person in his position would have done:  He bailed on his opportunity to show an extraordinary amount of integrity and sportsmanship, instead opting to stick it out and hope he won — because, as the ad he was recently featured in proclaimed:  ”Winning Takes Care of Everything”.

By now, you know the story, even if you’re not a golfer.  For those of you who ARE golfers, you’ll understand the opinion I’m about to express.  You might not agree with it.  But you’ll at least understand it if you’ve played the game at a reasonably high level and done so with respect for the rules.  If you’re not a golfer, you probably should excuse yourself at this point and continue on with your day, for it’s highly unlikely you can grasp the true nature of the events of Friday and Saturday and their historical importance to both the sport and to Woods himself.

Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer I’ve ever seen.  I did not see Ben Hogan in his prime, nor did I see Jack Nicklaus in his prime.  My only memory of Nicklaus as a competitive golfer is his ’86 Masters triumph when Seve Ballesteros gift-wrapped Jack’s sixth green jacket by not being able to hold on to a 3-shot lead with six holes to play.

Whether Tiger is the greatest player ever isn’t part of this discussion, but the fact that he’s the greatest player playing the sport right now IS a huge part of it.

Some would say he’s not only established himself as the world’s best golfer since the turn of the century, but an argument can be made he remains the world’s most dominant athlete during that time, regardless of sport.

Following his rules faux pas on Friday afternoon at Augusta, Tiger signed an incorrect scorecard by testifying to a score of 71 when, in fact, he shot 73.

That fact can’t be debated.

Woods signed an incorrect scorecard by virtue of taking an improper drop on the 15th hole of Friday’s second round.

He was saved by Masters tournament officials who decided on Saturday morning to waive the penalty of disqualification and instead simply penalize Woods the 2-strokes he would have been penalized on Friday had either he or tournament rules officials discovered his infraction PRIOR to his card being signed at the conclusion of Friday’s round.

Before 2011, Woods would have simply been disqualified had the rules infraction been discovered AFTER he signed his card.  No questions asked, no discussion, no “waiving the penalty of disqualification”.

A rule established by the R&A and the USGA in 2011 allows for tournament committee members to waive the penalty of disqualification if “exceptional individual circumstances” are discovered.

In this case, on Saturday morning, the Masters decided their own negligence in not penalizing Tiger’s Friday afternoon rules infraction was “an exceptional individual circumstance”, thus they tacked on the 2-shot penalty from Friday and allowed him to play on Saturday and Sunday.

Suddenly, Augusta National deemed it was THEIR responsibility to make sure Tiger Woods followed the rules of golf.

Somehow, Woods was excused for not knowing the rules and not playing by them.  I can just see Bobby Jones spitting out his glass of wine in heaven.

Once this all came to light on Saturday morning, Woods should have stepped in immediately and said, “With all due respect, while I appreciate the rule that’s in place for this sort of situation, I’m going to withdraw from the event based solely on the fact that I’m responsible for my own scorecard and I’m also responsible for knowing the rules of golf…and obviously, based on the situation from Friday afternoon, I wasn’t in compliance with the rules when I signed for my second-round score of 71.”

Woods could have gone on to carefully elaborate that he wasn’t trying to cheat when he dropped his ball two yards behind its original point after hitting his 3rd shot in the water at #15 on Friday.  He could have simply told the truth:  ”I dropped my ball two yards behind its original point — and when I was informed that the rule for that particular drop doesn’t allow the ball to be dropped in that spot, it was clear I wasn’t in compliance with the rules.  Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the infraction, nor did my playing competitors, so the ensuing 2-stroke penalty made my score 73 — not the 71 I signed for on Friday.”

(Please see next page)

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Drew’s Morning Dish – Mon., April 15

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Drew’s Morning Dish – Mon., April 15

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Drew Forrester

Greg Norman couldn’t do it.

But the guy all of Australia said was “the next Greg Norman” finally did.

Good on ya mate.

Adam Scott proved once again what anyone who plays golf seriously already knew.  It always comes down to putting.  Scott’s 20-footer at 18 in regulation, the 4-footer at the first playoff hole, and the 12-footer that won him the green jacket were all putts he’ll remember forever, particularly since two of them were of the “miss or go home” variety.

That he coughed up the British Open in the final hour last July makes Sunday’s win at the Masters even more gratifying.  He won’t be this generation’s Colin Montgomerie, a player with great talent who brushed up against a major title or two but never could close the door.  Now, with this win, Scott likely will be a force in major championship golf for as long as puts in the work that’s required to win one of golf’s four majors.

He’s no longer “the best player without a major championship”.

That’s a great way to wake up on a Monday morning.

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Good luck Alex Len.

You’re gonna get your feelings hurt, kid.

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Don’t look now, but if the season ended today (man, I HATE when people say that…it’s NOT ending today), Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox would be your Cy Young winner.  In three starts, his ERA is 0.41 and his WHIP is 0.95.  He can’t pitch every day, though, which means the Red Sox are doomed for a .500 or so finish.  But for years, people have been talking about this guy as a Cy Young-type and in 2013, albeit over three starts, he’s showing that form.

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I completely understand (I don’t like it — but I understand) why the folks at Augusta didn’t DQ Tiger Woods on Saturday morning.  They took the liberty of invoking  a new rule put in place by the R&A and the USGA in 2011 that basically says “a penalty of disqualification can be waived if the circumstances are deemed extraordinary…”  In this case, it would appear as if Tiger not knowing the rules — or, admittedly, trying to nudge his way past one of the one without anyone noticing — is now an “extraordinary circumstance”.  And, further, it would appear that Augusta National’s inability to correctly deal with Tiger’s rules blunder on Friday afternoon is also now labeled “an extraordinary circumstance”.  I’m a big Tiger Woods fan, but the fact he played in the Masters on Saturday and Sunday is disappointing.  I like golf the way it used to be played.  If you broke a rule and it was caught during the round, before you signed your card, there was a penalty.  If you broke a rule and it wasn’t discovered until after you signed your card, you were then disqualified for having signed an incorrect scorecard.

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I also understand why folks lashed out at Adam Jones after his bubble-blowing faux pas on Friday night in New York.  It looks like you’re hot dogging when you blow a bubble in the middle of an effort to make a play, in the same way it would be considered hot dogging if the second baseman caught a grounder and instead of throwing it to first base the “traditional way” he instead decided to throw it behind his back to first base.  I don’t think Jones was hot dogging it on Friday night.  I think blowing bubbles while you’re trying to play professional baseball looks dumb, personally, but I’m of the belief he simply made an error.  Nothing more.

Talk to you tomorrow.

DF

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Snedeker, Cabrera lead talented Masters leaderboard with 18 holes to play

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Snedeker, Cabrera lead talented Masters leaderboard with 18 holes to play

Posted on 14 April 2013 by Drew Forrester

A host of players seeking their place in championship golf will battle it out today at Augusta, while a couple of former champions will once again try to prove that experience, above everything else, counts most at the Masters.

Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker will play in the final group on Sunday, both sitting at -7 for the tournament.  Cabrera already owns one green jacket – and a U.S. Open title – and is a perennial contender here with his bombing drives and soft touch around the greens.  Snedeker is enjoying a terrific two year run that has garnered lots of “best American player” discussion.

Either of those men could win on Sunday and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.  In fact, if I had a dollar to wager this morning and could get decent enough odds, I’d take Snedeker to win the tournament.  He’s ready.

Oddly enough, an Australian has never won the Masters.  Today, three Aussies have a shot at winning the title.  Adam Scott (-6), Marc Leishman (-5) and Jason Day (-5) are all one great round away from capturing their first major championship.  Of the three, Scott seems the most likely to break through.  He’s played well at Augusta over the last two years, had a chance to win in 2011 before Charl Schwartzel’s back nine birdie barrage, and coughed up the British Open last July when the trophy was sitting there waiting for him.  If any player in the top 10 “deserves” to win his first major title, it’s Scott.  Day and Leishman are both still in the hunt, but neither has the pedigree of Adam Scott.

Matt Kuchar put together a solid third round of 69 and is just three back at 4-under par.  Like Snedeker, all that’s missing from Kuchar’s resume is a major title and this could be the year he gets it.  A Sunday round of 66 or 67 could be enough for the likeable Georgia Tech grad.

Tiger Woods told reporters after Saturday’s round of 70 “I’m still in the ballgame” and, at 3-under par, he certainly is.  Woods is still in the tournament thanks to a friendly ruling on Sunday morning, and if he goes on to somehow win the event today, he’ll have to battle years of asterisk-discussion when folks bring up the 2013 Masters.  His Saturday play was decent enough, with three nice par-saves down the stretch helping him put together his second sub-par round of the event.  Tiger’s back-nine play was encouraging on Saturday, as he shot 34 on the inward nine, something he hasn’t done often over the last few years.  For TW to win major #15 on Sunday, he’ll need at least 66 on his card at day’s end.

Tim Clark is also at -3 and lurking, although there’s nothing in his biography that indicates he’ll produce a second consecutive round of 67 and move into contention on Sunday.  He’s a nice player and all, but suggesting he can work his way through the pack on Sunday and win a major title is just a tad too ambitious.

It sets up for a great Sunday of Masters theater.  You have the on-going Woods controversy, a couple of Americans in Snedeker and Kuchar, and three Australians looking to end a country’s frustration with the greatest golf tournament in the world.

 

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Day leads at Augusta after 36 holes; Woods falters on back nine

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Day leads at Augusta after 36 holes; Woods falters on back nine

Posted on 13 April 2013 by Drew Forrester

They’re halfway home at Augusta National and it’s anyone’s ballgame.

Just the way it should be.

On a day when the weather changed as often as the leaderboard, those who went out early struggled in a morning drizzle that led to slow greens, while players who drew the afternoon tee-time had to battle freshening winds that made both back-nine par 5′s tough to reach in two.  No one, thankfully, gained much of an advantage based on when they played.

Through 36 holes, Jason Day (-6) is the leader, with 53-year old Fred Couples and first-round leader Marc Leishman both one back at 5-under par.  Nineteen others are at 2-under par or better, including Angel Cabrera (-4), Tiger Woods (-3) and Rory McIlroy (-2).

Woods was tied for the lead at one point, but once again failed to play the back-nine well and made bogey at fifteen and eighteen to offset a front nine 33.  In fairness, Tiger’s round of 71 could have been worse.  He made three par-saving putts on the back nine – at 12, 14 and 16 – and had to coax home a 4-footer at the 15th to save bogey after his 3rd shot collided with the flag stick and caromed into the water in front of the green.  Tiger’s 71 could have easily been 74 had it not been for a solid putting round that was only blemished by a missed 8-footer at 18 that led to a closing bogey-5.

Couples continues to be the most interesting story at Augusta.  The 1992 winner is seemingly always on the weekend leaderboard and Friday’s round of 71 puts him in the final group on Saturday afternoon with Day.  The other important note for Couples: he drew the late-Thursday/early-Friday tee-time, which means he’ll have nearly 24 hours of rest prior to teeing it up on Saturday.  That’s huge for any player, but particularly a 53-year old with a balky back.  Don’t be surprised if Couples is still in the hunt with 18 holes to go.

This could turn out to be Day’s coronation as a world-class player.  He was in the hunt for a green jacket in 2011 until Charl Schwartzel went nuts on the final four holes.  Day was also the runner-up at the Rory McIlroy Invitational, otherwise known as the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.  He’s one of the Tour’s most talented players when his putter behaves, which it did with great obedience on Friday when he made made four birdies on the inward nine.

Angel Cabrera and Schwartzel are both on the leaderboard and history is on their side, if nothing else.  Both have the experience to win at Augusta and Cabrera, in particular, has a great track record at the Masters.

The traditional saying of “The Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday” doesn’t do justice to the fact that Saturday is always “moving day” in golf.  Take a look at the leaderboard at 2pm today.   Then take a look again at 6pm or so.  It’s likely to tell a different story.

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Drew’s Morning Dish – Fri., April 5

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Drew’s Morning Dish – Fri., April 5

Posted on 05 April 2013 by Drew Forrester

In case you missed it, I picked the Orioles and Dodgers to go to the World Series during this past Monday’s edition of The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction.

A few of you sent me emails filled with jabs, jeers and LOL’s.

Well, as the great Steve Perry of Journey once sang, “Who’s Laughing Now?”

Wait, that was who “Who’s Crying Now?”

Same difference.  You get the point.

See you in October, baby.

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Now we’re finding out the truth about Auburn football.  It basically looked like this: A bunch of players consistently failing drug tests for synthetic marijuana, to go along with paying the players and changing grades to make sure they remained academically eligble.

One of the dead giveaways came when Auburn school officials reviewed the Basket Weaving 101 final exam of star running back Michael Dyer.

He evidently needed 55 minutes to complete the 4-question test and do you know what he got on it?

Ketchup.

There is some good news though.  The grad student who wound up later taking the test for Dyer got 4-out-of-4 and Dyer was allowed to continue his football career at Auburn.

Whew…that was close.

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Amidst all of the discussion about Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice, I’m stunned no one has mentioned this and it’s the first thing that came to my mind when I watched the video.

Big ups to the kids on that Rutgers team for not slugging that idiot.

Seriously.

Those kids showed TREMENDOUS restraint.

Actually, they’re not kids.

They’re adults.

And, despite his position as their coach, what happened in that video – and countless other times at practice – was cause for a fist-fight if I’ve ever seen one.  Usually, when one adult shoves another adult or throws a basketball at another adult, someone gets punched.

If your coach makes you do 50 push-ups or run the steps, you mutter “a-hole” under your breath and off you to go start the push-ups or hit the steps.

But when that Mike-Rice-sort-of-aggressiveness takes over and the coach goes completely out of his mind, anything goes at that point.

Here’s a “Morning Dish Golf Clap” for those kids at Rutgers who didn’t haul off and knock that’s clown teeth out.

They’re the winners in this one.

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Brendon Ayanbadejo hinted that one of the reasons the Ravens let him go was his position on gay rights.

I understand.

It’s never easy to get fired.

You wind up saying something about the boss’s niece that you shouldn’t or you yell, “You’re a lousy softball player!” to the guy taking over for you.

You say anything you can to remind people that there’s no way you got fired just because they have someone coming along that might do your job a hair better than you.

You come up with a wild story about being released in part because you think gay people should be allowed to marry — “because there’s no way I got fired for my production.”

Brendon knows why he was released.

He’s 37 years old and he makes too much money.

Done.

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Admit it.

It’s kind of a dreary morning when you wake up eager to check and see how bad the Astros lost and you buzz through the scores only to find out they had an off-day.

They should have to play every single day or night.

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I can’t believe people in Baltimore actually took to Twitter on Thursday and snickered, laughed and giggled when Brian Roberts came up lame in the top of the 9th inning with some sort of leg injury.

You know the rules:  You NEVER, EVER, EVER laugh at someone when they get hurt.  NEVER.  It’s just not cool.

Unless he plays for the Flyers.  Then it’s fine.

In fact, it’s recommended.

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Every Friday on the show, I play a bunch of small clips of various Bruce Springsteen songs coming back from commercial break.

I call it “Friday with the Boss”.

I also play a full song at the beginning of the show in place of my traditional show-starter, “Raised on the Radio” by The Rayvns.

This morning, I started with “Land of Hope and Dreams” by Springsteen.

It’s opening day in Baltimore.  Our baseball team is good once again.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a ticket to this afternoon’s game, you’ll be sitting in Camden Yards — Baltimore’s own version of “Land and Hope and Dreams”.

Have fun.

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And finally, for the last two weeks or so, I’ve been trying to buy Masters practice round tickets from various sources on the internet.  I’m going down to Augusta Monday night and will hang out at the greatest course in America on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Anyway – scammers are EVERYWHERE on the internet, as you all probably know.

Some of them are sort of obvious…like one guy who was selling Thursday tickets for $200 each “just to get rid of them”.

Yeah, sure.

Some of the scammers are much more “professional” about it and you have to really be paying attention or you’ll get hoodwinked.

I saw one ad, though, that didn’t take much investigating to know, for sure, it was definitely a scam.

“FOUR LOWER RESERVE SEATS TO THE MASTERS TUESDAY PRACTICE ROUND! GREAT PRICE FOR THE BEST SEATS AT THE COURSE!”

What a shame.  I was looking for something in the upper deck.

 

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Tiger starting to quiet the critics again as Augusta looms near

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Tiger starting to quiet the critics again as Augusta looms near

Posted on 25 March 2013 by Drew Forrester

Just one more win, one walk through the Georgia Pines in a few weeks, and Tiger Woods will officially be back.

And golf – at least the golf they play on the PGA Tour – will be fun again.

If Woods can win at Augusta on April 14, he’ll return to his rightful spot as the game’s most dominating player.  I know, I know, he won his 3rd tournament in two months on Monday at Arnold Palmer’s event in Orlando.  They have real players there, admittedly, but winning that event for Woods is akin to you successfully stopping the ice cream truck in front of your house on a lazy, humid summer evening in July.

Some players don’t win eight tournament in a 20-year career on the TOUR.  Tiger has now won Arnie’s event eight times.  How’s that for perspective?

But even a return to the world’s #1 ranking with his win on Monday doesn’t yet qualify Woods as “back”.  That won’t happen until he lifts another major championship trophy, something he hasn’t done since 2008 when he one-legged his way around Torrey Pines and out-gutted Rocco Mediate to win his 3rd U.S. Open.  It doesn’t feel like nearly five years since Tiger captured a major, but the calendar doesn’t lie.

Watching Woods cruise around Doral two weeks ago and then watching his equally impressive performance in Orlando over this past weekend was virtually enough evidence to proclaim he’s back.  But only a major title will do that.

For the sake of golf, let’s all hope Tiger cashes in at Augusta and gets that 15th major title.

Without him competing and winning over the last five years, major championship golf has given us great players with the personalities of an ironing board — guys like Webb Simpson, Stewart Cink and Keegan Bradley to name a few.  Nice players and all, but no one is going to put off cutting the grass to get inside and watch them play the last four holes of any tournament.

Rory McIlroy won a couple of majors while Tiger was re-fueling for his final decade of championship pursuit, but his game is now on hiatus while he plays with new clubs and a new girlfriend.

McIlroy is a nice kid and a terrific player, but international golf doesn’t start and stop with him.

When Woods wins, the world of golf wins.

It’s not all that different in the NBA right now.  When “King James” wins, so does the league.

To see Tiger again twirling the club after a 231 yard five-iron into a par-5 or giving us the fist pump after a 20-footer finds the hole — there’s not much in golf better than that.  But doing it in Orlando on a Monday afternoon is nothing like doing it on the 17th hole at Augusta.  Some guy named Kevin Streelman won last week in Tampa Bay when Tiger by-passed the event and decided to let the rest of the TOUR make some money.  No one like Streelman or Brian Gay is going to beat Woods at Augusta, you can make book on that.

The road to breaking the career title mark (18) of Jack Nicklaus is still far away for Tiger.  He has to win four more to tie.  That’s quite a feat, no matter how great you are and how many you already have in the bank.  But, in any given year, only 20-25 players are truly capable of winning a major title.  Woods, of course, is one of those.  So, he doesn’t have to beat 155 other players at The Masters or the U.S. Open or the British Open or the PGA.  He only needs to beat about two dozen other players.  And he just needs to do that four times in the next forty of those events he enters.

I’d say it’s still 50/50 at best that Woods ties Jack’s mark, but his next best chance comes up in two weeks at Augusta National.

One thing for certain:  No one in the world can make the Masters special by winning except for Tiger.

When he wins, golf wins.

 

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