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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 — Mon., June 17

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Drew’s Morning Dish — Mon., June 17

Posted on 17 June 2013 by Drew Forrester

The 113th U.S. Open is in the books and history will show Justin Rose as the winner.

He did win the tournament.

But, the golf course the tournament was contested on was the real winner of the last four days.  Only 6800 yards and located on a measly 111 acres, Merion was up to the task of challenging the best golfers in the world.  Yes, it required the USGA to stick the pins in some questionable positions on a handful of occasions over the four days, but when you have 360 yard par-four holes, you can’t stick the flags right in the middle of the green or 10-under par will be the typical score.  The par-3 third hole was made into a bit of a joke by the USGA, who decided Sunday was the right day to make it a 274-yard hole into the prevailing wind.

That said, when you’re trying to identify the best golfer in the country, it doesn’t hurt to throw a bit of unfair in there to see how everyone handles the friction of questionable pins, fast greens and a pace of play that bordered on silly.

All told — Merion wasn’t an ideal place for spectators, sponsors and, at times, even the players, but tee-to-green the course was among the most memorable spots for a U.S. Open over the last twenty years.

Here’s a quick analysis of the winners and losers from the 2013 U.S. Open:

Winner:  Justin Rose — finally broke through to win a major title and get that proverbial “monkey off his back”.  Like most major championships, this event at Merion was won by the guy who holed the most putts on the final day.  Produced two glorious shots at the 18th hole on Sunday, a fitting way to end a 17-year English drought in major championship golf.  Has the game to win any of the other three major championships.

Loser:  Hunter Mahan — lost his golf swing in the final hour and went from tied for the lead to taking FOOOORRRRRREEEEVVVVEEEEERRRRRRR to play the final three holes.  Someone needs to show him the “While we’re young” commercials.  Still a player very capable of claiming a major title but until he does it, questions will loom about his ability to finish off winnable events.  Seemed a little “too happy” at the end of the day on Sunday.

Winner:  Phil Mickelson — didn’t win, but acquitted himself well on a day when three putts (#1, #2, #16) that coulda-shoulda-woulda turned out to be the difference between winning and losing.  Two back-nine wedge shots (tee shot at #13, second at #15) were the ones that did him in, particularly the approach at fifteen which was right in his wheel house with a back right pin that favored his left-to-right ball flight.  Dodged the question about Mahan’s slow play potentially distracting him on the final three holes, but it surely couldn’t have helped.  Still, at age 43, proved once again he’s among the world’s best when it comes to playing tough courses in sometimes unreasonable conditions.

Loser:  Luke Donald — spit the bit early, conking a girl in the elbow at the 3rd hole with his tee shot and never really recovering from that unnerving situation.  Played as well as anyone on the back nine, but wasn’t a factor after such a tough start.  Still without a major title and now has to start facing those Lee Westwood-type questions of “when are you going to win one?”

Winner:  Jason Day — has been one of golf’s best performers in major championships over the last three years.  Putting saved him throughout the back nine, but the missed 5-footer and bogey at #18 dropped him to +3 and made the final hole much easier for Justin Rose to stomach.  Has become a much better driver of the golf ball, something that held him back when he first showed up on TOUR five years ago.  He’s going to win a major soon.

Loser:  Rory McIlroy — embarrassed himself by bending his wedge on the 11th hole after a less-than-stellar approach shot.  Angrily threw a club earlier in the round after a poor shot, something the USGA will probably address with him in the form of a nice “reminder letter” that champion golfers aren’t expected to behave like that at U.S. Open events.

Winner: Billy Horschel — anyone who has the nerve to wear those pants in front of 25,000 spectators and a hundred million people watching on TV all over the world is a winner just for that alone.  Did let his well-known temper get to him late in Saturday’s round and on occasion Sunday as well, but anyone who drives the ball that straight and that far is going to be heard from in major events for a long time to come.  Didn’t putt well enough to win, but once he becomes a great putter he’ll be tough to beat.

Loser: Tiger Woods — it’s now five years since his last major title and there’s no relief in sight as long as he continues to putt like a 6-handicap in major tournaments.  No matter what denials he offers to the media, his putting in majors isn’t nearly as solid as in “regular” TOUR events, which is why he’s no longer winning them.  Never looked comfortable with the golf course from the first tee shot on Thursday.  At least he didn’t embarrass himself with junior golf behavior like his Nike-mate, McIlroy, but that’s about the only positive he can take from this week’s event.

 

 

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