Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tiggy Tiger

Tiger Woods is coming back to golf...at the Masters. If you had been anywhere near a sports website, or a television that had a sports channel on, you undoubtedly heard the news. And from the standpoint of a fan of the game of golf, I for one, am excited. It certainly helps that I am a fan of Tiger Woods as well.

Competitively speaking, Bay Hill a week before The Masters would have been a far better tournament to return to. Having a week of the grind under his belt would have done nothing but helped the world's #1 player. However, from a comfort level, The Masters is the perfect place for him to come back. The crowds at The Masters are always calm and collected, because if you aren't they rip your pass away from you and you're out. This will help Tiger out a lot, because the hecklers will not be out in full force as they would be in Orlando.

Now let me touch on Tiger's character. Did he mess up? Yes. Is he sorry he did it? More than likely. Is he sorry that he got caught? You betcha. Should we NEVER forgive him for what he did? No way. In a time of athletes getting high and running people down, allegedly being a witness to a murder, being brought up on rape charges, and running illegal dog-fighting rings, this is small potatoes. I think we all need to take a big spoonful of perspective here, and take this for what it is. He showed a serious lack in judgement, integrity, as well as character...and for this, people should be bothered. But this is still an issue that he needs to work out with his wife and family, not with Joe-Golf-Fan who feels let down by him, Jane-Golf-Fan who feels bad for his wife, or Accenture+AT&T+Gatorade, or any other sponsor that dropped him during this time. He owes it to Elin and his kids...and that's it.

I look forward to watching him at The Masters, because how often does a player as special as this come around...anyone who loves the game should be happy to witness one of the greatest of all time. This guy is hoping that he comes out and drums the whole field.

~Golf Czar

Sunday, March 7, 2010

King James

First of all, before I start my overwhelming-Pistons-fan-driven hatred of LeBron James, let me say that I admire his desire to switch from #23 to #6...if it actually is for the reason that he stated. He said that it is based on him wanting to see Michael Jordan honored and his number retired by the league...I can dig that. If it has something to do with the team that he plans on being with next basketball season...I cannot dig that. With that said, here is the real reason I am on here talking about James.

I think the main thing holding him back is Mike Brown. Seriously...what has the man ever done as a coach aside from coaching a team crappy enough to win the LeBron James lottery? The Cavs were not a playoff team under him, they secured the #1 overall pick, and took James. That was a no-brainer. Now he has the daunting task of standing there and yelling at the other players on the team, pretending to draw up plays during time-outs (when everyone knows it's LeBron who is making all the calls), and looking completely dumb-founded and lost everytime they show him on camera. Jordan was the best to ever play the game (in this guy's opinion), but he still had Phil Jackson. It wasn't all Michael...someone taught him to run and operate The Triangle Offense.

A couple of weeks ago I watched the end of the Cavs/Magic game. The Cavs were down late so LeBron decided that it was time for him to take the game over and will his team to a win, like all great players do. Instead of driving to the hoop where he is most dangerous, he decided to jack up one missed 3-pointer after another, and the Cavs eventually lost the game. At that point Mike Brown should have called a time-out, gotten LeBron's attention, and reminded him that he is one of the biggest and strongest players in the league, and that he has a great first step. Drive the ball to the hoop, get the easy bucket, or force the Magic to foul you. Instead, Mike Brown stared up at the jumbo-tron looking dazed and confused like he always does, unable to figure out why his star player isn't knocking down every shot from 32 feet away. If for no other reason, James should leave Cleveland this summer to get away from the man holding him back. The Knicks have a coach that could really use LeBron's run-and-gun abilities...just sayin'.

LeBron is a tough character to hate. He has fun playing the game, he seems to be an upstanding dude, and he is certainly a VERY talented player. As a Pistons fan, I have to dislike him...but dammit I respect what he has done, and is doing for the game of basketball.

~Golf Czar

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh When The Saints.....

So I watched the Super Bowl (no big shocker there) last night. Yes, it was entertaining, all the way down to the half-time show. Yes, I said it...I loved the half-time show. The Who rocked the house. The music was good, the lighting was cool, and they played Pinball Wizard AND Teenage Wasteland.

But now onto the football game. If you had told me at the end of the first quarter that the Saints would hold the Colts to one more TD and put up 31 on them for the rest of the game, I may have spit my BL Smoothie (Bud Light) right out of my nose in a fit of laughter. But it really did happen. In a way in which I have never seen the Colts play, they got a lead and they sat on it. They did what I like to call "playing not to lose". The Saints however, did the exact opposite. They were a team that wasn't going to get down and out because of a 7 point deficit. They were hungry, aggressive, and played to win the game. Take the goal-line stand by the Colts defense. Now Indy has the ball in the shadow of their own goal-posts, up 7, with a chance to put together one of those drives that doesn't just take the wind out of the other team's sails, it straight up sinks their battleship. But instead, it's three straight runs and a punt. I consider this single posession to be the one that cost the Colts the game. The subsequent points on the Saints drive allowed them to get back in the game, and I don't think they do what they did to open the second half if they're down 2 scores.

Which leads me to the onside kick to start off the second half. In my opinion (which is what you get, it's my blog!), it was the single dumbest and most brilliant play call in Super Bowl history. I know I know, it worked and they got the ball back, and Manning had to sit on the sidelines and watch. But had it not worked, it would be talked about as the worst idea ever.

So the Saints came back to win, Tracy Porter had that interception before Manning even snapped the ball, and now we can all stop talking about the amazing recovery that New Orleans has made since the hurricane. Call me insensitive, but what does a Super Bowl win have to do with getting the city back on track? I don't hear anyone in an uproar because The Lions haven't won one...and Detroit has one of the highest jobless rates in the nation. Now all we have to deal with is Brett "Awe Shucks" Favre flip-flopping on his decision of retirement.

~Golf Czar

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How Bad Can They Be?

There are certain things in professional team sports that simply amaze me. Things like the Detroit Lions managing to go 0-16 in the course of a single season. And now there is another team that is going to follow suit. The NBA's New Jersey Nets. The Nets are currently a dismal 3-40...that just seems unacceptable to me. These are professional athletes, supposedly the best of the best at their respective sport. How is it, that out of 43 games they can only manage to win 3 of them? Wouldn't you assume that they could win a few more by accident? I don't really have a lot to say about this topic, just wanted to bring it up and see if anyone had any opinions on it. I personally like the idea of withholding pay or being allowed to release players from their contracts without being required to pay the remainder of the contract if performance continues to slip. Why should it be any different than the standards that regular people working regular jobs are held to?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kelly Cometh

So there's a new head coach in South Bend. Weis wasn't the guy to bring them back to glory, and he was deservedly relieved of his position as head coach. In comes Brian Kelly. A man who hasn't quite coached in the same spotlight as some of the other coaches that were on the short list of possible replacements, but that doesn't mean that he won't work at Notre Dame.

I stuck by Weis longer than most, but this season really got me on the other side of the fence. A few of their losses were the direct result of poor play calling, particularly in the red-zone. When the offensive line is all 6'6"+, 300lbs+, and Jimmy Clausen is throwing the ball to Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, and Kyle Rudolph, there is simply no reason that the offense should sputter out so many times in the red-zone. Also at times I got the feeling this season that Weis felt like he was bigger than Notre Dame, and that is a quality that a coach in South Bend simply cannot afford to have. Sure, no one will argue that Notre Dame needed Charlie Weis. He is responsible for some solid recruits coming to Notre Dame...but at the same time Weis needed Notre Dame as well. Neither is/was bigger than the other. This is an area where I feel Kelly will excel. He has always taken smaller schools and turned them into winners (Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, and his latest masterpiece at Cincinnati). Now he has a school where he can go out and get an even better athletic prospect, in an area that he already knows the recruiting trail quite well. This small-school mentality will allow him to fully embrace what it means to coach at Notre Dame...the tradition, the fans, the students, and the ambiance. This is something that a coach at Notre Dame has not done since Dr. Lou, and we all know how he did at ND...

Another area where I think Weis struggled was motivation. That's what a coach does...motivates his players to give 110%, stay hungry, and play every down of every game like it's for the national title. It's no small task convincing the best WR/QB/RB in the country why he needs to work hard and get better, rather than simply relying on God-given ability to play better than the other guy. If Brian Kelly can motivate the caliber of athletes that come to Notre Dame, it could finally propel them back into the national scene.

So while Kelly's lack in experience coaching agains the major college football powerhouses worries me, I am very excited about what he brings to the table in terms of coaching ability, recruiting, and motivation. It's time for Notre Dame to get back on top, instead of being known as the over-hyped media-queen that they have been for the past decade.

~Golf Czar

Saturday, November 7, 2009

David vs. Goliath

A sportswriter recently wrote an article about the football team from Boise State, and how they are struggling to get national recognition because the big BCS schools won't play them, and are shutting them out of their scheduling.

I personally do not think that Boise State is on the same level as the national powerhouses of the BCS conferences. While the big schools play what I believe to be a weak schedule, they are still far tougher in comparison to that of Boise State. Yeah, they beat Oregon, but it was in the first week of the season and now Oregon is playing like one of the best teams in the nation. But I find it hard to believe that Boise can't get a single big school besides Oregon to add them to their schedule. Now there is no way that the best of the best in terms of play and media recognition (AKA Texas, Florida, 'Bama, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma) will agree to play them because, well let's be honest, what do they have to gain from playing and beating a Boise State team? If they win, the media says that this is a WAC team and they should have won, and if they lose, they are chastised for losing to a team from a non-BCS school. Boise has A LOT to gain from a game like this...even in the event of a loss. If Boise loses close, they get a boost because they hung with the big boys of college football...if Boise wins, they are boosted up the polls faster than my beloved Fighting Irish when they win some games.

So is it worth it for a big school to put Boise State on their schedule? Not at all. Will they eventually do it? Maybe.

~Golf Czar

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Championships Vs. Integrity

Urban Meyer has hit a new low.

His defensive captain, Brandon Spikes, was caught on camera last weekend attempting to get his fingers inside of the facemask of an opposing player, the intent of which has not been 100% determined. The common intent of such an act is to either poke or gouge at the eyes of an opponent. Urban Meyer, after seeing the same footage that the entire sports-watching world saw, decided that a 1st-half suspension vs. Vanderbilt this weekend was enough punishment for such an offense.

Now yes, it is fair to say that we don't know beyond a shadow of a doubt what the intent of Mr. Spikes was when he shoved his fingers inside of the other player's facemask, but one can make a decent assumption as to his intent in doing so. So perhaps Urban Meyer is dishing out this punishment based on that notion, but it can also be assumed that Coach Meyer doesn't want to lose the anchor on a defense that has has kept them in some pretty crucial SEC games this season.

So here is my take: Coach Meyer has crossed the line, and once again the governing bodies at the SEC have let the big bad wolf known as The University of Florida do pretty much whatever they want. They refuse to step in on this matter and make sure that Brandon Spikes receives the punishment that he deserves. The governing body of the SEC's only job at this point is to make sure that either Florida or Alabama (or both) are playing for the BCS Championship come January. They have quieted coaches that speak out about the officiating that is clearly in favor of Florida, and now they support a coach who refuses to repremand a star player for a hanus and aggressive act.

Good work SEC, you've chosen title-contending-runs over sportsmanship, playing the game with a sense of class, and the integrity of the game.

~Golf Czar