Monday, April 14, 2008

Turning Pro?

Credit where credit’s due

I’m tired of everyone waxing poetic about how Tiger Woods lost the Masters. That’s about as annoying as saying Memphis gave Kansas the national championship – actually, more so considering the fickle nature of golf.

I’m well aware of how good Tiger’s been so far this year – seven wins in eight starts, including five in a row – just as I’m aware of how he first broached the concept of the Grand Slam, calling it “possible” on his website.

But I think what most of us fail to realize – which is ironic, considering how many of us likely play golf – is how the game doesn’t exactly lend itself to momentum. In baseball, a string of hits can lead to a nine- or 10-game hit streak. In basketball, rattling off a few wins in a row can really help a team feed off itself and perform better.

But in golf, momentum means nothing. Sure, Tiger was 7-for-8 before coming to Augusta. Apparently, the golfing gods didn’t care, seeing fit to take away his putter while simultaneously giving Trevor Immelman nearly every break possible.

That Tiger was still in contention on Sunday – he finished second at 5-under – speaks to his talent, which is enough to get him past most of his foibles. The putter is normally the first to go, and the way golf is, it can go at any time.

So enough about how Tiger lost the Masters. The law of averages simply caught up with him.

But Immelman, the first South African to wear the green jacket since Gary Player in 1978? This was his time. He struck the ball well, made putts, and a triple-bogey on 12 aside, he held firm on Sunday when everyone else around him yacked all over themselves.

And considering the adversity Immelman has faced over the past year – namely his health scares – I’m more inclined to congratulate him and pat him on the back than I am to point at Tiger and ask why he didn’t win.

Tiger Woods is still the best golfer today – perhaps the best ever. This year’s Masters doesn’t change that.

You realize it’s just a game, right?

Am I the only one who thinks this whole jersey thing at the new Yankee Stadium is much ado about nothing?

In case you haven’t heard by now, one of the construction workers buried a David Ortiz Red Sox jersey in the concrete below what will be the visitors’ dugout at the new Yankee Stadium that will open next season. The worker, a Red Sox fan, apparently thought burying the jersey would curse the Yanks’ new digs – much the way the Babe Ruth sale apparently cursed Boston over 90 years ago.

What amazes me is how seriously everyone took this. I won’t deny Yankees-Red Sox is baseball’s biggest rivalry – think Duke-North Carolina in pinstripes – but last I checked, baseball was just a game, and there were 28 other teams in America and Canada playing it.

Hank Steinbrenner said he hoped the worker’s peers “beat the [expletive] out of him.” The worker responded by telling Steinbrenner to bring it – and for Jorge Posada to tag along for the melee.

Listen … this curse thing is preposterous. Boston took 86 years to win a World Series because for 86 years, they just weren’t good enough. Same goes for the Chicago Cubs and the century that has passed since their last title.

Though it may be Yankees-Red Sox, it’s still just baseball. Get a grip, people …

Just a game

… Because sometimes there are things more important than what goes on in the diamond.

Take Georgia Tech, which canceled Tuesday’s game against Georgia Southern. Yellow Jackets pitcher Michael Hutts was found dead in his apartment on Friday, which at first postponed Georgia Tech’s game against Miami.

The Yellow Jackets have lost their last three games and canceled Tuesday’s game to attend Hutts’ funeral.

Cause of death may not be known for several weeks, but one thing is known: Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern get it. There is an argument to be made for playing the games as scheduled, to push through and play for the sake of normalcy and to provide an escape.

But Yellow Jackets coach Danny Hall admitted his team was grief-stricken, and sometimes it’s more important to stop and grieve than it is to soldier forth.

Baseball will still be there when the Yellow Jackets return to the field. Michael Hutts will not. I’m just glad everyone involved realizes that.

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