McIlroy succeeds fallen Woods as golf’s major threat
Mike Lupica of ESPN’s Sports Reporters declared the Tiger Woods era over after Rory McIlroy led the British Open from start to finish. He said McIlroy has “one of the greatest golf swings I’ve ever seen. I hope he doesn’t decide to have two or three more swings, like Tiger has, because now you see what a mess Woods can be when he has to hit a driver in the fairway. . . . There’s just too many nicks on this guy now. . . . He’s not great with the driver anymore, and he doesn’t putt as well as he used to.” McIlroy’s dominance at Royal Liverpool “is more important, going forward, than if Tiger Woods had won this British Open.”
Woods, who finished 69th in Britain, tried to muffle the roar for Rory. He prefers to compare the 25-year-old Irishman to Phil Mickelson: “When he gets it going he gets it going. When he gets it going bad, it goes real bad. Sort of like what Phil does.”
Counterfeit golf clubs: a booming industry
Jimmy Roberts of Golf Channel reported that “hundreds” of shops in China are producing counterfeit American golf equipment, much of which ends up being sold to finance organized crime. He conducted tests that showed many clubs bought on line are far inferior to what they’re purported to be.
Silver sees gold in soccer-style midseason tournament
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, influenced by the powerful television ratings of the World Cup, is considering a midseason two-week tournament involving top NBA teams. George Karl, former coach who is now an ESPN analyst, said he likes the proposal “if you can cut the season to 62 games.” But there’s doubt team owners would give up 10 home games. The proposed tournament would be in Las Vegas, which has shown surprising support for the NBA’s Summer League composed of rookies and fringe veterans.
Parsons ‘offended’ that Rockets don’t think he’s a star
Chandler Parsons was unhappy when the Houston Rockets did not match a 3-year, $46 million offer from I-45 rival Dallas. “I was offended by the whole process,” the 25-year-old forward told Yahoo Sports. “They publicly said they were going out looking for a third star when I thought they had one right in front of them.”
Dear Chandler: You’re an above-average small forward but not a star. You averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists. And you played less defense than James Harden and Jeremy Lin, if that’s possible.
Cubs sue their fake mascots
The Chicago Cubs are suing two men posing as furry mascots of the team. The Cubs claim John Paul Weier and Patrick Weier “deliberately try to create the impression they are officially associated with the team.” A video on You Tube showed Patrick in a barroom brawl with a fan pulling off the head of his costume. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of seeking tips for posing for photos with fans.
Montreal ‘excellent candidate’ for baseball comeback
Montreal, which rejected Major League Baseball a decade ago, may get a second chance. Commissioner Bud Selig said, “I think they would be an excellent candidate in the future.” He was encouraged when last March two exhibition games in Montreal, between Toronto and the New York Mets, drew 96,350.
Between the Lines: Selig is providing leverage for the Oakland A’s, who have been pushing for a new stadium and threatening to move if they don’t get it.
NFL deals with gaygate?
Tony Dungy, former Super Bowl-winning coach, told the Tampa Tribune that he would not have drafted Michael Sam because he wouldn’t want “a distraction,” that “things will happen.” He was immediately assailed by talking heads. Bomani Jones, on ESPN’s Around the Horn, said, “This is a spectacular level of hypocrisy for a guy who was trying to push teams to sign Michael Vick when he got out of prison. Which was one hell of a set of distractions to have.” Jackie McMullen said, “We usually think of Tony Dungy as a thoughtful guy who comes off as a Christian gentleman. There’s nothing good about what he said here. . . . The idea that the distractions aren’t worth it. It’s brave people who stand up for people like Michael Sam who make changes in this world. I’m disappointed.”
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings had their own gay distractions. They suspended special teams coach Mike Priefer for three games after ex-Vikings punter Chris Kluwe quoted him saying, “We should round up all the gays and send them to an island and then nuke it until it glows.” The team conducted an investigation that confirmed Kluwe’s story about Priefer. But the investigation cast gay-rights activist Kluwe in a different light. During the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, Kluwe made fun of Vikings assistant coach Tom Kanany, an alumnus and former coach at Penn State. Kluwe cut out the seat of his pants and put them on and walked around the locker room saying, “Penn State victim.”
Ryan says Patriots ‘need to worry about us’
Never mind that the New England Patriots were 12-4 last year and his New York Jets were 8-8 (and outscored by 97 points), Rex Ryan said, “I don’t worry about them (the Patriots). They need to worry about us.” He added that he “abundantly knows” he’s a great coach.
Longhorns offered Saban $100 million
Paul Finebaum in a new book, My Conference Can Beat Your Conference, reports that University of Texas boosters, with approval of Athletics Director Steve Patterson, offered Nick Saban $100 million to coach their football team. The deal would have made him the highest paid coach in the country, in any sport. Although Saban insists he never considered leaving Alabama, there were conversations between his agent, Jimmy Sexton, and UT officials and alumni. And Saban’s wife Terri was seen in Austin looking at houses for sale.
Click here for Kirkus Review of My Conference Can Beat Your Conference.
Besides repeating his denial of his Texas two-step, Saban at Southeastern Conference Media Day turned the tables on the pundits by scrutinizing their performance: failing in 18 of 22 preseasons to forecast the SEC winner. “You’ve not picked the right team the last five years in a row. And every year that we’ve been fortunate enough to win the championship you picked somebody else. Just to let you know, we’re evaluating YOU.”
Also at SEC Media Day, Mark Stoops, coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, said: “The SEC is strong everywhere right now.”
Between the Lines: He means everywhere but Kentucky. In his first season as head coach, the Wildcats were a league-worst 2-10.
Dutch players shy away from penalty kicks
When their semifinal World Cup match against Argentina was to be decided by penalty-kick shootout, some Dutch players shrank from the challenge. Coach Louis van Gaal said the first two players he asked to kick replied that they’d rather not. He did not identify the players. Argentina won the shootout but went on to lose the final to Germany.