Why we love Jordan Spieth

Do you know what makes a great champion? Dramatic losses.

Or I should say, comebacks from dramatic losses. Muhammad Ali came back from a devastating loss to Joe Frazier, just as Joe Louis came back from a huge loss to Max Schmeling.

We love the Boston Red Sox because we remember — or at least have heard of — their monumental collapse during the 1986 World Series.

This is why we love Jordan Spieth. Sometimes he plays like us, such as the 13th hole of the 2017 British Open. Other times, he plays like Tiger Woods, such as every other hole of the 2017 British Open.

At age 23, he’s won three majors.  But he’s also lost two when it looked like he was on his way to a win. His bogey on the 17th hole of the 2015 British Open kept him out of the playoff and ruined his chances of a potential one-year Grand Slam, since he had won both the Master’s and the U.S. Open that year.

But that wasn’t the devastating loss.

The big choke came during the 2016 Master’s when Speith, leading by 5 strokes, bogied the 10th and 11th holes. Then on the 12th, the wheels came off. He hit two balls into the water on the par-3 hole and earned a quadruple-bogey. He finished in second place, 3 shots behind eventual winner Danny Willett.

That’s a 7 score on a par-3 hole. Even I can do that. Sometimes I can do better. And I love that a pro golfer, a great pro golfer, a 23-year-old pro golfer, pretty much played the hole the same way I would have.

And you love it too. Especially if you play golf on the weekends like I do (poorly).

And he played like me during the 13th hole of the last round of Sunday’s British Open. But then he played the last four holes like Tiger Woods. Hell, even better than Tiger Woods — birdie, eagle, birdie, and the 18th in par when a bogey would have won it.

Jordan Spieth is a roller coaster ride, and I love watching him. Bet you do too.






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The Golden State juggernaut

They’re amazing.
But don’t compare them to that legendary Bulls team, this is a different animal. More of a true offensive ensemble with Curry, Clay, Durant and Green leading the way on any given night.
Sure. Curry and Durant are consistently the big dogs, but which one would be Jordan in your comparison? Don’t think you can say which with any veracity.
Doesn’t matter. Different animal. And we’ll keep watching.
Because they’re amazing.

Super Bowl Li, in the books

What did I just see?

A 25-point comeback? In the Super Bowl? Are you kidding me?

I picked New England going in and gave up on them somewhere in the 3rd quarter.I was right, then I was wrong.

Greatest comeback of all time. Greatest Super Bowl of all time.

And yes, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. Sorry, Joe.





Super Bowl LI, end of the third

Ugly. Grisly even.

Sure, New England scored a touchdown. Finally. But at one point Atlanta held a 25-point lead.

No team comes back from a 25-point deficit. Not in a Super Bowl.


Super Bowl LI, halftime

Yep, the game will be decided by defense, all right. The Falcons defense.

Tom isn’t looking all that terrific, and the pick six during the second quarter probably was the final nail in the coffin for a Patriots team that’s clearly being buried alive. Falcons lead 21-3, and no team has ever come back from more than a 10-point lead to win a Super Bowl.We’re looking at an old-fashioned beat down, I do believe. Let’s see how bad the damage will be.

The second half looks to get even uglier.We’re looking at an old-fashioned beat down, I do believe. Let’s see how bad the damage will be.

We’re looking at an old-fashioned beat down, I do believe. The only question is how bad the damage will be in the second half.

Frankly, I’m stunned the Falcons are this good. Tight defense, solid offense, and young. They’re my pick to win next year’s Super Bowl as well.

Off to watch Gaga now.



Super Bowl LI, end of the first

Ominous start.

Patriots get a lackluster three-and-out on their first offensive series.

Then on the Falcons first series, Devonta Freeman busts a 37- first-down run, but the Falcons offense stalls before they can get another first down.

Will defense decide this game?

First quarter ends 0-0. First scoreless first quarter in Super Bowl history.


Super Bowl LI pregame

It’s 5:29 Central Time, and I’m ready to roll.

The referees have been introduced, they’ve rolled out George H.W. Bush in his wheelchair joined by wife Barbara on her … I’ll call it a golf cart. They’ve shown the obligatory shot of VP Mike Pence, and 41 just tossed the coin somewhere on the field.

It’s show time! Where are my chicken wings!


I pick the Patriots. Because Tom Brady …

Why change now?

I’m going with the better quarterback, and I’m still not sold on the Falcons’ Niedermeyer, ah, Matt Ryan.

I’m not sold on Tom Brady either if he really does support Trump, but that’s a discussion for another column entirely. Today, the Saturday before the Super Bowl, I’m talking football only, and I’m going with the deflatorator.

And defense. Gotta like the Patriots’ defense.

But mainly Tom Brady.



I hate being wrong

“When I’m wrong, I’m the first to admit it. The first to admit it. And the last one to know.”
— Paul Simon

The Packers got whupped. And I was wrong, wrong, wrong in picking them to win the NFC Championship.

I got a real bad feeling after Mason Crosby missed the field goal in the first quarter. But I knew the game was over when Aaron Ripkowski fumbled in the second quarter.

Crosby doesn’t miss, and Ripkowski doesn’t fumble. Except last Sunday.

Now we’re stuck with Matt Ryan and the Falcons. I just can’t root for a guy who looks like Neidermeyer from Animal House.

But I might pick him. The Falcons look great. Then again, so does Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Give me a week to think about this.


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My picks for AFC, NFC champs

So far, I’ve picked all but one team in the 2017 playoffs. My miss? Seattle.

My bad. Once again.

I just don’t know much about Atlanta, and I really don’t have all that much faith in Matt Ryan aka Matty Ice. He leaves me feeling — yeah, I’ll say it — cold. So I picked the Seahawks over the Falcons. But what I really picked was Russell Wilson over Ryan.

I was wrong. I was leaving-Vegas-in-a-barrel wrong.

The other seven times, though, I was right. So I’ll continue with my picks for the championship games. And I’ll continue with my methodology, which is patently simple: the team with the better quarterback wins.

That means I’m picking New England over Pittsburgh. Or more accurately, Tom Brady over Ben Roethlisberger. Two reasons. Brady is better at winning than Big Ben, and Brady’s got home-field advantage. You know what I’m talking about. Cushier balls.

I know. Low-hanging fruit. But if there’s a way to get home-field advantage, I have absolute faith in Brady and Bill Belichick to pull it off.

In the NFC, it’s more complicated. Green Bay has some banged-up receivers, all but one with the “questionable” label. Who knows who will catch the ball for the Packers this Sunday?

But last I looked, that stellar offensive line was still intact. Rodgers will have time to find someone healthy to throw too.

So once again I’m going with the better quarterback, Aaron Rodger, although because of the banged-up receivers and the great offensive line, I’m looking for Rodgers to run more than he has in any game ever.

Run, Rodgers, run.

He’s on a mission, believe it, and I will not pick against him. That, and I think he’s the greatest QB of all time — the true G.O.A.T.

Sorry, Joe Montana. You’re amazing, and you won four Super Bowls, but it’s a different era and he’s got mad skills. He can pass. He can run. He can think. And boy, can he lobby. Did you see him talking to the refs before last week’s win against the Dallas Cowboys? I did. And while I don’t have a recording of the conversation, I would bet good money he was reminding the refs of the rules. Such as look for 12 men on the field when the defense substitutes. And look for someone coming into the huddle, then leaving — and don’t forget, that’s a 15-yard penalty.

I pick New England (easily) and I pick Green Bay (razor-close game). Because of Brady and Rodgers.

We will soon see. About 14 hours from now.




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