And if all that is not enough for you,
how about a guy who looked the top players in the world in the eye
and gunned down every last one of them? Tiger Woods… gone. Phil
Mickelson… gone. Ernie Els… gone. That's as impressive as it gets,
ladies and gentlemen.
Because of the time difference, this
was one of those rare tournaments that I actually got to watch some
of. I told my son on Saturday morning that cartoons had been
postponed until AFTER the Saturday golf was finished (and they were,
I almost got the feeling that Todd
Hamilton may have won the tournament AFTER his performance in round
three. Not that his performance on the Royal Troon was chopped
liver, but did you catch his interview? There did not appear to be a
nervous bone in this guy's body. He was happy to be there, for sure,
but he was confident in his ability and saw no reason that he
couldn't win his first major (six other first-time winners in the
last seven majors should have been a tip-off to all of us would-be
He even claimed that a bad shot he hit
on 18 wasn't a case of nerves but simply a bad shot poorly played.
He didn't hit many of those this past weekend and sure didn't in the
After narrowly losing the Claret Jug to
Els in regulation at the 18th, he made sure not to put himself in
that position again. And when he took a one-stroke lead at the third
of four playoff holes, he made one of his strongest statements of
the week. When he got to the 18th the second time and made one of
the most clutch chips under pressure that you will ever see, his
final answer had been given. Or was he under pressure?
Rob Orr e-mailed me this morning and
said when Hamilton was a kid, he not only dominated his age group,
but he beat a bunch of the older kids as well. Maybe the British
Open isn't as tough as playing golf in the greater Quad Cities area?
I don't know about you, but I am tickled to see a guy from Illinois
kissing the jug!
Cubs-Cards duke it out for the last
Are you kidding me? The middle of July
and the Cubs and Cards are playing their last series of the year…
this early? And it is only a two-game set? You have got to be
kidding me. And baseball wonders why its ratings are down. I am also
not so sure that this will be their last meeting. ?? Something tells
me that another series looms in the distance…
At any rate, you have to love the way
St. Louis came out of the break whacking the Reds to increase their
divisional lead by a full game.
Remember when I told you that St. Louis
looked tired to me the last two to three weeks of the first half?
Cardinal catcher Mike Matheny was quoted yesterday as saying that
the whole team needed a break and some rest (maybe your local sports
writer is not as goofy as you previously thought… and then again,
maybe he is). He went on to say that the guys who REALLY needed it
were the Cardinal All-Stars… and of course, they didn't get it.
Whatever happened, the Cards are now
8-2 against the Reds after going a woeful 7-9 against them last
season. A very easy case to make would be that the Reds cost St.
Louis the playoffs last year. So beating their brains out for the
next few years would be OK, wouldn't it?
[to top of second column in
The Cubbies on the other hand, went 2-2
with the Brewers. Coming out of the break I felt like the Cubs would
start getting healthier and would eventually be OK. However, if they
don't do well in this upcoming St. Louis series, that situation may
need to be reassessed. If they can stay close… there is a lot of
baseball to play… and anything can happen… Remember 1964 or 1969?
These next two games could be really
chippy. Don't you just wish sometimes that you didn't have so many
responsibilities so that you could just go on up to Wrigley and camp
out in a bleacher seat for a couple of days (oh, you ALLEGE that I
did that in college?)? While there were exciting, informative
lectures going on… No comment…
As far as the White Sox are concerned…
They will never figure out a way to beat Oakland in California (that
is because a certain guy we know, who used to frequent the Oakland
Coliseum, put a little-known curse on most visiting clubs that is in
effect for his lifetime… that's all I can say about it), but somehow
they are STILL in first place. IF they could start getting some more
help, they may get into the playoffs. I just don't know if they are
deep enough to get there and then to go very far once they get in. I
think picking up Carl Everett was a pretty decent move, and we will
stay tuned in to see how the Sox navigate things while the Big Hurt
is on the shelf.
Have you seen what the Atlanta Braves
have been doing lately? They are at it again…
Hope Dale Jr. is OK after his wild
experience this weekend.
We received no report on how any of our
local golfers did in tournament action this week, nor did we receive
any reports from Lincoln Speedway. You can check their results at
Lance Armstrong is still in second
place at the Tour de France.
We are just a few weeks away from high
school and college football. My son and I spotted several local
athletes training and working hard in almost ideal summer weather
conditions over the last couple of weeks.
Have a great
* * *
This week's column is dedicated to my
late friend Mark Long, who was tragically killed in a plane crash.
The LDN as well as myself wish to extend our deepest sympathy to
Mark's wife, Debbie; to his son, Joshua; and to his family and
Mark was a true Barnabas (I think that
name means “encourager”) for central Illinois. I never once saw him
that he didn't have a kind word, a hearty handshake and just a
deep-seated concern for my well-being. When I was a young,
struggling coach, Mark would come to my games and could always
manage to see some good in what I was trying to do, even when I
couldn't. As I stupidly stepped into the economic development role,
Mark was there to affirm that I was the man for the job.
Mark was always thoughtful, courteous
and the kind of person that you wish you saw more of. When you
describe a good and righteous man like Mark, words cannot even begin
to do a person like him justice. All I know is that Mark Long is the
kind of person I would like to be if I ever grow up. Godspeed, Mark,
my old friend!