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Monday, August 24, 2009

EPL season kicks off with one major surprise

The EPL season is underway with many of the usual suspects at the top of the table but one major infiltrator, Spurs. Sitting atop the table from a perch they’ve never seen, Tottenham (3-0) have Premiership lead based on goal difference over familiar Champions League participants Chelsea and Arsenal. Ok, it’s only three games in and some clubs have only had one taste of competition thus far but you are already hearing the rumbles of the argument that the EPL has become a two-class system. Where the clubs at the top of the table are so far removed from the bottom half that the only drama left in the league is the shuffling of players, and positions among the top four clubs. In fact since 2006 Chelsea, Man U., Liverpool, and Arsenal are the only clubs to break into the exclusive club of the top four. There has been more drama at the opposite end of the spectrum with plight of the regulation/promotion experience. I realize it’s blasphemy to every correlate the ‘beautiful game’ to an American sport but not specifically speaking, is it time for, (do I dare?), a salary cap? It would give the other 13 clubs not threatened by regulation something else to play for rather than the subject of toast at “spoiler rallies” for the any of the big four who for fortunate enough to have someone else take care of their business for them. Does the EPL need to level the field for the smaller markets? Let us know here and in the World Sport chat rooms or EPL Sport page. Complete EPL up to date standings here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yang breaks the mold, and Tiger's streak with comeback win

After we were less than a couple of minutes away from calling the Arizona Cardinals “World Champions” I’d thought I had seen everything but seeing Tiger caught AND passed in the final round of a major makes me feel like I should go out and buy a lotto ticket. YA Yang is youir 2009 PGA Champion, ranked number 110 in the world, took it to Tiger on the final round and won his first major. Tiger’s putter, that is normally more reliable than a golden retriever, suddenly didn’t come when he called and didn’t return all day. An amazing eagle chip for Yang on 16, following a par-5 that Tiger didn’t bird, put Yang in position to shock the golf world. Even with that TW had his chances as Yang bogeyed 17 only to have Woods do the same. After that it was clear that the Woods streak of going 14/14 in majors when he held at least a share of the lead would be over. It was like watching Bill Walton’s fade away fall short in South Bend when UCLA’s 88 game consecutive streak came to an end, you were just waiting for overtime or in this case and extra hole or an amazing ace from Tiger to win it. But the buzzer has sounded and now the headlines from Seoul to Southern California will read the same. In the end, it was Yang that was poised under pressure, and had all the right stuff. Hats off to the new Champion. So has Tiger lost his mystique? Let us know here and in the World Sports Chat Rooms.
View the final leaderboard here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

US keeps the dubious streak going

In similar fashion to the Confederations Cup Championship Game where the US just couldn’t stand too much good fortune, the US National Soccer Team kept their dubious winless streak at Azteca Stadium rolling with a 2-1 come from ahead loss in a World Cup qualifying match. We’ve all been made aware of the plethora of obstacles that the US faces when traveling down south, the altitude, the smog, 100k plus fans shouting obscenities that we can’t understand and throwing plastic bottles at our players as they attempt to take corner kicks. We know. But that doesn’t change the reality of having a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes or a tie with less than 7 minutes to go. Once they started to fathom what they were about to pull off, the couldn’t pull it off. They were way to content with stopping Mexico then kicking it deep and letting them come right back down and try to score again. Way too many turnovers and lack of ball control. Mexico controlled possession at an incredible 67% clip. No one, especially us, can stave off that kind of pressure. So, we can take solace that we’re still in second place in the group and have a good shot of advancing to the South Africa next year, but if the US doesn’t learn how to close on the big stage they’ll be home before the postcards.

Monday, August 10, 2009

TIger drives 65 for the entire weekend then cruses into Minnesota

Tiger Woods was an overwhelming favorite to win the British Open and embarrassingly missed the cut at a major for only the second time in his illustrious career. So with everyone contemplating if he had finally become mortal and come down to earth TW responded by winning two straight tournaments including the WGC-Bridgestone this weekend. After a typically normal first two rounds, Woods shot 65-65 on the weekend to win for the fifth time in 12 starts this year and second in a row heading into the year's final major, the PGA Championship, which begins Thursday at Hazeltine National in Minnesota. With the change in scenery the questions arises will Tiger win a Major this year? As usual the odds makers think so, pitting Tiger as a 3/2 favorite with the next closest being Lefty at 20-1, a separation as wide as the lake that Hazeltine boarders. Despite is performance in the last two tournaments is that kind of respect deserving? Well, for a guy who judges himself by his performance on the big stage probably not, but does anyone else have enough game to challenge him right now? No. His only competition has been himself since the injury and if he can put together a complete tournament like his final 28 wholes then take 3/2 “for fun”. He’s played the last 28 holes -10 with 10 birds and an eagle, and as everyone knows, Tiger’s equivalent to kryptonite are his tee shots and off the peg he was 78.6 greens in reg, which means his iron-work comes into play and on the felt he was 23/23 inside 10 feet. Riding that kind of mo’ 20/1 seems to be about right. Will TW get his major this year? Let us know here and in the World Sports/Golf chat rooms. Also see the quick links
See the final Bridgestone leaderboard here.
See the betting PGA Championship betting lines here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tiger rebounds after missing cut

Tiger had the lead going into the final round of the Buick open which pretty much means the tournament is over and indeed it was, with Woods winning by three strokes and not really being challenged. It wasn’t the tournament before a major this time as TW has one more before the PGA Championship, the last major of the year. Ironically Buick is one of Woods’ many sponsors was quite pleased to see Tiger doing his thing as the PGA Tour event had a 167 percent ratings boost over last year, when Woods was recovering from knee surgery and did not play. As a 2-1 favorite to win the British, which to compared to football he was supposed to win by 3 touchdowns, a course supposedly suited to Tiger’s game tamed him and he missed the cut. The PGA will be no different as TW is an early fav. Is Tiger going to get his major this year or get shut out? Let us know here and in the World Sports chat rooms. Also see the final Buick Leader board here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

100-meter time ‘suits’ Phelps just fine

As if Michael Phelps had anything to prove after the Beijing Olympics but the recent non-direct banter between he and Milorad Cavic who popped off after breaking Phelps’ world record in 100 meter butterfly the semi-finals of the World Championships stating “if Michael wants an Arena, he just has to say. Or if he wants and Jaked and they don’t want to give it to him for free, I’ll buy it for him”. Firstly, the key word there was “semi” next, in the future perhaps you don’t want to tug on Superman’s cape or suit in this case. Because when the chips were in the center of the table, and the money was on the line, in the FINALS, in was Phelps who answered the call. With a defiant performance in a supposedly inferior suit, Phelps stayed close over the outward lap and rallied on the return to become the first swimmer to break 50 seconds in the 100-meter butterfly, beating the Serbian with a time of 49.82. Cavic also broke 50 seconds, but 49.95 was only good enough for silver. He wasn't nearly as close as last year's Beijing Olympics, when Phelps famously won by one-hundredth of a second and Cavic always maintained that he actually touched first. When Phelps saw his time at the Foro Italico, he hopped up on the lane rope separating him and Cavic, threw up his arms and let out a scream toward his mom and sister in the stands. Needless to say, he was pumped for this. Showing as much emotion as he ever has, Phelps also slapped the water and tugged at his Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit -- no doubt in reference to Cavic offering to get Phelps one of those supposedly faster polyurethane suits so he wouldn't have any excuses. Was this what the sport needed to keep it in the spotlight until the London games, or are the Olympic sports different than football and basketball where the chirpin’ is part of the game?

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