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Monday, April 12, 2010

Tiger may have set the table but Lefty carries the day

Now that the lights have all gone out, the non-Georgians have filtered to Ben Epps airport, and the grounds crew is repairing all of the divots, the PGA has a chance to asses the results of the 2010 Masters and it appears they got everything they wanted. Firstly, was Tiger’s return, which had every media outlet with more that two employees requesting media credentials, TV ratings up an phenomenal 50% over last year and 80% over 2008, with 4.94 million viewers, and having the most “current” media friendly participant win the tournament in Phil Mickelson, makes for a perfect weekend. It’s not just the PGA who was pleased, ESPN and CBS who carried the coverage saw ad revenues almost double, and unique internet users increase 89%. Although the final round did not have the drama of year’s past with Lefty winning by 3 strokes by then, everyone seemed to have gotten what they came for. Hopefully what won’t be lost in theatrics of the weekend is another amazing showing by Phil on Golf’s biggest stage. En route to getting fitted for his third green jacket he a stretch that included back-to-back Eagles and was less than 2 feet away from a third, shot a final round 5-under-par 67 with a series of great par saves and clutch shots, and fully shaken the rep of not being ready for prime time. It was the Brits who faded this time as Poulter and Westwood couldn’t close the deal or hold off the charging Mickelson who turned out to be better at darts as the was throwing them with deadly accuracy all day on Sunday. Now, the question is will Phil take over the title as the “people’s champion” and be able to parlay Sunday’s win into creating a consistent challenge to Tiger going forward as no one has been able to consistently ruffle his fur for quite some time although the Rory Sabatinis of the world occasionally have a shining moment or two. If he can this will be the greatest rivalry in the sport since Arnie and Jack used to drop gloves, but it could polarize the sport as now anyone who was on the fence will surely choose a side and in the tournaments without the crowd control of Augusta could get heated. Rest assured there will be more drama to come and either way the sport will benefit from it, and I’ll be one of those 5 million plus watching. What did you think of the Masters final? How do you think Tiger’s return will change golf if any? Let us know here and in World Sports and Golf Blogs.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Golf gets a needed shot in the arm as Master’s delivers

It’s no secret how much Tiger needed to get back to golf. It’s also no secret how much the game of golf needed Tiger, as documented by the colossal drop in ratings of close to 18% since his hiatus began. In that regard the 2010 Masters Tournament could not have come at a better time delivering multiple storylines and providing enough intrigue to keep golf fans of all ages glued to the their flat screens. Right off the bat when Arnie hit the 18-foot put in the par-3 contest you knew we were in for something special. Then you had the “Golden Guy” Tom Watson, at 60 the oldest player in this Masters, picked up from his amazing ride at last year's British Open with a bogey-free round of 67 that left him tied with Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, PGA champion Y.E. Yang and K.J. Choi. On top of that you had “everybody loves Fred” Couples a fan favorite drop a 66 and lead the field by a stroke, a guy that no one would object to being fitted for a green jacket. Lastly, as the headline act, Tiger making his return to the links after a five month hiatus and shooting a 68, his best opening round score since the turn of the century to prove to everyone that “he don’t need no stinkin’ practice”. Two of these stories alone could have carried the day but a combination of them had actually overshadowed the amazing races in both NHL and NBA that tighten each day. Unfortunately the rest of the Nation probably won’t join until the network coverage intervenes on Saturday and if Fred, Tom, Phil, and Tiger are still in the froth at the start of the weekend, rest assured there will be mo’ (and ratings) to put Golf back on the map again. Can Watson pull off another British Open miracle? Does Couples have enough in the bag to consistency to stay on top? Will Tiger regain his old form and put everyone away over the weekend? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.
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Monday, April 5, 2010

EPL Summit Meeting leaves all feeling ‘Blue’ - Chelsea vs. Man U.

The most anticipated EPL match of the season took place at Old Trafford this weekend as Chelsea all but sealed up the EPL title with a ‘ginormous’ 2-1 win over Manchester United. We mentioned earlier in the week how Man U had the daunting task of taking 2 of 3 huge games back to back, as the afore mentioned EPL showdown was sandwiched between Champions League Matches with Bayern, and now they find themselves in a dubious 0-2 position with only the last leg of a head-to-head left. On top of the pressure United had to deal with the loss of Wayne Rooney which obviously changes the dynamic of their club but so did the Blues as Drogba was reduced to limited duty but came though despite coming off the bench, by scoring a controversial goal mid-way through the second half to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead that would prove to be the winning margin of victory. In what has become the norm in matches of great importance, critical (non)calls that have been missed by the naked eye but clearer than 20/20 on replay, have dire consequences for the side on the short end. Even in another match is not played until June, this subject will emerge every time they name the World Cup participants and Ireland watches from home. It makes no sense that millions of fans watching from the comfort of their home or chaos of a sports bar see 30-seconds later that Drogba was off-side, yet we have to live with a tainted result. I understand the opponent’s argument about taking the ‘human element’ out of the game but with so much on the line isn’t it more important to get it right? If that’s not a good enough argument then what about the fact that the game itself is being overshadowed by a bad, missed, or distorted call? Do you think people will be talking about France’s qualifying match three years from now or the worst (non)handball since the “hand of God”? In any case Chelsea had given themselves a 2-point lead with 5 to play and may be hoisting a trophy soon. Now I’m not saying that Man U. is dead… after all it is Easter weekend, but we may be talking about something else three years from now as well. Has Chelsea just wrapped up the EPL? Should they adopt instant replay in the EPL? Let us know your thoughts here and in any of the quick links.
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