Top Html/Javascript

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Type of Rivalry Golf Doesn't Need

So we’re two weeks removed from the Player’s Championship and the shoes are still dropping, and ending up in people’s mouths. Just as things had started to subside and the talk had actually turned back to golf and the US Open, Sergio not only rekindled the flame but doused it with gasoline as his “fried chicken” comments that were exponentially magnified with the aid of social media over the past two days. Garcia did his best to sound contrite during a public apology "I feel sick about it and I feel truly, truly sorry," he said Wednesday from the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, site of the European Tour's flagship event. Tiger wasn’t quite so public but taking to twitter to voice his response, "The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate," Woods said in a series of tweets. "I'm confident that there is real regret the remark was made. The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it's long past time to move and talk about golf." It’s no secret PGA ratings plummeted during Tiger’s slump as golf proved like every other sport you need a Heat, Patriots, Canadians, “Money” Mayweather or dominant force for everyone to want to knock off the top. Tiger was perfect for that and when Lefty and Tiger were dueling it was the greatest thing for the sport, as someone was finally challenging for the title but that didn’t last long, and once beat down Lefty hasn’t been back. Then Rory stepped up, actually took the champs title as best in the world and became the poster boy for European golf as a look at the future. He even shot a commercial with Tiger to publically throw down the gauntlet and announce he planed to be “the man” but so far that hasn’t materialized as he hasn’t been in the hunt on a Sunday since. Now Tiger has returned to form, has 4 tour wins already this year (next closest is a tie with 1) and is playing back to his old form. So now that all PGA sponsors can breathe a sigh of relief that the cash cow is back, they need a challenger other than “the field” to step up. At least now there are plenty of challengers that can be that other guy, and rest assured their trying hard to create one, as they would love to get back to the Tiger/Phill days again. However the sour grapes between Garcia and Tiger had way too much yeast and turned into a barrel of whine, then the got sour with Sergio’s recent comments. This type of rivalry is not what the game means as unlike any of the afore mentioned it doesn’t focus on what happened on the links. It’s a racist comment followed by high school folly of a bunch of people talking for the two at the center of it all and fanning the fire when the two principals should just get together for a brew and put it behind them. But that won’t happen because media outlets need the story and are trying to parlay this into a preamble for the US Open. Which is exactly what the sport doesn’t need is more character controversy as it had just gotten over Tiger’s scandal and collapse before Vijay’s PED story took over, golf needed some time between rounds to fix the cuts on their face but they got this instead. But fortunately there is a cure, and it’s competition. The nation wants to see Tiger playing on Sunday for either ‘love him or hate him’ reasons and someone, anyone, with a name to step up and challenge, that can stick around for more than one tournament. That’s what we all need, to put this catfight behind us and get back to the frustrating game we love watch and sometimes dare to play. Good competition that will overshadow the off the course circus that we let it become.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wigan does more than salvage a season

Going into the FA Cup Final Wigan Athletic knew if they didn’t pull off what was perceived to be a miraculous upset, their incredible run would soon be forgotten as just another great tournament run by a Cinderella club that met its end when faced by a top level club. Perhaps even more at stake was the salvation of a season that started with much optimism, hoping to improve on last season’s 15th place finish as they were reminded that they were only two wins away from finishing in the top 10. However, after dropping three of their last six matches and falling below the water level of relegation, the club could change their fortunes from calamity to historic with a win over the defending EPL Champions Manchester City in the FA Cup Final. The match itself wasn’t one for the purist as there was no scoring until the 90th minute despite Wigan having a one man advantage due to a terrible challenge by City’s Pablo Zabaleta that set the stage for their grand exit. But don’t let that be the only stat you pay attention to as the game was statistically even in all of the 19 major match stats that are kept, all except goals scored. This was a victory for David, for the little guy, for the little train that could. 81 years without a piece of hardware to show for it. The giant fell to the ground and the rumbles could be herd all the way to the City of Manchester Stadium where the first head to roll after the consternation of having to close the trophy case without making any additions was manager Roberto Mancini True there have been some upsets where the goliath had a bigger name and most supporters will always have an upset by their own club to call the biggest but there is no arguing the fact that City’s 187 million payroll dwarfs Wigan’s 12 by the largest margin in FA Cup history and I’ll put that disparity up against any of the other biggest upsets in history regardless of tournament. This was one for the ages and unfortunately it will have to carry the Wigan faithful supporters clear for another 12 months until they can get back to the competing in the top division again as the Gunners need to win two straight matches to qualify for the Champions League next year and the little train that could is standing on the tracks in front of the Gunner’s freight train and that loss will send them down for the summer. However the wild ride won’t be forgotten in our lifetime and something tells me we haven’t seen the last of David. View the complete EPL final week here.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Moyes Has To Do More Than Replace A Legend

There are some players and coaches that have transcended the game in which they competed. Stateside Michael Jordon’s legacy has long survived his playing days, and cast a shadow on those that have followed him that may be too big and dark to ever surpass. English football has some legends of their own from Bobby Moore to Gordon Banks to Paul Gascoigne, players that have set the bar so high that only years after David Beckham’s career is over can he get into the same conversation. As rare as those athletes are rarer still is a manger that is known on a first name basis around the world, and Sir Alex has achieved that plateau. 13 EPL Titles, 38 pieces of hardware, 2 CL Titles, and 5 FA Cups is a resume that may never be challenged. Now that he is stepping down and David Moyes has the dubious challenge of following in the footsteps the size of a giant. Moyes, who ends his 11-year stint on Merseyside this week, has led Everton to a respectable 6th place finish and although not tasting gold still had strong support of his fans and showed enormous fortitude at the press conference by only fielding questions regarding Everton and saving the Man U. business to after the season. No doubt he has the respect of his compeers whom have lent their praise to the Red Devils on their selection but that could also be because they want to see the reign of dominance end. After 20 EPL championships including 8 out of the last 13 years they would have given me praise if they tapped me as the new general. Interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez expects United to carry on challenging for major honors with Moyes at the helm. "He's a good manager. I think that he will have a very good team, so I'm sure he will compete at the top and he can win trophies with a big club," said Benitez. "It's not easy to find someone like Ferguson, but he's a manager with experience in the Premier League. He knows the players, he knows the club and the Premier League. It could be a good appointment, but it takes time to say." Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert reckons Moyes is the perfect choice to take over from Ferguson at Old Trafford. He said: "Absolutely fabulous manager. I think if anybody can do it, and keep the continuity, David can do it. I think he will be able to handle it, no problem. QPR boss Harry Redknapp added his support, saying: "It is a fantastic opportunity for David. He has worked hard for the last ten years at Everton. It is difficult to follow Sir Alex but it is good to see a lad like David, who has done his time in the lower leagues as well, get such an opportunity." And therein lies the paradox of landing the dream job that every manager covets but fears just as much as failure on a stage that big is exponentially magnified throughout the world as the perception is that you just have to roll out the balls and let the hundred million dollar payroll do its thing. Well, needless to say there’s more to it than that and it will start the day Moyes hangs his hat as the first thing on the agenda has to be the signing of Wayne Rooney whom is at least listening now as the new manager was influential in Rooney’s development as a teen breaking into the league. Some say this, as much as anything else, was one of the reasons for the decision so to land the striker to deal would be a huge feather in his cap and would start his tenure in a big way. Conversely if he fails to land him it could make the faithful immediately miss the “godfather” that you didn’t say no to. Add this to a club where it’s all about hardware and championships and you’ve got a gauntlet of a task not for the faint at heart. So good luck to lad from Everton as the challenge of a lifetime awaits, and the football world will be watching.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Borussia and Bayern turn Champions League Final into Feiertag

As the original field of 32 in this year’s Champions League Tournament began to decrease so did the number of EPL sides left in the tourney, as well as most favorites. So when it got down to the final four sides one might surmise that the upsets had run their course and we would see the old rivals from Spain square off in a storied final that would add another chapter to their history. However Bayern Munich seemed like a side on a mission after losing in the final last year on their home soil in a dramatic PK loss on Drogba’s last goals as a Chelsea striker, one to tie late and the last to win the game, shootout, and championship. Matched up with Barcelona and Lionel Messi in the semi-final, although slowed by a hamstring injury Bayern for intent and purposes wrapped up their spot in the final in the first leg with a shocking 4-0 victory in Munich, as Thomas Müller scored twice and despite losing possession 63-37% it seemed like there were 14 Bayern players on the pitch. After that first leg it was foregone conclusion that they would get their second consecutive shot at the title. It’s a testament to the character of the side that they were even able to get back into the mix after such a heartbreaking defeat, but they were more than competitive they made it all the way back to final. The second leg was not much better as Bayern left no doubters whom the better side was with another solid 3-0 win to hand Real Madrid their worst ever net aggregate loss in a major competition 7-0. On the other side they will meet their countrymen from the North were pulling off an upset of their own as most were expecting Ronoldo to steal the show, and at half-time of the first leg he had as it was 1-1, but from there the match and a spot in the Finals belonged to Robert Lewandowski’s and the Black & Gold. Three second half goals put him in the record books and Dortmund in the Final. The second leg was more formality than anything else as Real made it respectable in the second leg with a 2-0 win but even those came in the final seven minutes of the match. So all of Europe may be watching on May 25th but there will certainly be a concentrated focus as for the first time ever two German sides will be battling for more than the hardware, as it’s also a North/South rivalry with even more on the line for the countrymen involved. This is an unexpected final for the football world but it truly is a once in a century moment for the Nation and aside from a World Cup match on home soil this is about as big as it gets. It’s a good thing the Final falls on a Saturday as half the nation would be calling in sick so they might as well make it a holiday (Feiertag in German) because half will be celebrating when it is all said and done and the celebration may last until Monday.

Soccer Scoreboard