Golf

Hi friends. How are you? It’s been a while. Luckily for you, online the SDI family was never too far from my heart. Every time I saw some asinine sports atrocity, nurse I kept it in my mental rolodex (i.e. my Twitter favorites) just in case I was able to share it with you guys. And now the opportunity has finally come to share my thoughts on random sports stories with you.

So here we are. It’s football season. Baseball season. I’m sure hockey might be on (???). Or table tennis. Maybe curling is happening…in Canada or Russia or wherever they watch that. The Cubs are good (right?). The Bears have a two-time-Super Bowl-appearing coach (he lost, cialis but still….he was in the building). Everyone’s favorite Bull may or may not have been involved in a gang rape (I. Can’t. Even.) And the Blackhawks dismantled their championship team and have deflated the hopes of another ticker tape parade in Chicago for like a decade.

Eesh.

So what have I been up to sports-wise? Well, I learned to golf. Ok, well not like actually learned to golf. I got golf clubs, try hopelessly to hit the ball with either my driver or my nine iron, and give up at around the third hole to focus on keeping score and getting drunk. You have no idea how difficult it is to count when you’re six mimosas in. I am a great humanitarian.

I also moved to Pittsburgh and have spent the past five months devising a plan to bribe bartenders to play Bears games when the Steelers are on. In addition to that, I am trying desperately to become the best amateur binge-watcher in America: I devoured four seasons of Game of Thrones in two weeks. If I keep this up, I’ll surely qualify for the Olympics. Because America.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about other people. So pop the cork on the Cabernet, light your pumpkin-scented candle and let’s talk proper sports.

The NFL

I really don’t want to talk about Deflategate but since I have a column with thousands of readers (right? RIGHT?!), I’ll throw in my two cents. Here’s the thing: the Patriots are known simultaneously as champions and cheaters. So it’s very difficult to believe that Belichick and Brady wouldn’t do this. That’s the thing about lying; get caught doing it once and everything else you say comes into question. Do I think they did this on purpose? I sure hope not. I would like to believe that what we are witnessing is a great team headed up by a brilliant coach and a seemingly terrific owner in Bob Kraft who are playing a brutal, unforgiving game as fairly as possible. But I will say this: it wouldn’t exactly surprise me if this ended up to be true.

In other news, Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson is dating singer Ciara. And that makes sense for both parties. Russell probably never got any action with chicks as ridiculously gorgeous as Ciara. And now, because she’s on his arm, Ciara is introduced as an R&B star (which – name three unaccompanied Ciara tracks not called “Goodies”… exactly.)

The NCAA:

So, two things:

  1. Kansas has a football team! WHO KNEW?!
  2. Students at the University of Kansas cannot name the head coach of said football team.

Yep. Moving on.

Golf

I am very confident in my relationship, but if some heifer EVER asks my man out on a date with me standing right there?! {link: http://thebiglead.com/2015/08/21/miss-texas-jordan-spieth-girlfriend-rangers-game/} No ma’am. In the illustrious words of Tupac, ‘you betta back the duck up before you get smacked the duck up.’ Because no rapper rant will ever beat the one at the end of Hit ‘em Up. {link: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=41qC3w3UUkU}

Aside: can someone tell the people in charge of autocorrect over at Apple that I literally never mean duck? Thanks.

Tennis

Drake and Serena Williams have been a thing for a while, so this is not news{link: http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/2554239-report-drake-and-serena-williams-seen-making-out-at-cincinnati-restaurant?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=programming-national?is_shared=true). I compare this to having a real boyfriend, breaking up with him occasionally and hooking up with the side piece. Who is Drake in this scenario? Side piece.

One last thing…

Im currently drinking my way through Italy so I feel it would be remiss not to talk about soccer. JUST KIDDING! Thanks for reading. Until next time!

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mcillroy_wozniacki_broke_up_over_phone_600

The French Open tennis Grand Slam began with early round play a couple days ago and a summary of who’s in and who’s out (e.g. what happened Serena?) will be coming out soon. Plus, cheap you won’t want to miss my notoriously wrong picks. But the big story now is what has happened off the court.

This has been a busy time for gossiping golfers and tennis players. The huge headline is that our favorite sports power couple Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki have broken up just weeks after their wedding invitations had been sent out. The big question was who will recover first?

This past week it has become very apparent on who is struggling and who is not. Rory recovered so strong that he won the BMW PGA Championship in Virginia Water, England on Sunday. He finished out his winning round with a birdie and seemed to find an escape from his personal drama out on the course. However we must keep in mind Rory was the one to break off the engagement (over the phone!) so we cannot help but wonder if this was somewhat of a weight lifted off of his shoulders.

Photo: Darko Vojinovic, AP

Photo: Darko Vojinovic, AP

However for Caroline it seems like the weight of the world is crashing down on her!

In her first round at the French Open she had a pretty tough first-round draw. She had to face off against number 64 ranked Yanina Wickmayer. Wozniacki was ranked number 12 and it seemed like she should win without issue, but Wickmayer is an excellent player who was once ranked number 12 and was a semifinalist at the 2009 United States Open. We also need to remember that Wozniacki has had a season filled with injuries. She has endured injuries to her wrist and knee and has not been fully focused on her tennis career.

So the big question remains, was it the breakup that accounts for her loss? Or is it the slew of other factors? With a final score of 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2, Wozniacki is out of the French Open in the first round and questions came flying. She responded: “I don’t really want to talk about my personal life.” She has admitted to the breakup being a bit of a shock and we know that that must have some affect one her personally.

Our hearts go out to Caroline Wozniacki and we hope she will recover from her heartbreak.

A big shout out and thanks to Smashing intern and Lehigh University golfer Nicole Feierberg for the research for this article.

Smashing Golf & Tennis - Made in Chicago

Smashing Golf & Tennis – Made in Chicago

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I’ll admit it—golf is probably one of my least favorite sports, viagra one that I have a hard time diving into for an afternoon of viewing. And I know I’m not alone when I say this. But leave it to the Masters to remind me of the incredible skill involved in the game beloved by so many, and just as important –  that there’s plenty of eye candy that makes viewing a little more bearable, including former HAM of the Week (and an SDI fave) Adam Scott.

We’re ready to add another to that list: Jordan Spieth, our HAM of the Week.

The 20-year-old golfer was tied with eventual winner Bubba Watson for first place leading into yesterday’s final round, and despite finishing tied for second with Jonas Blixt, he’s emerging as the sport’s “next Tiger Woods”. And when Forbes calls you “the Derek Jeter of golf”, you know you’re a pretty big deal.

So what’s the 411 on the young pro?

Jordan Spieth, http://www.nytimes.com

Jordan Spieth, http://www.nytimes.com

The 6’1”, 185 lbs Dallas native is the spitting image of an All-American boy. He began his career with two second-place finishes in the 2008 and 2009 Junior PGA Championship. Spieth (pronounced SPEETH) followed that with two wins in the U.S. Junior Amateur tournaments in 2009 and 2011, which, ironically, he joined Woods as the tournament’s only multiple winners.

Spieth took his game to the University of Texas, where he helped the Longhorns win the NCAA championship, was named Big 12 Freshman and Player of the Year, and was named to the first team All-American.

He earned a spot in the U.S. Open in 2012 as an alternate and tied for 21st place, and he turned professional midway through his sophomore year at 19 years old.

Spieth participated in a few minor tournaments at the beginning of 2013 as an amateur, but really hit his stride by winning the John Deere Classic in July, becoming the fourth youngest PGA Tour winner and the first teenager to win the tournament since 1931.

But that win granted him more than brownie points: it gave him status as a PGA Tour member, eligibility for the FedEx Cup, and entry into the 2013 Open Championship, PGA Championship and 2014 Masters. Oh yeah, and he earned a spot on the United States squad in the 2013 Presidents Cup in October.

By September, Spieth was named the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and ended the season ranked 22nd in the world. We’re guessing that number jumped just a little lower since yesterday. He may not be #1 (that’s Adam Scott), but he’s definitely #2—especially for his feelings on the Heat:

 

Spieth is not just about the game: the Presidents Cup selection led him to start the Jordan Spieth Charitable Trust, which lends time, awareness and financial assistance to special needs youth, military families and junior golf.

He’s got that Southern charm and class, and is a true Texas boy—he’s a Longhorns fan and Rangers fan, owns four pairs of cowboy boots and calls all of his elders “Mister”, especially to a golf royalty like Watson. Spieth also played baseball as a pitcher and loves tropical vacations—sounds like a great match for us! Spieth looked like he had a ton of confidence in his game (and, well, was easy on the eyes if I’m being honest here), and we know he’ll get his green jacket in due time.

Follow Spieth on Twitter at @JordanSpieth and Instagram at @jordanspieth and at http://www.jordanspiethgolf.com.

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2013 Open Championship

The 2013 Open Championship begins tomorrow, medical Thursday, July 18 at Muirfield Golf Links in Gullane, Scotland on the northeast coast of the United Kingdom. As golf’s oldest and toughest major with a pool of global competitors competing for the iconic Claret Jug, the Open is definitely one worth keeping up with this weekend.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 

Dating back to 1860, the Open Championship (commonly known as the British Open to differentiate from the US Open in the states) tests the best in the world with links style golf.  Some have said the trick to this style is not just getting your ball on the green, but keeping it there.

The firm, fast golf course will be the first challenge. The second will be the unpredictable weather of the United Kingdom coast. Within the course of a few hours there can be sideways rain, howling winds, and clear skies with sunshine.  As is the case with the US Open, this is not only a test of tremendous skill, but also of mental fortitude.

Muirfield has hosted the Championship 15 previous times. South African Ernie Els is the defending Champion in two regards.

Els won the Open Championship last year and also won in 2002 the last time the Championship was hosted at Muirfield.

WHO TO WATCH: 

I sound like a broken record, but of course, Tiger Woods. Even though Woods was tremendously disappointing at the US Open with a t-32 finish, and has recently nursed a left-elbow injury, he still has the most wins on the PGA Tour and is still the #1 ranked golfer in the world. Woods tees off at 9:45 AM EST on Thursday with Graeme McDowell (2010 US Open Champion) and Louis Oosthuzien (2010 British Open Champion).  The last time Woods has won an Open Championship were his back to back wins in 2005 and 2006.

Phil Mickelson has normally never faired well at these Championships.  His best finishes in the last 12 years are only two top 10s.  For one of the modern masters of short game this is surprising.  This year Mickelson decided to get over to the UK early to get accustomed to conditions.  He competed in the Scottish Open last weekend and pulled off a dramatic playoff victory. He is bringing the most confidence he’s ever had into an Open Championship.

Phil Mickelson celebrating Scottish Open win with his family. Photo: guardian.co.uk

Justin Rose and Adam Scott who have both won their first majors this year at the US Open and Masters respectively will be fan favorites.  Rose became the first British US Open Champion in 17 years, he would love to continue that streak to win in his home country.

The dark horse for this year is Sir Nick Faldo.  He won an Open Championship at Muirfield in 1992.  The last time he won an major was in 1996. He is pictured to the right putting on Tiger Woods’ first green jacket in 1997 as is the tradition at the Masters.

Sir Nick Faldo helps Tiger into his first green jacket after his victory at the 1997 Masters

The last time he competed in the Open Championship was 2008.  Faldo has since taken a post in the announcers’ booth and covers the PGA Tour and Major Championships.  He is 55 years old, but will be familiar at Muirfield.  The past two years we have seen winners over 40, maybe this year we will witness one over 50.

 

WHEN TO WATCH:

ESPN has exclusive coverage of the Championship. To catch the first golfers you can pull an all-nighter or wake before the crack of dawn. You can always grab a cup of tee (in the British fashion) after to keep your day going after the broadcast. Unlike the other Championships, you can watch all the coverage in the morning on the weekends and then go out and play a round of golf afterwards. Perfection!

Thursday July 18: 3 AM – 2 PM (CDT)

Friday July 19: 3 AM – 2 PM (CDT)

Saturday July 20: 6 AM – 1:30 PM (CDT)

Sunday July 21: 5 AM – 12:30 PM (CDT)

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Tiger-McIlroy-Scott_r640

The 2013 US Open, shop golf’s second and most difficult major of the season, tadalafil gets underway on Thursday at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, ailment PA. Between the short, water-logged course and the pairing of Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Rory McIlory, this major is creating more buzz than usual and is definitely one you will want to turn your attention towards.

If you checked out of the golf scene after Adam Scott won the Masters, it’s time to tune back in this weekend as the season’s toughest major is always unpredictable as the best golfers in the world face off.

What You Need to Know

  • The US Open is the hardest Major of the four (the Masters, the US Open, the (British) Open, and the PGA Championship) played each year. The USGA (United States Golf Association), the governing body of golf and creator of the rules, makes the course so difficult to promote a winning score around par.  The average winning score for PGA Tour events is well under par.  The USGA sets the course up to rattle the nerves of the steadiest players, and frighten the over-confident. They lengthen the rough and make the greens blistering fast.  The US Open is about survival.

Merion Golf Club will be a challenging test for the players at the US Open

  • The 2013 US Open will be played at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA, located about 15 miles southeast of Philadelphia.  It is an historic venue that hosted a 1981 US Open and the 2005 US Amateur.  Its signature is that each green does not have a flag, but a post with a red wicker basket.  The course will be extremely challenging, but will also be a much shorter layout than recent Opens. At 6,996 yards this will be the first US Open course under 7,000 yards since 2004.
  • In addition to the course’s challenges and the pressure of performing in a major championship, players will be faced with the wrath of mother nature. Tropical storm Andrea dropped 3 1/2 inches of rain on the course last Saturday.  This has caused flooding on the course.  Subsequent rainfalls have not helped and with thunderstorms in the forecast it could get even dicier. Talking about the weather will not be small talk this week.

Who to Watch For:

The USGA always tries to create a pairing that has a large buzz factor and this year will not disappoint. The top three players in the world will be paired together for the first two days of the championship.  Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Adam Scott will tee off at 1:14 PM EST on Thursday and 7:44 AM EST on Friday. (Pictured in this article’s featured image.)

The two past Major winners in Rory McIlory (2012 PGA Championship) and Adam Scott (2013 Masters) are still overshadowed by Tiger’s dominance in 2013. He’s won 4 of the 8 events he’s played. Absurd!  Even though he recorded his worst nine hole score in his PGA career earlier this month at The Memorial, never count him out.  He has un-matched focus. All he cares about are Majors. This could be his fifteenth, and fourth US Open.

Adam Scott

 

My “sleeper pick” for the week is Rickie Fowler (33rd in Official World Golf Ranking).  He is an incredible young talent with a bold fashion sense. He brings something different to golf, but has the game to back it up.  He played in the most prestigious team Amateur event, The Walker Cup, at Merion in 2009. He played extremely well.  No matter how wet the conditions, because of his young confidence and good memories he could get into the mix come Sunday.

Rickie Fowler dresses and plays to impress

When to Watch (All Times Central)

Thursday, June 13

8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: ESPN

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: NBC

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.:  ESPN

Friday June 14

8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: ESPN

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: NBC

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.: ESPN 

Saturday, June 15

11:00 AM to 6:30 PM NBC

Sunday, June 16

11:00 AM to 6:30 PM NBC

 

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Masters flag

It’s great to be out of hibernation and back talking to you sports divas! As the north continues to thaw, viagra the Masters at Augusta National will officially usher in the “real” start to the golf season this week.  The PGA Tour has been competing since January, but all is in preparation for the Masters, the first major of the PGA Tour.

12th Hole at August National

The Masters, which officially begins with tournament play on Thursday, is my favorite week in golf.  My first golf memory is Tiger winning his first Masters by a record 12 shots in 1997.  If you watch one golf event this year, make it this one. Golfer or not, it’s easy to get swept up by the beauty, elegance, and history that encompasses the Masters.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • The Masters is the 1st of the 4 ‘Majors’ in golf which also includes the US Open (June 13-16), the (British) Open (July 18-21), and the PGA Championship (August 8-11).
  • The first Masters tournament was played in 1935. Beginning in 1939, the tradition of awarding a Green Jacket to the victor began.  This is possibly one of the only sporting events where men want to win clothing.  Each year the reigning champion puts the green jacket on the winner to capture the continuing history of the Masters.
  • The Masters began as Bobby Jones’ vision.  Jones was the greatest amateur player of all time and dreamt of building a golf course fit for hosting a championship.

Bubba Watson, 2012 Masters champion

WHO TO WATCH FOR:

  • Tiger Woods is on a tear. Back in the lead as the #1 golfer in the world, he’s won 6 events in his last 20 competitions and is the runaway favorite this week. The guy has some experience winning at Augusta National, he’s won 4. Even though his last win at Augusta was in 2005 and his last Major win was in 2008, you can never count him out. Winning his 5th Masters would give him 15 Majors and leave him only 3 shy of tying Jack Nicklaus’ elusive record of 18 Majors.  He will dominate the headlines and commentary until the Masters Champion is crowned.  Augusta National is his “home” course and he wants a victory more than ever.
  • Bubba Watson is the defending champion and has been under the radar early on this season, but has steadily improved his game leading up to Augusta.  He also has recently unveiled his project for a hover craft golf cart the BW 1.  He’s a playful guy, who’s never had a golf lesson in his life. The public fell in love with him when he burst into tears after making his putt for victory on the first playoff hole last year.

Rory Mcllroy

  • Irishman, Rory Mcllroy represents all the rising young talent in golf. He is the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year and won the most recent Major, the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, SC last August. He won by a record 8 shots.  His start to 2013 has been shaky in the midst of all the responsibilities of his new found fame. With his new Nike endorsement he signed in January for a reported $125 million/5 years, he switched golf clubs and starred in a great Nike Golf commercial with Tiger. However at last week’s tournament in San Antonio, Rory came in solo second and is poised to add his third Major victory.
  • Guan Tianlang, the 14-year old Chinese golfer who will be the youngest player to ever compete at the Masters. How does a 14 year old get the chance to play in golf’s biggest major? By winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2012, the young phenom received an automatic bid. Every year there is an amateur to watch, but many say Tianlang has the chance to truly make an impact this weekend.

WHEN TO WATCH:

ESPN

Thursday, April 11 2:00 PM – 6:30 PM CDT

Friday, April 12 2:00 PM – 6:30 PM CDT

CBS

April 13 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM CDT

April 14 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM CDT

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