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Quite a few interesting things going on this weekend. Let’s get into it.

Saturday Scrimmage. The first big event was the scrimmage on Saturday. Of course there isn’t a ton of news and I won’t show my ignorance by gleaming facts from the minuscule amount of information that we have all seen but I did think that OTS did a pretty good job of reading between the lines. In my observation he is right more times than he is wrong – although reports of this mornings practice show that Eryk Anders was working with the ones at LB. All I know is that in 19 days all the speculation will end and the accolades and hand-wringing will begin.

Injury Update. It used to be that you could read three different reports of practice and render three different story lines. In these days of media lock-down you get basically get the same report by three different papers. Mind you, I’m not complaining, I’m just taking a long way to get to the point that as a team Alabama has been relatively injury free. This is making me nervous. I feel good about it mind you – Alabama has certainly had its share of injury problems over the last few years but they seem to be very, very fortunate this season thus far. Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida have all had major injuries. Hopefully, this is a result of the lauded strength and conditioning program we have all heard so much about.

Here’s hoping that streak continues in Alabama’s favor and best wishes and speedy recovery to those who were injured at other schools. Rivals or not, I never like to see and athlete’s season or career end due to injury.

Ivan Maisel does not have a firm grasp of reality. It is my belief that Mobile native Ivan Maisel tries to cover his unstated love for the University of Alabama by being overly critical of the Crimson Tide with the reason being to put on a show of being impartial. I’ve thought that for years. I believe that he is intelligent and writes well it’s just that I feel his criticisms of Alabama are biased because he doesn’t want anyone to know that he hides away in his house at night and watches replays of Alabama football games decked out in a full complement of Tide Gameday wear. His latest attempt at hiding his true passion is this laughable piece on Auburn and other teams that utilize the no-huddle spread. In fairness, this article isn’t as laughable as an accompanying list of “fastest” teams in the nation. Maisel lists Little Brother (WEH!) as the second fastest team in the country behind Oregon.

The super-fast spread may turn out to be awesome at Auburn but the verdict is still out. I think snitching-ass Tony Franklin’s offense may have some merit to it and in theory the idea that running tons of plays seems to hold water. There is just so much we don’t know about how it will work at Auburn this season with recruits, especially offensive lineman, who were brought in to run the power running, clock management game that Tuberville has always used to own the state of Alabama and become the OMG!!!1! “best big game coach” in the nation. I’ve always believed that you dance with the one that brought you and if this experiment doesn’t work or even starts slow then the outcome could be disastrous. Not that the prospect of Auburn imploding bothers me mind you, it’s just, don’t rank it number two on a list (higher than Troy’s offense that has been running it for at least two seasons) based on one game against a Clemson team that gave up almost 19 points per game (Auburn won 23-20). Yes, it will run more plays in a game than what has been run and yes, it will put up more yards and score more points as a result but it’s certainly not the equivalent of Alabama unveiling the Wishbone in ’71.  According to Franklin in Maisel’s article, a lot of his theory is that if the offense plays a bunch of plays then, eventually the defense gets tired and makes a mistake. However, if you go three-and-out in a minute-and-a-half and your defense has to go back out on the field by the end of the game it will be as big a problem for your own defense as it is for the others. Auburn’s stellar, as usual, defense will have them in contention this year if they are – not the Spread Eagle. Of course having to watch the clinic on three-yards and a clud of dust that has been the Auburn offense over the years, except ’04, when Al “Gorgeous” Borges, the OMG!!!1! Best Offensive Coordinator, like ever, led the team to the People’s National Championship. Of course that could have been the absurd amount of talent that Auburn had at that time.

All I’m saying is, Auburn may be very good on offense this season, but let’s let them play first, before we go and crown Tony, the Rat, as the next best thing since sliced bread.

Paddy brings it over The Pond. As everyone who cares about such thing knows now, Irishman Padraig Harrington won the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills yesterday, continuing a streak of two consecutive majors that he can defend next April in Augusta. This also gives him wins in three of the last six majors.

I do love some golf and as has been the case on the three preceding major Sundays this year, I was glued to the TV all day. Despite the statement by one of my co-workers that Harrington, “sounds like a muppet when he talks”, you can’t help but love the guy. I mean, he Irish, which amongst many things guarantees that he celebrated with adult beverages last night. He just comes across as an every-day type of guy and he doesn’t yell at his ball like Sergio Garcia does.

The other things I took away from golf coverage this weekend: Getting to hear Verne about a month prior to CBS football. It’s been so long since the season that it actually sounds good to hear that senile bastard calling the action. Demarco Ryans thanks you, Verne. Also, and I’m not sure he knows the sport, but I would be willing to coach him up free-of-charge, Nick Faldo is one of the best announcers. Ever. I absolutely love to hear this guy talk. I mean obviously he knows that game golf, but he’s incredibly funny without trying to be, unlike Gary McCord, who is horribly not-funny while desperately trying to be. I’m telling you now CBS, send Verne to the assisted-living home and sign up Faldo. He would add a layer of civility to the best-damn-sport in the world that only the English could. Here’s a link to the two together.

“What a tackle! What a tackle! He nearly took his bloody head off with that hit.”

[My new name for the roundup/link type posts]

I spent all weekend in front of the television and only saw him make one shot. Alabama’s Michael Thompson did indeed make the cut at the U.S. Open and took it a step farther by finishing 72 holes at 8-over tied for 29th and the low amateur. Congratulations Michael and best of luck to you as you start your pro career.

This is not as good as it sounds. Alabama senior signal caller Ross’ Brother (John Parker) Wilson has been named to the Johnny Unitas  Award watch list. According to the folks that give out the award it “takes athletic performance into consideration as well as off-the-field values of good character, citizenship, scholastic achievement and strong leadership.”

Which sounds nice in theory until you look at the other senior quarterbacks up for the award and find the name: Rhett Bomar, who in my opinion sets the bar for “off-the-field values”. In addition to the absolute best bangs in the conference, Ross’ Brother also is the owner of a DUI citation, which he received as a redshirt freshman (I think). I haven’t gone into details of the other watch list members but I’m thinking that the status of the award has taken a hit.

To clarify, I’m certain that both Bomar and Wilson have learned from their transgressions and are walking the straight and narrow and should be congratulated for that but if you’re going to give an award that claims to hold character in high regard then I think the candidates should have led unsullied lives up to this point. Besides, we already have a system to reward those who have screwed up and (cough, cough) straightened themselves out. It’s called elected office.

Also to clarify, in the event that Ross’ Brother leads the Tide to many victories or a few vivtories over certain rivals, I will propose that my wife have another child, just so that I can name it John Parker, be it a male or female.  I will also go on endlessly about how I have always loved the guy and knew that he was the man all along; as well as refer to him by his given name.

If he had his way. Doug Gillette continues his interesting look at what would have happened in past seasons if the old bowl system had implemented a “plus one” game to determine the national champion. In this installment he looks at the ’03 season. [Ed. Note: I’ve shamelessly ripped of Doug enough where I feel the need to provide a link and acknowledge his greatness plus this is a semi-sorta mea culpa for referring to his Georgia Bulldogs as Johnny-come-latelys in my post about the ‘07 Alabama-Georgia game.]

And finally, Haiku:

The temps are getting higher

Cleared players lower

Saban knows what he’s doing?

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