A little of this ...
Counting Sunday’s unlikely British Open victory by Darren Clarke — whose first major comes at the age of 42 — the winners of the past 11 major golf championships since the start of the 2009 season are: Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, Y.E. Yang, Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy and Clarke.
A few familiar names, a genuine star or two, a handful of “Who’s that?” and not a repeat winner among them in the nearly three-year span. Full parity has returned to the golfing world, and the game has never been more exciting and unpredictable.
I can’t even type that line with a straight face.
Golf fans can comfort themselves with “the field is wide open” spin all they want, but the truth of the matter is that the game needs Tiger Woods. As a hero or a villain; it doesn’t really matter. But it needs him.
We’ve gotten a taste of what the sport is like without one dominant champion being challenged by the field on major championship weekends, and we don’t like it.
Don’t believe me? Then why were so many fans, writers and broadcasters so eager to anoint Rory McIlroy as the “next Tiger” after his historic performance at the U.S. Open just one month ago?
Rory is very young, of course, and may yet rise to that level in time. If Woods is unable to get his personal life, his mental focus and his swing in order again, fans had better hope the 22-year-old Irishman does. The game is simply better with a dominant force or two providing a moving target for all the wannna-bes.
And a lot of that ...
- So Roger Clemens has his case thrown out of federal court, Barry Bonds beat the most serious charges against him and Casey Anthony walked out of jail on Sunday — despite mountains of circumstantial evidence against all of them. Glad to see our justice system has corrected all its glitches since it set OJ free 16 years ago.
- Word from both the owners and the players is that the NFL lockout is near an end, possibly as early as this week. It will be nice to see. Funny how the impending start of a season, when game checks and gate revenues are closer to being lost, can bridge some of those monumental chasms between the millionaires and billionaires.
- It will take more than just a collective bargaining agreement to bridge the gap between the players and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, however. James Harrison’s hate-filled rant against the Goodell in a “Men’s Journal” interview might appear to be little more than a personal grudge in response to the multitude of fines levied against Harrison last season, but many insiders have hinted that the Steelers linebacker’s feelings are shared by players across the league. Goodell has been little more than a puppet for the owners, the players believe, and although they would never say so publicly, few of them would assist in extinguishing the hypothetical fire suffered by the commissioner any more than Harrison would.
- It’s mid-July already, so when is the MLB All-Star Game? They must have moved it back or something this year, because no one in the country seems to remember hearing anything about it.
- As hard as I’ve tried to resist it, I must make mention of the Women’s World Cup Final. That game on Sunday was so exciting that I literally fell off the couch when I heard that deafening roar coming from the television! The remote, you see, was just a tad out of reach and I had to stretch a little too far to turn it off and get back to my nap. Hurry back, NFL.
Bob Frantz is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.