Saturday, August 10, 2013

Scott Going For Two as Tiger’s Having a Major Problem

Adam Scott is in position to take his second major title of the year but he will have to work through the weekend to do so. He’s three shots back of the leader after bogeying two of the first three holes on Saturday to drop into a tie for second. This follows a 65 and 68 over the first to rounds to get him close to the top to start the round. After beating Angel Cabrera in a playoff to take the Master’s Championship in April to start the season Scott is rounding the bag and going for two to close the season at the PGA, and he may need that kind of effort to take down the final major of the year as there is a log jam at the top of the board and if currently leader Jason Dufner sees red on a couple of holes there are five players tied for second and third that will be right there to take the baton including Kutcher, Furyk, Blixt, and Stenson. It will make for a great final weekend of the final major. Meanwhile lingering near the cut line is the current World’s Number One player Tiger woods who once again failed to be a factor come Sunday in a major tournament. Despite getting off to one of his best starts of the year in his storied career he seems to be doing his best ARod impression (minus the PEDs) as he puts up some big numbers during the regular season but when the lights are their brightest, in the major tournaments, he’s nowhere to be found. Back in the day this used to be the exact reciprocal of his play, and he was more like Larry Ellison (and just as arrogant) as he would just seem to show up for the prime time match, dominate, pick up the trophy, and leave. Not really spending too much time in the “minor” tournaments as they were a waste of his time a more for sponsorships reasons than anything else. My how times have changes as that appears to all he is winning now are the TNT tournaments, not to make light of those as they did take him back to number one, but it’s no secret that even after all he has accomplished, if he doesn’t catch Jack in the major column after the start he got off to he may be remembered as not living up to his potential. That my be hyperbole now, but as amazing as it sounds the hourglass has actually been turned over on prior teen-aged phoenom and now he’ll need to start being selective again, only this time when he chooses to bring his “A” game.

Monday, July 8, 2013

75 years coming for Murray and England

Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the Wimbledon final to become the first British man in 77 years to win at the All England Club. As powerful as that statement is it may be a side note to exactly how big of a win it was for Murray and his personal career as he left the same court in tears last year with the same opportunity to break the streak and bring the trophy home for his country but instead was ousted by Rankin’ Roger Federer in four sets, after taking the first one 6-4. After that defeat, Murray's voice cracked and tears rolled as he told the crowd, "I'm getting closer."How prescient. Four weeks later, on the same court, he beat Federer for a gold medal at the London Olympics, a transformative victory if ever there was one. And 52 weeks later, on the same court, he beat Djokovic for the Wimbledon championship. For several seasons, Murray was the outsider looking in, while Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic collected 29 out of 30 Grand Slam titles. But now Murray has clearly and completely turned the Big 3 into a Big 4, having reached the finals at the last four major tournaments he entered (he withdrew from the French Open in May because of a bad back). And he's now a two-time Slam champion, having defeated Djokovic in five sets at the U.S. Open in September. So is this a sign of things to come for Murray or will this be his crowning moment? I think it will be a breakthrough of sorts and he will be back for more come the US Open but if winning his country’s championship in front of tens of thousands in person and at remote venues from all over the UK satisfies him then his stint as the King of the All-England club will be a short one and instead he’ll join an even bigger club though much less prestigious, the “Hall of One time Winners”.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Brazil Puts Out the Welcome Mat, but it Comes With a Warning Label

The host nation for the 2013 Confederations Cup did more than just dominate the top team in the world en route to a 3-0 win, they sent a message to everyone on the planet that might be watching that if you thought they looked tough in this tournament, the daunting task of taking them out in their own house when everyone comes to play might actually be impossible as they have not lost a competitive match at home since 1975. If you took the jersey’s off and watched the match on Sunday you surely would have thought that the eventual winner was the top side in the world and the loser ranked 22nd but it turned out to be the opposite and if that’s any harbinger of things to come next year then you should certainly throw out the rankings. Ironically, this may be the best thing to happen to Spain who has ranked first for the past 20 months, and is the most accomplished national team of recent decades, winning its first World Cup in 2010 between titles in the 2008 and 2012 European Championships. However, getting handed their worst lost since 1985 and ending their 29-game winning streak, as it may serve as a wakeup call that they will certainly not be able to just show up and hoist another world championship next summer. "We never arrived," said Xavi, whose ineffectual performance was one of the big surprises on a lacklustre night for the Spaniards, who had Gerard Pique sent off."They were more intense, they pressured more and there was more rhythm to their game. They were just better." His words were echoed by coach Vicente del Bosque who, after voicing irritation with Brazil fouls disrupting his side's flow, was quick to acknowledge that "they were better than us and they deserved the title". Conversely, Brazil is focusing on the really big prize: the World Cup that it hosts next year."We know that the tournament that we will be playing next year will be a lot more difficult," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "Now we have more confidence. That's what we needed." But there is hope for the rest of the world despite not only Brazil’s but South American sides home success in the World Cup, no country has ever won the Confederations Cup and then proceeded to hoist the ‘Cup of Life’ so don’t schedule any parties in Rio other than Carnival just yet.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Aussies Have Plenty of Questions To Answer as Ashes Quickly Approaches

Australia has sacked coach Mickey Arthur just over two weeks before the start of the Ashes, according to reports. However this shouldn’t really be that big of a surprise to most supporters as it follows a crushing semi-final defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka but most figured if the Ashes produced a strong showing then the skipper would get a reprieve. But the recent loss just tells part of the story and the South African has been under increasing pressure due his side's performances on the field, as well as for the disciplinary issues which have dogged the team in India and England. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland and team performance manager Pat Howard are to hold a press conference in Bristol later on Monday where they will "discuss the coaching structure of the Australian team". However it is believed they will confirm Arthur has been relieved of his duties, with Darren Lehmann taking over the reins. Needless to say Lehmann will jump right into the fire straight away as Ashes is less than a fortnight away now and still many questions remain, and Lehmann knows it’s going to be an uphill battle. "No-one is underestimating the task at hand but we believe he is the right man for the job. It is up to the players to respond under his leadership and demonstrate their commitment to a successful Australian team." Lehmann played 27 Tests and 117 one-day internationals for Australia between 1996 and 2005, and he has since been successfully involved with the Brisbane Heat and Kings XI Punjab as a coach, and will need to continue that kind of track record if he hopes to have a long reign on top.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Kalifornia Klingsman has The US Ship Steered in the Right Direction, Towards Brazil

Jurgen Klingsman coach of the US Men’s Soccer team was certainly on the hot seat after an opening round loss to Honduras putting the US at the bottom of the table below Jamaica and Costa Rica. However since then they’ve gone 3-0-1 racking up ten points and have moved not only to the top of the table but have the best goal differential (+3) and have three of the final five games in United States. Suffice to state that they’re on the fast road to Brazil, with Klingsman driving. The German born coach and former national player has taken a more proactive approach and it has paid off with immediate dividends. The US defeated Jamaica 2-1 in Kingston in a match that featured some of his most tactical moves and best decisions during his two-year tenure as the national team skipper, including an attacking move that resembled ‘pulling the goalie’ in hockey that yielded the winning goal in stoppage time. Additionally, for the first time in more than two-dozen games in charge, Klingsman selected a starting 11 he had slated once before. There may finally be some continuity and flow to the US game, and that will make them a difficult out not only over their final five remaining qualifiers but when the chips are really in the center of the table next year in Brazil. On the other side of the coin are the Tri-Colors that have not been flying high as Mexico came into the group as the favorites once again but have had a dearth of offense, particularly at home and now have their work cut out for them on the back nine of qualification. The good news is they’re undefeated in group play, but the bad news is that they have one win and four ties, yielding eight points and tenuous hold on third place. Tenuous in the sense that they’ve played one more match than all others in contention and must go on the road for two of their final four matches where they will need a result in at least one them. Normally dominant at Azteca Stadium, Mexico has failed to score a goal at home in three matches and what in the past would be a sure nine points has only produced three thus far and has some very nervous supporters south of the border. This sets up a huge match with Honduras on September 5th, where they must get at least the draw and probably a win otherwise their trip to South America will stop a bit short.