Yesterday was yet another amazing performance by 60-year-old Tom Watson at a major championship. After nearing winning the British Open at Turnberry last year, Watson fired a career-low 67 at Augusta National yesterday and was just one shot off the lead after the first round of The Masters.
(Watson wife #2: Golfer blew out anti-Limbaugh wife #1)
The night before that unexpected performance, Watson may have also surprised some folks with his comments at the annual Golf Writers Association of America awards dinner in Augusta.
Decorated SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and KANSAS CITY STAR columnist and noted nice guy Joe Posnanski knows Tom Watson as well as any journo, so I perked up today when I saw his take on Watson’s double-barreledcriticism of Tiger Woods.
In the Golf.com piece, Posnanski nods to Watson’s scolding of Woods, while adding an anecdote about Watson that contributes to what appears to reveal the golfer’s god complex.
I grew up in Kansas City idolizing Tom Watson who, along with George Brett, is the biggest name in K.C. sports history. But even I couldn’t force down Watson recently letting the “cat out of the bag” about Tiger Woods.
(Watson: Divorce then marriage 20 mos. later to ex-wife of PGA player)
Watson twicenow has urged Woods to go public about his marital indiscretions while also slamming Woods for his on-course behavior.
Apparently Watson has a very, very short memory about his own personal life.
In December, 1997, Linda Watson, Tom’s wife of 25 years, left him.
(Longtime Watson friend since childhood) David Wysong saw the Watsons’ marriage in trouble. “Linda gave Tom all her support, because she’s a generous, giving person. But you have to grow together or you grow apart. I guess they grew apart, and I blame the profession.” (Linda Watson said she had no comment for this story.)
Golf Digest reported that in the aftermath of Watson’s divorce, his teenage children had cut him off, “the divorce has put the children all but out of his reach.”
So Watson’s wife of 25 years, who had been with him since high school, files for divorce. His kids cut him off. Less than two years later, Watson is married to a woman who had just left another PGA Tour player.
So how did Watson handle that suspicious series of events in public? Exactly like Woods. He didn’t handle it at all.
“I feel that he has not carried the same stature that other great players that have come along like Jack (Nicklaus), Arnold (Palmer), Byron Nelson, the Hogans, in the sense that there was language and club throwing on the golf course.”
Where was that before Woods went into hiding? And someone might consider apprising Watson of Palmer’s personal life before he drags Arnie into any comparison with Woods. (As if Watson doesn’t know.)
Thanks to a remarkable run at the British Open last year, golf great Tom Watson is suddenly more relevant.
Watson recently spoke to the NBC affiliate KSHB-TV from his home in Kansas City about Tiger Woods, and he officially became the first prominent pro golfer to criticize Woods and lament the adverse effect the Woods scandal has had on pro golf.
“It’s bad for our game. It’s something he needs to get control of and a handle on and make some amends and show some humility to the public when he comes back.
“His swearing and his club throwing, that should end. That’s not part of what we want to project as far as the professional golf tour is concerned.”
Watson might not sound all that harsh but in the rhetorically-correct world of pro golf that qualifies at the very least as a pro wrestling-esque open handed slap at Woods.
You might have noticed when you were watching Tom Watson’s unlikely run through the Open this weekend that he was sporting a hat for a company called Adams Golf. And while Adams is a well-known brand in the golf community, it’s not exactly on the level of other more popular brands like Nike, Taylor Made, and Callaway. So it was quite an unexpected boon for the brand, whose shares have been trading for less than $3 in recent months on the NASDAQ, but rose more than 18% during the tournament solely based on Watson’s exposure.
For those of you who didn’t watch “The T.O. Show” on VH1 last night, consider yourselves the lucky few: like the residents of Johnstown who weren’t washed away by the giant flood, you somehow missed out on being carried away in a torrent of filth, muck and debris. For those of us contractually obligated to watch the show (this is why you should read contracts before agreeing to become a blogger), there’s no Red Cross volunteers coming to our rescue. We’re left shaking on the banks of the river as we try to comprehend what we just saw.
Maybe I’m being a bit over the top. But man, it wasn’t good.
To recap: Terrell Owens has a great body (honed by only the finest rubber bands your $19.95 can buy), and enjoys spending time showing it off. A lot of time showing it off. As in, going shirtless for about three-quarters of the show. But, as you would hear any good pitchman say, that’s not all.
No VH1 “Celeb Reality” show can just be about following a celebrity around, so there has to be some sort of convoluted plot, and here the one for “The T.O. Show”: his “best friends” and “publicists” Kita Williams and Monique Jackson have convinced him to move to Los Angeles during the off-season to “find himself.” Which - according to the first episode - means the following things:
Spending more than $100,000 on new diamond earrings.
Hooking up with the trashy real estate agent who rents him the mansion he’s staying in during the show. (I know that the market is tough, but this seems like excessively aggressive sales tactics, although maybe now is the right time to buy.)
Going out to a club with said earrings, meeting a bunch of trashy women and inviting them home to “party” with him.
His half-assed attempt to get back together with his ex-fiancee, who seems like the only semi-intelligent person on the show by getting the hell out of Dodge.
Somehow T.O. has managed to create a show with less likable characters than “Rock of Love” and even fewer morally redeeming qualities as “I Love Money.” It’s an exercise in egotistical wish fulfillment - T.O. is famous and wants a show, so someone had to give it to him - and the early reviews have been particularly brutal:
Terrell Owens is one beautiful man and he knows it, oh, Lord, he knows it, and so do his publicists, Kita Williams and Monique Jackson, the forces behind “The T.O. Show,” which premieres tonight on VH1. Why else would the publicity art include a nude portrait of the football star, why else would Owens spend at least 60% of his time in front of the camera shirtless?
Good thing too, because the sculpted pecs, mighty shoulders and perfect abs are just about the only thing the show has going for it. No, wait, I take that back; he has a lovely smile as well. - LOS ANGELES TIMES
Your mama never warned you to watch out for reality TV, but it can be poison. You sense its brain destructiveness when you get up in the morning, thinking, “I can’t wait to see if T.O. makes it with the real estate agent.”
The T.O. Show is so shallow mosquitoes couldn’t breed in it, though it appears some of the humans are trying to, as Terrell Owens joins up with two publicists, who are also supposed to be his best friends. -PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
What VH1 gets out of the deal, frankly, is less clear, other than a strange amalgam of soap-opera pathos and jock-like bravado, with Owens taking marching orders from his ubiquitous “publicists,” who, given their time commitment to the athlete, surely must have no other clients. - VARIETY
…and don’t even get me started on T.O.’s bodyguard Pablo. Just…no.
Meanwhile, while”The T.O. Show” was premiering, another type of muck was being dredged up in Pittsburgh. PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that Ben Roethlisberger is the subject of a civil suit filed by a hotel employee in Washoe County, NV who says that in July 2008, the Super Bowl MVP called her into his room to fix her TV, and then “forced her to have sex with him.”
Using a little bit of local knowledge, based on the locations given and the date, I’m going to assume this allegedly happened when Roethlisberger was in South Lake Tahoe last year for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. And if this sounds a lot to you like the allegations made against Kobe Bryant in Colorado a couple of years ago…you’re not the only one. Of course, the big difference here is that these are civil allegations - no criminal charges have ever been filed by Roethlisberger’s accuser.
Finally, former North Carolina wide receiver and point guard Jason Holley was revealed as the winner of Michael Irvin’s “4th and Long” reality TV show on Spike, and with it has earned a shot with the Dallas Cowboys during their training camp. Is it possible to do a reality show about football and not have the Cowboys involved? So help me, if Alvin Harper gets a show, I’m never watching TV again.
Other sports stories from last night:
ESPN’s Jayson Stark has the details of Pedro Martinez’s contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, and as expected it’s heavily incentive-laden. He is only guaranteed $1 million for the rest of the season, but could make more than double that if he meets certain longevity and performance-based milestones.
(Can Pedro keep his midget well-cared for on $1 million a year?)
Anyone who questions whether or not Jeremy Mayfield is hooked on crystal meth - as NASCAR and his stepmother claims - should check out this video from a few years ago of him giddily blowing up watermelons and full gas cans. Nope, that doesn’t sound like something a meth head would do at all.
A few weeks ago, Quinten Richardson was traded by the Memphis Grizzlies to the Los Angeles Clippers, which pretty much defines “sideways movement.” Last night the Clippers turned around and shipped him to the Minnesota Timberwolves, somehow going from bad to worse. On the plus side, Mark Madsen’s back in Lipstick City. Watch out on the dance floor.
What to do if you’re eight months pregnant but want to hang out at the sports bar watching your favorite team play. Get a Maternity Jersey, of course. Or as they are otherwise known, “Rich Garces Style.”
To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, the Houston Astros wore special patches and caps. In addition, they also went out and got loaded on Tang and vodka.
Mississippi State might have a first-year coach in Dan Mullen, but they’re already in midseason form in terms of arrests. Leading running back Anthony Dixon has been arrested on a DUI charge, the fifth Bulldog to be nabbed by police this off-season.
Police have arrested a man who shot and paralyzed former NFL player Michael Woods 27 years ago and charged him with aggravated murder after Woods died from a related kidney infection six weeks ago,
Sigh. Just 24 hours ago, the idea of Tom Watson winning the British Open and Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France didn’t seem all that far-fetched. In fact, we were all starting to believe that it all had to happen. Why would they come this far just to fail in the end?
Much has been written about Watson’s inability to hang on to a one-shot lead on the 18th at Turnberry, but lost in that shuffle was the news that Armstrong has basically conceded the Tour to his teammate Alberto Contador after falling behind in yesterday’s climb in the Alps. While Lance is still second overall, he finished ninth in yesterday’s stage and looks like he’s not going to be able to keep up as the Tour continues through the mountains over the next week.
“Lance Armstrong was my idol, but dropping him today wasn’t important — he was just like any other rider … It’s an honor for me to have him working for me,” Contador said.
In other words, this is my sport now. Armstrong, who is rumored to be starting his own team for next year, acknowledged that Contador was the best rider and that his goal now is to do what’s best for his team.
Wins by Watson and/or Armstrong would have probably ended up being the biggest sports stories of the year, if not among the best of the decade. These examples of the triumph of the spirit over the limitations of the body as we age are a shot in the arm of a lot of us could use. For the most part, we are faced every day with some reminder that we aren’t all we could be, and we accept it because we’re getting older. It’s the most convenient excuse, and perhaps the fact that they came up just short is enough evidence for us to keep using it. Golf and cycling are about as far apart in terms of their physical demands as you can get in the sports world. But the fact that a 59-year-old and a 37-year-old cancer survivor could come so close to reaching the pinnacle of their respective sports one last time has to be some sort of wake up call for the rest of us, right?
Speaking of wake up calls (and I hate to keep bringing this up), but it looks as if the nails are just about to be driven in the coffin of David Beckham’s MLS career. In his first home game since his return to the Galaxy, he was roundly booed and got into an angry confrontation with a fan during L.A.’s friendly with AC Milan (Beckham’s other team).
Though he claimed afteward that he expected some negativity, it was clear through his behavior that he didn’t expect it to be quite as overwhelming as it was. The main culprits were the Riot Squad, the Galaxy’s version of a wannabe European fan section. As you can see, they aren’t too happy that Becks backed out on the first half of the MLS season to play in Italy:
After hearing boos and coordinated chants and jeers throughout the first half, Beckham finally had enough and confronted the section of fans as he headed off the field for halftime. He says he went to ask them to calm down, but soon security was getting involved and escorting away a fan who appeared as if he wanted to engage Becks in some sort of physical altercation. The L.A. TIMES has all the particulars of a strange evening at the Home Depot Center.
Lost in all of the tension was the fact that Beckham actually played well, and was instrumental in both of L.A.’s goals in a 2-2 draw with Milan. After he delivered a perfect corner kick in the second half that Bryan Jordan headed into the net, he turned to the Riot Squad and stared them down as he raised his arms in celebration. I imagine that this battle isn’t quite over yet, even though Beckham tried to downplay it in his remarks afterward:
By the way, Los Angeles, way to treat your sports stars. You welcome Manny Ramirez, a proven cheater, back from his suspension as if he was returning from chemotherapy or something, but you get all over this guy. Nice.
• From the world of minor league baseball promotions, here’s footage of Chewbacca riding around in the Mystery Machine at a single-A game in Lowell, Massachusetts:
• More from the world of minor league baseball promotions: The Brooklyn Cyclones dedicated last night’s game to preganancy, complete with a pregame Lamaze class, and the promise of free tickets for life to anyone who names their kid “Brooklyn” or “Cy.”
For a brief moment this afternoon, I saw pigs starting to fly outside of my window. I could swear that one of them was cruising along at about four to five feet off of the ground at one point, and almost looked like it was going to really move. But then, like Icarus, it came crashing to the ground in flames.
That’s a fancy way of saying that I just watched 59-year-old Tom Watson do the almost unthinkable and lead the British Open as he was walking up 18, only to then see him leave his par putt to win the championship woefully short and then fall apart in the four-hole playoff. Congratulations to Stewart Cink, your 2009 British Open champion. You jerk.