Speed Read: Turnberry Getting Its Revenge Today

After a day that saw the lowest opening round ever at the British Open Championship and a 59-year-old dude lapping Turnberry like it’s a pitch-and-putt, it appears that the golf gods are turning the screws on the field today. Let’s put it this way, Tiger Woods has moved up more than 20 spots on the leaderboard so far today by not playing golf.

Tom Watson

(It’s been 32 years since we’ve seen this much arm hair and a Claret Jug in the same photo)

Tiger will tee off shortly, and he’ll do so on a damp, dreary, and (most importantly) windy day on the Scottish shoreline. Tom Watson (pictured above) is already out on the course, looking to build on his improbable 65. Yesterday’s clubhouse leader, Miguel Angel Jimenez, has already dropped four shots on the front nine as of press time. His ridiculous ponytail is threatening to blow into the ocean as we speak.

Miguel Angel Jimenez

Ben Curtis was one of three players who started the day one behind, but he’s fallen off the map, firing a brutal 80 and falling all the way to a tie for 108th in the process. Others who have gone completely in the tank today are Mike Weir, Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan, and US Open champ Lucas Glover. And John Daly looks just as ridiculous wearing this in Scotland as he does over here:

John Daly

American Steve Marino is one of the only players who has negotiated the course well so far, following a first-round 67 with a 68 today. At 5-under, Marino might find himself playing in the final group on Saturday if the wind continues to howl during this afternoon’s play. Marino has never won on the PGA Tour and never even played in an Open. Japan’s Kenichi Kuboya has gone to 6-under as I write this, but he’s still early in his round and may have come back to earth by the time you read this.

Dan Marino

(No, no, *Steve* Marino)

David Beckham made his long-awaited return to the MLS last night for the L.A. Galaxy. Well, it was at least a mildly-awaited return. Alright, let’s be honest, if Landon Donovan hadn’t called the guy out in that book would anyone even know he was back? The citizens of the New York metro area certainly didn’t seem to care that much, as only 23,000 or so showed up to see the Galaxy beat up on the hapless Red Bulls.

Beckham and Donovan

Not surprisingly, Beckham looked slow and tired, as he hadn’t played in a match since the end of May. Donovan scored once and assisted on another goal, and Beckham attempted to bury the hatchet once and for all by bro-hugging him all the way down the field as they celebrated Landon’s goal.

But the tepid response to Beckham’s return was the real story. Just a year ago, Beckham drew more than 46,000 fans out to the Meadowlands, which was down from the 66,000+ who came in 2007. He clearly prefers playing in Europe and living in Europe, so what’s the point now? He has run his course here, and his continued presence is just going to become an embarrassment for all involved — AEG for overestimating the Beckham brand in America, MLS for not shedding American pro soccer’s reputation of only drawing international stars after they’re washed up, and Beckham himself, who is going to have to deal with playing in front of 12,000 people in Kansas City and pretending that he’s happy to be there.

So when is the plug pulled for good? The Galaxy have friendly matches coming up with AC Milan (his other team) and Champions League winners Barcelona, as well as 12 more league matches that stretch into late October. European leagues start at the end of August. Is he going to want to stick around here when he could be getting “better prepared” for next year’s World Cup elsewhere? And more importantly, does anyone really care if he stays or goes?

David Beckham

• OK, so how did U.S. Ski Team member Cody Marshall suffer a serious head injury?

A) Training hard for the upcoming Olympics.

B) Riding the railing of an escalator in the mall like a 12-year-old.

Do I need to even answer this for you? Perhaps the biggest problem was that the escalator wasn’t even turned on.

•  Nice timing for the big celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe this weekend. I mean, it’s not like there’s another important golf tournament going on or anything. I guess if Tiger tanks it today everyone can take solace in being able to watch Charles Barkley shoot 110.

Adam Morrison has finally found a league he can dominate — the NBA summer league in Vegas. The LA TIMES caught up with him there. Seriously, though, the guy has taken a beating just about everywhere so it would be a great story if he could somehow turn himself into a useful NBA player.

• The Jazz are planning on matching the Blazers’ offer to restricted free agent Paul Millsap, which ESPN says might help facilitate a trade that would send Carlos Boozer to Chicago and Kirk Hinrich to Portland.

Ronnie Milsap

(No, no, *Paul* Millsap. It’s not even spelled the same.)

• Remember the good old days when Dominican baseball prospects just lied about their age? Now they don’t even use their real names. The Yankees are the latest team to have apparently been duped by a prospect from the D.R. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED says they signed who they thought was 16-year-old shortstop Damian Arredondo to an $850,000 bonus, but they have been informed by MLB’s Department of Investigations that not only is he not really 16, but he’s also not really Damian Arredondo. Whoever he is, the Yankees don’t have to pay him the bonus and the player is now banned from being offered a contract by another team for a year.

• More evidence that Rich Rodriguez might not be working out in Ann Arbor? An offensive lineman who has left the program to transfer to Ball State says this: “They were bringing in a lot of different kids that were not my kind of crowd. Coach Carr’s staff was a whole different ballgame. It was like a family. But when Rodriguez came in it was a whole different feeling. It was more of a business.”

Ricky Williams would like to give you a body massage.

• That car that Stan Musial rode around in at the All-Star Game the other night was a Ford. And, since we all know that “this is oooouuurrrr coouuuntryyyy” and Chevy owns our souls during baseball telecasts, they had to actually put tape over the Ford logo. Maybe that’s why the guy driving was so surly the whole time (thanks UNI WATCH).

Stan Musial

• The MIAMI HERALD was trumpeting the Marlins-Phillies series that began last night at (shudder) Land Shark Stadium, saying that crowds of “upwards of 30,000″ were expected for the series. Actual attendance last night: 15,171. But look at the bright side — that’s 15,000 fewer people to be embarrassed by watching their team get one-hit by a 46-year-old.

Ryan Howard hit his 200th career homer last night in his 658th game, the fewest ever for someone to reach the milestone. The previous record holder was Ralph Kiner, who did it in 706 games.

• Everybody’s talking about the dress Erin Andrews wore to the ESPY Awards, but Natalie Gulbis was looking pretty nice herself:

Natalie Gulbis

Has the David Beckham MLS “experiment” been a success?

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Speed Read: LA Riots as Lakers Get NBA Title #15

The Magic were a Courtney Lee layup and a Derek Fisher miss away from being up 3-1 and having the Lakers on the ropes going into Game 5 last night, but it wasn’t to be. Then, sensing that Orlando was still reeling from giving away Game 4, the Lakers seized the momentum and left absolutely no doubt as to who the better team was in a 99-86 series-clincher at Pyramid Scheme Arena. The Lakers used a 16-0 run in the second quarter to take control, and the Magic never got closer than five after that.

Lakers celebrate

It’s title #15 for the Laker franchise, #10 for coach Phil Jackson (breaking Red Auerbach’s record), and #4 for Kobe Bryant (who was also named MVP). And, if you’re scoring at home, suck it, Redick:

Adam Morrison

(Ladies and gentlemen, the saddest NBA champion ever.)

Kobe finally got his title without Shaq, though it’s not like he did this thing alone (but averaging 32, 6, and 7 in the Finals is a pretty impressive line). The Lakers were a mediocre team until Memphis GM Chris Wallace decided to give them Pau Gasol, and the continued development of youngsters like Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza helped push the team to another level. Add in the rejuvenation of candy addict Lamar Odom and you have all the ingredients for a championship run.

Pau Gasol

As for the Magic, they certainly have a lot of things to be proud of, but also face a lot of uncertainty going forward. Will they find room for Hedo Turkoglu? What are they going to do with Rafer Alston? Will Dwight Howard grow into his true potential? Will Stan Van Gundy’s insane act wear thin? Was this their only window of opportunity? If Cleveland gets LeBron some help and KG comes back healthy for the Celtics, Orlando might find getting back to the Finals an impossible task in the near future.

Dwight Howard alone

The trophy presentation had plenty of unintentional comedy, including Jackson’s goofy “X” hat that his kids made for him, Morrison’s puzzled look as he decided whether or not he should act like he deserved a ring, and a hilariously awkward interview with Jerry Buss‘ kid, whose public speaking skills came off like a cross between your average spelling bee champion and Mark Madsen. David Stern’s backhanded obligatory compliment to the Magic for being a “very worthy Eastern Conference champion” was nice too. All in all, it wasn’t “anything is possible!” but still a very solid postgame ceremony.

Phil Jackson X hat

Of course, the fine citizens of Los Angeles are always looking for a flimsy excuse to throw a garbage can through a window, and the “celebration” around the city extended well into the wee hours of the morning. As I’m sure you already know, Brooks was on hand outside the Staples Center and noted that the LAPD was clearly overwhelmed in trying to keep up with what was going down on the streets.

police at Lakers celebration

(Yeah, this is probably enough officers, right?)

Fortunately, Brooks was able to get some good shots of the good clean fun outside of Staples before things went south. Although CBS 2 says that, all things considered, this year’s riots were not on par with previous years, such as 2000 when the Lakers won the series in L.A. Still, the LAPD’s attempts to keep revelers out of downtown altogether was a massive failure, and the department should be counting its lucky stars that major issues were the exception and not the norm.

De La Hoya statue at Lakers riot

(Kobe jersey with no undershirt and jeans = not a good look for a white guy)

Magic statue Lakers riot

(”The looters went that way!”)

The LA TIMES says that some folks went into looting mode, breaking windows at a shoe store and cleaning out a convenience store. Because what better way to celebrate your team’s NBA title than with some stolen beef jerky and a chunk of glass in your thigh?

And what makes all of these people even bigger geniuses is the fact that their city and state are both completely out of money, so it’s entirely reasonable to destroy a bunch of stuff that public funds will have to replace. Look, I’ve been excited, but I can’t imagine ever feeling the urge to carry a metal barrier through the streets and ram it into things indiscriminately, like these folks who were photographed by ABC 7 in L.A.:

Lakers fans riot

I’m sure we could fill page after page with entertaining photos of idiot Laker fans, but other things are happening in the world of sports, so let’s get to the links:

• OK, one more NBA thing. Charles Barkley checks in with a column in the LA TIMES, and he thinks Phil Jackson won’t be around to wear an “XI” hat next year.

• While most sports fans were transfixed on the NBA Finals, Cliff Lee took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Cardinals in the night game on ESPN, but Shin-Soo Choo made a less-than-stellar attempt at catching Yadier Molina’s deep fly into the right field corner, and the no-hitter was no more. Lee didn’t exactly throw Choo under the bus afterward, but it also seemed like he wasn’t really pleased with the effort. The Indians won 3-0, and Lee gave up two more hits.

Michael Phelps lost two races yesterday at a meet in California. Perhaps it’s the porn ’stache that’s weighing him down?

Michael Phelps porn stache

• The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS says that 17-year-old baseball phenom Bryce Parker is going to skip his last two years of high school, get his GED, and play community college baseball in Las Vegas in preparation for the 2010 MLB Draft. If you think Stephen Strasburg’s going to command a boatload of money, just wait until this kid gets drafted. He’s already bombed multiple 450-foot-plus shots in a home run derby in Tampa.

• Your 2009 LPGA Championship winner is Anna Nordqvist of Sweden via Arizona State. See if you can pick her out of this photo:

Anna Nordqvist

I know. It’s a tough one.

• Oh, yeah, now you try and trade for Shaq, Cleveland. Way to think of that about four months too late. Perhaps it was the steep asking price of Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic that made them balk the first time around.

• How bad have the Colorado Rockies been this year? After a 7-1 win over Seattle yesterday, they’ve now won 11 games in a row, but still are a game under .500 and 10-1/2 games out of first place. Still, a nice run for the Rocks, who haven’t won this many consecutive games since September of 2007, when they won like 49 out of their last 50 on the way to the World Series. More good news for the Rockies: catcher Yorvit Torrealba’s son was returned after being kidnapped for ransom in Venezuela, and he spoke about the ordeal for the first time yesterday.

• I can’t imagine better timing for Nike to release a shoe designed by and dedicated to Chien-Ming Wang. But hey, if your dream is to have a 14+ ERA in the big leagues, these kicks are for you:

Chien-Ming Wang shoes

Phil Ivey is a sick human being. He won his second World Series of Poker bracelet in a little over a week with a victory in a half Omaha/half Stud high-low event on Saturday. He was simultaneously playing a different pot-limit Omaha event in another part of the room, and fit in enough hands there to nearly make that final table. And he somehow found more time to win over $100,000 online. While the $400,000+ in prize money he has won for his two bracelets this year is nice, rumor has it that he’s won millions more in bracelet wagers with his friends and high-stakes regulars at the Bellagio. At 33, Ivey already has seven bracelets and needs just four more to equal the record held by Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson.

• You know how on WWE they always have someone get “hurt” and then carted off and dramatically loaded on an ambulance like there’s some sort of actual injury? Well, that happened to Japanese superstar Mitsuharu Misawa on Saturday night. Except it wasn’t fake. He had a heart attack during a match in Hiroshima and died at the age of 46. Misawa got his start as a character called “Tiger Mask” and was the biggest star in Japanese wrestling, reportedly on par with Hulk Hogan in the U.S. The BALTIMORE SUN has a short tribute. Here’s some footage of Misawa going at it a few years back with Samoa Joe:

Who ya got for the 2010 NBA title?

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Blog-O-Rama: Burn, Duke Blue Devils, Burn Baby!

  • Critical Fantatic of FAN IQ (not pictured, I hope) breaks down the West Virginia win over Duke yesterday. No Sweet Sixteen for you!

Burning couch

  • How much is everyone enjoying the Duke loss? DEADSPIN shows us that one message board has temporarily shut down.

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Blog-O-Rama: Dick Vitale Dressed Up As Cinderella

• 100% INJURY RATE doesn’t believe it’s awesome, baby, to see Dick Vitale dressed as Cinderella.

Dick Vitale as Cinderella

• BULLZEYE puts together an all-star pro football team without football players.

• RANDBALL cuts to the chase, as some Minnesota wrestlers were penalized in the NCAA championships for not shaving properly.

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