British Golf Fans Appalled At “American Disease”

Sky Sports golf writer Dave Tindall in London has a very long piece today that underlines the apparently still-vast cultural differences between the U.S. and the U.K.

Golfers Spitting

Tindall reports on the local outrage over the on-course hygiene of pro golfers. Namely, the Brits are pissed about all the spitting.

The other general concensus is that it appears to be, shall we say, an American disease.

What baffles many UK golf fans is that it’s not just the American young bucks (i.e. Dustin Johnson, whose phlegm levels were clearly set to high during his win at Pebble Beach) who are guilty but also some of the well-to-do veterans such as ‘Gentleman’ Jim Furyk.

Tiger Woods is a serial spitter too, prompting well-known cricket commentator Jack Bannister to tell Talksport viewers last week: “Tiger’s speech lasted 13 minutes and I think it’s the longest time I’ve seen him go without spitting.”

In short, it’s become an issue. In fact, the Sky Sports Golf team have been inundated with so many e-mails on the subject that it led the show’s presenter Robert Lee to declare: “Let’s start a campaign to stamp it out.” Read more…

PGA To Overturn Ban On Booze Sponsorships?

Yes, we say it often, but times is tough, especially in a world on a bubble (like, say, the sports world). The golf world doesn’t appear to be in deep trouble, especially not with money-printing machine Tiger Woods commanding everybody’s attention, but now’s definitely not the time to be picky about sponsors. Even if they happen to be SWEET MAMA ALCOHOL.

John Daly Booze Trophy

The SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL is reporting that hard alcohol sponsorships are being looked at by the PGA to increase revenue over the coming years. They can sponsor things like VIP areas at events, but not, say, tournament titles. And yes, somewhere, John Daly’s ears just perked up. Read more…

Tiger Out Of Masters Race; Will People Still Care?

After “Moving Day,” or the Saturday leg of the Masters, we’ve got an interesting scenario. The final pairing is Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry at -11, while Chad Campbell sits at -9 after a late double bogey. Jim Furyk’s an intriguing comeback pick at -8. Then there’s Tiger, tied for 10th place, but seven shots back at -4. Sorry, but that means he’s out of contention.

Tiger Woods Green Jacket
(This won’t happen.)

So are people still going to watch the Masters on Sunday? The top of the leaderboard is bunched together, so it should be exciting. Then again, Tiger’s not going to win; he’s never come back from this much of a deficit, and he has looked miserable this weekend. Not happening. So this is golf’s health test: will people spend their Easter watching players like Angel Cabrera and Jim Furyk fight for a major?

Read more…

Speed Read: Sleazy Vick, Caylee Dolls Draw Suit

I think I’ve found the world’s worst person: his name is Jaime Salcedo, and he’s the owner of Showbiz Productions in Jacksonville, FL. He first made a name for himself by selling the “Vick Chew Toy,” which is not related to the one the St. Paul Saints gave away. In fact, if you read the fine print at the toy’s Web site, it’s not even Michael Vick at all. Crazy how someone could get that idea, right? Check out the promotional video for yourself:

So while the toy and it’s cutting-edge “dog material” might be an overpriced, one-note joke aimed at making a quick buck, it’s not really horrible. Now, creating a doll based on a toddler who was gruesomely killed by her mother, that would be hideous. Folks, let me introduce you to the “Sunshine Caylee Doll,” also a creation from the monstrous kitchens of Showbiz Productions, meant to be a “tribute” to slain Florida two-year-old Caylee Anthony.

Caylee doll

Of course, as Salcedo told Fox News, he wanted to be sensitive to Anthony’s memory, so he made sure the doll had little resemblance to her - even if it did play her favorite song “You Are My Sunshine” when you pressed its stomach. After all, making the doll look like Anthony would be “too morbid.

But Salcedo wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t a heartless slime trying to make money exploiting dead toddlers and mangled dogs. He was also a philanthropist, pledging to donate portions of the sales of the Vick Chew Toy to local animal shelters and $5,000 from the sales of the Sunshine Caylee Doll to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Well, Salcedo did make a donation to that last group: for a grand total of $10. And it seems evident that no donations were made to local animal shelters from sales of the Vick doll. So not only was Salcedo making money off of products in horrible taste, but he was pulling a big grift by using charity donations that never happened to support sales.

Finally, someone is doing something about it: the JACKSONVILLE TIMES-UNION says the Florida Attorney General’s office is suing Salcedo for $20,000 for making false advertising claims, and seeking an injunction against further sales of the dolls. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said that using a respected organization such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a front makes things even more reprehensible:

“Any company that intentionally misleads innocent consumers to believe they are contributing to worthy charitable causes is absolutely reprehensible,” he said. “It is disgusting that a company would exploit a tragic situation for personal gain.”

Of course, when you consider that Salcedo himself estimates that he sold at least 200,000 Michael Vick dolls at $7.77 each (grossing more than $1,500,000), a $20,000 fine feels like a slap on the wrist. I know times are tough, but the people of Jacksonville can’t band together and find the time and money to get the supplies needed for a good old fashioned tar and feathering? I’ll even chip in and by the first barrel of tar.

Crowds at the Masters

Meanwhile, there wasn’t much going wrong on Thursday during the first round of The Masters, unless you consider the appalling traffic. Despite assurances by government officials that the kinks that led to significant traffic snarls at the beginning of the week had been worked out, the AUGUSTA CHRONICLE says that traffic was even worse for the opening round, leading to headaches such as a local doctor having to run three-quarters of a mile to make a speaking engagement at the course.

At least it was perfect weather for a run, and also for shooting a low score: it was the second-lowest scoring first round in tournament history. The Day One leader is Chad Campbell, who set a tournament record with birdies on his first five holes and flirted with history before back-to-back closing bogies left him at 65, one stroke ahead of Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk.

How crazy was the scoring on Thursday? If Phil Mickelson had shot 73 in last year’s first round, he would have been tied for 29th, five shots off the lead. Instead, he starts today tied for 51st, looking at an eight shot deficit. Even the over-50 crowd was getting into the scoring act: Larry Mize sits in a tie for fourth after a 67, while the group at 70 includes Greg Norman and Bernhard Langer.

Also firing a two-under: Tiger Woods, who probably could have been near the top of the leaderboard if one of five or six putts go in instead of burning the lip of the cup. The other main contender we previewed yesterday, Padraig Harrington, also had a quietbut efficient round, going one lower than Woods. Even Gary Player, in his final Masters, shot a respectable 78. In fact, every player broke 80 except for New Zealander Michael Campbell, who must feel great that even Craig Stadler’s portly butt beat him by three shots.

Finally, Andrew Bynum’s comeback from a knee injury might not be on par (get it?) with Tiger Woods’, but it couldn’t come at a better time for the Los Angeles Lakers. The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that Bynum looked comfortable and healthy in his return after missing 32 games from a torn MCL, racking up 16 points and seven rebounds in just 21 minutes as the Lakers blew past the Nuggets, 116-102. Which begs the question: Could his injury actually have been a break for the Lakers, as their center is now rested and not worn down by the rigors of a long regular season?

  • A few weeks ago, we told you about the Fifth-Third, a 4,800 calorie, four-pound burger that is the new entry at the concession stands at West Michigan Whitecaps games. CNBC says that the gut-buster made its debut last night, with 107 of them being sold. Of the 32 people who tried to eat the whole thing, 17 were successful. Lord, I don’t want to know what the toilets looked like around the seventh inning stretch.
  • darren rovell fifth third burger

    (CNBC’s Darren Rovell ponders the glory of the Fifth Third Burger)

  • LOCKDOWN CORNER says that former Green Bay Packers lineman Syd Kitson is trying to create the world’s most environmentally-friendly city somewhere in Florida. In true Green Bay style, everything is either powered by sharp cheddar cheese, or the light shining off of the still-brilliant aura of Brett Favre.
  • Syracuse basketball looks to take a bit hit next year, as the AUBURN CITIZEN says that Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris will all enter their names into the NBA Draft. Also looking to flee for the pro game: UCLA’s Jrue Holiday, Wake Forest’s James Johnson and Miami’s Dwayne Collins.
  • Speaking of drafts, about the only thing the WNBA does right is take advantage of the one-week period right after the NCAA title game when people still remember that women’s basketball exists to hold their draft. The No. 1 pick? Louisville’s Angel McCoughtry, to the Atlanta Dream.
  • Remember the kerfuffle caused when Teresa Earnhardt refused to let her stepson Dale Earnhardt Jr. take his No. 8 with him when he left DEI to go to Hendrick Motorsports? I guess karma really is a … you know. FOX SPORTS says the No. 8 car will be permanently parked, as DEI has had to shut down operations on Aric Almirola’s team because of a lack of sponsors.
  • The person I would least expect to be in a Twitter controversy is Joe Paterno, who probably thinks that’s what happens when your pacemaker gets to close to a microwave. But ESPN.COM says his son Jay might have inadvertantly spilled the beans that the Big Ten is banning night games in November, meaning the Penn St./Ohio St. tilt will be played in the afternoon.
  • Yesterday’s least-surprising arrest had to be that of volatile former NBA guard Vernon Maxwell. The GAINESVILLE SUN says he was arrested in Florida Wednesday morning and charged with a probation violation stemming from failure to pay child support.
  • BALL DON’T LIE has the gripping story not coming to Broadway next fall: “Nellieball: The Musical.” Much like Don Nelson’s teams, it starts off promising but runs out of steam by the final act and falls apart.
  • Last time we heard about Nebraska tight end Hunter Teafatiller, he was having a party thrown in his “honor” as he was preparing to go to jail on a DUI charge. I guess it’s time to make another keg run in Lincoln, because the AP says he’s been arrested again, this time for driving on a suspended license.
  • Dan Hawkins wants you to know that not only is Colorado football not intramurals, brother, but it’s not a place for your cell phones and cameras. The COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE says the school has closed practices because of too much information floating around the Internet.

Which 2008 cellar dwellar has the best chance to be this year’s Tampa Bay Rays?

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U.S. Team Brings Ryder Cup Back To The States

There’s nothing quite like the Ryder Cup, where high-profile professional golfers put their individual accomplishments aside for a weekend and work as an actual team. And America was made proud today as our boys in red, white, and blue took home the trophy from those pretentious cappuccino-sipping Europeans.

Jim Furyk, Ryder Cup

(”Give me back my cup!”)

The final day began with the U.S. team up 9-7 on the Europeans. The lead quickly rose when rookie Anthony Kim defeated Europe’s Sergio Garcia, who suffered his worst loss in Ryder Cup history. Following up on that, Kenny Perry, Boo Weekly and J.B. Holmes all won their matches before Jim Furyk finally clinched the cup with a victory over Miguel Angel Jimenez, giving the Americans the necessary 14.5 points.

Even more shocking was that the team won without Tiger Woods, which is kind of like the Patriots winning the Super Bowl after losing Tom Brady.

Read more…

Loving Banner Beckons Jim Furyk To Fans’ House

Banner advertising really does work - especially on world-renown golfers.

Jim Furyk We love Furyk banner

Jimmy Burch of The FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM putts over the story of the Marlow family, who’s front lawn is adorned with a large sign declaring “We (heart) Furyk” - a message of support for golf pro Jim Fuyrk.

Many fans have displayed banners for athletes they like (and those they greatly dislike). But Furyk decided to do something about it:

Read more…

New Rule Keeps Golfers From Finishing Tourneys

A new PGA rule designed to limit congestion on the green is causing golfers to turn red.

Three Stooges Golf

ESPN’s Bob Harig writes about the new “MDF” designation - which stands for “Made (cut) didn’t finish”. This year, the PGA is further limiting how many players can continue in a tournament.

Previously, the top 70 finishers were allowed to continue - including all those golfers who were tied in the top 70 rankings, meaning more than 70 usually played on. But with the new rule, no more than 78 golfers will get to advance to the final rounds.

So, for those tied in 70th place, they’ll still be officially counted as having made the cut and get their tourney paycheck, but will have to stop playing. And their names one the leaderboard will be accompained by the letters “MDF’.

Many linksmen were loud in their criticism of the new rule.

Read more…

Jim Furyk Touts Driving Accuracy With Johnny Walker Whiskey

SOMETIMES THIS BIG WORLD CAN GET US OH SO CONFUSED: SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY reports golfer Jim Furyk was on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” today to promote safe driving over the holidays on behalf of … *long pause* … Johnny Walker whiskey.

Golf Cart Filled With Booze

And he’s also got another charity promotion for the booze brand: “We’ve started a program where Johnnie Walker and I are going to donate a minimum of $25,000 to R.A.D.D. (Recording Artists, Actors & Athletes Against Drunk Driving). … If I can hit more than 81% of the fairways this year, which is the tour record, Johnnie Walker and I are going to donate $1[M] to that organization.

Jim Furyk CNBC

We get it, driving accuracy. HAR-HAR. Yeah, the sponsor link is a little questionable, but you have to understand, Mr. Furyk really needs the money.