PGA-Putting Golf Ahead by Bob Ryan

This time of year has tons of sports taking place….of course baseball continues its daily march through August, football of all levels—high school, college & pro begin official practices with high hopes but the real news around the Lou has been PGA Golf, …all types fairways and greens to draw our attention….here we go on a continual changing course…some built for the driver …others for the deft putter.

….PGA Golf….many leaders of St. Louis have worked very hard to get this prestigious tournament located in the Lou….that’s great for the area…weather was terrific Thursday, storms on Friday  ….the professional golfers are really incredible with their skills at directing that little bitty ball to go exactly where they want it to go…. …… many people were swarming to watch this 100th PGA event either by camping out at one hole or following their “favorite”… 1st round leader Gary Woodland…who was 99th on the tour in putting….led the 1st round with the fewest putts, birdied 7 of the last 11 holes and shot a dazzling 64 1st round…2nd round (Friday) was interrupted by weather…good ol’ fashion summer storms in the Lou…at the end of the day two familiar names–Phil Mickelson & Bubba Watson had not made the cut….Saturday had a hole in 1!  I had just turned on the TV when Matt Wallace hit the drive that landed on the green and suddenly the “English” on the shot sent it diagonally directly into the hole!  EXCITING!! Brooks Koepka had 4 stroke lead through most of the day…experienced troubles 13th thru 16th and saw his lead shrivel to 2 strokes. Adam Scott…who really has an athletic build….tightened the lead to just 2 strokes with a solid game. Tiger seemed to always have the huge crowd following him…he’s like a rock star…maybe an aging rock star…but nonetheless crowds swarm to him hoping to see the ol’ Tiger….his mojo left him when he had a 19 ft shot for an eagle on the 17th…missed the long putt but also missed on the 2 footer for a birdie…so he carded a par which seemed to drain him…and his fans…of energy…but it was a round of 66…he now has two 66’s in the same tournament…1st time since 2008. Sunday’s final round was really terrific…Tiger didn’t hit any fairway on the way out but sent some marvelous 2nd shots to get him off to a good start….Koepke saw his lead dwindle early in the round….Tiger kept coming….and …Tiger owned the huge, vocal, crowd..he shoots a marvelous 64 but Koepke hangs on with superb golf to win his 2nd major of the year!

…..more holes in 1—congratulations to our friend, John Sondag for his recent hole in 1 !!

….the Cardinals recently inducted new players into the Cardinals HOF….it seems like it should be an easy putt for ownership….don’t kid yourselves….the owners are pulling all the strings for the inductees….I must admit …at first glance, I was thinking that  Ray Lankford was a real “reach” for this honor….but after a bit of homework…..I changed my mind…here’s why… on the list of All-Time Cardinals, Lankford is #11 in games played (1580); #16 in HITS (1479); #10 in doubles (339); #5 in Home Runs (228)—that one really surprised me!!..#10 in RBI’s (829), #5 in stolen bases (250), #14 in slugging % (.481) and #18 in OPS (.854)….when one looks @ Lankford’s accomplishments at the National League level…considering his top 10 finishes in any offensive category …he was #9 (31) once in HR; in OPS he was #5 in 1997 (.996) and #10 in 1992 (.851); 4 times Lankford broke into the top 10 in the NL in stolen bases #4 in 1991(44); #6 in 92 (42); #9 in 1996 with 35 and #8 in 1998 with 26 … … He was only in one All-Star game in his 13 year career but…..when compared to the numbers of other players while they played for the Cards…. he piled up some large numbers and his longevity on the team make him a solid candidate.

…sooo…the shots go in the rough… as the furor continues during the national Anthem for NFL …I’m not expressing a political opinion here…..this blog abhors political comments…..players want to express their individual opinions… the teams want uniform , standing , looks at the flag during the Anthem.  Now, I just heard recently on the radio…a non-sports talk show…that the NFL didn’t require the players to be on the field for the National Anthem for years… even decades….it wasn’t until the NFL began getting paid by the USA Military…it sounds like… around 8-10 years ago…. as a sponsor… then the owners initiated the idea of players being on the field…and standing for the National Anthem…soooo..like it or not…it appears that the NFL owners really aren’t standing on the principle of honoring the flag….although some….or even many….. MAY feel that way…but rather ….looking not to damage their wallets if one of their key sponsors withdraws…hmmm…once again in the NFL ….money alone talks. Want to guess how many of those owners were EVER in the military? I have an idea of the number but…..

…Hitting all the fairways….Houston is still in 1st place with several of their stars on the DL—Carlos Correa was on DL from June 26 to Aug 9, Jose Altuve went on DL July 25 and no return date has been established; George Springer Aug 6 to present; Lance McCullers Aug 5 to present…no date established yet….so where is Houston in the standings?  1st place with 73-44 record…2nd highest win total in MLB…..now Houston…like everyone else…hits one in the bunker every so often…..a few years ago, Houston cut outright JD Martinez….who’s he?  Now on Boston …after a big year @ Arizona…tearing apart the AL…look at these stats for this season…37 Home runs, 103RBI’s,.329 average with a OPS of 1.046 after 112 games!  WOW…now that’s hitting a long, long drive right down the middle of the fairway.

…..trying to get out of a sandtrap…..in NCAA football….the pre-season story isn’t about who’s #1…we already know that…Alabama, right? ….but the real story is the storm brewing around Urban Meyer (Head coach-Ohio State)…all  the talk has absolutely NOTHING to do with Meyer’s competency as a Coach….he’s terrific..for his career he’s piled up a 177-31 record..17-6 @ Bowling Green….btw…I just happened to see his very FIRST game as head Coach as he opened the 2001 season by beating Mizzou 20-13 @ Columbia….I remember walking out after the game saying,” so…we lost to Bowling Green….ugh”  then Meyer went 22-2 @ Utah…He advanced to Florida and compled a 65-15 record…then took his dream job (he’s from Ohio) @Ohio State where he’s 73-8. Coaching ISN’T the question here…in 2009, one of Meyer’s Florida assistants was found guilty of abusing his pregnant wife…Meyer kept him on the staff. In 2015 rumors circulated…apparently reaching Meyer… about the same assistant …once again circling around spousal abuse… with the same woman… why would that woman..or any woman… stay with that type of  guy? I’m not blaming her…I’m just puzzled.  According to  NCAA regulations, Meyer was required to report it. Meyer has tried all the usual stuff…denial, surprise, confusion, ambiguous statements, holy than thou speeches…etc,etc ….about the incident…we all know that he knew about it but did nothing …sooo… IF he wasn’t holding such a magnificent record…he’d already be gone…but in the NCAA Football machine… $$$$ talks and WINNING BIG brings in mucho $$$.  I’m not sure which way this putt breaks…..if fired, he’ll sit out a year or 2 and then jump back into the reigns again at a smaller school hoping to reach the “big time”….if he isn’t fired….that story will be a distraction as he’ll have a noose around his neck all season…..I don’t think that he’ll quit….unless….fans “turn on him” which they haven’t done yet.

….another long drive took place @ Forbes Field…once the home field of the Pittsburgh Pirates (1909-1970). The name ISN’t the name of the owner…it was named after a British General (John Forbes) who fought in the French & Indian War and is credited with naming the city of Pittsburgh.  The Pirates owner (Barney Dreyfuss) hated “cheap” home runs..so the dimensions of the park were 360 ft to left; 462 to center and 376 to right field…no wonder there weren’t any HR records in the NL until after 1970 ….When right field grandstands were added, RF was a mere 300 feet….so Dreyfuss had a 28-foot high screen built to limit HR… Amazingly, the batting cage was actually still on the playing field during the games…in a nook & cranny just left of straight ahead center field….over 460 feet from home plate…no iron shots here man…ya needed the huge driver I remember watching Cardinal games @ Forbes on television… I liked those old ballparks because each one was so unique.

….looking at a long dogleg to the left that seems to go out of bounds….one sees how MLB management manipulates players progress to reaching free agency..Once a player accumulates 6 years of service…he’s eligible for free agency…..here’s the catch…if a player plays 12 days in minors….just 12 days….he doesn’t get a full season’s worth of service time….that short time has pushed Kris Bryant’s free agency date back from 2020 to 2021…he’ll fall exactly ONE day short for reaching it for 2020….and don’t think that the Cubs are the only team playing this shot from the rough….ALL MLB teams use that club.

….the Cardinal announcers are softening the green…trying to make the putt for Matt Carpenter as the National League MVP….it could happen….but not if the Cards stay in 3rd or 4th place….he MAY be the best player in the league… but that doesn’t make him the MVP….. how valuable is a guy who’s team finished in 3rd place?  I mean without him…they would have probably still been in 3rd  place anyway…but…if the Cards move up into the wild card position…I believe Carpenter’s appearance as an MVP looks more solid…EVEN if his numbers haven’t changed.  Remember the greats like Tony Gwynn…. or Mike Piazza….or Jim Thome….or Pedro Martinez….none of them were EVER the league MVP…yet all are in the Major League Hall of Fame. In order for Carpenter to get in the “talk” of MVP….the Cards have to continue their run and Carp has to continue to be the HR monster that he’s been lately.

…as we come to the 18th and speaking of the Cards…I am getting mildly excited about their chances of snatching a wild card spot….I realize that they’ve been chewing up some of the poorest MLB teams (Marlins & Royals) this week so maybe that isn’t a fair measure….but ..they DID  beat them and now have 5 straight series wins…of course Carpenter has been on a terrific tear, DeJong seems to have regained his stroke, Ozuna has back his swagger…. bullpen is being used in a smarter way….more innings for a pitcher as the opportunity presents itself….thus….fewer pitchers being used each game. The defense seems better with use of Bader & Adolis Garcia….I have the notion that Garcia will be better than Bader & our iron-man (Tyler O’Neill) who seems to pull  a muscle(s) too often to be a good MLB baseball player…I would suppose that’s why Seattle gave up on him….I really think O’Neill could make it in the WWE….his muscles bulge like Popeye’s, an athlete and confident.  Molina Still wants to play every day…so be it…remember his camp-out in the bullpen last year when he pouted about not playing …some think that Molina’s actions in the bullpen last year …may….may…have been the start of the exit for Mr. Matheny. I am also pleased to see the Cardinals running the bases aggressively…not just steals but hit & run’s… that way we only need 2 hits to score a run…not 3 hits. Milwaukee seems to be faltering, Pittsburgh had a long string of wins to get back into the race and now it’ll even up for them, Colorado is like two different teams..one @ home and one on the road….and the team on the road seems to display mediocre hitting seems not the elevation enhanced bombs seen in the Rockies. Soooo… my hopes have been rekindled in the last 2 weeks for our Cardinals to be a Wild Card.

Time for the Clubhouse…..thanks for taking a “round” with me.  Your thoughts are always invited….put them on the site or send them directly to me…I’ll use your initials as the signature..

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Bob
    Great article!!
    What a blast @ PGA–I went Saturday… camped out my favorite hole which gave the BEST players in the world fits–#6 which was the 3Rd most difficult hole! Tigger birdied it Sat!
    I have never seen so many people in my life. It was like a Ryder Cup. Great drama!!
    Bummer Tiger’s driver wasn’t on its “A” game because if he puts it Out there on 17…I think he would have eagled the hole. Amazing how Tigger was +3 after 2 holes on Thurs & Champ I must pump you up Koepka was +2 after 10 holes on Thursday. Lot of people won’t forget the 100th PGA. Only blemish the Shuttle service was a nightmare @ Westminster.
    Urban Meyer…. I saw his Fiesta Bowl game he had Alex Smith. His Utah Utes smoked Larry
    Fitzgerald Pitt Panthers. Urban is a great football coach but Man he picks some real losers
    on his staff. He knew and I feel Real bad for the wife of the coordinator with all this physical
    abuse her X husband did to her. A man should NEVER strike a Women. What a coward!
    I think Urban won’t get fired because he wins football games. Pretty sad in my view!!
    Card Nation–Love to see Carpenter win MVP but I don’t think he will…Man he’s on fire!
    Great to see the Cards play more Fundamental baseball. As you know I was not a BIG
    Matheny fan. Going to see Harper tonight..Missed Scherzer by 1 day…Bummer. Have a great Mon!

    MB

  2. PGA: Did not attend the event, but followed on t.v all week. Amazed at physical size/ build on many of the “ young lions”.
    The excitement on Sunday of Tiger’s Charge was must see t.v.!
    Four back surgeries & age kept his drives under 300 yds with little control. Lots in his bag of tricks, but will be tough to return to the Tiger of the past. He does seem more humble/ appreciative of fan adoration. Also, Brooks Koeptka is nephew of MLB Pirate & Cards shortstop Dick Groat
    Heard very little about traffic, shuttle service, long lines , etc. I 270 & I 44 were a mess all week for those who had to travel to work, but media was careful not to say anything negative about the event. Net….a 7 day love affair , economic boom and positive p-r story for the StL region.

    Cards HOF: A nice touch to recognize past player contributions & the fans seem to enjoy it. Would be interested in seeing fan ballot results & more of a peek into the “ red ribbon panel” discussion. I suppose Waino, Yadi & Carp will go in from 2000’s.

    Urban Meyer: college football is about winning & $’s. He wins and wins wherever he has coached.
    Until recent story, scandal free. I don’t condone any type of spousal abuse and I’d have to think there may have been others the woman could have reached out for help/ support… her husbands boss?? Not sure about this situation. I agree that unless fans turn or demand Meyer be fired, that he stays. Always a good read Bob!
    JP

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