Monday, July 11, 2011

The John Deere Update

It’s hard to root against Wisconsin, America’s leading producer of cheese.  Fonzie, Richie, Joanie, Chachi, Ralph Malph, Potsie, Lenny, Squiggy and the Big Ragu all lived in Wisconsin.  The Onion was created in Wisconsin.  When John Winger was trying to convince Russell Ziskey to take the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle into Czechoslovakia, his argument was “We're not going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia. It's like going into Wisconsin.”  Even Brett Favre was somewhat likable when he played for the Packers.  (Somewhat).  On its Wikipedia page, it is noted that “the Wisconsin Tavern League is a strong political force and the state legislature has been reluctant to raise the alcoholic beverage tax” and in 2009 Wisconsin had only 144 murders in the whole state (Baltimore City averages about 300 per year and then complains that The Wire is not an accurate portrayal.  Right).  So for the record, Wisconsinites make lots of cheese, like to drink beer and they don’t kill each other much.                    

Steve Stricker is from Wisconsin and is generally reported to be one of the five nicest people on the planet so I was a little conflicted on Sunday rooting with all of my heart for him to hit his second shot on 18 into the water.  That’s the beauty of fantasy sports.  If you were in a fantasy Olympic hockey league in 1980 and you had the Russians, you would have been pissed.  Actually, you would have been more pissed if you had Finland because after the U.S. took out the Russians, you had to figure you had a good shot.  Damn you Herb Brooks!    

If you didn’t see it (and I am guessing that the 4th round of the John Deere Classic falls somewhere in the ratings behind a Family Ties rerun and just ahead of an infomercial for the “Ab Rocket”),  you missed the drama that we need from one of the remaining two majors.  Kyle Stanley made a bunch of birdies on the back nine to go up by two before giving one back by chopping it around 18 like a rookie trying to win his first tournament while nursing a one shot lead, which he was.  Meanwhile, Stricker was treading water before making birdie on 17 to close the gap to one.  He then hit his tee shot on 18 into the left side of the left fairway bunker meaning he would have to hit his second shot off a downhill lie with one foot out of the bunker about 175 yards almost all of which was carry over water needing par to force a playoff.  After taking his stance a half a dozen times, Stricker hit a six iron that landed on the middle of the green and rolled off the back.  He then rubbed it in by smiling and fist bumping the fans along the 18th fairway.  To quote John Winger again, “Don’t you think this guy’s overdoing it a bit?”  Tiger would have hit that shot and then told Stevie Williams to go over and punch a random cameraman.  Stricker, that cold-blooded son of bitch, then calmly rolled in the 25 foot putt from off the green for the win.  If you haven’t seen the sequence, it’s definitely worth three minutes of your time (see link below).  Suffice it to say, Stricker’s win was detrimental to my gambling cause. 

On Sunday, CBS continued its ill-fated feature called “Eye on the Future” where they profile a young up and coming star on tour.  The producer apparently picks a young player in the field who scored well on Thursday and Friday and then does a piece on that player’s bright future.  Last week’s feature was on Rickie Fowler and we saw how well that played-out on Sunday.  This week, they chose FBR favorite Steve Marino who was in second place after two rounds before shooting 73-78 on the weekend and falling into a tie for 65th.  By the time they aired the thing on Sunday, Marino had shot 41 on the front and probably had four unbroken shafts left in his bag.           

"You might as well hit driver sir.  You're
going to make double anyway." 
The FBR loves Steve Marino because of quotes like the one he recently gave in a Sports Illustrated article on jobs players had before they made it on tour, “I worked as a caddie at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Lake Manassas, Va., during my last year of college.  I hated caddying because everybody sucked.  They were bad.  It took forever.” I think they just took Marino’s picture off the wall in the men’s grill at RTJ.  My dream foursome now includes, Marino, Spencer Levin and we need one more.  Ben Crane is a possibility and then we could play it on a Saturday morning in July on a packed public course just to watch Marino have a conniption fit and yell “JUST HIT THE F---ING BALL CRANE!!!”

Jameson moves back to the top of the standings thanks to Stricker’s win.  How Stricker and his guaranteed $6M+ in earnings made it to the 6th pick in the draft, I have no idea.  For those who are reading this blog and are not in the league but for some reason care about the standings, I’ve added the rosters.  We’ve had some shuffling since the draft including the unprecedented dropping of two first round picks (Els and Ogilvy) before the U.S. Open.  I recently swallowed my pride and added Davis Love, III who had previously been on the list of players who I would never allow to taint my roster.  However, Love is playing well and is just the kind of random guy who could make some noise at the British Open – especially at Royal St. George’s which is known for giving the Claret Jug to the winner of a secret pre-tournament lottery.  More on that in the British Open preview later this week.               

Link to Stricker’s closing shots:  http://www.pgatour.com/video/r/highlights/top_shots/2011/07/10/mine_11deere_rnd4_18_2nd_brd_stricker_06527.pgatour/index.html