Hangover Sports Roundup
Tiger passes Jack, NBA's free agent frenzy begins
The PGA Tour had enjoyed a period of time when nearly everyone thought Tiger Woods was finished competing for any major titles. Besides all of Woods' personal struggles, injuries plagued any attempt of a comeback. But 2012 may be the year Tiger finally got his bite back. Before the AT&T National, he’d won two tournaments (no majors) in 2012 but was ranked fourth in the world golf rankings. In yesterday’s final round at the Congressional, Woods shot a 2-under 69 to outlast Bo Van Pelt and capture the title. Woods' third victory of the year moves him into second place for the most all-time PGA tour victories. Even though he didn't dominate the tournament, the fire and intensity that made Woods a champion seems to be back. The post-tournament press conference was the first example of the old Tiger, as he seemed defiant and borderline arrogant. If Woods' swagger has returned, other PGA golfers should be very concerned.
NBA Free Agency
The moment the Miami Heat won the NBA Finals, every team in the league began to form plans to land the biggest free agents during the off-season.
Dwight Howard is one of the most talented big men in the league, but he's also the most mysterious. Howard's indecisive choices have made him one of the most disliked athletes in the NBA. Despite the Stan Van Gundy firing, Howard still wants out of Orlando, but he'll have to play by the Magic's rules. Because he opted into another year of his contract, Howard can only beg and plead through the media to be traded. Since Howard is only interested in one team, Brooklyn, Orlando should take its time in making a decision—and probably won’t mind making one of the league’s to superstars suffer.
If Dwight Howard truly wants to leave Orlando, he'll need to open his mind to playing in other cities. Especially if free-agent supersatr Deron Williams leaves Brooklyn—making it a much-less desirable team to play for.
Aging veterans Ray Allen and Steve Nash are on the wish list of any team looking to win a title. Nash has to most lucrative offers with his home country’s Toronto Raptors offering a three-year $36 million deal. But money may mean less for Nash, who's still looking to win his first-ever NBA title. While Dallas and Miami may have a shot, look for the Knicks to be factor in the negotiations. Nash lives in New York and would be reunited with former Suns teammate Amar'e Stoudemire.
As for Ray Allen, along with his current team, the Boston Celtics, teams such as Miami and the Grizzlies are looking to land his services. Allen has already won a title and was unhappy coming off the bench last season, which may make Boston less appealing. If the Grizzlies can offer Allen a similar deal as other teams in the league, Memphis could be the favorite. But if Allen wants to capture another championship, he'll have an easier team shooting threes in Miami. Which ever team he chooses, Allen still remains one of the most deadly shooters in the game.
Fan favorite Darren Clarke captures first British Open title
The British Open has always been known for insane weather conditions and tough golf courses. 2011 was no exception, as wind and rain confused PGA contenders and opened the door for an grizzled veteran to win the championship.
Forty-two-year-old Northern Ireland native Darren Clarke didn't play perfect golf, but did just enough to become the first player over age 40 in seven years to win a major title. Clarke finished 5-under-par and shot a 73 in the final round to hold off contenders Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Thomas Bjorn.
Clarke may have been known to hardcore golf fans, but for casual viewers of the sport, this tournament was his introduction into the mainstream sports world. Unlike U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy, Clarke is not the next young golfing superstar—instead, he resembles John Daly. Cigarettes and alcohol fuel Clarke more than workouts and nutrition, which makes him relatable to fans. But will hardcore purists take him seriously?
Now fans wonder if Clarke could make a run at multiple victories at major championships, or if he will fade into obscurity. McIlroy was dubbed as the next Tiger Woods—captivating the sports world—but wasn't in contention during the final round. With American golfers on a significant drought in major championships and zero sign of Woods returning to the sport any time soon, golf is beginning to lose its popularity. For the PGA's sake, Clarke's victory better not be a one-hit wonder.