Tiger Woods won the AT&T tournament at the Congressional in Maryland on Sunday, edging Bo Van Pelt.
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.
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.
A golf course is a peaceful place—unless you’re a picker
By Toby Smith
Alibi sports writer Toby Smith rides shotgun inside a green cage that scoops up driving-range balls at the Championship Golf Course known to many as UNM South. The cage’s driver, Jim Dunn, is a picker. Thub! “That one got the wheel,” Dunn says. “No real damage. Just wait.”
Lewis Black makes a living being angry on television. On a recent “Back in Black” segment on “The Daily Show,” he railed against the merchandise tie-ins surrounding Eat Pray Love. On another he lambasted Glenn Beck for his incessant Nazi imagery. Black throws his hands every which way, seemingly in the midst of a nervous breakdown. His eyebrows sink into a sharp V and you can’t help but think: Man, this guy looks pissed.
Usually when watching the UFC, my stoke level is through the roof but with Randy Couture vs. James Toney, my excitement turned into anxiousness. If pro-boxer Toney somehow knocked out Couture, old-school boxing fans would quickly devalue MMA as a competitive sport.
Luckily Couture did his job and destroyed Toney with ground and pound before choking him out with a arm triangle in round one. Now Couture can move on and face top contenders in the light heavyweight division.
When the main event ended between Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn there was no doubt, Edgar had confirmed his spot as the No. 1 lightweight in the world. Unlike their first bout earlier this year, Edgar dominated Penn in every aspect of MMA. From takedowns to powerful striking, Edgar took the heart and will from Penn to win a lopsided decision and retained the lightweight title. Penn seemed confused and had little help from his cornermen to counter Edgar's gameplan. Now Edgar will collide with No. 1 contender Grey Maynard and try to avenge his only loss. Meanwhile Penn needs to reflect on his career and evaluate if he will continue as a lightweight, or challenge much bigger fighters in the welterweight division.
Boston heroes like Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and the new member of the Boston Celtics Shaquille O'Neal witnessed an average undercard. The fight of the night went to Nate Diaz and Marcus Davis, which featured a Diaz submission in the third round. Despite an ugly and un-fan-friendly style, Grey Maynard finally got his title shot by winning a decision over Kenny Florian. Also Demian Maia showcased textbook Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and overwhelmed Mario Miranda.
The Little League World Series ranks as one of the most underrated sporting events in the country. It's refreshing to see these competitors playing for the love of baseball instead of money and fame. Japan broke the United States streak of five straight victories by defeating Hawaii 4-1. Major League Baseball should be paying special attention this year because instant replay made its debut in the tournament. From all accounts, replay was a success and will hopefully be used to review every close call in Major League Baseball.
Everybody said Tiger Woods would never win a major again and his career was over. But, as usual, Woods proved his critics wrong and had his best performance of the year at the Barclays Tournament. Woods didn't win but proved he's still a threat by shooting a 65 and 67 during the first and final round.
Even though the final round didn't feature Woods, Matt Kuchar made sure to add excitement by defeating Martin Laird in a playoff. Critics needs to cut Woods some slack this season and evaluate his career when his mind is fully committed to golf.
I'm sure that I'm not the first one to write the obituary for Tiger Woods' career, and I'm certain that I won't be the last. But it's time to lay it all out on the line: Tiger Woods is essentially done, at this point.
When he fell from grace, everyone expected some kind of slip-up. There's no doubt. But not like this. His 18-over par was his worst finish as a pro, and he looked worse, at times, during the Bridgestone Invitational.
So here we are, looking at a previously-unfathomable occurrence: Tiger Woods might not pass Jack Nicklaus as the all-time leader in major championships. The Reilly column says it better than I ever will be able to, other than to say that there was a time, as a non-golf fan, when a Tiger appearance was a reason to watch the sport. The way he intimidated other golfers reminded me of Michael Jordan in his prime, toying with people he knew he was better than.
Now, though, the story of Tiger and His Mistress(es) will forever be tied to his golf game. It could have just been a speed bump, a minor hiccup in an otherwise remarkable career. With the way he's performed since he's come back, however, even if he returns to form, this mess is a major chapter: The Dark Period.
Unless he never gets it back. Unless he fails to take aim at that Nicklaus mark and accomplish what once seemed like a foregone conclusion. If he never goes back to that place, this becomes the story. This is the story.
Tiger could apparently play while being distracted. But he cannot, as of this point, play while the world knows he's distracted. It's easy to sit back and play armchair psychologist (or prognosticator) and to judge a sport that I've never enjoyed much less played, but here it is: My money's on Tiger failing to capture the all-time mark.
If, a year from now, he's on an unprecedented tear, winning everything under the sun, I'll be happy to write a mea culpa. I'd love if Tiger roared back to form and started making golf interesting to guys like me again. Unfortunately, I just don't see it happening.
Chael Sonnen probably talked the most trash to hype a fight in the history of the sport. But once he stepped into the octagon, could Sonnen practiced what he preached? He’d have to beat up the man who, pound-for-pound, is considered the best fighter in the world, Anderson Silva.
Sonnen did exactly what he said he would and punished Silva with takedowns, and ground and pound for four rounds. Silva lost every round but only needed a couple minutes to pull off a comeback victory with a a triangle armbar. Once known for one sided beatdowns and boring performances, Silva will be remembered for one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history.
Dana White has an interesting dilemma. as he must decide between giving Sonnen a rematch or finally giving Vitor Belfort his title shot.
The main event was awesome, but the UFC 117 undercard featured compelling action with future contenders. Welterweights Matt Hughes and Jon Fitch had impressive wins. Heavyweight Junior dos Santos looked like a threat for the title regardless of the winner of Lensar vs. Velasquez.
Hall of Fame Weekend features the official start of the football season, but the main event is the induction ceremony. Despite my overwhelming hatred for the Dallas Cowboys, you can't help but respect Emmitt Smith's career. Smith's speech was emotionally engaging and respectful to his teammates, who help him achieve all of his accomplishments in the league. Jerry Rice was also inducted and during his speech stated he never took time to enjoy special moments of his career. Hopefully Rice and the rest of the Hall of Fame Class of 2010 can reflect and take pride of the impact they had to the game of football.
Tiger Woods continues struggle and many critics are enjoying his slow demise on the PGA tour. Woods finished 18 over par, second to last at the Bridgestone Invitational. This year should be viewed as a lost cause for Woods and not a representation of Woods' future golf game. Lets wait until next years Masters Tournament to determine if he’s truly lost his golf game.
UFC 113 had everyting it needed—controversy and knockouts—on Saturday night. Over 17,000 Montreal fans witnessed "Shogun Rua capture the title with a first-round KO over Lyoto Machida. But Rua has little time to enjoy the victory as he waits for the winner of the Rampage Jackson/Rashad Evans fight later this month.
Josh Koscheck's trash talk about George St. Pierre should have been what fans remembered after his victory over Paul Daley. Instead Daley's suckerpunch stole the headlines, prompting Dana White to hand Daley his walking papers. Koscheck also accused Daley of “oiling up” before the fight. Maybe he should focus on coaching on the next season of reality show “The Ultimate Fighter”—and his title shot.
As usual White had plenty on his mind including the fate of Kimbo Slice.
Tiger Woods' comeback isn't exactly going as planned. He pulled out of The Players Championship. Finishing only one tournament since his break, Woods suffered a neck injury during the seventh hole of the final round. Reports surfaced that he’s been having neck problems for quite a while, which begs the question: Did Tiger Woods return too early?
Much talk has centered on the phantom elbow injury of LeBron James and the fall of Kobe Bryant. But many fans have forgotten about the Phoenix Suns, who completed the sweep of the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs dominated the Suns in playoff action, so Phoenix was motivated to prevent a miracle comeback.
Before Sunday, Oakland Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden was infamous for calling out New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez. Now Braden will forever be remembered for throwing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.