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[Posted Wed. a.m.]
Masters Quiz: Name the last five foreign winners of the event. Answer below.
UVA 85...Texas Tech 77
I never heard more people diss a national championship contest as we approached game time Monday night than this one. It was going to be awful...until it wasn’t. The night ended up being memorable. [The television ratings were up 20-23 percent over last year, too.]
In the end, Virginia’s big trio, Kyle Guy (24), Ty Jerome (16) and De’Andre Hunter (27) carried the team, 67 of the 85 points, as had been the case all season.
This game was really pretty simple to break down...Virginia’s future lottery pick, Hunter, outplayed Texas Tech’s future lottery pick, Jarrett Culver, decisively. And that’s your reason why the Cavaliers won their first national title, and the Red Raiders didn’t with their first; Hunter with 22 of his career-high 27 in the second half, Culver 5-of-22 from the field (8 of 34 in the Final Four).
It also helped the Cavaliers hit their last 13 free throws, 20 of 23 for the game, when poor foul-shooting, until Kyle Guy’s 3-of-3 at the end, almost did them in against Auburn in the semis.
But I must concede it did take a good ten minutes until the game heated up. From then on, Virginia up 17-7, it was a tension convention.
Steve Serby / New York Post
“The clutch kid who fought to free himself from the clutches of anxiety. The savvy kid from New Rochelle. The lottery pick from Philadelphia who sat helplessly with a broken wrist on the bench on the worst night of his teammates’ basketball lives, having the best night of his. The cat-quick freshman guard from California. The blond big man from Guinea. The 6-foot-8 transfer from Alabama. The coach who promised his players there would be light at the end of a tunnel that had never been darker, one fateful March night a year ago.
“A national joke then.
“A national champion now.
“The first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed. The first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed and win a national championship the next season.
“Ralph Sampson never could win a national championship for Virginia. These guys became the first who did.
“There were no tears on this night, only cheers and joy inside the U.S. Bank Stadium after the Cavaliers had beaten Texas Tech 85-77 in an overtime spine-tingler.
“Go ahead, Kyle Guy, and change that Twitter avatar of you bent over in anguish and disbelief moments after UMBC made history against you, before the death threats followed you and your teammates. You don’t need to be reminded of your personal hell anymore. None of you do.
“You will not be remembered as chumps. You will be remembered as champs....
“This was a death struggle where every single possession mattered.
“The mentally toughest team you will ever see had its redemption.
“ ‘We can forget about UMBC now,’ a smiling former Cavalier named Tiki Barber said on the court. ‘This is a history remaking team. It’s amazing.’
“Virginia had finished writing the last chapter of a miracle comeback story that will serve as inspiration to anyone or any team that has ever been knocked to the ground, and isn’t sure if it has the strength and courage to get back up.”
Nancy Armour / USA TODAY
“It was never easy. It wasn’t supposed to be.
“The humiliation of the loss to Maryland-Baltimore County, and the criticism and ridicule that followed. The introspection that forced every Virginia player and coach to take a hard look at himself and ask even harder questions. The heart-stopping wins, one more dramatic than the next, just to get to Monday night....
“Virginia didn’t just win its first national title Monday night, it shed its label as a postseason underachiever and exorcised the demons that have shadowed the Cavaliers for the last year. Those early march exits? That humiliating loss to UMBC? They may not be forgotten, but they have lost their venomous sting.
“ ‘As soon as the buzzer sounded and we were done (last year), we knew all had the same goal in mind for next year and that was to win a national championship,’ Kyle Guy said after Virginia had done just that, outlasting Texas Tech 85-77.
“ ‘We’ve all had our own battles,’ Guy said. ‘I said earlier it’s a really special group because we all had the same ‘Why?’ amongst other whys. But to share the same one, and to battle everything we battled through and come out on top, it’s a fantastic feeling.’
“Virginia was humbled in a way no other team in college athletics has ever been last year... Handling that with grace and dignity would be a tall ask for an adult, let alone teenagers and early 20-somethings.
“The Cavaliers were relentless in their suffocation of Jarrett Culver, whose next stop is likely the NBA lottery....
“But it was the confidence with which they played that stood out. De’Andre Hunter, also destined for the NBA lottery, scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half, including a 3 with 2:07 left that might as well have been the dagger. The Cavaliers also went 12-for-12 from the line in overtime, a sign of the mental strength that has been forged these last 12 months....
“(Tony) Bennett, meanwhile, wore a satisfied smile as he shook hands with Texas Tech coach Chris Beard before wandering back to the middle of the court. Only when he was asked to put Virginia’s name in the spot reserved for the national champion on an oversized bracket did the emotions of this last year surface, slapping the sticker on the board hard, and then hitting it a few more times for emphasis.
“ ‘You have scars, right? You have a scar, and it reminds you of that, but it’s a memory,’ Bennett said. ‘Does it go away completely? No, I wish it wouldn’t have happened in some ways. Now I say, well, it bought us a ticket here. So be it.
“ ‘Is the pain gone? I still feel a little ‘uhh’ because I remember that feeling,’ he added. ‘But I think we’re OK.’
“It wasn’t easy, none of it. But clearly it was worth it.
“Scars and all.”
Jerry Brewer / Washington Post
“Look at them, those champion Virginia Cavaliers, inadequate no more. They can smile, see. They can dance. They can bounce on an elevated stage, in a supersized venue, during the most precious moment of the final night of the college basketball season. Look at them, and say it again: those champion Virginia Cavaliers – laughing, pointing to the crowd revving up the band, lifting the trophy they had to chase through desolation before they could corral it. Look at them, the elite-until-March program reviled in recent years for their NCAA tournament shortcomings, defying us again.
“Just when we had grown accustomed to them choking, shrinking and turning their No. 1 seeds into unintentional comedy, they flipped the perception. They turned their entire story into a redemption tale that even imagination doesn’t have the capacity to eclipse....
“In the most incredible turnaround in tournament history, the Team That Lost To A No. 16 Seed last season returned the next year – not angry, not broken but transformed through humility and introspection – and won six straight games to claim the program’s first national title. And the Cavaliers did it in the hardest and most rewarding way possible....
“These Cavaliers only knew how to play tournament games that make the heart rate surge. They only knew how to survive them, too. They fell behind by 14 points in the first round against Gardner-Webb and flirted with another debacle against a 16 seed. They could have lost to Oregon. They should have lost to Purdue. They beat Auburn, blew it and then atoned in the final seconds. They needed Mamadi Diakite’s quick trigger and Kyle Guy’s dauntless free throw shooting just to get to the season’s final night. Still, against Texas Tech, they had to summon more from themselves.
“When a push was needed, Coach Tony Bennett reminded his team: ‘You guys faced pressure that no team in the history of the game has faced.’
“In Texas Tech, Virginia met an opponent just as resilient, just as determined and just as convinced that it could not be denied. For Virginia to survive, Hunter had to hit a game-tying three-pointer with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation. File it next to Diakite’s shot and Guy’s free throws in the glory folder. On the play, Ty Jerome drove to the basket, saw a clear lane for a layup but spotted Hunter in the corner just before he was about to shoot. Hunter drilled the jumper to knot the score at 68. After a defensive Virginia stand, the game went into overtime.
“In the extra period, it was Virginia’s time to be reborn. The Cavaliers are no longer an annual tournament disappointment. They’re the best team in men’s college basketball. No more questioning their style or their nerve....
“And to think, outside of the Virginia and Texas Tech fandoms, this event didn’t quite qualify as highly anticipated. In some superficial parts of the sports world, it was dreaded. The teams garner respect for their winning, not appreciation for their defense-centric styles....The backlash against defense and slow pace of play can be over the top, and such broad assessments disregard the game’s many delightful and subtle shades. Nevertheless, the matchup couldn’t shed the preconceived expectation of boredom....
“The play was rugged, yet riveting. Ultimately, the offenses played at a high enough level to keep from getting trounced. Virginia was aggressive early, with the backcourt tandem of Jerome and Guy countering the Tech defenders with an array of fearless drives, step back jumpers and clever passes to teammates....
“For those who automatically expected a repeat of the ugly 2011 championship game – Connecticut 53, Butler 41 – um, no, this game was bound to be more compelling. Neither team was going to shoot 18.8 percent like Butler did on that gruesome April night....
“By the end of the night, the fear of the game turning into a slog seemed foolish. It was another heart-pounding reminder of why we love sports. For Virginia, that became the glorious norm in this tournament.
“The wait, the pain, had a purpose.
“It made the Cavaliers the best team in America. Look at them now, eternally free, finally living in joy.”
Myron Medcalf / ESPN
“The greatest upsets often mean more for the spoiler. In sports, Goliath doesn’t die.
“After the U.S. defeated the Soviet Union in hockey’s ‘Miracle on Ice’ in 1980, Russian athletes won gold medals in the next three Winter Olympics. Tennis legend Rafael Nadal lost to journeyman Robin Soderling, a 48-to-1 underdog, in the fourth-round of the 2009 French Open. But Soderling faded into retirement shortly after Nadal beat him in the 2010 French Open final, the first of four major championships in a two-year stretch for the latter.
“But there is another side to upsets. When teams and players fail to recover, those bad nights can become defining moments.
“By the time he rose from the canvas after Buster Douglas had KO’d him in the 10th round in 1990, Mike Tyson’s best years were behind him. Y.E. Yang’s come-from-behind win over Tiger Woods in the 2009 PGA Championship preceded the golf superstar’s rapid fall, on and off the course. And UNLV has reached the second weekend of the NCAA tournament only once (2007) since its loss to Duke in the 1991 national title game.
“That’s why Monday night mattered so much for Virginia....
“That’s why they all hugged and cried on the court together, current contributors and those from the past, on Monday night. They all heard the criticism and the jokes. They all saw the memes. They all read their mentions. The laughingstock of last year’s field, however, celebrated a championship on Monday night....
“To exorcise the demons stemming from the worst loss by any team in the history of the NCAA tournament, maybe Virginia had to win it all. Few said it, but anyone who has followed the Cavaliers throughout the NCAA tournament could feel that.
“Making the Final Four for the first time in more than 30 years was an impressive achievement for the program. But Bennett and his squad needed more for a full cleansing. They had to finish their mission.”
College Hoops Bits
--With guards Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, and Kihei Clark returning, as well as Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key, it’s no wonder that the Vegas sportsbooks have already anointed Virginia No. 1 for 2019-2020. A few do have Virginia and Kentucky as co-favorites at 7-1.
Duke is helped immensely by the announcement that point guard Tre Jones is returning, a very smart move. He has great NBA potential, but desperately needs another year, and with strong play will probably be a lottery pick a year from now, rather than the late-first-rounder he’d be this June.
--This is hardly a surprise, but the timing seems a little off, with news St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin is stepping down, just days after the school said in a statement it supported him and wasn’t looking for another coach.
Athletic Director Mike Cragg told the New York Post, “We are not confirming or denying a tweet with unnamed sources.”
Mullin had two years and roughly $4 million owed on his deal, and was seeking an extension.
Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley will be the top target. Mike Cragg was a former Duke executive, so the two are familiar with each other, but Hurley is currently making more than $2 million.
Since the Red Storm were blown out in a play-in game by Arizona State in the NCAA Tournament, it’s been nothing but bad news for Mullin, with top player Shamorie Ponds announcing his intention to enter the NBA draft, his top recruiter is heading to Nebraska, and the top recruit, junior college point guard Cam Mack, requested a release from his National Letter of Intent. Then a four-star junior and St. John’s pledge opened up his recruitment, according to reports.
St. John’s failed to finish .500 or better in the Big East in any of Mullin’s four seasons, Mullin going 59-73, and just 20-52 in the league.
So then in a statement Tuesday, Mullin said in part: “This has been an extremely emotional decision, but after a recent personal loss, I took time to reflect upon my true values and believe this is the right time to make a change.”
His brother, Rod, died after a battle with cancer in early March.
--Meanwhile, out in Los Angeles, Monday we learned that Tennessee coach Rick Barnes was staying put. To me it made zero sense for the 64-year-old to take the UCLA job, with the Bruins making an offer.
Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer said Monday in a statement: “The last few days have been interesting, to say the least. One of the nation’s most tradition-rich college basketball programs identified what we here at Tennessee already knew – that Rick Barnes is one of the game’s elite coaches and a program-changer.”
Barnes is going to have to retool after a Sweet Sixteen season that ended in the regional semifinals to Purdue, with seniors Admiral Schofield and Kyle Alexander exhausting their eligibility, point guard Jordan Boone announcing he would enter the NBA draft, and two-time SEC player of the year Grant Williams expected to do the same.
So Tuesday, UCLA went the safe route, hiring Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, who agreed to a six-year, $24 million contract that will nearly double his current $2.2 million salary with the Bearcats. Hopefully Plan C (Jamie Dixon Plan A) is the charm.
--Magic Johnson shocked the L.A. sports scene when he suddenly announced he was stepping down as president of the Lakers after two years.
“I was happier when I wasn’t the president,” Johnson said at an impromptu news conference Tuesday. He said he hadn’t informed owner Jeanie Buss of his decision. “I couldn’t face her to tell her.”
Johnson strongly hinted he wanted to fire coach Luke Walton but now did not expect Walton to lose his job.
When Johnson was asked about whether he believes Rob Pelinka is the right person to be general manager and Walton to be the coach, he said “that’s a decision Jeanie has to make.”
Jeanie and LeBron, that is, now.
Most observes of the L.A. sports scene would say Magic was never invested in the job. He always had more fun just being ‘Magic,’ rather than dealing with the nitty gritty.
--Dirk Nowitzki officially called it quits last night, the future Hall of Famer making the announcement after an emotional regular-season home finale in Dallas. Nowitzki played all 21 seasons of his NBA career with the Mavericks, winning league MVP honors in 2006-07 and guiding Dallas to its first NBA title in 2010-11. He ranks sixth in NBA history with over 31,000 career points.
Nowitzki went out in style with a season-high 30 in the Mavs’ 100-93 win over the Grizzlies.
And Dwyane Wade, also played his final home game, he too scoring 30 before the adoring fans in Miami, the Heat winning 122-99.
But it was too late for Miami and its playoff hopes.
Instead, in the NBA East....
6. Brooklyn 41-40
7. Orlando 41-40
8. Detroit 40-41
9. Charlotte 39-42
9. Miami 39-42 (eliminated)
Detroit takes the final spot with a win against the Knicks tonight, or a Charlotte loss to Orlando.
--The Yankees blew a 3-1 sixth-inning lead in Houston and lost 4-3 Monday, wasting a third consecutive fine outing for Masahiro Tanaka, while the Astros’ Justin Verlander was so-so.
And then the Yanks blew a 3-2 seventh-inning lead on Tuesday to lose 6-3 to Houston.
But the Yankees have a new issue with Luis Severino. It seemed as if his rehab was going well for his balky shoulder, but then he developed new discomfort in it, and was flown to New York for an MRI Tuesday. The MRI revealed a lat strain, a different injury from his rotator cuff inflammation, and now it seems unlikely Severino could return before July.
So management, and fans, have to be thinking hard about going after free agent lefty Dallas Keuchel, who was 12-11, 3.74 ERA, in 34 starts for Houston in 2018. Keuchel, according to Ken Rosenthal, either wants a one-year deal at nearly $18 million, or a long-term contract at a lower salary.
Keuchel is playoff tested and is a past Cy Young Award winner, but his best days could easily be behind him, plus the Yankees do have veteran Gio Gonzalez currently in the minors, with a scheduled call-up soon, or he can opt out. Gonzalez pitched well in his second AAA start this week.
--It’s over...Jacob deGrom’s brilliant stretch of pitching ended Tuesday night at Citi Field, the Mets losing 14-8 to the Twins.
DeGrom yielded six runs in four innings, including three home runs, after a scoreless first had extended his scoreless innings streak to 27.
So deGrom’s run of 26 consecutive quality starts, tied with Bob Gibson all time, ended, as did his record run of 31 starts allowing 3 runs or less. It just makes you appreciate how great the stretch was. But as is our wont, Mets fans are now on pins and needles for his next start.
--DeGrom had received a big contract extension prior to the season opener, as did Boston’s Chris Sale, but Sale is now off to an 0-3 start with a 9.00 ERA after the world champion Red Sox lost their belated home opener 7-5 to Toronto to fall to 3-9! Sale gave up five runs in four innings. There are major concerns over the velocity of his fastball being way down thus far this spring.
--The Angels have won five in a row after a 1-6 start, beating the Brewers 11-8 last night. But they lost Mike Trout to a right groin strain, after the superstar had gone 2-for-2 to hike his average to .406. He’s going to miss some time, though the Angels didn’t think it was serious.
--Baltimore’s Chris Davis did it...he set the major-league record for futility in going 0-for-5 Monday night in the Orioles’ 12-4 win over the Athletics. So he was then 0 for 49, breaking Eugenio Velez’s 0 for 46 record for a non-pitcher. Davis flied out his first three times, then struck out his last two plate appearances, as the tiny crowd of 6,585, lowest in the history of the ballpark, actually offered him encouragement with each at bat.
So Davis moved to 1-for-65 going back to last Sept. 8. $23 million per year, through 2022. And he is coming off his record-worst .168 batting average for 2018.
Davis sat out Baltimore’s 13-2 loss to the A’s last night.
--As part of a broad crackdown on what it calls the “Troika of Tyranny” – Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, the Trump administration blocked Major League Baseball from signing players directly from Cuba to play professionally in the U.S., nullifying a historic deal struck back in December with Cuba’s baseball federation.
The administration has criticized Cuba for its support of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.
President Obama’s administration had determined the baseball federation was separate from the government, which allowed MLB to negotiate the deal. But now the Trump folks have reversed the decision.
MLB argues the deal had established a safe path for players to sign with U.S. teams, instead of the harrowing escape attempts of the past.
An MLB spokesman said Monday: “We stand by the goal of the agreement, which is to end the human trafficking of baseball players from Cuba.”
Frankly, this sucks...and reeks of White House adviser Stephen Miller. But I’ll bite my tongue before I comment further on the guy.
Under the December agreement, MLB teams would have paid a percentage of all contracts to the Cuban baseball federation, on top of the salaries paid to players.
--Lenny Dykstra sued former teammate Ron Darling Tuesday for defamation and libel, following through on his threat. Interestingly, Darling, on last night’s broadcast, finally seemed relaxed.
Golf Balls...The Masters
--According to DraftKings’ Sportsbook, Tuesday night’s odds for the Masters:
Rory McIlroy 7-1
Dustin Johnson 9-1
Justin Rose 12-1
Jon Rahm 14-1...don’t get this...we’ll see if I eat my words
Tiger Woods 14-1
Rickie Fowler 16-1
Justin Thomas 16-1
So the last time I told you I put some coin on Webb Simpson. I didn’t tell you it was at 66-1, but DK’s Sportsbook now has him at 50-1, which is strange. Others have him at 80-1 to 100-1.
As for defending champion Patrick Reed, who has been a shell of his former self since his win, including at the Ryder Cup, Golf Digest’s Joel Beall writes that he continues to have problems with his family, Reed being estranged from his parents.
The parents, who you may recall live six miles from Augusta, continue to show up at tournaments despite Patrick’s insistence they don’t. According to the New York Times, Reed’s father and sister showed up at the Tour Championship in Atlanta last September and a week later went to the Ryder Cup outside of Paris.
“Although unaware of their presence while competing at Le Golf National, their appearance at East Lake startled Reed. Though Reed had his family thrown out of the 2014 U.S. Open, the PGA Tour has explained to Patrick that his family is allowed to be on site of the tournament, only facing prospect of ejection if they say or do anything that would constitute a threat.
“Reed told the New York Times that his worries have carried over to this week,” with the family living around the corner.
“I wouldn’t at all be surprised if they show up,” Reed told the Times.
Talk about disturbing. Reed of course hasn’t helped matters by being a jerk in his own right, as in his statements after the Ryder Cup defeat, when he called out Jordan Spieth, Tiger and captain Jim Furyk.
On Tuesday at Augusta, Reed was asked if it’s important for him to be popular.
“You know, that’s one great thing about the sport we play is you know, whether it’s here, whether it’s anywhere else we play or whether it’s around the world. A lot of the fans, they respect great golf and they want to see great golf,” Reed said. “It all depends on how you handle yourself, and the more interactive you are with the fans, the more they are going to respect you. Because at the end of the day, the more the fans and the people get to know you, the more they realize that you’re just a normal guy out there playing golf and you’re just doing your profession.”
Reed has only one top-10 on the season.
--Rick Reilly is interviewed in the May issue of Golf Magazine for his new book, “Commander in Cheat.”
Q: The theme of your book is that you can tell a lot about someone by the way they comport themselves on the golf course.
Reilly: Arnold Palmer once told me that he never did a business deal until he had played 18 holes with the guy. He said he could find out exactly who a guy is over four hours. And what you find out about Trump in golf is that he has to win. Whatever it takes. He has to be the winner and you have to be the loser. And if that means kicking a ball out of the rough, having his caddie lie for him, taking all kinds of mulligans, you are going to lose. He kicks the ball out of the rough so often they call him Pele.
Q: Are you ready for the book to be called “fake news” by him?
Reilly: I’m hoping.
Q: You’ve played golf with Trump. What was it like?
Reilly: Well, he took a gimme chip-in, which I had never heard of. People say, Okay, so he cheats at golf. Well, yeah, but it goes deeper. If you’re going to cheat at golf, you’re probably going to cheat at business. And if you cheat at golf, you’re probably going to cheat on your wife. And if you cheat at golf, you’re probably going to cheat on your taxes. Tom Watson said he saw Gary Player bend back a weed at the Skins game and he never spoke to him again.
--Seth Waugh is the CEO of the PGA of America and a former CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas. In Golf Digest he observed, similar to Rick Reilly:
“In business and certainly the people I choose to hang out with on the golf course, I abide by the NJA rule: No Jerks Allowed. It’s my golden rule. Jerks come in a lot of forms but are generally easy to spot. It usually takes about three holes in golf and life. They’re sort of the anti-Havlick* - they don’t look for your ball or compliment your good shots because usually they haven’t actually watched you take a swing all day. It’s all about them. Too often, they’re caddie haters as well. No fun. It’s even worse if it happens to be a player who’s treated deferentially, not because he’s a great guy but because he’s a good golfer. It’s not OK to be a jerk, no matter how you play. They might be invited to a lot of member-guests by people who are trying to ‘buy the tournament,’ which is kind of a jerk move, too. It’s much more important to have your phone ring a lot because of what you’re like to be around, and not how you play. Every day in golf is another opportunity to make a new friend, to learn something about yourself and whomever you’re with.
*Waugh once got to play with his childhood idle John Havlicek, “and he was the type who looked harder for your lost ball than he did his own. In business, I came to value people who were like John. Those who make everyone around them better.”
[Ah yes, Phil W. We know Havlicek seems like the real deal too, after our little encounter with him at the Atlanta Olympics. He’s good people. This was the night of Michael Johnson’s spectacular 200m gold medal effort.]
--I was reading a piece by Michael Bamberger in Golf Magazine and there was this line about Dow Finsterwald, winner of the ’58 PGA Championship and longtime friend of Palmer’s who lived down the street from Arnie’s Bay Hill.
“He dropped by Arnold’s often, and they drank late-afternoon beers out of a dorm-room ‘fridge in Arnold’s workshop.”
That’s classic Arnie...the Latrobe boy.
There’s the story of Conni Venturi, ex-wife of Ken Venturi, who told Bamberger she once watched Arnie, shirtless, in a tournament hotel room, eating cereal and watching Saturday-morning cartoons with her son. You can picture Arnie laughing with the kid.
--Howard Milstein, Publisher, Golf Magazine, on Bobby Jones:
“My hope is that the passage of time fails to diminish his legacies. Lest anyone forget, during an eight-year stretch (1923-1930) in which he won 13 majors (in 20 attempts), Jones was the one playing the game with which all others were unfamiliar. He swept all four majors (then the U.S. Open and Amateur and their British counterparts) in 1930 as an amateur, and while holding degrees from Georgia Tech and Harvard. In the middle of his major run, he attended law school at Emory University and passed the Georgia bar after only three semesters, eager to join the family business despite being one of the most lauded, loved and decorated sports figures of his generation. He quit at the top of his game, leaving the fairway of his youth, still an amateur, to pursue, in his eyes, a healthy adult life. Consider Jones’ decision and compare it to the business of modern sports and the era of the collegiate ‘one-and-dones.’ Inspiring, to say the least....
“My feeling...is that Jones had bigger plans all along – and more integrity than we can imagine. Twice, in 1925 and 1926, Jones called a penalty on himself during the U.S. Open, the first costing him the title. In the years he presided over the Masters, he’d write personal notes to players, patrons, members and staff....
“Augusta National is not just a golf course, nor is the Masters just a tournament. They are Bobby Jones’ book of morals and values brought to life – the present and future game he envisioned long before you and I came around. A game that celebrates amateurism, internationalism and, through the newly adopted Drive, Chip & Putt Championship and Augusta Women’s Amateur, more inclusive participation – all important keys to keeping golf alive and growing. By allowing past winners to compete at the Masters, Jones preserved the game as something that should be played across generations, promoting a sense of continuity in a world of change. And through his example both on and off the course, that grace and personal accountability are the most meaningful gauges of success.
“Bobby Jones set the standards for this wonderful game. His honor and moral code remain the bedrock, both at the bottom of Rae’s Creek and at the core of every golfer’s heat. A blessing for all of us and the game we love.”
The quarterfinals are underway, and in their first leg, Tottenham pulled out a tremendous 1-0 win over Manchester City at New Tottenham Stadium, Son Heung-min with a spectacular individual effort late for the lone goal.
But it was costly. Striker Harry Kane could be lost for the season with another ankle injury, this time turning the same ankle that forced him out for two months earlier this year with ligament damage.
This is awful because the Spurs are barely hanging on in the Premier League’s top four race.
The Spurs will travel to Man City April 17 for the return leg of the CL. [And they still have to play them in the Premiere League.]
Also yesterday, Liverpool won its first leg match with FC Porto 2-0. Manchester United hosts Barcelona today.
Top 3 songs for the week 4/10/76: #1 “Disco Lady” (Johnnie Taylor...can’t believe this was #1...) #2 “Dream Weaver” (Gary Wright) #3 “Lonely Night (Angel Face)” (Captain & Tennille)...and...#4 “Let Your Love Flow” (Bellamy Brothers) #5 “Right Back Where We Started From” (Maxine Nightingale) #6 “Dream On” (Aerosmith...thank god for this one...) #7 “Boogie Fever” (Sylvers) #8 “Only Sixteen” (Dr. Hook) #9 “Sweet Love” (Commodores...solid, but two minutes too long...) #10 “Golden Years” (David Bowe)
Masters Quiz Answer: Last five foreign winners...
2017 – Sergio Garcia (Spain)
2016 – Danny Willett (England)
2013 – Adam Scott (Australia)
2011 – Charl Schwartzel (South Africa)
2009 – Angel Cabrera (Argentina)
1969 Mets: After the season-opening 11-10 loss to the Expos, Ken P. was down on the Mets’ chances for the year. Tom Seaver was overrated and the lineup sucked. I expressed concern with Rod Gaspar getting so much playing time.
But the Mets won Game 2, 9-5, with Tug McGraw pitching 6 1/3 in relief! And they won Game 3, 4-2, over Montreal, Tommie Agee crashing two home runs, giving him 6 RBIs on the young season, Gary Gentry going 8 2/3 for the win, a save for Cal Koonce. Last year, 1968, the newly-acquired Agee (from the White Sox) hit just .217, with 5 home runs and 17 RBIs in 368 at-bats. One of the more dreadful seasons in MLB history for someone who is supposed to be pretty good.
In Game 4, April 11, the Mets lost to St. Louis 6-5, Steve Carlton over Jerry Koosman.
So the Metsies are 2-2. It’s going to be a long season. I’d be happy with 77-85.
Next Bar Chat, Monday. Let’s hope for a terrific Masters.