Tag: Sports

Whistling Straits gives Ryder Cup a seaside links feel
Sports

Whistling Straits gives Ryder Cup a seaside links feel

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — The late, great Pete Dye had a ready reply whenever critics screamed one of his course designs was over the top. “Golfers,” Dye scoffed, “would play Mount Everest if somebody put a flag on top.” So when the world’s best gathered for the 2004 PGA Championship and cast a wary first glance across Whistling Straits, a humpy, bumpy, weather-worn stretch of terrain hard by the Lake Michigan shoreline, he predictably waved off concerns this was the one course that might actually be too tough. “This will be nothing but a bag of popcorn,” Dye assured course owner Herb Kohler at the time. But soothing other folks’ jangled nerves was not in his nature. “Sometimes,” Dye quickly added, “people choke on popcorn.” Englishman Lee Westwood, who will be playing in his 11th Ryder Cup starti...
Muhammad Ali retreat prepared him for war, offered him peace
Sports

Muhammad Ali retreat prepared him for war, offered him peace

It was the place where Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Andy Warhol, Sylvester Stallone, the Jackson Five and many other celebrities came to watch Muhammad Ali work and hold court. No, it wasn’t Las Vegas. The champ’s “Fighter’s Heaven” was a mountain hideaway in central Pennsylvania. The four-part Ken Burns‘ documentary that aired recently on PBS featured some footage of the training camp Ali built in the early 1970s in the coal country outside Pottsville just off Route 61 on Sculps Hill Road. It was the place where Ali prepared for war — and it was the place where he found peace. “The best times I had were up at Deer Lake,” said Pat Patterson, a former Chicago police officer who worked as Ali’s bodyguard, in “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times,” the book by Thomas Hauser. “It was like we had ...
Handling friction at Ryder Cup a European specialty
Sports

Handling friction at Ryder Cup a European specialty

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Friction within the team is nothing new at the Ryder Cup. Except for the Americans. Europe has been dealing with it for decades, whether it was the enmity between Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia, the grievances Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn had with Colin Montgomerie or the general dislike between Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo. It hasn’t kept the Europeans from winning with regularity. Woosnam and Faldo were even partners in 1987 at Muirfield Village and didn’t lose any of their four matches. But this is different. “I think it was kept pretty quiet. No one else was really involved,” Rory McIlroy said of past European squabbles. “The grievances on the other side have been pretty public.” A large part of that is due to social media, the space where Bryson DeChambeau and ...
No Tiger Woods, No Phil Mickelson. And maybe a U.S. Ryder Cup win.
Sports

No Tiger Woods, No Phil Mickelson. And maybe a U.S. Ryder Cup win.

Tiger Woods won’t be at Whistling Straits this week, for obvious reasons. Phil Mickelson will, but for the first time since 1995, he won’t hit a shot in the Ryder Cup. The storyline in the Ryder Cup hasn’t changed, but the marquee players have — at least when it comes to the beleaguered U.S. team. Woods is still mending from a car accident, while Mickelson will end a streak of 12 straight Ryder Cups as a player to be a non-playing assistant captain for a team tasked with wrestling the cup back from Europe. That may prove a bit of a disappointment for the tens of thousands who will swarm the rugged course on the edge of Lake Michigan to scream for the home team. The mere sight of Woods or Mickelson near a tee box is usually cause for wild celebration, especially as the day grows long and th...
Chase Young and Co. developing ugly pattern
Sports

Chase Young and Co. developing ugly pattern

PBS aired a documentary Sunday night about Muhammad Ali, and I’m guessing it didn’t spend much time on Ali’s fight with a German boxer named Jurgen Blin. After all, it was a forgotten fight against a forgotten opponent, part of Ali’s battle to get regain the title, coming 10 months after his loss to Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century” on March 8, 1971. It was more notable for what went wrong for Ali than what went right. He knocked Blin out in the seventh round but took an unexpected beating along the way. “The 28‐year‐old West German was a dangerous punching bag who hit back,” wrote the great Michael Katz in The New York Times. This would be a disturbing pattern for the post-comeback Ali — taking too much punishment, even in victory. Think of the Washington Football Team’s win over ...
Stan Cliburn climbing into record books a game at a time
Sports

Stan Cliburn climbing into record books a game at a time

When Stan Cliburn was a 21-year-old kid from Jackson, Mississippi, playing Class A ball in the California League, he faced a team managed by a man named Stan Wasiak, who had been managing since 1950 and had 2,000 wins on his resume. Cliburn marveled at that accomplishment — and Wasiak wasn’t done yet. By the time he left the dugout in 1986, Wasiak had managed 4,844 games and won 2,530 of them — the most in minor league history. “I told myself that if somehow I ever wind up managing in the minor leagues, my goal would be to get to 2,000 wins like Stan Wasiak,” said Cliburn, who’s now 64. He’s getting closer. Last week, Cliburn won his 1,800th game as a minor league manager, leading the Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs to a doubleheader sweep over the York Revolution. He’s mana...
Making money in boxing means not saying you’re sorry
Sports

Making money in boxing means not saying you’re sorry

Making money in boxing means never having to say you’re sorry. Not for allowing Evander Holyfield to risk his life at the age of 58 just to make a few bucks. Certainly not for stealing money from gullible fans for a farce of a pay per view show that would have done terrible damage to the sport if only the sport wasn’t so badly damaged already. No one was apologizing - at least loud enough to hear - among the crew at Triller Fight Club, a fledging promotional outfit on the fringe of boxing. They managed to get Holyfield licensed in Florida and moved the entire card there on short notice from California after planned headliner Oscar De La Hoya pulled out with what he said was COVID-19. Holyfield wasn’t apologizing, either, after being credited with landing just one punch before being stopped...
Ryder Cup scrutiny usually starts when it’s over
Sports

Ryder Cup scrutiny usually starts when it’s over

Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington have been Ryder Cup captains for nearly three years, long enough to know not every decision they make is going to be popular. Deciding whether they were the right moves won’t start until the Ryder Cup is over. Except for an English seed merchant, Samuel Ryder, who donated his name and a gold trophy to the event nearly a century ago, this could just as easily be called the Hindsight Cup. “There’s been captains who did a good job and it doesn’t equate to a win,” Stricker said Monday evening during his two-hour drive home from Whistling Straits. He laughed before adding, “It can be a thankless job.” That comes later. Plenty of gratitude filled the mid-September air off Lake Michigan when 11 of his players and their caddies - Brooks Koepka stayed home to h...
LOVERRO: Solution at quarterback not on Washington roster
Sports

LOVERRO: Solution at quarterback not on Washington roster

Only in Washington can a backup quarterback become a legend while his team loses. That’s all we’ve seen Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke do — lose. He came in Sunday’s home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers when starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went down with a hip injury with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter. Washington was down by just one point, 7-6, when Heinicke took the field, And as Heinicke left the field at the end of the game, he left behind a 20-16 loss to the Chargers, already putting the Washington Football Team in a hole this season, with the division rival New York Giants coming to town Thursday night and a monster schedule of opponents to follow. Yet the Washington Football Team fans that remain — Sunday’s crowd was more than 50,00...
Mental strength, physical stamina fuel Novak Djokovic’s dominance
Sports

Mental strength, physical stamina fuel Novak Djokovic’s dominance

NEW YORK — Ask other tennis players what makes Novak Djokovic great, what has pushed him to the brink of the first calendar-year Grand Slam by a man in more than a half-century, and the responses might include a mention of the way he returns serves or his ability to cover the court or his two-handed backhand. And so on. What they also invariably praise are his mental strength and physical stamina, his focus and his fitness, especially when it comes to the best-of-five-set format used at the major tournaments where he is 26-0 in 2021 heading into his U.S. Open semifinal against Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Alexander Zverev on Friday. Just a sampling of assessments from male and female pros: - Sam Querrey: “His best trait is his mind.” - Maria Sakkari: “Novak is from a different planet. Real...