A few tidbits from the world of golf

We are excited to see Matt Fitzpatrick rise to #24 in official world golf rankings-ahead of both Francesco Molinari and Rickie Fowler.  24th is a career high for 25 year old Matt. Matt attended Northwestern University, (Dad’s alma mater), so we keep an eye on him as well as Luke Donald, another Wildcat.  Matt is from Sheffield, England.  He won the 2013 US Amateur at age 18. He has five international professional golf wins, made the cut in all four majors in 2019, finished second in the 2019 Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill and finished 7th in the 2020 HSBC event .He tees it up today in the WGC Mexico event with Bryson DeChambeau and Bernd Wiesberger. Matt, who spends half the year in Florida and half the year in Europe, has added caddy Billy Foster to his team. Foster worked with Lee Westwood for many years, this could be a big help in pressure packed moments for young Matt who finished 30th in last weeks Genesis Invitational at Riviera.

Jim Furyk turns 50 this year.  The Ryder Cup captain, US open winner and Jax resident could be a real force on the Champions Tour as the 7400+yard PGA Tour courses pose a challenge to the relatively short hitting Furyk, Jim finished second last year in the Players Championship, we will be rooting for him, and the other local guys, to win the Players next month.

The recent No Laying Up podcast interview with long time CBS golf analyst Peter Kostis was very revealing.  Peter candidly discusses not having his contract renewed (after roughly 30 years with CBS)-he received a phone call-what a terrible way to treat him after all those years.  He also discusses how the cost of broadcasting golf has led to more ads, fewer cameras and a declining viewer experience. He provides some great insight into the difficulty of broadcasting golf and how many of the “live” shots we see are actually from tape. The last few minutes of the interview, when he discusses the Patrick Reed “cheating” controversy is very revealing.

A shoutout to Brian who made a natural birdie yesterday on the #1 handicap 6th hole on the South course at Sawgrass Country Club.  Brian hit driver, 6 hybrid, 5 iron over a massive lake (to 12 feet) and made the putt. The hole was playing 496 yards-GREAT JOB BRIAN!

John Beilein resigns as Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers after less than one season

The 67 year old Beilein, who had successfully coached high school and college hoops for 45 years, (the last 11 or so at Michigan), stepped down yesterday after only 54 NBA games.  It appears that there were three main drivers behind Beilen’s decision: His son’s resignation as head basketball coach at the Niagra University for personal reasons “he could no longer ignore”; The consistent losing this season which was wearing on the coach (Bielen’s Cavs were 14-40) and Difficulty in getting veteran Cavs players like Kevin Love and Tristen Thompson to buy into Bielen’s coaching techniques.  We wish Coach Bielen, who will likely receive a number of college coaching offers this summer if he wants to return, and his family nothing but the best. While Billy Donovan and Brad Stevens are exceptions, history shows the transition from college basketball coach to NBA coach can be very difficult.  In college the coaches are the law while the NBA is a “player empowered” league.  We wonder if this experiment could have worked if all the Cavs veterans had been traded and the team had gone with a complete rebuild. The recent addition of Andre Drummond reinforced the facts that the Cavs will not be doing this.  Congrats to JB Bickerstaff who is taking over as the permanent, not interim head coach. Bickerstaff has a lot of NBA experience plus a Dad who has been in the NBA for 40+ years.

MLB Sign Stealing-The Red Sox investigation is the next shoe to drop

The Astros response to the sign stealing report has been at best disappointing. Jim Crane, the Astros owner, held one of the most painful sports press conferences I have ever seen-he contradicted himself in less that  a minute.  The only person that looked competent or contrite was new Astros Manager Dusty Baker who had nothing to do with the controversy and has to try to get the team moving forward.  MLB Commissioner Manfred is getting ripped by a ton of players, (including normally cautious respected voices like Nick Markakis, Justin Turner, Mike Trout and Aaron Judge), and other sports icons e.g. LeBron James for not punishing the Astros players.  It will be interesting to watch the Red Sox investigation and whether Manfred tries to do something different with the punishments in that case. The article on Yahoo hints at the fact that Manfred does not spend a lot of time on the road with players and is naturally cautious as a labor lawyer not a baseball lifer. Given all of the negative attention this scandal has rained on MLB Baseball, we would not be surprised to see a Manfred resignation or retirement after the Red Sox investigation is complete and punishments are announced. Spring Training usually brings hope andsome common ground to a country that could sure use some these days, not this year.

NHL Hockey

I believe that hockey is very wide open this year with a lot of teams like the Bruins, Lightning, Blues, and others have a shot. The Lightning have been the hottest team in hockey winning 11 games in a row and are only 1 point behind the Boston Bruins for the most points in hockey. If I had to pick a team to win the Cup this year it would be the Boston Bruins because Tuukka Rask is outstanding and when you have a great goalie you always have a chance. Guys like David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Zedno Chara, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and the rest of the crew are scoring a lot of goals and they don’t give up a lot of goals with strong D and Raask-I believe they have to be the favorites. I can’t believe it has been 40 years since the Miracle on Ice that was when team USA defied all the odds to win the Olympics-what a great memory for Dad (I was in my high school gym at a basketball game when I heard the news.)