Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The PGA Tour's existential crisis will soon be over

"Golf is dead." — Friedrich Nietzsche

Forgive me for being pretentious enough to quote Nietzsche. Actually, I'm misquoting the German philosopher, who in 1882 went on a famous "God is Dead" tangent. The point is the past few days have verified that God has taken a 4-iron and whacked golf back to the WNBA netherworld.

Kevin Streelman birdied the final seven holes Sunday to win the Travelers Championship by one stroke over Sergio Garcia. Yeah, it wasn't a major and Tiger Woods wasn't involved, meaning it was a typical PGA Tour stop.

Only it wasn't.

Making birdies on seven straight holes is unheard of. HAVING to make seven straight birdies in order to win is lunar-landing stuff.

Nobody had ever done it. Not Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Pele, the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II or anyone since cavemen first invented the mulligan.

"To even say it is crazy," Streelman said.

What's crazier is that almost nobody noticed.

The story was universally ignored, even in the deadest sports time of the year. All that's really going on is the World Cup, and a historic golf achievement got about a millionth the attention of some Portuguese guy heading in a tying goal in the round-of-32 match against the USA.

Golf is now getting blown away by soccer. That I can understand. But the PGA Tour also got its publicity butt kicked by the LPGA, where Michelle Wie won a major after 1,294 tries to prove she isn't all legs and hype. Other news items that overshadowed Streelman's streak:

Carmelo Anthony opting out of his Knicks' deal. Carl Edwards winning at Sonoma. LeBron James' wife hinting on Instagram that her hubby might be returning to the Cavaliers. NFL lineman/relationship counselor Darnell Dockett tweeting that he understood where O.J. Simpson was coming from. Carl Edwards' wife hinting that he might be moving to Cleveland to open a gas station. O.J. Simpson tweeting that he knows where Dockett is coming from.

I could understand if Streelman had shot a routine 69 to win by three shots. But he did the impossible. And it wasn't just a sports story. Straight out of the Phil Mickelson Choreography Manual, the final putt dropped and Streelman kissed his wife and infant daughter, Sophie.

His wife, Courtney, had a rare liver condition that made for a dramatic, death-defying delivery on Dec. 26. It's the kind of story that NBC usually has to make up in order to market Olympic lugers. The reaction? Crickets.

Thank God there wasn't a big cricket match in Pakistan Sunday, or that would have gotten more attention than the PGA. The obvious culprit here is Woods, who ditched the Tour in favor of getting his back repaired.

Ratings have completely tanked. The only people paying attention to golf are golf fans. If you're not a golf fan, odds are you stopped reading this 10 paragraphs ago and I'm just exercising my fingers on the keyboard.

As a golf fan, I'm pleased that I can at least type that Woods is returning this week. Tiger's coming back with his new back will get more network analysis than Iraq's civil war.

Golf is not dead!

It's just that we won't always have Woods and his back to kick around. And if this is a preview of Life After Tiger, guys like Streelman might as well move to Portugal and start knocking in balls with their heads.

Orlando Sentinel

MMA DEBATE

Rousey defends skills of 'judokas'

MMA women's bantamweight champion Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey has something to prove when she defends her 135-pound title against Alexis Davis at UFC 175 next month. Simply put: Rousey wants to demonstrate that Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not superior to her discipline, judo. "It was such a stereotype," Rousey said of the belief that "judokas" don't excel in groundwork or submission techniques. "This fight against Alexis, who is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt and the kind of person I've heard my whole life should be the type to tap me out no problem, would be nice to prove a point against her," Rousey tells The Great MMA Debate podcast of the July 5 fight in Las Vegas. "Then again, I always have people saying that my striking is terrible and she's a well-noted Muay Thai fighter, so any way that I can beat her I think would prove a good point." Ronda, we would never call your arm-bar an inferior technique!

   
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