With that out of the way, let's recap the events of the June 17-19th sports weekend:
-- Great US Open at Pinehurst #2. This course now officially takes a backseat to no one on the major championship rotation. After its memorable debut in 1999, this tournament didn't have quite the ending drama of the famous Mickelson/Stewart duel, but this year was another memorable Sunday at #2. The great thing about Pinehurst compared to some of the other venues chosen by the USGA is that the course doesn't have to be tricked up to bring the greatest players in the world to their knees. It was definitely a fair setup yesterday, and still guys were crumbling under the pressure worse than Tim Duncan at the free throw line last night.
Other quick-hits from the open:
- Tiger Woods has nothing to be ashamed of. The guy hit the ball as good as I've seen him since his hey-day back in 2000. He has really found his driver again (see tee shot on that dogleg 400 yard 7th hole), and his iron shots were dialed in all day. To make 6 birdies under that course setup is pretty phenomenal. If you take away his slip-ups on 16 and 17, Tiger ends up with a 67 for his final round score and most likely ends up in a playoff today. I think the rest of these guys should be very scared if Tiger ever finds his touch again on the greens. St. Andrews should be the next time Tiger wins a major again in about a month or so.
- Despite his 84 on Sunday, Jason Gore is exactly what makes the US Open such a special tournament. On the hardest golf course in the world, Gore was able to hang with the big boys all the way until the final round. Sure, he ended up 14 shots off the lead when it finally over, but Gore and the people who watched will never ever forget his performance this weekend
- As infallable as Goosen seemed the first 3 days, his sunday performance (81) shows just how difficult #2 was playing. No player (Tiger included) is immune from blowing up at a US open and Goosen showed that Sunday. While it seemed unlikely Goosen would come back to the field with a seemingly comfortable 3 shot lead coming in, yesterday showed that no lead is safe at a US Open. Was I surprised it happened to Goosen ? Sure Was I shocked ? Definitely not.
- Great coverage by NBC all weekend (Bob Costas always adds that something a little extra to an event), but Johnny Miller continually criticizing these guys on Sunday was getting old. Sure Johnny, some of these guys really didn't play all that well yesterday, but he made it seem like this was the bob hope classic or something out there. Birdies were tough to come by and I was happy to see the winning score come in at 280 (E). You never see pros struggle and squirm like the at the US Open (except for the British when the weather is bad), and I think it is good for the pros to be humbled once a year by the USGA. I think it definitely is fun to watch as a viewer.
-- Unbelivable game 5 win for the Spurs last night in Detroit. As much as I have bagged on the NBA this season, last night's game was something special. If I could only watch one game all season, last night's game would have been the one I chose. It was a back and forth struggle throughout the 4th quarter with both teams exchanging big shots. The difference ended up being that same guy who always seems to come up big around this team of year: Bob Horry. NOt much more you can say about the guy except that he will go down as the best clutch player of this generation not named Michael Jordan. Tim Duncan came very close to handing this game the Pistons with all of his missed free throws. But the bottom line is now the spurs are going back to SA up 3-2. I'm not ready to bury the Pistons just yet, but it is definitely not looking good.
-- Longhorns are able to win their first game of the CWS against Baylor 5-1. I only was able to catch the late innings of this one due to the wedding thsi weekend. From what I could tell, this was a very business like performance by the longhorns. Having lost to Baylor all four times they met during the regular season, it was nice to see the Horns get the job done when it really mattered in Omaha. With the tournament being as wide open as I can ever remember, Texas will be in great position to at least get to the championship series if they can get by Tulane tonight.
-- Rangers were able to take 2 out of 3 from the Washington Nationals or "gnats" as they are often affectionaly referred. Unfortunately, the Angels did the same to the Marlins thanks the impaler, Vlad Guerrero, so the Rangers are still 1.5 games out of first in the west. The most encouraging thing about the weekend series was the performance again of Ricardo Rodriguez. This guy is going to let everyone forget about Ryan Drese and he should be the 3rd guy (let's not kid ourselves about CHOP) we need behind kenny and Chris Young. The search will continue to find the answer for our 5th starter. CJ Wilson looked okay, but i am pretty convinced he is only a stop-gap solution to our problem. I fully expect to see a number of different guys audition for the role. I think Wilfredo Rodriguez may be the next guy to get a look after he gets called up and starts out in the pen. This is a situation worth monitoring.
The rangers open a large series tonight in Anaheim with Chris Young going against a suddenly resurgent Paul Byrd, so the AL west race definitely heats up starting tonight. Combined with the Tulane/Texas tilt this evening, and it should be a fun Monday night.