Monday Morning Links

Let’s start with some props to this guy, who legitimately won the 2009 Open Championship on the links of Turnberry by making some putts down the stretch, including a non-gimme on the 72nd hole of regulation. Then, he made a good par save on the first playoff hole and from there played nearly flawless golf. Take nothing away from how well Tom Watson played this week, don’t let a bogey on his last hole, followed by an ugly display in the playoff, fool you into think his carriage turned into a pumpkin. Mark Herrmann agrees, as did Rick Reilly in his closing essay on the ESPN telecast. If it’s any consolation to Watson, he took a big leap in the latest World Golf Rankings. Stewart Cink, meanwhile, has a career-altering victory which validates his consistently excellent play on Tour– something his relative lack of wins might have hidden for a while. By the way, check out Cink’s photos on the twitter feed I linked to, which includes the photo seen in today’s first post. Plenty of commenters already, while the family and fans back in Georgia are quite proud too. As Mark Bradley indicates, hopefully we will all appreciate Cink’s accomplishment eventually, rather than just dwell on what might have been for Watson.

Elsewhere in sports, we find some Roy Halladay trade rumors. This store caught fire leading up to the All Star Game when the Blue Jays indicated that they’d consider a deal if they were blown away by an offer. Doesn’t look like anything’s too close though. The Orioles also may deal some veterans, but are being pretty coy about it to try and drive up the price. The Brewers did make a move, getting Felipe Lopez from Arizona for a couple of minor leaguers. He should immediately become the second baseman, and might also be their leadoff hitter. They still need more pitching, however, to keep pace with the Cardinals and Cubs in the NL Central.

In other news…

Man walked on the Moon 40 years ago tomorrow, and HowStuffWorks posted a film commemorating the legendary Apollo 11 and its journey. Newsday has a photo gallery, as do other media outlets. I’m sure there is or will be even more content out there. The astronauts themselves say that Mars needs to be our next mission. They’ll be at the White House today. Kind of ironic that this anniversary occurs just after Walter Cronkite’s death. Cronkite was quite an admirer of space exploration. He was a giant of journalism, and we will all miss him.

Speaking of the White House, I’m going to try and get back to posting some political stuff- legitimately fair and balanced, of course. Mike Allen has some other tidbits on today in Washington, including a state visit from India’s Prime Minister in November. Also, the healthcare issue is still vexing, and the President has plenty of critics who smell blood. The public polling numbers, to the extent they will actually influence Congress, are not on President Obama’s side. Not sure if I think Bobby Jindal offers many alternative solutions to those which likely would be in any eventual reform. Naturally, President Obama intends to fight back. But can he really get the Senate’s Finance Committee to put a bill on the table this week, as Jake Tapper reports? Deliberative is probably a better approach here. The government gets one chance to do this even close to correctly.

Various other political perspectives, on the left, right, and in the middle, can be found through links here and here.

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All for A Little Trophy…

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These Photos Sum it Up

When I left you following Brazil’s domination of the U.S. national team, I definitely didn’t see this coming on Sunday afternoon. And when I turned on the game midway through a Father’s Day party (in case you’re wondering, it was very pleasant, despite the cloudy skies, and my Dad liked his present), I could believe a 1-0 lead for the Americans (as good as the Pharoahs have been in the last couple of African Cup of Nations, they haven’t translated it to other international theatres, and also missed absent goal-threats Mido, Mohamed Zidan, and Amr Zaki). Even, albeit barely, a 3-0 Brazil lead over Italy which they held on to. Boy was Marcello Lippi steamed about that afterwards… Not this though, even after I heard the final whistle blow. Heck, the players themselves were more than a little surprised afterward.

Image courtesy of ussoccer.com

Image courtesy of ussoccer.com

But led by the two men located on this photo’s left and right sides, they will be playing Spain on Wednesday in the first Confederations Cup semifinal (Brazil plays South Africa on Thursday). Yes that’s right. The current #1 team in the world, Euro 2008 champion, unbeaten in 35 straight games, the last 15 of which have been wins (games decided on penalty kicks technically go down as ties). Considering where the U.S. was on Wednesday, vis a vis where they hope to be next summer, don’t sweat it. For the players, work hard and show what you’re capable of. To the fans, cut out the attacks on Bob Bradley for a little while and get behind the team. As this blogger muses, can we really be sure of anything after Sunday’s results?

The other photos sum up the U.S. Open. You’ll remember that I wanted to live blog some of it. Well, the weather basically killed that idea!

Image courtesy of Wichita Eagle/AP

Image courtesy of Wichita Eagle/AP

But big props to course superintendent Craig Currier and his legions for getting the course playable each morning so that we could crown a champion today.

Image courtesy of whatsinthegolfbag.com

Image courtesy of whatsinthegolfbag.com

And if you expected the man seen above to win, please tell me some lotto numbers to play this week. But after a bad start to his round last night and this morning, he sure did hold the nerves in during the inward nine, punctuated by a decisive birdie-par-par finale. Also, despite their costly bogeys late, Phil Mickelson and David Duval deserve a lot of credit for how well they played this week. Mickelson, of course, has other matters on his mind, while Duval might finally be back among the golfing elite after several years in the wilderness. Even though Tiger Woods never really factored, he still managed to finish sixth, and was actually the only player to shoot three rounds below par. If he gets back to making a few putts, look out in the Open Championship or PGA. Yep, he’s just that good some weeks.

US Open and Confederations Cup Live Blog Today

First, a quick note. North Korea has qualified for the World Cup. I don’t think they can be drawn in a group with South Korea, but they already have been in a qualifying group, so there wouldn’t be too much intrigue in that. Anyway, good for their players, whom we need not involve in our various political quarrels.

This morning, the USA plays Brazil in a mouthwatering Confederations Cup tie, at least to us Yanks. Team news in the next post. The Americans are out of the tournament after the group stage if they lose this one.

Also, the US Open is underway, despite the rain here in NY. We’ll see if they can get play in all day, even though the word earlier this week was that the course couldn’t take more than maybe another half-inch of rain on top of everything else that’s fallen. Tiger’s out on the course already, but +2 through five holes. Phil Mickelson plays later, again weather permitting.

Rain Check Monday

And it did pour for a little while this afternoon here on the Island!

But no witty weekend recap due to a lot of work earlier today- congrats to the Penguins (who surprised me a little by winning Game 7 in Detroit) and Lakers (whose coronation was no surprise at all) or reaction to the U.S.’ loss to Italy, done in by one of their own (sort of). Good effort from our men though against one of the top 5-6 teams in the world, and if they can avoid going down a man against Brazil and keep something in the tank for the second-half, they just might be able to put up another fight against the Selecao later this week.

I’ll leave you with this image until I blog about it more at-length tomorrow or Wednesday. Have fun, gentlemen! It’s not that difficult, umm… right? That’s what this blogger thought
about two years ago. Oh wait, that was under pristine conditions and without 30,000 or more fans plus several million TV viewers… oops.

This One’s For You, Roberto!

What a Masters. This one had me transfixed just about all afternoon, starting with Tiger and Phil’s rally, which ended up being little more than a sideshow, and ending with a final couple of holes and playoff full of twists and turns. Kenny Perry may have lost a two-shot lead with bogeys on 17 and 18, but you gotta give Angel “El Pato” Cabrera serious credit for hanging in there after some early dropped shots of his own. Even on the first playoff hole, he stayed in the tournament only by a lucky bounce off a tree on his second shot, a great chip to the green, and then finally draining an eight-footer for par. After Perry hit a couple of errant shots on the second playoff hole, Cabrera made a steady par to win it. Two career victories in the U.S. and both of them majors. On two of America’s most famous courses- Augusta and Oakmont (the latter arguably being the country’s toughest, to boot).

Roberto DeVicenzo (left) honored with fellow Argentine Antonio Cerda in 2008

Roberto DeVicenzo (left) honored with fellow Argentine Antonio Cerda in 2008

So 41 years after Roberto De Vicenzo infamously signed for a scorecard that was one shot higher than it should have been, costing him a playoff with Bob Goalby, Argentina has a green jacket it can call its own. In Angel Cabrera, it also has a player who now, with two majors to his name, vaults into the ranks of golf’s legends.

Angel Cabrera celebrated after his first major title; he won his second at the 2009 Masters

Angel Cabrera celebrated after his first major title; he won his second at the 2009 Masters

More Honors for Alex Ovechkin

As if he needed any, but The Beer Lodge crew picked him as “Bro of the Week.” A well deserved honor for the man who can apparently do it all.

Sidney Crosby? Whom Ovechkin gave a friendly wave to in their recent game? A possible consolation prize as he won “Jabroni of the Week.”

Tiger Woods, on the other hand, apparently is human (just joking, so is Ovechkin). Seriously, match play is a bit of a crap-shoot because winning or losing depends to some degree on how well your opponent is playing. Tim Clark is a good, veteran international player who played a fabulous round of golf. Trust me, even without Tiger, Vijay, or Padraig Harrington, the final three rounds of golf this weekend should be plenty exciting. The PGA Tour’s marketing slogan isn’t wrong. These guys are good- pretty much from top to bottom.