Monday, March 26, 2012

He's Back: Woods dominates at Bay Hill

Tiger Woods looked like the Tiger of old as he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday. Tiger looked impressive as he made clutch putts and hit approach shots with laser-like accuracy. His victory reminded golf fans of how fun it is to watch him play well. I’m sure that Tiger’s victory also had TV executives smiling in their suits as the ratings on Sunday rivaled those of the NCAA tournament games. 

Tiger Woods is definitely not the same dominate player that we all remember from the past ten years. A ruined reputation and an aging body have taken their toll on the former number one player in the world. Throw in a new swing coach, new caddie, and several swing changes, and it all adds up to a 30 month official win drought.

Tiger’s win could not have come at a better time. Two weeks ago, he had to withdraw at Doral due to a nagging injury. That had people actually debating if he would ever win a tournament again. Now, it looks like Tiger is rounding his game into championship form two weeks before The Masters.

And oh yeah, did I mention the tell-all book written by former coach Hank Haney? Haney’s book comes out on Tuesday, and is said to paint a very negative picture of Tiger. What’s he really going to tell us? Tiger is arrogant, cold with the media, and loved to cheat on his wife. Really? Tell me something I don’t know. That’s all old news.

 I’ve said it once, and I’ll continue saying it- golf is just better when Tiger Woods is winning. Regardless of the poor choices he has made in his personal life, Tiger Woods has brought millions of fans to the sport of golf. Even the most casual golf fan gets interested when Tiger is in contention. Heck, my 2 year- old daughter chose watching Sunday’s final round over playing outside. (She pointed to the TV and yelled whenever I turned it off!)

Just imagine the scene on Easter Sunday if Tiger Woods is in contention on the back nine at Augusta. All of the doubters may have to fall silent as Tiger adds one more major and takes a step closer to breaking Jack’s record of 18 major titles.

  -Talk about “Must See TV.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tebow Mania Heads to NY

With the signing of Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos had no choice but to trade Tim Tebow. (That gust of wind you felt was John Elway letting out a sigh of relief) The Broncos are now stable at the QB position and do not have to worry about pleasing fans by playing Tebow. Tim Tebow has been traded to the NY Jets and will presumably run their version of the Wildcat Offense.

I think that this is a terrible move for both Tebow and the Jets. The New York Jets are the most dysfunctional team in the NFL. The last thing that they need is the hype and drama that comes with Tim Tebow.  Not to mention that fact that he is once again probably the third best QB on the depth chart behind Mark Sanchez and Drew Stanton.

The Jets already have guys in the locker room, as well as many fans that question the ability of starting QB Mark Sanchez. The addition of Tim Tebow will only add fuel to the fire. Can you imagine if Sanchez comes out and struggles mightily in the first 3 games? All of New York will be screaming for Tebow Time.

The Jets just committed to Mark Sanchez a few weeks ago by signing him to a contract extension. So what is the point of bringing in a backup QB (with terrible passing stats) who brings so much media attention? I just don’t see how this can work. I know that the Jets effectively ran the wildcat with Brad Smith a few years ago, but who cares. Tebow may end up being on the field 10 plays during a game. Is this really worth the attention that comes with bringing in a polarizing figure such as Tebow?

Tebow does have value in the NFL, most likely as a short yardage back. I love his story and really want to see him succeed. I just don’t think NY is the place that is going to happen. I feel Jacksonville (Tebow had the choice between NY and Jax) would have been a much better fit. That would have also benefited the league by greatly raising tickets sales for a struggling franchise. In the end I think this is going to turn out to be a horrible football move. It will, however, benefit the Jets financially through the sale of # 15 jerseys.

Who really knows how this will turn out? All I know is that I hope HBO brings back the acclaimed show, Hard Knocks: NY Jets. I can’t wait to see Tebow’s reaction the first time that Rex Ryan goes into one of his f-bomb laced rants.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bracket Madness

  As you can see from my lack of posts, I have been pretty busy lately with all sorts of different things. (I’m on Twitter now! @barryleonardjr) I’ve had many opinions on different sports topics in the past month. I just haven’t had time to write them down.  That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been anything going on in the world of sports. In fact, this is one of the busiest sports times of the years.

What better topic to discuss than March Madness? This is the time of year where everyone, including myself, becomes an “expert” on college hoops. We all fill out our office brackets in hopes of winning the grand prize- bragging rights for a year (I wouldn’t dare suggest that we would get some sort of financial gain from it) It’s pretty comical that so many people, who know so little about the sport, get involved in this “national pastime”

No matter what bracket pool you join, you're bound to have the same characters in it: The guy who claims he knows everything about every team, the guy who picks all favorites ,the guy who is convinced his 13 seed sleeper will surprise everyone , and my favorite, the guy who lets his wife pick for him by using mascots or uniform colors. The reality is, no matter what anyone says, luck plays a major part in having a successful bracket.

Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of entering at least one bracket pool every year for the last ten years or so.  However, I like to think that I do actually put some thought and research into my picks. Sure, I could pick with my heart and say that Syracuse will win it all every year, but I know that is not reality. (Of course I did pick them this year, even without Fab Melo!) I usually end up in the middle of the pack, often getting messed up by listening to the “experts” Jay Bilas and Doug Gotleib on Bracketology.

I am sad to say that I only have eight of this year’s Sweet Sixteen teams in my bracket. I am pretty proud of my Ohio pick though. (I only picked them from the start because they were playing Michigan!) Although my bracket was pretty much finished midway through the second day (thanks Norfolk St. and Lehigh!), I will still watch every game and cheer for my Orange to come through again.

I’m just embarrassed that somewhere out there sits a person with a 90% correct bracket who probably let their dog choose for them.
Oh well, better luck next March.