It's hard to believe that yesterday was a mid-June sports day given the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament, game three of the NBA Finals, two matches in the European Championships (soccer), a Royals win over the St. Louis Cardinals, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. breaking a 143 race dry spell with a win in Michigan.
Let's throw it around a bit, shall we?
- There have been U.S. Opens on the west coast before but I can't remember one that ended in prime time on network television. Yesterday's final round of the U.S. Open concluded around 9:00 p.m. Central.
- It was good to see Junior in the winner's circle yesterday. The fan favorite has had several failed opportunities to win over the past couple of years, with plenty of questionable luck, but yesterday's win was not in doubt as he led the final 25 laps. His last win was at this same Michigan track--almost four years ago.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder lost the rebounding battle last night to Miami, 38 boards to 45. When Miami has won in the Finals, a big reason has been their ability to get second chance points through their offensive rebounding. LeBron James was particularly effective inside with 14 boards.
- Perhaps the most compelling part of the U.S. Open broadcast was the special documentary, before play was televised, of the 1962 playoff duel between Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. It was Nicklaus' first major victory and he unseated the popular Palmer at Arnie's "home course"--Oakmont in Pittsburgh, PA. The special showcased the class of Nicklaus, who was undeterred at the crowd openly rooting for Palmer, and also featured him talking about the photo that he later saw where he had a cigarette in his mouth. Nicklaus made the vow then to immediately quit smoking and to give back endorsement money to L&M as he did not want to be a negative influence on children watching the sport.
- The Royals are 5-1 since suffering a sweep to Pittsburgh.
- Joe Posnanski tweeted last night that Tiger Woods is a very good golfer but that he never will be "back." I agree. Woods will still thrill us with shots like the one at Memorial but his steely resolve is not what it once was and, let's face it, he's not getting any younger. One has to question whether the various leg ailments have taken a toll. Will Woods break Nicklaus' record for majors? I doubt it given that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. Woods is 34 and needs four more majors to tie Nicklaus and five to win the most ever. Nicklaus won five majors between age 35 and age 46 to get to his 18. It's hard for me to imagine Woods playing golf for 12 more years in his quest for the tie or the record.