A golfer for our time
Johnson now among the elites
Good morning, all! I hope you had a tremendous weekend.
I think it is safe to proclaim Dustin Hunter Johnson is now among the elite golfers. Over the weekend, Johnson brought Augusta National to its knees, winning his first Masters and capturing his second major. Johnson now has 24 professional victories on U.S. soil to go along with seven on the European tour and two others.
At 36, Johnson is still very much in his prime and may be poised to maintain his halcyon status through 2021. For sure, anytime there is a tournament with Johnson in the field, he has to be part of the conversation. And that’s a compliment reserved for the best of golfers.
Some other Masters thoughts…
How about two-time Masters winner Bernhard Langer? At 63, he became the oldest player to make the cut at the tournament. Langer has always been one of my favorite golfers and is fun to watch, especially on the PGA Tour Champions. To mix it up with golfers half his age or less on such a difficult golf course is a testament to his talents.
Yes, Tiger Woods did get a 10 on the par-3 12th on Sunday. It happens, but you have to admit, that was a John Daly-type blowup, especially when he put the ball in the drink three times. The clock is ticking on Tiger’s changes of winning another major. He turns 45 on Dec. 30. We all know 45 is not an ancient age, but it does not get any easier on the regular tour, when you “mature” into your middle and late 40s.
What has happened to Jordan Spieth? The former Masters champion had to struggle to make the cut. At 27, he should be tearing up the tour. He has 11 PGA tour wins and needs just a victory in the PGA Championship for the grand slam, but in recent years he has struggled. His last tournament victory came in 2017, when he captured the British Open. In my neck of the woods, he is renowned for winning the 2017 Travelers Championship, when he sunk a chip shot in a playoff. Those who were at the TPC at River Highlands that day, said the ground shook, when he made that shot. But since the summer of ‘17, there has not been a hole (sic) lot of shaking going on for Spieth.
And how great was it to hear the legendary Verne Lundquist as part of the CBS announce crew this weekend? You knew it was a big game or event, with Lundquist at the mic. Now 80 and semi-retired, he delivered another stellar performance.
What’s up with college football?
I love to watch college football. Enjoy the loud crowds, the bands, the pageantry. So why am I not into college football this season? Could it be all the pizzazz that accompanies the sport is missing because of COVID-19? Probably. The crowds are lacking and you never know when and if the games are going to be played. Part of a sport’s appeal is the predictability and rhythm of a schedule. Maybe it is just me, but this lack of cohesion has been a turn off. And I’m one who stayed up after midnight last season to watch LSU win the national championship.
Meanwhile, COVID is now rearing its head at the college basketball season. The 2019-20 season was cut short. Now the 2020-21 campaign has been delayed and the Ivy League has already canceled its winter sports, including basketball. One has to wonder if they will even tip it up this year. Iona’s new hoops coach, Rick Pitino, is even suggesting a later start, so we can have “May Madness.” We shall see.
The new, New York Mets
The New York Mets are about to turn a corner, now that new, billionaire owner Steve Cohen has taken over the reigns. That means a big splash in the free agent market, despite Cohen echoing what I wrote in a recent newsletter that the Mets will not spend recklessly. But they will spend, as team president Sandy Alderson seemed to hint, during a recent radio interview. When asked about the club’s interest in free agent Cy Young award winner Trevor Bauer, Alderson responded:
“He’s the kind of guy that fans would embrace. This is an entertainment business. We’ve got to be open-minded about how players express themselves.”
Translation. The Mets are ready to spend and determined to no longer play second fiddle to the crosstown rival Yankees.
Well, that’s if for today. I hope you will have a great week.