Golf needs something and OKC has something to prove
Another in our series of relatively unrelated notes because, well, partly because there was too much going on over the weekend and partly because not one thing truly stood out.
Is this just a changing of the times or what?
I used to consider myself a pretty big golf fan; I knew most of the key players, knew who was going well and who was scuffling and looked at least once a day Thursday through Sunday to see who was winning whatever tournament was on.
And majors? I’d be in pools and conversations about them and would be sure to be near a TV when it came back-nine-on-Sunday time.
Now they have The Players – great tournament, tries to hard to be The Fifth Major – and the only reason I know who won is that I clicked up one station at the end of the Heat-Pacers and watched – and it was more like white noise, actually – the final three holes.
I can’t figure it out and judging by conversations I have, I’m not alone.
It is the absence of Tiger, who evokes passion on both sides of the ledger?
Is it because these guys are simply too good and it’s boring to see fairway-green-birdie chance?
Is it because these guys are, for, the most part, horribly bland? Everyone’s a good guy, lots of smiling urchins and adoring wives waiting for the winner at the 18th green. Everyone had “a good day” even if it included three bogeys and a fifth place finish; there are “lots of positives” they can take away from whatever they’ve done.
Sports – and, yes, I see golf as a sport – is at its heart conflict-based. It’s my team against your team, me against you, there should be a clearcut winner and a loser.
You don’t get that in golf, unlike any other sport. Everyone seems relatively happy, there are no black hats, there are seldom any built-in human dramas that make the games we watch so often so compelling.
Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe you still love the game played at the highest levels by the best practitioners of their craft in the world.
Me? I want to either cheer for Tiger or cheer against him, I want man-to-man competition, I want some drama that unfolds in front of my eyes, not some competition that unfolds kilometers apart, with one guy not knowing what the other guy is doing.
Sure, I’ll back – I love The Open championship for the conditions they have to fight; I love the U.S. Open because it reduces many great players to mortals and that’s enough of a narrative to draw me in.
Week-to-week? I don’t get it any more.
As more than a few people pointed out in various locations, Heaven’s band got a little bit stronger on the weekend and, man, do I wish I were in Memphis to hear some music on the weekend.
Would have been all kinds of tributes to Duck Dunn; great with The Blue Brothers, great on almost everything he did.
Like this ..
I know there are those among you dying for some Raptors news.
Giorgos Printezis hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer as Olympiacos beat CSKA to win the EuroLeague Final Four on Sunday in Istanbul.
Oh, wait. Printezis is no longer Raptors property so I guess that doesn’t count.
Never mind. Carry on.
So the L.A. Clippers move on to the second round of the playoffs, just the second time they’ve ever done that, with the Game 7 win in Memphis on Sunday.
One thing struck me as the game was unfolding; well, two actually.
The first: Can’t anyone here make a shot????? Really, that was some simply atrocious offence from start to finish. Now, I know collars get a bit tight and defence gets a bit more aggressive in deciding games of playoff series but, man, watching that game unfold was almost retina-burning and having watched the HOTH for 17 years, I’m one of the world’s leading authorities in retina-burning offensive basketball. I’m all for seventh games, there’s nothing like it in sport, but they need to be played at some higher level than that mess Sunday afternoon.
The second: I picked the Spurs in five, they’ll probably win in four and should win in three.
Okay, advice time.
There’s a whisper around Casa Doug about the need for new deck furniture. Deck’s about 1,000 square feet, has a 40-year-old maple rising up through it, a couple of nice benches for relaxing and, thanks to some Irregulars, a big ass Napolean barbecue that wintered well and did a great job on the burgers, chicken and sausage yesterday afternoon.
Now, what do you have for me in the way of furniture sets?
In all the years I’ve been going to games in Oklahoma City – and it goes back to when New Orleans moved up there post-Katrina – the crowd has been almost as much the story as the team.
Great people, unfailingly polite, entirely supportive, quite collegiate and far more interested in cheering their team on than worrying about what the other team does. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a boo.
That said, it will be interesting to see how they react tonight to Metta World Peace, who faces the Thunder for the first time since his thuggish attack on James Harden.
World Peace, because he’ll never quite get it, shows no contrition and, in fact, exacerbated the situation on the weekend by telling anyone who’d listen that he’s not sorry, he won’t shake Harden’s hand and then going off on some diatribe about Brooklyn or somesuch and his music. Yawn.
Anyway, I have a feeling there will be – and should be – a large measure of animosity among the faithful towards him. Not that it’ll matter, World Peace seems quite happy to play the villain, but the reaction of a normally happy-go-lucky audience will be something to see.
So, too, will the reaction of the Thunder players. I’ve often wondered about how tough that team was up and down the roster, we know Kendrick Perkins can be a hard-ass and I’m all right with that, I want to see Durant and Harden and Westbrook and the rest of them have that physical edge and determination that comes with a pure dislike of the players they are going against.
I do think the Thunder will win the series – they are simply more talented and they match up well with the Lakers – but tonight might be about sending a message.
It’ll be fun to see what it is.