Sunday, July 20, 2008

Two quick hits today

First, to the realm of fun: the British Open. Although watching the Open when Mother Nature is flexing her muscles is rarely "fun", it was interesting to watch today because of Greg Norman's presence in the final grouping, the 54- (and 63-) hole leader. Yes, THAT Greg Norman from yesteryear, playing golf with the best that the world could offer today.

And I can't help but think of one thing: how good is Tiger???

Which is amazing, given that Tiger was almost half a world away recovering from his knee surgery.

AND I'm not suggesting that Tiger would have won today if he was in the field. To do such is to tarnish the awesome play of champion Padraig Harrington, who somehow managed to shoot under par today, finishing four shots clear of the field at 3 over for the tournament. That is some amazing golf, and while Tiger MAY have been able to compete with that. . .there's absolutely no guarantee. No, Harrington deserved this one today, not just because he was the best player in the field, but because he arguably was the best player in the world against that course in those conditions.

But why think of Tiger? Well, because of Norman, of course. Follow me here: yesterday, the analysts (including my personal favorite, Tom Watson--he added so much to the broadcast!) noted how Norman "was Tiger before there was Tiger". Which is to say, of course, that he was an amazing golfer: he finished the season as the #1 golfer in the world 5 times (he held the top ranking 11 times in 10 separate years covering 331 non-consecutive weeks, according to wikipedia--if you believe that stuff!). And that's just the numbers: Norman also was instantly recognizable the world over, and the products he pitched were huge commercial successes. "Tiger before there was Tiger" indeed!

For all that greatness, though, Norman may be best remembered as a non-closer: the best golfer who didn't strike fear into opponent's hearts on the first tee on Sunday of a major championship. Sure, he won 2 majors--both Open championships--but 5 times (according to an article on CBS Sportsline) he held the 54-hole lead at a major and did NOT win the tournament.

Tiger, of course, has yet to lose a major when leading after 54 holes (14-0). Heck, he's only lost 3 TOURNAMENTS when holding at least a share of the lead after 54 holes (44-3).

Greg Norman is a hall-of-fame golfer and a true gentleman. He, along with Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Price, were the face of golf from the mid-80's into the mid 90's.

But Tiger Woods has been the face of golf since then--and it doesn't look like there's anyone getting ready to replace him. He is not only a closer--a la Mariano Rivera--but he is an inning-hog of a starter who frequently hands the lead over to that little punch-shot he hits so accurately on Sundays.

He is the best golfer ever. And even in his absence we are reminded of just how amazing of a player--no, pardon me, that should be "competitor"--that he is.

So pray that he comes back from his injury well--I think we could see 2 dozen majors before he's done.

ITEM # 2: How about Condi Rice for a running mate?

Oh, you think I'm talking about the GOP ticket?

Silly you.

Given that her accomplishments at State for the last couple years have been. . .uh. . .not of the strongest flavor of conservatism, I have to wonder if she's been infected by the left bent of the lifelong department personnel she is surrounded by every day.

And if those partisan hacks can make her carry water for their purposes, can you imagine what someone as charming as Obama is supposed to be would do to her in a one-on-one?

It would be a HUGE victory for Obama, of course, probably solidifying a ticket even more dreamy than the supposed dream ticket of Obama-Clinton.

Now I know Rice has said before that she has no interest in electoral politics.

Which, of course, makes her a prime target for Obama to go after.

There's nothing but upside here for Obama, and I would be very surprised if he doesn't make a strong play for her.

The question is: will she have the strength to say no?

Would she want to?

(For similar reasons, I also think that Colin Powell should get more than a little consideration from Obama's camp. Nothing says "moderate" like taking players from the other guy's lineup. Not that I think Obama is anything close to a moderate, but I think gestures--and I stress "gestures", which is all the left believes you need to do in governance-- such as these would pretty much kill any "how liberal is Obama?" lines of questioning.)


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