Some people are winners. They just are.
Favorite. Underdog. Overcoming odds. Getting through bad times. Doesn’t matter.
Tiger Woods is a winner.
This past weekend Tiger wore two hats. He was a President’s Cup player, and he was also President’s Cup captain.
Both versions of Tiger were winners.
The President’s Cup is no Ryder Cup, but it is still a fun watch. And judging by this photo shoes were optional. Needless to say it was definitely more laid back off the course.
Players representing their country always creates a special atmosphere. These guys aren’t that good at acting. They really, really want to win. In the President’s Cup, the USA team has to deal with the best players from all over the world, except for European countries represented in the Ryder’s Cup. This year would be a battle both on the course and off, where we spotted some fanatics from Down Under. Hey, we knew they existed everywhere.
Captain, oh Captain
Tiger, the captain, would have difficult decisions on who should make the team. Choosing himself seemed like a no brainer, but did come with risk if Tiger, the player, laid an egg.
Tiger also picked troubled child Patrick Reed. Reed then made things more difficult by committing a rules violation the week prior to the President’s Cup. Captain Tiger, and everyone else for that fact, had to deal with tons of questions about Reed.
Finally, Tiger had to deal with five newbies. Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, and Bryson DeChambeau were all first timers. The first three had never played in any team event as professionals. Meshing new guys with veterans can be tricky. The American players seem to really get along well with one another, so it may not have been as tricky as it could have been.
Players Gonna Play
Tiger, the player, was hot coming in to the President’s Cup. After many back surgeries, he has to manage his body. How much should he play. Tiger shocked some by taking the third day off. Again, he knows his body. All he did the other three days was win every match.
A Cup Full of Excitement
Things started about as poorly as possible, with the Americans only winning one match(Tiger and Justin Thomas) on the first day. Things only went a smidgen better on day two, with the Americans headed to the weekend down by three points. The morning session on day three made things even worse for team USA. After that morning session, the International team expanded their lead to four points. The Americans did manage to cut the lead back to two points during the third day afternoon session.
The third day wouldn’t end without controversy, and that came from Patrick Reed…well, sort of. Reed was one of two American players to be heckled from start to finish. Most of the taunts hurled his way were about his rules violation the week before. Teammate Matt Kuchar was also relentlessly heckled for his stiffing of a caddy a year ago.
Leaving the course on Saturday, Reed and his caddy were being jeered. Reed’s caddy, and brother-in-law, felt one spectator got to close. The caddy exchanged expletives with the spectator, then pummeled him, causing him to spill his beer. Reed’s caddy was suspended by the PGA immediately, forcing Reed to have his swing coach carry his clubs for Sunday. Ironically, Sunday was Reed’s only victory.
Going to Sunday’s singles matches, the US squad had their backs against the wall. Somebody needed to set the tone early for the Americans, and consequently get in the heads of the International team.
Enter Tiger, the player.
Abraham Ancer, the International team’s hottest player, stated Saturday he would like to play Tiger. Sunday rolled around, and Ancer had his wish granted. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. Tiger won that opening match 3&2, setting that all important tone. It was vintage Tiger, where every putt looked like it was going in. On the final putt at the16th hole, Tiger was walking to shake hands with Ancer before his golf ball hit the bottom of the cup.
The Americans only allowed the Internationals two singles victories on Sunday. That was enough to propel team USA to a come from way behind President’s Cup victory.
Do you think Tiger was happy about the win?
Then on the bus ride back to the hotel this was team USA.
— Tim Clark (@TrojanTim66) December 15, 2019
The rebirth of Tiger Woods has been remarkable. After making personal decisions that made him the butt of many, many jokes. After having back surgery after back surgery. After needing to change the way he approaches the game of golf. Tiger Woods is still on top.
Tiger Woods, the player, went 3-0 in President’s Cup matches. He was his captain’s best player.
Tiger Woods, the captain, made a shrewd selection in picking himself.
The late Oakland Raiders owner, Al Davis, would love Tiger Woods.
Tiger Woods just wins, baby.
Two Cent Takes
~Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy. It wasn’t close. He gave a very emotional speech, saving the thanks to his coach Ed Orgeron for last. Orgeron was teary eyed as well. It was another bitter reminder for USC fans that incompetent administration allowed Orgeron to leave.
Even OJ Simpson tweeted, wondering how “we”(USC) let Orgeron go. When even OJ is baffled by your decision making things are not good.
~Early signing day is Wednesday. The usual suspects are expected to sign top classes. All but one, that is. If you are looking for USC, typically a top ten recruiting school, you need to scroll and scroll and scroll. They are currently ranked 70, and dead last in the PAC 12. Clay Helton is the gift that keeps on giving…to all of USC’s opponents.
~College basketball schedules are so much more interesting than their football brethren. Just this weekend we had Gonzaga vs Arizona, Oregon vs Michigan, Memphis vs Tennessee, Penn State vs Alabama, to name a few. Games like these increase popularity in the sport.
~Penn State is winning games it typically lost in past years. The Alabama game on Saturday is the perfect example. Again, they will finally make the tournament for Patrick Chambers.
~Louisville is the latest top ranked team to fall. The Cardinals, like most teams, have their share of shortcomings. On that note:
- Overrated: Louisville- Point guard play is not nearly good enough.
- Underrated: Oregon- Went In to Ann Arbor and left with a win.
- Sleeper: Rutgers- The guard duo of Ron Harper, Jr and Geo Baker has Scarlet Knight fans at least dreaming of an NCAA berth.
~Another one of “those” games yesterday when North Carolina fell to Wofford at home. This one shouldn’t come as a total shock. The Tar Heels, now without freshman phenom Cole Anthony, are not a great team.
~A team I said last week was the best team in the country so far, Ohio State, went to mediocre Minnesota and took a beat down. This is going to be a crazy year in college hoops.
~The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers maintain the two wildcard spots in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have been dealing with a ton of injuries. The Flyers have been streaky, while the Penguins have been playing a more discipline style leading to lots of overtime games.
~I’ve written it before here, but let me say again how exciting 3 on 3 overtime hockey is.
~I’m glad I got in to the sports commentary/talk business. You have to be right about as often as the weatherman. Every expert I heard minus about three said this past summer that the Cleveland Browns would win the AFC North. Their stud quarterback even thought they would win the Super Bowl.
Instead they won most dysfunctional team with the worst head coach.
So… Jarvis Landry gave Freddie Kitchens a piece of his mind after that drive 😐 pic.twitter.com/y4VeWX8Z02
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) December 15, 2019
~Why are coin tosses so difficult for referees to administer?
~Why is Walt Coleman still an NFL referee?
~New England cheated…again…to beat the 1-13 Bengals. So. Easy. To. Hate.
~Hard league to figure out. Dallas sinking. Rams rising. Dallas demolishes Rams. Falcons go West for a meaningless game for them. San Francisco playing for top seed in NFC. Falcons beat Niners. I guess that’s why they play the games.
~Dallas goes to Philadelphia in the “Hey, someone has to win the NFC East” game. Not sure Philadelphia has enough spit and baling wire to get this done.
~Everyone seems to be forgetting the Minnesota Vikings. A win at home next week versus Green Bay and they control the NFC North.
~No word on whether Ben Roethlisberger will be on the sideline next weekend.
Word is he will be prepping the sled and his eight reindeer.
A Penny For My Final Thought…
Duck got shot down Sunday night in Pittsburgh. He was terrible. There can be no sugarcoating that fact.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said back when he inserted Duck Hodges in the starting lineup that he did so because “Duck won’t kill us.”
The guy who killed the Steelers even more was offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. He makes Todd Haley look like a genius.
Sunday night Duck Hodges was asked to throw 38 times, while the Steelers only ran the ball 15 times. Several of those runs, including a crucial fumble, came from the antiquated “Wildcat” set. The “Wildcat” stopped being effective five years ago.
The other baffling thing was that no throws went between the hash marks. Every throw, including a brutal interception, was made to the outside. Hodges arm isn’t strong enough to throw long out patterns. Simply, Duck was asked to do too much.
Mike Tomlin has been outstanding this year. He has made one of his mantras, next man up, a reality. He has smartly relied on his stellar defense to carry the day. On offense the Steelers have run just successfully enough and thrown just enough to make plays to win.
Duck has success when he throws 15-25 times, and is supplemented with a decent rushing attack. 38 throws is just plain ridiculous. On a night when James Conner was back, and looked fresh, to go with Benny Snell, Kerrith Whyte, and Jaylen Samuel, why not ride the running game. Coming in that was the preferred method of attacking the Bills defense.
Randy Fichtner will get a pass this year because of the injury situation, specifically at quarterback. That is unfortunate because he doesn’t appear to be qualified to lead an NFL offense.
Duck needs to be allowed to make all the throws necessary, including crossing routes between the hash marks. The Steelers need to continue playing the offensive style that has succeeded for them so far, and also supplements that stingy defense.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are still miraculously in control of their own playoff destiny. They have a replacement quarterback, three replacement wide receivers, a running back by committee, and back up tight ends. Things may go better for them if they had a replacement for Randy Fichtner.
Just my two cents…
Tim Clark is a columnist and editor for PennSports.LIVE, and a wonderful writer of words. He is a lifelong sports fanatic with an eclectic mix of favorite teams including USC Trojans football, Louisville Cardinals basketball, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins in pro sports.