Let Me Tell You A Story …………….

Let Me Tell You A Story

It looks as if history could be made today at Augusta National Golf Club , Augusta , should things pan out as is being envisaged at The Masters __ the first Grand Slam Major of the PGA Tour season . Standing atop of the leaderboard is Irishman Rory McIlroy one of the young guns of the PGA Tour . McIllroy -12 under par leads Jason Day by four shots having led or in part be amongst the leaders over 54 holes .

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Slide show for your perusal .

It’s said that during The Masters , Saturday is moving day but Sunday over the course of the final round is where the stories are written and the drama is all played out. And that most certainly is the case as it appears that a rejuvenated Tiger Woods is now lurking on the leaderboard merely waiting for those ahead of him to make a mistake and for him to make a charge over the final eighteen holes . From my own perspective with the former world number one back in contention I’m still not thoroughly convinced that Woods’ game is where it needs to be for him to make an asserted effort actually win a major Grand Slam tournament much less a tournament on the PGA Tour schedule. His game tailed off to such an extent that I don’t even believe his confidence is even in tact . But with Woods performing at 55 -60 % is a great deal better than the vast majority of the players on the PGA Tour to begin with !

For the leader, as he looks to become the youngest player to don a Green Jacket since Tiger Woods won in 1997 at the age of 22. The Irishman , McIlroy would certainly like to join Woods as one of the youngest Grand Slam Major winners ever but that’d be predicated upon his composure over the final round and whether or not any of the other players deemed to be in contention can make a successful attempt to erase the deficit and take the lead. It’s possible but given the play of McIlRoy over the course of this event the scenario seems unlikely to arise . He certainly hasn’t played capriciously and his treated Augusta National with the deference and reverence it deserves.

The tournament itself hasn’t really been filled with any major surprises albeit that briefly there were thoughts that Fred Couples would be providing those in attendance as as well the televised audience something of a thrilling spectacle . Sad to say that now doesn’t appear to be the case . Albeit that he’s within 6 strokes of the leader Rory McIlroy with a flurry of others all looking to make their move over the final round . Asides from Jason Day , we also have K J Choi , Charles Schwartzel , Angel Cabrera , Luke Donald , Adam Scott and Woods within the top ten on the Masters’ leaderboard . Granted, things could drastically change over four even five or six holes but I do believe it now comes down to experience and the wherewithal of the players and whether or not they can keep their emotions in check .

Of all the tournaments of the PGA Tour , The Masters might just be the most revered of the four Grand Slam Tournaments ( Masters , British Open , PGA Championship & US Open ) because of what it means to the players on the Tour . Long steeped in tradition albeit that there’s still a certain amount of controversy that surrounds some of the anomalies that have continued to raise its head concerning Augusta and the traditions of its members in particular its hierarchy headed by Billy Payne . And Payne who was preceded by William ‘Hootie’ Johnson has tried to make Augusta a more appealing club especially amongst minorities seeking to increase its membership and profile specifically amongst that demographic. And though the advancements can be viewed as minuscule it has to be said that it’s a great deal better than it was a decade and half ago. Were it not for Woods’ historic win in 1997 one seriously doubts that the private club would have sough to change its protocols . And who can forget that rather insidious and rather racially sensitive remark by Fuzzy Zoeller ………. concerning the traditional dinner that’s normally hosted by the champion in the ensuing year ? Zoeller says that his remark wasn’t to viewed as being racially insensitive but repeatedly he made light of the remark that ‘ Woods would make sure that collard greens , fried chicken and grits’ would be served for the players competing in the ’98 Masters Tournament . Fuzzy Zoeller was never able to live that episode even in light of his apology to Woods and his fellow players on the PGA Tour at the time .

This tournament should it be won by McIlroy would not only solidity the player’s status on the PGA Tour but also prove that the European Tour and its players are no longer fearful of the apparent dominance of the US players on their own domestic tour . If anything the decisive manner in which Europe defeated Team USA in the Ryder Cup (2010) was enough to signify that fact . And the rather inane and idiotic analysis that’s provided by such golf analysts as Johnny Miller , Alex Van Pelt and some of inane idiot on and off air analysts of The Golf Channel who’d have you believe that the European players simply aren’t good enough to win The Masters . Have they looked at some of the most recent results in the ‘Majors’ or the world rankings for that matter ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the tournament winds its way to what may well be an inevitable ending with there being either a first time winner or a claimant who’s already won the tournament previously . I’d certainly like to think that the game is back where it ought to be with there being a great deal of intrigue suspense and excitement to be had by not only the fans but also from the competitors themselves.

Are you of the opinion that the game in terms of where it is now at with there being a group of young up and comers looking challenge the dominance of players such as Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are good for the game ? And do you think Rory McIlroy is capable of winning the Masters Tournament . Or are of the opinion that the game’s profile is better when there’s a dominant and competitive Woods reigning over golf’s competitive landscape ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the topics raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

😛

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Tiger Woods of the US lines up a putt during the final round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. Woods is now one shot behind leader Rory McIlroy , leading us into what may well be a rather thrilling final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament . AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary ……..

(2) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his approach shot to the seventh green as his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald looks on during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ………

(3) Ryo Ishikawa of Japan walks on the green during the final round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck ……

(4) Jason Day of Australia hits a drive on the seventh hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 10, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …….

(5) Angel Cabrera of Argentina hits a shot on the 2nd hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary ……..

(6) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits from the bunker on the second hole during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images …….

(7) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his putt at the 1st hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. CLARY …………….

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Masters Leaderboard

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Notorious Big …… aka …… Biggie Smalls ……….. feat’g J Cole ………….” Can I Get Wit Ya’ “.

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J Cole ………………… “Losing Your Balance”

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Truth , Fact or Fiction …… ?

Truth , Fact or Fiction …… ?

The wonders of the modern media , its journalists and reporters never ceases to amazet at all. It’d appear that rather reporting a story a reporter would prefer to make themselves the story and in large part interject themselves in whatever way possible even when there isn’t a reason for doing so. We’ve all seen it countless of times and more often than not it does proves to be annoying. ESPN’s —- Jim Gray has repeatedly proven the point that he’s no more a sports reporter or journalist than one could consider Snooki from MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore” to be a doctoral candidate for Harvard University or any other prestigious educational establishment . But somehow individuals such as these two repeatedly crop on our tv screens and continue to make completes asses of themselves !

Gray’s mea-culpa was to call US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin a liar concerning a conversation he had with the PGA Tour professional with regard to his captain’s pick of the US team to play Europe in the upcoming event. Gray insinuated that Pavin had categorically stated that Tiger Woods would be definitely included on the team to play the Europeans . Pavin’s take on the issue was that he would consider the player only on the basis of his form and whether or not he felt that the player would be an asset to the team . Based on Woods’ present form I for one am not too sure the world’s number one golfer would prove to be an asset at all ! Given his most recent finish in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational Akron , Ohio where he finished in 78 th place in a field of eighty golfers. It does beg the question are Woods’ off the field problems still proving to be a hindrance to his form on the Tour ? An impending divorce and the fact that the custody of his children have become an over-riding issue may well have played a great deal in the player’s particular fall from atop the leaderboards on the PGA Tour.

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Now with the final major of the season now starting as of today all eyes will once again be upon Woods as he chases Jack Nicklaus’ total of 18 Grand Slam major tour wins . The PGA Championship from Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler , Wisconsin is the lone major left on the PGA schedule . Apart from the fact that the US teamm will picked with top ten points’ holder getting an automatic berth the captain ( Pavin) is entitled to have his two picks that will be the final makeup of the twelve man field. As it now stands Phil Mickelson is atop of those standings with the next nine players set in place. The event itself will be held in Europe at The Celtic Manor Resort Golf & CC in Newport , Wales. And the European fans will be attending en masse to support their hometown heroes led by their captain Scottish European Tour player Colin Montgomerie . The event will take place between the 1st – 3rd October , 2010 and is expected to be a soldout event with countless of millions more watching worldwide.

Gray’s credibility and his stance at this juncture can’t all be taken seriously especially in light of the fact that his rather tedious and boring interview with NBA player LeBron James was such a complete waste of time and added about as much to journalistic integrity as Jayson Blair’s career has been viewed as being one of prestige in the field of news reporting. What we do know is that ESPN paid $250,000 to James’ representatives for the exclusive rights to the interview in which the player let the whole world know that he would indeed be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to make his new found home and NBA future with the Miami Heat . Credibility comes to those who earn it by carrying out their duties judiciously and who’ve earned the respect of the fans and their peers alike. One sincerely doubts that can be said of Jim Gray amongst the fans of the sports world but on the other hand within the world of the glad handing and backslapping amongst his own. Where the mere morsel of controversy is seen as something worthwhile and of journalistic integrity. One certainly has to wonder how it is that anyone can continue to take Jim Gray and his work seriously ?

As a New England Patriots’ fan I always admired the play of Tedy Bruschi as part of the team’s Superbowl success in winning three Superbowl titles. As an analyst with the four letter network his choices and prognostications while sound at times. He tends to make the most asinine of assertions from time to time and perhaps no more than his most recent statement that the now retired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive player Derrick Brooks is not to his mind a bona-fide first ballot Hall of Famer . Now to each his own but given the fact that Brooks has been a Superbowl winning player and a perennial Pro Bowl caliber player for much of his entire career. I’ve got to ask myself what hallucinogens has Bruschi been on and also was ESPN aware that when they hired the former Patriots’ player he would prove to be such as idiot to begin with ? Now all kidding asides when you’re going to put such statement out there you’d better have the balls to back it up ! In Bruschi’s case then there was none whatsoever and unfortunately his co-hosts and panelists on the show didn’t question his thoughts on the matter . Once again showing another reason why the sports outlet now has become nothing more than an entertainment medium rather than a source of information and good sports reporting. Has broadcast journalism and in particular within the field of sports really sank that low ? More to the point where are the really salient sports stories that the fans would expect to see being reported ? Instead now we’ve got a bunch of clowns who espouse the idea that they are indeed analysts or journalists as the case maybe and that they’re the best that the network has to offer.

As the NFL season beckons some of the stories that’ll be reported upon will no doubt be bound in very little fact but even more fiction. And that now tends to be the case the vast majority of the time with ESPN ! Be on the lookout for the next Brett Favre story as we’re now liable to hear from the likes of Chris Mortensen and John Clayton that Favre’s hemorrhoids have been playing up and that his surgically repaired ankle is now the least of his problems as it regards his impending future with the Minnesota Vikings . Somehow until Favre is actually suited up in a Vikings’ uniform this will be pretty much the staple as what to expect from the sports broadcast outlet.

When you’re said to be $40 million apart on a contract negotiation I can only surmise that youre agent and the team’s GM are either too drunk to carry out what they’re doing with great effect or that the lines of communication are indeed crossed. Such may well be the case with the ongoing negotiations concerning Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis and the team’s GM Mike Tannenbaum . The New York Jets are said to be offering the player a ten year $120 million contract with what is said to be as much as anywhere between $75 to $85 million plus in guaranteed money . The player and his agent are said to be looking for a 10 year $160 million contract with at least $90 million in guaranteed money and incentives. Now don’t get me wrong but when the NFL salaries are now escalating in line where we’re now seeing the type of salaries being offered to major league ballplayers I’ve got to begin to question the sanity of the teams around the NFL and their respective heirarchies. Never mind what the NFLPA might well have to say about this all because as we all know for them it has and always will be about the money and not much else !

With the Jets’ first preseason game just a few days away there’s talk that Revis is prepared to sit out the entire pre and regular season in order to get what he feels he deserves and that’s to be the highest player at his position and therefore putting him to be paid along the lines of Peyton Manning in terms of a compensatory package. Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders at present is the highest paid cornerback in the league herein lies the caveat the player has a proven track record whereas , Revis after one productive year expects to be paid as one of the elite at his position. Perception is everything but it can also mean absolutely nothing whatsoever ! Whether or not Rex Ryan his coaching staff and the team can do without Revis over the prolonged season remains to be seen. But this much is certain all of Ryan’s brevitas at this juncture now seems to have lost a great deal of its luster if as thought they could be without their much hyped cornerback . Never mind the fact that coach has his team winning the AFC East as well as the Superbowl this upcoming season.

Now that Tracy McGrady has signed with the Detroit Pistons I do believe that this might well be the player’s last hurrah . Once thought of as young phenom, the years and age have caught up to a player whose best years it can honestly be said are behind him. Somehow however he and Pistons’ GM Joe Dumars still feel that the player has something to offer and that he can contribute to the team . From where I sit McGrady should have hung up his spurs long ago. His dwindling ability cannot hide the fact that he’s now playing like a geriatric with only at times rarely showing glimpses of brilliance. Long having been “the lions” of the Eastern Conference the Pistons have seen other pass them by and they’re now having to look at a roster that’s lacking in leadership and real star power. Never mind the fact that in terms of sheer ability they may not have what it takes to usurp many of the now more resilient teams within their conference.

Now with the Davidson family looking to sell the team in order to curtail the estate taxes and Bill Davidson’s wife Karen since her late husband’s death is no longer keen to be a part of what he had established . The Pistons are now said to be looking for a new owner and the NBA hierarchy are now keen to make that happen expeditiously. The only real person to have shown an intense interest in purchasing the team is Detroit Tigers and Red Wings’ owner Michael Ilitch . His main reasons are the fact that he’d like to see the organization remain within Michigan and particularly at the Palace of Auburn Hills where they’re very much , still a fan favorite. He does believe that if the team were bought by an outsider then it may well be relocated and that may well be something that most Pistons’ fans would certainly feel disgruntled with. As to how that would also go down with NBA Commissioner David Stern would also be of concern . But then again Stern and the Thunder ownership certainly made light work of misleading the city of Seattle when the Sonics were moved out of town to Oklahoma City. So at this juncture nothing is written in stone and with a complete certainty concerning the storied franchise .

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The truth can be viewed in a number of ways …….. your’s , mine and somewhere in between. As to what the real truth is in any given story what we do know is that for the vast majority of the time most news gathering sources really do go out of their way to make sure that what we’re being told is the truth and that it has some rationale behind it. In the case of the likes of ESPN much of it is merely created to ramp up the interests of the viewers and that’s now become their overall claim to fame. So next time be weary of what it is that they’re reporting but even more so take a keen look at the source of the story and how it is being reported. Much of the time you get a clue as to what’s fact and what is indeed work of fiction. Chime in with a comment as to this and any other sporting topic that as of late has been of a real interest to you. We can then dissect it and perhaps in some way get to the real truth of what’s said to be happening ? Thanks as always for the continued support as it has always been appreciated !

🙂

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………. 🙂

Ravelle’s ………………..“Bolero” as conducted by Andre’ Rieu with his orchestra .

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Freida Pinto

Actress Freida Pinto .