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The 2018 Players – Webb Simpson

I know I should be talking about Trump but I just can’t.

There is some sporting events that are iconic. It has to do with the setting, the players and the history. The Players is one of the sporting events.

Last year, The Players left a sour taste in the mouths of golf lands all over the world. When we sit down to watch one of these events, we want one of the heavyweights, one of the favorites to win. Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler are the titans of the sport. Sure there are other guys but these golfers have set themselves apart. They win two or three times a year and have done so over the past several years. Last year, a guy named Si Woo Kim one the players. Who?

Some folks will say that the unpredictability of sports is what truly makes sports great. The fact that no one could have predicted that Si Woo Kim would have won the Players is disappointing. To me, it is disappointing. To me, as a golf fan, I understand the unpredictability of golf. I also understand that the truly great ones, figure out a way to win. When someone comes out of nowhere, it is unsettling. Especially since we have nearly 100 commentators who continually tell us that this player or that player is the next great one. No one, that I know of, was talking about Si Woo Kim.

This brings me to this year’s Players. Because last year’s tournament was such a… Bummer? I was really looking forward to this year’s contest. Thursday, it was apparent that the course was playing easier than it had in years past. Six guys were tied for the lead at 6 under par. Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar were looking like strong contenders. Alex Noren is one of those players that the pundits continue to tell us how great he is. He has been playing on the European tour for years. He is just recently started playing on the PGA Tour but really has not made a splash.

On Friday, Webb Simpson, who was tied for the lead, separated himself from the field. Webb Simpson. Really? Several years ago Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open. You really had to see the U.S. Open to understand how he won. Jim Furyk appeared to have had the tournament in his hand as he led after three rounds. Webb Simpson was five strokes back after three rounds. As a matter fact, he was tied with Beau Hossler who was an amateur at the time. We, the golfing world,  were marveling at how well this amateur was playing on this incredibly difficult course. Down the stretch Webb Simpson posted a one over par score. There was simply no way that this would hold up but it did. Everyone faltered down the stretch including Jim Furyk who hit a wayward tee shot and never recovered.

Yet, since 2012, Webb Simpson really has not done a whole lot. In 2014 he had nine top 10 finishes and won the Shriners Hospital for Children Open. In 2015, he only had five top 10 finishes. In 2016 he only had two top 10 finishes. Many people pointed to the fact that he used an anchored putter which he used and used well. It was banned in January 2016. Yet Webb Simpson began to fall off long before 2016.

To his credit, Webb Simpson has been playing better as of late. He had a second place finish at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He had a third-place finish at the Wyndham Championship. He has already had six top 10 finishes this year. Yet when he bolted to the top of the leaderboard of the Players I was not concerned. I really didn’t think that he could maintain his great play through 4 rounds.

Although Webb Simpson played excellent golf in his first and second rounds, he did not get a whole lot of TV coverage. He was leading to start the third round. He got plenty of coverage. He played some amazing golf. He played the type of golf that we all should yearn to play. His drives were not 350 yards but they were in the fairway. He had fabulous approach shots into the greens avoiding trouble that lurks everywhere at TPC Sawgrass. He then putted out of his mind. He drained putt after putt after putt. By the end of the day, by the end of the third round, he had opened up an astonishing seven stroke lead. Unless he imploded, everyone else was playing for second. Think about that. Webb Simpson dominated the tournament, dominated a major tournament. To me, it is mind-boggling.

Today, Sunday, he played conservative. He continued to hit fairways. He continued to have safe approach shots. He continued to putt fabulously. He never imploded.  A few people tried to charge including Tiger Woods, Jason Day but they all faltered down the stretch. Webb Simpson played like he had held the lead and played out front all the time. As a matter fact, I will say it, he played like Tiger Woods of the early 2000. Webb Simpson was on cruise control. He cruised to victory.

Congratulations to Webb Simpson who won the 2018 Players. It really was a fabulous display of near golfing perfection

By | 2018-05-13T20:50:57+00:00 May 13th, 2018|Sports|0 Comments

More on the Philadelphia Eagles win!

Although Super Bowl LII was highly entertaining, as I reflected on the game, there was something that was missing. Yes, I still believe that this is the best that the NFL has to offer. I also believe that it was a highly entertaining game. Unfortunately, we only got half of what we should’ve gotten. We basically wants to scrimmage between two teams who are playing offense. There was basically one or two defense of plays in the whole game.

First of all, all of the defense of plays were really made by the Philadelphia Eagles. The first play, was deep in the Eagles territory. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots had a 3rd and 2. Instead of trying to run the ball, up the middle, the patriots decide to run a fly sweep to Brandin Cooks. It looks, just for second, like it’s a brilliant call. Then Rodney McLeod comes out of nowhere. Cook’s tries to leap for the first down and McLeod tackled him in mid leap to hold them to little or no gain. This was a huge momentum swing.

The second play, is one of those plays that everyone will talk about for years to come. Philadelphia is up 38-33. There is 2:13 seconds to go. It is second and 2. The patriots are at their own 33 yard line. Everyone on the planet fully expects Tom Brady to orchestrate some sort of masterful drive. We have seen this way too many times. The Philadelphia Eagles move their star pass rusher Brandon Graham from end to left tackle. This allows him to have a one-on-one pass rush against the Patriots guard Mason. Brady takes the shotgun snap, the pocket collapses almost immediately. Danny Amendola is open in the right flat. Brady does not have enough time. The pocket collapses. Graham hits Brady and knocks the ball out for a strip sack. The Eagles recovered the fumble. It was a marvelous moment in Super Bowl history.

A couple of observations – the vast improvement of the patriots defense was highly overrated. Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles shredded the patriots. There is no other way to put it. The fact that the Patriots were able to shut down the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars should be a surprise to no one. Neither one of these teams could be described as an offense of juggernaut.

One of the things that was discussed before the Super Bowl was the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles had a somewhat weak secondary. This secondary was completely exposed. Tom Brady had an MVP type game in spite of losing a top receiver early. Constantly, receivers are running wide open against the Philadelphia Eagles secondary. A combination of short passes and the hurry up offense kept the Philadelphia Eagles vaunted pass rush at bay.

Although I love offense of football, defense is the part of the game. We really didn’t see much defense at all in this game. Still, a highly entertaining game.

Congratulations to Nick Foles (who gave one of the most inspiring and thoughtful press conferences this morning), Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles.

By | 2018-02-05T13:23:41+00:00 February 5th, 2018|NFL|Comments Off on More on the Philadelphia Eagles win!

Eagles win Super Bowl 52

I have a college friend from Philly. He is a great guy expect for he loves the Eagles. After Carson Wentz went down. I reached out to him. I truly thought that Nick Foles could take them to the playoffs and to the Super Bowl. No! He cried. The season was over.

Me. A live-long Cowboy fan, spent the next several weeks convincing my friend that the Eagles were good enough to win the super bowl with Nick Foles as quarterback. To this day, I don’t think that he ever really believed me. I was certain that Nick Foles was good enough. I was also certain the Doug Peterson was going to put Foles and the Eagles into position to win.

The evidence was all there. If you are a Cowboy fan and watched the Eagles and Cowboys games you have seen the Eagles up close. They play football. There was that overtime game that the Cowboys won last year. Doug Peterson showed that he was innovative and played to win. If the Eagles players didn’t make mental mistakes, the Eagles were always going to be position to win.

Writing Nick Foles and the Eagles off was crazy talk. The Eagles offense was good. They proved that every week. If they didn’t turn the ball over they were going to always be in position to win a game.

So, from the opening kickoff, we saw that the Doug Peterson had a plan to attack to the Patriots defense. This was not the Pats with Vince Wilfork and Rodney Harrison. This was more of a bend, don’t break Patriots defense. The defense probably would not win the game for you. Instead, they would try to turn the ball over to Tom Brady. For the most part, Nick Foles and the Eagles offense attacked the Patriots. They attacked down field. They attacked on the edges. The Eagles even ran the ball effectively. Nick Foles was great. He made all of the throws. He was smart with the football. His only turnover was on a deep pass that was caught then kicked up in the air by Jeffery and intercepted by Harmon of the Pats. Crazy play but really a good pass from Foles.

I think that the money play was the play that everyone is talking about. This was a shotgun play on 4th and goal from the 1. You are playing the Patriots. You know that points are going to be needed. You need as many points as you can get. I think that going for it was about as gutsy a call as I have seen in a big game. I have seen the play about 10 times and I still really don’t know how to describe it. Foles is the shotgun then goes in motion to the right wing. The ball is snapped to the running back who pitches the ball to the second or third string tight end, Burton. While this is going on, Foles sneaks out in the right flat. The tight end lobs a strike to Foles. Touchdown.

The Patriots knew that they simply couldn’t line up and beat the Eagles. This is why the Patriots had so many trick plays. I was looking for a Statue of Liberty play and the old fumble-roosky play. I still don’t understand why the Eagles didn’t double Gronk more. It seemed to me that you had to take Gronk away. Instead what the Eagles did effectively was take away those swing passes to the backs. The Eagles brilliantly placed Malcolm Jennings, their all-pro corner, on any back coming out of the backfield and it worked.

I’m a huge fan of the NFL and this was a great game. This was the NFL at its best. This was quarterbacks slinging the rock. Receivers making great catches. Running backs were stuffed in the hole then bounced to daylight. This was a great game. Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles for winning Super Bowl 52. (BTW, as anyone lost as many Super Bowls as Tom Brady?)

By | 2018-02-05T01:06:52+00:00 February 5th, 2018|NFL|Comments Off on Eagles win Super Bowl 52