By Michael Elliott
See See Ryder- This past weekend’s Ryder Cup golf match between the best-of-the-best players from the United States and Europe was quite a delight for fans who love chasing the little white ball and dropping it in a 4” hole. The Cup-drought American team carved out an impressive 17-11 victory which was resounding in nature, but the course and the daily crowds were the real eye-poppers!
The Hazeltine National Golf Club was spectacular to behold. Situated adjacent to beautiful Hazeltine Lake the venue was pristine and challenging. Elevation changes, pure-white sand traps and treacherous water hazards dotted the course. Of course, one wouldn’t expect anything less from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, as the event was held in Chaska, Minnesota.
The patrons stood thirty-deep at times along the finishing holes each day as crowds Friday and Saturday exceeded 40,000 with Sunday’s final round being witnessed by 55,000 strong. Fish must not have been biting that day!
Patrick Reed stole the show for the U.S. team as he repeatedly stuck approach shots, wielded a deft putting stroke and summoned his inner carnival-barking skills as he encouraged the crowd to hoot and holler as time and time again he beat back his Euro challengers day in and day out.
It was nice to see the Americans finally oust their European counterparts for the first time in eight years and rid themselves of the stigma that came from losing multiple Ryder Cups in a row. Now, if I could just rid myself of that tune that’s been messin’ with my mind. (“Oh C, CC Ryder. Oh see, what you have done!”)
Sad Sunday- Man, it was like a one-two punch to the gut two Sundays ago as the sporting world lost two prominent members of its fraternity. Golfing patriarch and legend Arnold Palmer passed away at 87 years of age and the Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident at the age of twenty-four.
As I was growing up there were two kings of the world: Elvis Presley and Arnold Palmer. Palmer ushered in the world of golf to the masses, via television, back in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. (For you smarty-martys out there it was the 1900s not the 1800s!). His brash, go-for-it style appealed to spectators and viewers alike. His Popeye forearms and the hitching of his pants as he prowled the fairways endured him to all. Arnie’s Army shall never let Arnold Palmer be forgotten.
What a downright shame to see such a bright star as Jose Fernandez extinguished at such an early age. His minuscule earned run average of 1.49 and 29-2 record at home at Marlins Park says all you need to know about the man’s prowess on the mound. Escaping the vagaries of life in Cuba, Fernandez daringly fled Castro’s dictatorial regime, coming to the United States seeking a better life and the opportunity to show his skills to the baseball world. He fulfilled his dream, but his life ended in a nightmare. Vaya con dios, amigo!
Rockie Ending- So, Colorado Rockies’ baseball player DJ LeMahieu, healthy as a horse, sits out the last two regular season games of the year, sitting on his .348 batting average in hopes of winning the batting title over injured Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals who’s average was .347. That’s chicken-scratch if you ask me.
In 1941 Ted Williams’ batting average sat at .3996 going into the final day. That rounds up to a .400 average but Williams did not want an asterisk attached to that batting title. He wanted the real .400 average so he went and banged out six hits in a double-header the last day of the season and garnered a .406 average. On that day the “Splendid Splinter” showed more “cajones” than LeMahieu did on his pine-riding final two days. Cheap title Deej!
And Finally- “Dear Vin: What a delight it was to have your voice coming across the airwaves for so many years as you brought Dodger baseball into the homes and hearts of fans nationwide. There will never be another announcer with the grace and humility you showed throughout your illustrious announcing career.
I shed a tear this morning thinking about you. As the tear dropped onto my lap I was awash in memories of Giants-Dodgers clashes of the past. It’ll never be the same without you Mr. Scully. Have a most pleasant retirement.
Respectfully, a Giants fan.
With the end comes a new beginning! Michael can be reached at [email protected]