C’mon PGA Tour, release Tiger from this Major Prison

Posted in Professional Sports on August 16th, 2013 by Chris Drayton

flood14[1]You can say what you want, but I just won’t believe it!!   You canNOT tell me that the PGA doesn’t have the “fix” in when it comes to Eldrick “Tiger” Woods and his ability to win Major tournaments!  Why would they do such a thing, you ask?  Simple, to keep the name Jack Nicklaus as the permanent standard bearer for professional golf!  Oh sure, Jack will always be on “Mt. Rushmore “ –  along with Palmer, Player and Trevino – of golf’s modern greats, but Tiger Woods was on pace of obliterating The Golden Bear’s legacy.

Put the stats in perspective.  Let’s start at his ability to just win golf matches.   He will pass the great Sam Snead for most career wins (82) sometime next year because Woods – who is only 37 – is sitting at 79 of them, besting Jack Nicklaus’ career total of 73.  The nearest active player is Read more »

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US Open Recap from The Bench

Posted in Chazerai, Professional Sports on June 22nd, 2011 by Ian Paregol

After seven straight days of chasing down golfers for autographs with my son, Evan; hiking the course to follow different pairings; and posting scores on the an array of leaderboards as a volunteer at the US Open, I felt compelled to write a bit about the US Open experience at Congressional and offer my first-hand observations.

The hot topic at the Open was not Rory, it was transportation.  Transportation to and from Congressional was a nightmare.  The average Joe who parked in the cross-county fairgrounds and weathered 45 minute bus rides to and from the course only to be greeted with an additional 20 minute hump to the clubhouse from the bus drop-off location expressed nothing but contempt for the grounds access system and the second class citizen feel of the general admission.   Even with the preferred parking, Read more »

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US Open Pairings for Thursday and Friday’s Rounds

Posted in Chazerai, Professional Sports on June 12th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

The Pairings for the first two rounds of play at the US Open at Congressional in Bethesda, Maryland have been posted and there are quite a few alluring threesomes.  Undoubtedly, purposeful player selections have been made by the USGA for the Open which will be without its top spectator draw, Tiger Woods – out with an Achilles injury.  Wasn’t it Achilles who was invulnerable to any weakness except an injury to his heel which was held by his mother, Thetis, as she dipped him into the river Styx to make him immortal?  Clearly, there are other parallels and some alternative body part references which unite this Greek myth to the post-modern allegory of Tiger Woods, but I digress…

As is the custom with the Open, “super pairings” are sprinkled about the 156-man playing field to create buzz, keep spectator traffic under control, ease operational needs for televised coverage, and of course, to prove to golf fans just how very clever the USGA pairing committee really is.  Although lacking an American presence, the marquee grouping of Read more »

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A Tradition Like No Other

Posted in Professional Sports on April 7th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

April 7 – The Masters begins today with an array of tasty pairings.  Unlike many of the tournaments on the Tour, which pair players based upon a random draw, the pairings at Augusta National are purposeful and deliberate.  The club committee tasked with developing the pairings for the 1st two rounds of play has complete discretion to group players as it sees fit.  The only exception to their unfettered sovereignty is the one traditional pairing:  the current US Amateur Champ (Peter Uihlein) is paired with the defending Masters champion (Phil Mickelson).  And no one messes with tradition at the Masters.

The Masters offers only 19 ways to recieve an invitation to compete for the Green Jacket.  Unlike many PGA Tour events, the many of the qualifications involve world play performance which promotes a more well-rounded international field.  (See the Fast Facts below for qualifications.)   The committee typically ties the high profile players together into super pairings with the lesser-followed players and many internationals grouped into the time slots between these all-star threesomes.  In this manner, the Committee can control the gallery so that players are able to move though the course, limit noise so that the fan-base is spread throughout the 365-acre grounds, and most importantly for ESPN, assure that television coverage in the morning and afternoon features players who will draw viewership.

Some of the more interesting or comment-worthy pairings are detailed below:

  • 8:18 AM – Ben Crenshaw, Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Na – How did Gentle Ben get paired with these two schmos?
  • 8:40 AM – Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Nick Watney – Maybe the handsomest pairing in the field.
  • 8:51 AM – Vijay Singh, Tim Clark, Aaron Baddeley – I am hoping that Bads and the ill-tempered Vijay start fighting and Bads lays VJ out before they reach Amen Corner.  South African Tim Clark is a perfect referee for this fracas.
  • 9:24 AM – Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day – great pairing of 21 to 23 year old players representing “the next wave.”
  • 10:19 AM – Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar – The Germanator and Westy, the world’s top two players, paired together.  Look for both of them to be in contention on Sunday even though Kaymer has had zero success at the Masters.  Oh, Kuch, we know you will be playing over the weekend but you’ll need to stand next to Lee to get some air-time in this pairing.
  • 10:41 AM – Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell, Robert Allenby – Tiger and Graeme have dueled recently.  In December, Graeme won the Chevron World Challenge with a birdie during the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Tiger who had blown a four-shot lead on the final day of the tourney.
  • 11:25 AM – Craig Stadler, Kevin Streelman, a-Nathan Smith – I fully expect the Walrus to quit before the end of the day on Friday.  Not really an ideal pairing for mild-mannered uber-Am Smith.
  • 12:53 PM – Fred Couples, Luke Donald, Steve Stricker – Freddie is simply the most enjoyable golfer to watch play in the last three decades.
  • 1:04 PM – Anthony Kim, Henrik Stenson, Steve Marino – Fans, keep your eyes open for flying objects – the Patented Burgess Putter-Chuck is a given with this brutish group.
  •  1:15 PM – Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Eduardo Molinari – This may well be the most well-rounded of the three player pairings.  I would take these three guys in a best-ball any day.
  • 1:48 PM – Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, a-Peter Uihlein – Coming off of a win in Houston, can Lefty repeat?

The complete pairing list can be found at  http://www.masters.com/en_US/scores/pairings/

Read more »

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Opening Day for The Bench Jockeys

Posted in Our Mission, Sport/Pol Crossover on March 28th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

It just seemed appropriate that The Bench Jockeys initiated their Blog to coincide with the start of the 2011 MLB Season.  Although there is nothing like debating AL and NL Pennant chances for the upcoming baseball season and analyzing the strengths, but more likely, the weaknesses of current and former ML players, starting this Blog at this time offers The Bench Jockeys the opportunity to assess the potential play-off scenarios in the National Hockey League, as well as the contenders and the pretenders for the Green Jacket, which is  just around the corner on April 7th.  The NBA is just absolute garbage, so you won’t see much from us about that steaming pile, but you will be able to read about the Final Four and VCU’s improbable run.  (We don’t hate basketball, we just hate the NBA.)  Conflicts, oddities and head-shaking actions within NASCAR, soccer, tennis, even the much-maligned PBA, will be served up with cheeky commentary and exploration.

But it’s not just about sports here at The Bench Jockeys, oh no.  We have opinions about any number of subjects.  And along with the sports banter, we intend to mix in a fair share of analysis about the national political scene, potential domestic and global crises, and of course, we fully intend to heckle leaders deserving of derision.  We hope that you will come along for the ride and participate in the discourse.

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice it in the pic above, Barack Obama is a lefty.  Now, there’s a big surprise.

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The Development of the Conceded Putz

Posted in Conceded Putz, Our Mission, Sport/Pol Crossover on March 26th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

When a golfer in match play “concedes a putt” to his opponent, he is acknowledging that the putt which his opponent is about to attempt is within a reasonable distance and is deemed holed.  The opponent does not need to strike the ball.  A conceded putt is offered as a gesture of good sportsmanship and has become part of the fabric of golf.  In 1969, at the final hole, in the final pairing of the 1969 Ryder Cup, Jack Nicklaus conceded Tony Jacklin’s knee-knocker of a putt giving England a halve of the entire match (the first tie in Ryder Cup history).  Sure, Nicklaus could have made Jacklin putt his ball, but golf just isn’t that way.

Although the Golden Bear’s concession was a fine illustration of the notion of fair play and integrity, The Bench Jockeys have no intention of following suit.  Content categorized under the Conceded Putz will involve the dubious dealings of self-important and vainglorious sports personalities and global leaders.  We know that spelling is c-o-n-c-e-i-t-e-d; it’s a play on words.  We welcome your suggestions for this topic in the comment box below.

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