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Random acts of senseless sporting - 5/24/11

May 23, 2011
B.J. LISKO - Salem News Sports Editor (bjlisko@salemnews.net) , Salem News

I couldn't believe my eyes this past week. Finally, after practically begging for it to happen in columns, blogs and the like for more than that past year, guys I know won professional golf tournaments.

Well, okay, I don't know them personally. I have met them all in some capacity at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron or at other PGA events, but what I mean is recognizable names, fan favorites, won tournaments this and last Sunday.

The line-up started with K.J. Choi, who ousted another fan-favorite David Toms at The Players Championship in a playoff. Choi is as steady as they come on the golf course and a great guy to boot. He's funny, a gentleman, and actually has something most professional golfers lack - a personality.

It was tough at the same time, though, because Toms was looking for his first win in more than five years and fell just short.

And he lost on a 3-footer which hurt even more to watch.

But not to worry. By Thursday he was at The Colonial firing an 8-under par 62. By Friday night you thought he was going to win the tournament by 20 shots. He made it interesting when he took a major step back on Saturday before rallying Sunday in the final pairing to overcome Charlie Wi for the victory. He became the first player since Phil Mickelson in 2000 to rebound from a playoff loss to win the next week.

And the sight of him hugging his kids on the 18th green was nothing short of fantastic.

Earlier in the day, hours ahead of us in Spain, perhaps the most colorful player of the three winners, Ian Poulter, continued his success in match play format with a win at the World Match Play Championship. Lee Westwood bickered that Poulter was lucky to reach the final, and there was a little truth to that. But don't all players who win golf tournaments get the bounces that week? Toms holed out for eagle at the Colonial. Choi needed Toms to miss a 3-footer at The Players, and Poulter got a few favorable hops that led to him reaching the Match Play final where he beat the No. 2 player in the world, Luke Donald 2 and 1.

What's most important is that these three have all won before, and they'll all win again. For a while it seemed like we were getting droves and droves of Trevor Immelmans and Louis Oosthuizens and Charl Schwartzels - good golfers, don't get me wrong - but don't expect to see any of them lighting up the leaderboards again anytime soon.

Now, the tournament looms where perhaps the players who win get the luckiest bounces of all, the U.S. Open. I'm just hopeful the trend is set on proven players, not another one-and-done winning the tournament.

Failing that, with all of the regional qualifiers that make it to the U.S. Open, I could also go for a good Tin Cup story.

We'll have to see.

--

I've been holding off mentioning it because I don't want to be the jinx, but how about the Tribe? A team that was laughed at by most of the media and fans alike in the preseason are right now the best team in baseball. They are pitching well, hitting in the clutch, and teams are fearful of Cleveland for a change. Even with injuries to Sizemore and Hafner, the bench is deep and consistent, and they continue to rattle off wins. They made a laughing stock out of my Reds over the weekend, and are looking to do the same to Boston. I don't want to get to excited just yet, but May is almost over and the Indians are still in first place.

--

I've got to give credit to another team that has been laughed off in recent years in the Pittsburgh Pirates. They have a young bunch of hungry players and are playing some solid baseball. My only gripe is that they score some runs for Paul Maholm already. The poor guy has a 1-7 record with a 3.65 ERA. 3.65! He's had just 14 runs scored in his 10 starts. The Pirates lost 2-0 Sunday and had just two hits with Maholm on the hill. If that trend changes the Bucs could easily move above the .500 mark.

"It's my kind of team Charlie, it's my kind of team."

'til next time ...

E-mail B.J. Lisko at bjlisko@salemnews.net

 
 

 

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