SPORTS w/The Jock – August 12

by Tom Weppel
This week we have the last of Golf’s four ‘Major’ tournaments…the PGA Championship, being held in Wisconsin, right off Lake Michigan.
As you all know, the main subject, without question, has been Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods, and his fall from prominence on the golf course, especially last week, when he essentially tanked on one of his favorite tracks. He media has simply feasted on this whole matter, coming out with all kinds of fodder to use in describing what they think is right or wrong about this whole issue, including how it is affecting not only Tiger, but everyone else imaginable in Golf.
That said, I can’t even honestly imagine being the personal subject of so much interest. For all intents, Woods has had to deal with the troubles surrounding his marriage and kids, which can’t be a positive deal at all. And there is no way on Earth the guy can go ANYWHERE in public without being stared at or chastised.
This might be the first time in a long, long while that Tiger is not the favorite to win this tournament. In fact, there really isn’t any clear-cut favorite to win the PGA. I don’t know whether that’s a good or a bad thing. I can tell you this, though…there are only a select few guys on the Tour that anybody even cares about watching play on the PGA Tour. I personally can only name you a couple…Phil Mickelson, and John Daly. After that, it’s a crap shoot.
I will say this…it would be completely wild if Tiger were to win this thing on Sunday. I actually believe the galleries heading out to watch the action at Whistling Straits would cheer him on, without question. I would say he still easily is the top draw among the fans who do go out to watch play.
In them meantime, we will continue to hear plenty, good and bad, about Tiger Woods. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares in this last Major of 2010.
I’ve been watching a lot of Major League Baseball lately. Not that I’m bored or anything…but after the World Cup, I had to find SOMETHING to watch!
Anyway, being the introspective character that I am, I tended to notice that almost every single guy playing in the Major Leagues these days eats or chews a substance during games, and almost ALWAYS, they will be spitting something back out to some extent.
If you’ve followed MLB, then you know what I’m talking about. I’ve only seen the three traditional items of choice…tobacco (chaw), sunflower seeds, or bubble gum. It impossible for me to rank them by popularity in any way, shape, or form, since I haven’t taken any polls. They all seem to have been used for quite some time now.
Chewing tobacco has been around forever it seems. Doing this stuff essentially forces players to spit something out, no matter what. Of course, tobacco also has some evil, lasting effects, including gum disease, or worse, mouth cancer!
With sunflower seeds, the spitting comes from players splitting the seeds in their mouths, then blowing them out however, wherever, and whenever they can. Some players actually take pockets of them on the field and do them while their out on the field. Personally, I can even imagine blowing seeds out of my mouth while I’m fielding a ground ball or an outfield fly!
Then with bubble gum, it all comes down to how much drool a player has in his mouth! Gum itself can cause this. Watching a number of guys chewing this, they all chew various amounts. Guys like Red Sox Manager Terry Francona will put a massive wad of gum in their mouths…so much so, that I wouldn’t want talk to have a conversation with them EVER during a game!
What is even wilder about baseball players chewing and spitting so much during competition is that you rarely ever see it being done in other sports! Think about it…do we ever see NFL players doing chaw, seeds or bubble gum on the field? HELL NO! What about NBA players? Never! How about PGA golfers, Professional tennis players, or NHL guys? No way!
And the one sport where it might be fairly feasible for a participant to do some chewing might be with NASCAR drivers! Think about it…they’re driving a car, for goodness sakes! They have the ability to be doing some chewing while making turns on the race track!
But you never, ever see Jimmy Johnson, Jeff Gordon, or Dale Earnhardt, Jr. spitting anything out of their mouths during a race…EVER!
Major Leaguers carry this one tendency, above and beyond any other athlete in any other sport. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. I can’t even start to speculate as to whether they would be better players if hey DIDN’T do it! I just know they do it….and they don’t feel bad about it!