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Burning Rubber and Olympic Flaming

Funniest Olympics-related gag so far:

Last Tuesday 9 Olympians were sent home in disgrace, after being caught taking steroids and other performance-enhancing substances.  One of those cheats was Olympic medallist Nataliya Tobias.

Apparently Tobias first came to the attention of Olympic drug testers when her doctor reported seeing abnormally high levels of hair growth…on her nuts.

So, are you enjoying the Olympic coverage so far? 

To be honest, I haven’t had a chance to watch nearly as much as I had hoped to so far, but what I have seen has been mostly enjoyable.  I just wish the announcers could avoid the urge to fill every second of coverage with inane babble, the endless repetitive explanation of “what this really means” to the athletes and all that meaningless, mindless trivia. 

The tumultuous cheering and dramatic, nail-biting action is more than enough to carry the show folks. Please stop talking!!!

And please don’t be so damned desperate to make a “Canadian Connection” every time someone from another country has a shot at a medal

 “Say Brian, did you know that Sergei’s uncle’s brother’s first cousin’s wife’s father is a cab driver in Toronto…and they actually rented a cottage at Sauble Beach one year?  Isn’t that amazing!??!?!”

Come on guys.  You don’t inherit greatness by osmosis, or by association.  You only become great, by being great.

Almost as entertaining as the action, for me, has been the heat that NBC has been taking from American audiences for 1) covering only a fraction of the events, 2) covering events that only Americans are featured in and 3) tape-delaying the hell out of everything they do decide to carry. 

NBC’s coverage of the Olympics is to in-depth, objective global sports reporting as dining at McDonalds is to nutritious food.

I might not have chosen any winners at The Canadian Open on the weekend, but I absolutely nailed my forecast on the American Olympic coverage in last week’s column.  If you missed it, by all means dig into the archives for proof.  I’m a real Uri Gellar when I want to be.

For my next trick I’ll be bending some spoons with my mind in the pro shop.  Or maybe I’ll do some mashie niblicks this time.

Mind you, I could have never guessed that NBC would have done something as bone-headed as cutting away from the opening ceremony tribute to the Euro victims of terrorism, to run a fluff interview with Ryan Seacrest and Michael Phellps!!!

Ryan Seacrest?  Really? 

Were the members of the Jackson family too busy?  It seems to me they’d have as many, or more qualifications to be on an Olympic broadcast than that wanker.

Seriously though, who could have predicted something that positively, self-absorbingly, mind-numbingly, jaw-droppingly, head-shakingly, colon-clenchingly, limp-dickingly stupid? 

Yes, fans across America, and several big media stars like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, have been flaming the network mercilessly since their “as shallow and xenophobic as we can possibly get” style of coverage began….and it’s been hugely entertaining to see them take a drubbing for their own special brand of hubris.

Well played NBC.  Well played!

The Canadian Open

Meanwhile, up here in the Great White, we had a little tournament last weekend.  It’s an event we like to call The Canadian Open…and it’s the third-oldest golf championship on the planet.

Congratulation to all the organizers and volunteers for a fabulously well-run event.  The course in Hamilton was a perfect showcase for our National Championship…and everyone involved should be very proud of their contribution.

The Canadian Open – Results

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Jim Furyk

CUT

Ricky Barnes

T48

 $          12,805
Matt Kuchar

T34

 $        28,080 Ben Curtis

CUT

Hunter Mahan

T48

 $        12,805 George McNeill

W/D

Bud Cauley

T4

 $      214,933 Patrick Sheehan

T37

 $          23,400
This Week’s Total  $      255,818 This Week’s Total  $          36,205
Season Total  $  30,237,765 Season Total  $      6,097,609

And the winner is…Scott Piercy. 

Amazingly, a grand total of 12 people in the golf pool I run had the foresight to select Piercy on their teams…forgoing guys in the same box like Wagner, Goosen, Overton, Streelman, Wi, Gay, Immelman Villegas, Verplank and deJonge in the process!

Derek’s Picks – The WGC Bridgestone Invitational

The Top 78 players on the planet, give or take a few guys, gather in Akron, Ohio this week, to duke it out on the legendary Firestone Country Club. 

Firestone will always have a soft spot in my heart, because it was the first course I ever played computer golf on…back in the late 17th century on my IBM 286 clone. 

Okay, maybe is has a special soft spot in my head.

And if picking winners on a regular week is tough, let me assure you, that that’s child’s play compared to picking a winner in a field this rich and deep in talent.

Tiger Woods – Blah, blah, blah.  Insert all of his Firestone stats here (7 wins in 12 starts).

The bottom line is this; Akron is the Rubber Capital of the World. 

And if there’s a guy on Tour who should know about rubbers, it’s Woods.

 

 

Steve Stricker – Stricker has had a bit of a donut season so far this year; very tasty at the start…a bit of a hole in the middle…and now getting tasty again on the other side.

We’re on the other tasty part right now and I think I like Stricker’s chances this week in Ohio.

He finished in the top 25 at the Open Championship two weeks ago, coming hot off a 5th place finish at the John Deere (where he was going for his 4th win in a row).  Add a T15 at the US Open and you can say that his recent form is pretty good.

He also seems to bring his “A” game when he shows up at Firestone.  Since he got his game back in 2009, his worst finish here is T14.

Despite not winning here, I do like his chances of being one of the contenders Sunday afternoon.

Hunter Mahan – Since 2007, his worst finish here is T37. 

That might not sound terribly impressive, but when you add his win in 2010, a 4th the year before that and a 10th the year before that, it starts to make a pretty compelling case for the guy this week.

The case becomes even stronger when you look at what Mahan has accomplished this year.  This will be a much better, more seasoned, and more trophied Mahan playing the event in 2012. 

He already has two wins under his belt this year, including the WGC Match Play…and you can bet that he wants more before the season is done. 

Given the run he’s had this year, plus his past performances at Firestone, I think he’s a good pick this week.

Lee Westwood – There are a lot of guys I’d love to have on the squad this week…Donald, Scott, Fowler, Padraig, Johnson, et al.  This is a fact that is made even worse for me since I gave up my top spot to Woods (I’d rather attend a 9-hour Yoko Ono concert whilst shaving my naughty bits with a cheese crater than watch Woods win another tournament).

In the end, I decided to give my valuable 4th spot to Westwood.

I wrote about this a few weeks ago; the cripplingly high levels of pressure that guys like Westwood and Donald are under when they play The Open Championship make them almost silly picks, no matter how good their form (and of course I took both of them at Royal Lytham and St. Annes…silly me).

However, even though this is premium golfing event, playing at a WGC event is a whole different kettle of kippers for a guy like Westwood.  He’s not the hopes and dreams of a nation this week…he’s simply one of the best in the world, playing against the rest of the best in the world.

What a liberating shift in mind set that has to be for him.

And given his past performances at Firestone, there are plenty of reasons to favour Westwood over the rest of the guys I left in the discard pile.  In his last 3 outings in Akron he’s finished T2 (2008), 9th (2009) and T9 (2011).  He withdrew in 2010.

With four top 5 finishes and five top 10s so far this season, I like his chances this week…now that the Open Championship pressure is off his chest and he can breathe again.

And now that I’ve had my say, let’s turn it over to my daughter to see what she did with the darts this week…

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

Keegan Bradley

Simon Dyson

Martin Kaymer

Charl Schwartzel

And that’s all for this week folks.  As always, thanks very much for reading and for playing along with my childishness…and enjoy the tourney!

Cheers,

Derek

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