Behind the Mic: …Had a Great Fall

Tiger Woods played at the Memorial this past weekend.  He just made the cut on the very last hole.  This was a man who did not miss a cut for seven years!  On Saturday, he shot the worst score of his competitive career, an 85!  He hit seven fairways, nine greens in regulation, hit four balls into the water, and missed three putts inside of five feet.  Zac Blair (who?) played with Tiger on Saturday and beat him by 15 shots!

And, perhaps, that was not the most embarrassing part of the weekend for Tiger.  Because there were an odd number of players who made the cut, Tiger played the final round as the first one out for the day and he had to play by himself!!  He shot a 74 and finished in last place.  I know there are “Tiger-haters” out there and they are probably happy to see him fail.  I, for one, thought that this was a sad moment for one of the greatest ever in his profession.

This got me to thinking about some of the great “falls” in professional sports.

Pete Rose
I just loved watching the way he played the game of baseball.  He just exuded energy and enthusiasm for the game, became the career hits leader, and was destined for the Hall of Fame.  And then, there was the betting scandal, tax evasion, and imprisonment.  And still no Hall of Fame.

Lenny Dykstra
All his problems began after his baseball career – there was bankruptcy, concealing baseball gloves and other souvenirs that were supposed to be part of the bankruptcy, imprisonment, grand theft auto, and filing a false financial statement.  He was never able to “hustle” his way to success after baseball.

Lance Armstrong
He won the Tour de France seven times.  He beat cancer.  He was an American icon.  Turns out, he was a cheater who finally admitted to doping.

Marion Jones
She won five medals in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and an NCAA basketball championship at North Carolina, but she used performance-enhancing drugs.  She spent six months in jail for lying to a grand jury.

Michael Vick
Football was not enough competition for him.  He decided to finance a dog fighting group.  That turned out to be a serious crime and a public relations nightmare.  He, too, went to prison.

These are just a few of the great falls from grace.  There are plenty of others – baseball’s Ryan Braun, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, remember Tonya Harding, Oscar Pistorius, etc.

After thinking about these infamous athletes, I come away thinking Tiger’s problems with the “sticks” are not so bad.  Let’s hope that he thrills us a few more times in his career.

When I have a bad round of golf, I always use the excuse that “I’m working on things.”  At least, Tiger can continue to “work on things”.  You can’t say that for the others.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. As everyone knows, American Pharoah broke the 37-year Triple Crown jinx by winning the Belmont Stakes. The race took two minutes and 26 seconds.  The broadcast took two hours and 45 minutes!  NBC did an outstanding job with all the back stories, the atmosphere, and the actual race.  Jockey Victor Espinoza became extremely likable as the story unfolded and I’m sure was forgiven for his expletive right after winning.  Great story!
  2. Since this blog talks about the demise of some of the greatest athletes, how about the amazing success of Serena Williams. She won the French Open even though she was not physically at full strength.  This was her 20th Grand Slam singles victory of her career.  She, arguably, is the best women’s player ever.
  3. For the first time in NBA history, the first two games in the finals went overtime. Two great teams with great players.  I actually watched both and was thoroughly entertained and awed by the talent.  And both teams played defense!
  4. On Saturday night, the NHL playoffs continued and Tampa beat Chicago 4-3 to even that series at 1-1. There was an allowed goal that should not have been, a goaltender who left the game twice, a rookie goaltender who had five saves on five shots, and hockey at its best.
  5. The RCN-TV crew will be heading to Penn State and Labrano Park for the PIAA state baseball championships to be played on Friday. The broadcasts will be LIVE on PCN beginning at 10:00 AM.