Sweet passports and Europhilia, the first three 5-at-10 entries are from across the pond. Pass the tea and biscuits and hang on.
From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...
THE Open Championship
THE Open Championship is right behind The Masters on the 5-at-10's list of favorite golf tournaments. That's just how it is and how it will be.
The rolling hills and random bunkers. The gigantor greens that are part ski slaloms and part parking lot. The wind, oh dear lord, the whipping wind that if it's helping turns a 240-yard par 3 into a soft 7-iron or if it's hurting makes the game's best players stand on a 4-iron from 182.
There's a lot to like about THE Open - even their terms are more golfing: A good drive elicits a "Lovely" from a spectator at THE Open; A good drive anywhere else save Augusta draws a "Get in the hole," or "You da man." There's the challenge of the unexpected bounces and turns. There's the untenable lies in unforgiving bunkers - in fact Aaron Baddley had to play a bunker shot left-handed this morning. There's the fashion statements - be it Ian Poulter's style or John Daly's hunter's safety orange toboggan. Good times all around.
One down side of THE Open: Listening to the TV commentators (Yes, we're looking at you Scott Van Pelt) slide into their best British accents. Be it intentional or accidental, it's not good. At all. In fact, this is the only sporting event that draws that strange phenomenon. Think about it - were the guys doing the play-by-play at the Women's World Cup in German dressed in lederhosen and saying "Danka" and "Bereitschaft?" The answer, thankfully, was "Nein."
Here are the updated entries for the "THE Open Championship contest that is so snobby we use all caps on THE THE just like THE Ohio State University." Good luck to all.
EC - McIlroy, Westwood, Schwartzel, Kaymer and Oosthuizen
BIspy - Rory McIlroy, Steve Striker, Luke Donald, Jason Day, Jerry Kelly
SportTalk's Dr. B (he's a doctor after all) - Westwood, McIlroy, Paul Casey, J. Rose, Donald
SportTalk's Cowboy Joe (he's a cowboy after all) - Westwood, McIlroy, Donald, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell
SportTalk's Quake - McIlroy, Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Donald
McPell - McIlroy, Westwood, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, & Sergio Garcia
CelticVol - Steve Stricker, Justin Rose, Miguel Jimenez, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey
TFP golf writer David Uchiyama - Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington
TFP UT beat writer Patrick Brown - Rory, Westwood, Stricker, Donald, Quiros
5-at-10 - Rory, Westwood, Donald, Mickelson, Jeff Overton
Mrs. 5-at-10 - Rory, Ryan Moore, Rickie Fowler, Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson
33wannabe - Donald, Kaymer, Westwood, Rory, McDowell
Tiger - Stricker, Donald, Garcia, Mickelson, Westwood
Believer - MA Jimenez, Westwood, Mickelson, Donald, Garcia
ShanksforNothing (Sidenote: Great name) - Rory, Donald, Fowler, Mickelson, Westwood
FiredUp - Ricky Fowler, Rory, Poulter, Westwood, Anthony Kim
Tom - Donald, Westwood, McDowell, Rory, Storm
Prowler - Snedeker, Mickelson, Stricker, Moore, Fowler
JordanRules - Jimenez, Sergio, Rory, Mickelson, Westwood
Swinging - Ryan Palmer, Mickelson, Donald, Sergio, Westwood
Weena (Chicks dig the long ball) - Angel Cabrera, Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Quiros, John Daly
OTwatcher - Mickelson, Rory, Kuchar, Martin Laird, Luke Donald
ThatIDoKnow - Sean O'Hair, Mickelson, Rory, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter
THE World Cup
OK, we'll admit it. The 5-at-10 was late to the Women's World Cup party. OK, we're sorry. Glad that's behind us.
That said, the run to Sunday's championship by the Americans has been awesome in its awesomeness. In fact, the overall experience has been greatly entertaining - be it the dramatic tying goal in the quarterfinals or the spirited dominance in the semifinal win over France.
While it is not a complete stretch to say the 5-at-10 would have a tough time distinguishing between the finer points of soccer and a sockhop, the passion and energy and emotion that are driving Team USA are infectious and inspiring. And you know, that's more than enough.
Isn't that what makes for truly enjoyable sporting experiences? Be it high school football or World Cup soccer, emotion and pressure and stakes and skill set a stage for great sporting moments - and how players and coaches handle those moments determine success in all cases and can even define them as competitors.
Certainly winning cures a lot of ills, but competing and excelling, regardless of the score, has merit, too. And when you merge the two - like the U.S. women have - that's when legends can be forged.
THE This and that
- Christian Lopez, the Yankees fan who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit and returned it asking only for a handshake and an autograph, continues to reap the rewards of doing a good deed for the right reason. The Yankees rewarded Lopez's gesture with four tickets to every game for the rest of the season plus a bevy of Jeter memorabilia. After rumors of possible IRS implications of Lopez, Miller High Life has pledged to pay the tax bills. In answer to the stories about Lopez and his six-figure student loans, two sponsors of the Yankees have pledge $25,000 each to help Lopez. Well played all around gang.
- The fallout continues from Steelers linebacker James Harrison's explosive interview in "Men's Journal" in which he ripped NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and a couple of Pittsburgh teammates. While Harrison has already called play No. 1 in the spin control - allegedly he told Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who Harrison ripped, that the writer took his comments out of context - here are two quick questions: One, how can Goodell be both a "dictator" and a "puppet" as Harrison claims; two, if things are so bad James, just walk away from your six-year, $51.175 million contract. We're sure a man with your "communication" skills can find a comparable job in any number of fields.
- NFL superstar quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees (who could possibly be referred to a as a friend of the 5-at-10; we did have dinner together at the Best of Preps banquet and all - let's just move on) issued a statement that the time has come to settle the NFL labor issues. Uh, you think?
A story in the New York Times detailed an interesting exchange between Auburn football coach Gene Chizik and Julie Roe Lach, the N.C.A.A.'s vice president for enforcement, at the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla. Read it HERE.
After Roe Lach made her presentation, she asked if there were any questions. Chizik asked her several questions, according to several SEC basketball coaches that were in the meeting and shared the discussion with NY Times reporter Pete Thamel. Chizik continued to ask questions that centered around the NCAA investigation of Cam Newton and Auburn last fall. Apparently Chizik followed up a couple of times, asking Roe Lach when the NCAA was going to publicly announce that the investigation was completed.
"You'll know when we're finished," Roe Lach said to Chizik, according to hoops coaches who talked to Thamel. "And we're not finished."
Whoa. Ok, question time: Of USC (which has already received its sentence), THE Ohio State University, Oregon, Auburn (since the NCAA investigation is obviously not completed) and North Carolina, rank these five in regard to the depths of where they will land in the NCAA doghouse. Whichever program you think will get the most NCAA penalties, rank them first, and go from there. Discuss.