5 at 10: Rory McIlroy, Atlanta Braves pitching and the search for the next '5 at 10' contest

5 at 10: Rory McIlroy, Atlanta Braves pitching and the search for the next '5 at 10' contest

June 20th, 2011 by Jay Greeson in Sports

We're back. We're rested. We're not tanned (but we're not burned either, and when you have fair skin, that's the most you can ask).

Thanks for the kind wishes and the participation last week while we took the tots to the sand and shore of the Redneck Riviera. A good time was had by all.

Now, back live from the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, poses with the trophy after winning the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, June 19, 2011. McIlroy shot 2-under 69 Sunday to close the four days at Congressional at 16-under 268, shattering a U.S. Open scoring record held by four players, including Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A historic Open

Rory McIlroy opened up a can on the golf world this weekend, dominating the U.S. Open like no other player in the 111-year history of the event. It was awesome in its awesomeness.

Words can't describe how one-sided this was - although Johnny Miller and the rest of NBC's talking heads certainly tried. And to be fair the extra gabbing was needed since Sunday's final round was not your normal Sunday at a major: It was more Will Ferrell movie marathon - still entertaining, but not a lot of drama.

That said, here are the 5-at-10's three thoughts this morning:

- Was it us, or did McIlroy look eight years older rather than eight weeks older since his Masters' meltdown. And not just in his approach and maturity. Dude seriously looked aged and in a good way. Don't know if this is the start of a big-time run (that's what we think) or just a big-time win, but wow, he has the look (and the swing) or a guy that is going to have to be answered for in the foreseeable future.

- It was an amazing win, we all agree on that, right? Can we all agree not to start the, "Rory's the next Tiger Woods," talk? Have we not learned from the next-Jordan talk? Let's just let Rory be Rory and enjoy the show.

- That said, the 5-at-10 would have given all the extra money we've made from our family-oriented- Intertube-web-based-sports column to hear or read what Tiger Woods was thinking Sunday. Woods had to be watching, right? He had to be thinking, "Hey, that's what I used to do/should be doing," right? How will he respond with the appearance of Rory as a real rival - something that he has really never had with the possible rival flirtations with Phil Mickelson?

The final leader board showing Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland as the winner is reflected in the water at the 18th hole after the final round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, June 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Wide Open U.S. Open challenge results

Thanks for the late charge of participation in our Wide Open U.S. Open contest. Our contest structure still needs some tweaking - it felt like there was too much penalty for a player missing the cut (stupid Adam Scott cost the 5-at-10 a shot).

Anyhoo, there were four entries that had five golfers play into the weekend. Here are the results:

  1. Mrs. 5-at-10 -96 points - Phil Mickelson (54), Rory McIlroy (1), Davis Love III (11), Steve Stricker (19), Brandt Snedeker (11)
  2. wc777 - 114 points - Rory McIlroy (1), YE Yang (3), Paddy Harrington (45), Phil Mickelson (54), Brandt Snedeker (11)
  3. SportTalk's Quake - 117 points - Graeme McDowell (14), Rory McIllroy (1), Lee Westwood (3), Luke Donald (45), Phil Mickelson (54)
  4. SportTalk's Dr. B - 165 points - Luke Donald (45), Phil Mickelson (54), Steve Stricker (19), Dustin Johnson (33), Matt Kuchar (14).

Now for the even better news, the Mrs. 5-at-10 has offered the Braves tickets back into the prize vault, so we need another contest, stat. Any thoughts?

Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, is pushed in the pits after he ran out of gas and was struck by another car on the track during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Michigan international Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Sunday, June 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Kendall Newberry)

NASCAR is making our head hurt

OK, the 5-at-10 has heard the phrase "fuel strategy" about 12 times too many.

NASCAR should be going fast and turning left, not going as quickly as you can but trying to save gasoline. NASCAR should be, "If you ain't cheatin' then you ain't tryin'" and "If you're not first, you're last," not "how many more laps can we get on this tank?" NASCAR should be racing to the finish line not lining up enough fuel to cruise to the race's finish.

NASCAR has become too dependent on fuel gauges rather than speed gauges. What's next a hybrid? If that's the case, supercharge one of those mini-Coopers and let Dale Junior get behind the wheel of that baby, make two pit stops and sprint to a third-place finish. (Hey, gas mileage is important, but it's going to take more than that for Junior to get a win.)

In its heyday, NASCAR strategy was simple: "Go faster than everyone else." Now we got calculators and engineers and math whizzes trying to calculate MPGs as much as RPMs.

Let's get back to "How fast can we go in this car?" rather than "How far can we go on this tank?" guys.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens (49) works against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game in Atlanta on Monday, May 2, 2011. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Baseball crazy days

Holy hanging sliders and Eddie Harris putting snot on the ball, the 5-at-10 heads south and baseball goes crazy.

- Jair Jurrjens is as good a pitcher as there is in baseball right now. Justin Verlander has better stuff. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee have more plus-pitches. CC Sabathia has more offensive help. But Jurrjens' numbers are awesome - an NL-best 2.11 ERA and nine wins.

- Albert Pujols hurt his left wrist Sunday. The highlights were not pretty. How it affects his future (his Hall-of-Fame production and his big contract talks during the upcoming offseason) is unknown. Several former slugging first basemen (Cliff Floyd and Derrek Lee come to mind) have lost a great deal of power after suffering wrist injuries. And if Albert is done for the rest of the year, who other than the Yankees or the Red Sox (two teams that have two pretty good first basemen already) would pay the nine-figure deal for a guy with an unknown future?

Sidenote: Where's all the hand wringing about safety for first basemen, like the lip-quivering angst the Giants tossed out because Buster Posey was trucked at the plate? Want to know why there's no outcry - say it with us, "It's part of the game."

- The Marlins, who are 1-18 in June and have had the worst month of everyone this side of Rep. Anthony Weiner, are reportedly going to to turn Jack McKeon as their next manager. Uh, guys, McKeon is 80. Yes, 80. He started his MLB managing career when Nixon was in the White House. Let's just move on.

The U.S. hockey team pounces on goalie Jim Craig after a 4-3 victory against the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics, as a flag waves from the partisan Lake Placid, N.Y. crowd, February 22, 1980. (AP Photo)

Today's question

With Rory's triumphant return, the memories of his Augusta collapse have certainly faded somewhat. That said, it got the 5-at-10 thinking about what a major golf title means in general and a Masters championship in particular.

Question for the group: Would you rather win a Green Jacket, the Heisman Trophy or an Olympic gold medal? Discuss. Or is there another title that carries more weight.

Until tomorrow.