5-at-10: Friday mailbag on TV ratings, NBA picks, what would you shoot at Oak Hill

Xander Schauffele blows on his ball after making a putt for birdie on the first green during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament, Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Xander Schauffele blows on his ball after making a putt for birdie on the first green during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament, Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

As we prepare to handle our business, we had a few mailbag opinions on the Rushmores.

Rushmore of sugar: Sugar Bowl, booger sugar (great slang for cocaine), "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and of course "Brown Sugar" and that is with all apologies to the Sugar Hill Gang and their original and everlasting impact on the rap genre.

Rushmore of most talented brother-and-sister combos: Michael and Janet Jackson (Sorry, LaToya. And Tito.) Warren Beatty and Shirley McClain narrowly over the Cusacks over the Gyllenhaals, Eric and Julia Roberts — fellow Campbell High grads, and Smyrna looks out for Smyrna friends — and, of course, Luke and Leia Skywalker.

Rushmore of acting performances in a musical biopic. Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, Sissy Spacek as the Coal Miner's Daughter, the dude that played Pinto in Animal House as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison. (Side note: I have not seen the newest Elvis flick, and I was not as high on the cat who played Elton John as most others.)

Rushmore of Reggie, which got more than a couple "Reggie Slack" suggestions from my Auburn brethren: White, Jackson, Hammond and the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars, which was a Bill Simmons creation back when a) Bill Simmons was cutting edge and b) you could write things like the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars.

Speaking of Reggie Slack, he was closer to making it than most realize because a) my all-time favorite Auburn football game that I watched in person was Reggie Slack and Co. beating then-No. 2-ranked Alabama 30-20 in the Tide's first visit ever to Jordan-Hare, and b) I almost named my dog after him.

Back story: My wife graduated from Georgia and we have a soon-to-be-8-year-old all-white English Bulldog that looks a whole lot like Uga. Since I went to Auburn, the dog is naturally named Bo Jackson.

But in 2015 when we went to pick him up, they gave us the choice, and one of Bo's siblings was a cute bulldog who was all white until his back legs, which were light brown from his hips to pause on his back legs. Honestly, the pup looked like he had on khakis.

We almost picked him before we settled on Bo, and if we had picked the khaki-covered hind legs pup, we were going to name him Reggie Slacks.


To the rest of the bag.

From Big Al

Jay, I have to ask how are you hitting all these NBA picks?


First, rule one of Fight Club is we don't discuss fight club. And of course rule 2 of Fight Club is WE DON'T DISCUSS FIGHT CLUB.

That's my way of paying homage to the streak, which if my math is right, something very close to picking 12 winners in our last 14 NBA, including all five picks this week on the conference finals side and totals.

Cue Jim Carrey. That's smokin', and I know somewhere Vader is shaking his head and cursing the curse I'm about to bring to this house.

But the question is valid, and I believe the answer is, too.

In the playoffs in general, and this deep into the playoffs in particular, gauging the expectation-to-production corollary is infinitely more accurate because we are getting everything these dudes have right now.

In the regular season, you see Lakers plus-6 at Denver and you have to wonder, "Who's hurt?" or "Who's distracted?" or "Who's taking a load management day?"

Side question: Is load management is the best term we can come for players taking a personal day? Really? Load management sounds like a logistics firm for dump trucks or a dietary specialist for constipated kids.

As for picking though, the effort has been relentless from LeBron James and the Lakers, even if they are down 2-0.

But they have covered both games, and were within a possession in the final minute of each of the first two games, too.

Side question: Is the NBA ready for a Miami-Denver NBA Final? Side question on the side question: Is Nikola Jokic already the best basketball player in Denver Nuggets history? Discuss.

From PD

Anything on PGA Championship, the Ringo of the majors, contest? Anything on many CW stations cutting to regular programming as the LIV event went to a playoff? Worse ratings — LIV Golf on CW or CNN primetime lineup?


Well, I made my picks, and feel OK about the chances of DJ, Theegala and even Patrick Reed finding their way into the top 10 by Sunday evening.

My pick to win — Xander Schauffle — better start making birdies or he'll be too far in the rear view to make any kind of move.

My weekly fav Keith Mitchell — and no I did not make it this week, which means he could very well win this sucker — is playing lights out right now and in among the leaders. (Yes, that could change at any point and time, but as of 8:52 this a.m. he was T8.)

Not sure what to make of Bryson DeChambeau right now though. And if he's in the final group come Sunday, I wonder what kind of treatment the fans at Oak Hill will offer him. That said, holy bleep, they better not tick Mr. DeChambeau off. Dude is shredded these days. Here's a look at his ripped physique.

I should have written about the CW controversy last weekend when the stations switched to some reruns while Dustin Johnson was rallying to win the golf tournament. Good times.

In fact Golf Digest reported that some of the programs the various affiliates switched to rather than the LIV conclusion included Penn and Teller's "Animal Style," a 2019 rerun of "black-ish," "Young Sheldon," local news in some markets, various game shows, a local parade, "S.W.A.T.," multiple versions of "Modern Family" and of course "Last Man Standing."

Again, good times — unless you're Greg Norman, who will have to answer to those scary mother(bleepers) about the piles of oil money being wasted on this experiment.

And man, CNN's numbers are so bad, they were the network that offered Donald Trump a Town Hall platform. Go figure.

From Nick

I have been reading your columns for years and know you love golf.

I was wondering what you think your score would be if you were playing this weekend at the PGA in those conditions?

Thanks, and thanks for the afternoon gambling emails — you are money.


Thanks for the kind words and for signing up. Pass it along to your friends, and remember, the Plays of the Day email is free.

Great question about Oak Hill, which is a par 70, playing almost 7,400 yards and looks harder than Chinese trigonometry to be honest.

When I played Augusta National the second time, I was playing a lot of golf and was at a single-digit handicap at the time. Around an 8 maybe.

I shot 82 because a) the caddie knew every putt on every green, b) they made us play the member tees, which made ANGC about 6,300 yards rather than 7,400, and c) I hit it pretty good that day.

The hardest course I've ever played was a practice round before the U.S. Amateur was at East Lake in the early 2000s. The rough was so harsh it violated the Geneva Convention.

The Farm is really hard too, and The Honors can be tricked out to be a demanding test. TPC Sawgrass was hard — made par on 17 — but my game was trash when I played it many, many moons ago.

But to your question Nick, I don't think there's any possible that someone who views themselves as a good golfer — think regularly shoots in the low 80s, maybe occasionally in the 70s — cracks 100 at Oak Hill right now.

It's that hard. It's that long. And it's that unforgiving.

And since I've played about 27 holes in the last 18 months, I likely would be lucky to crack 125 at Oak Hill today. Thoughts?

Enjoy the weekend, friends.