Tiger. That was fun. Lots of fun. Tiger Woods making shots and a charge. Birdies from everywhere. All eyes on him and smiles and fist pumps and wild recoveries. Yes, Tiger finished second. Yes, Brooks Koepka won and deserves monster credit for getting his third major in the last seven major tournaments. But the story was Tiger. Period. And if you don't agree with that, did you see the galleries? There were tens of thousands of folks around the 18th green watching Tiger prowl the golf course on the jumbotron screens as other players were playing 18. It was captivating. And if anyone doubts Tiger can win another major after that showing — he carded a 6-under 64 without hitting a fairway on the front side — well, we don't know what to tell you.
Brooks Koepka. Did you see those arms? Dude has legit guns. (And he's a body shaver right? That's a very smooth-looking arm area people.) Did you see that finish? Dude has legit walnuts. The folks saying that Tiger has lost his biggest weapon — intimidation — against the 20-something bombers have a point people.
David Bote. Yes by now everyone has watched Bote's walk-off grand slam that gave the Cubs a dramatic 4-3 win over the Nationals on Sunday night. But let's tip the helmet for the preservation and grit Bote has displayed trying to be a full-time big leaguer. Dude has been called to the show five times this season alone and was so expecting to go back to the minors, his car is still in the parking lot of his apartment complex in Des Moines, Iowa.
Rookie quarterbacks. Yes, it was week one of the preseason. Yes, Sam Darnold and the rest of his rookie QB peers were throwing against guys who will be bagging shoes and Dick's before Labor Day. But that's OK. It's still fun and exciting to think about a new influx of QB competence coming to Sundays, right?
Green Bay. Wowser, if the rumors are true that the Packers have swung a deal for Khalil Mack, then all we can say is wow. Mack is right there with Aaron Donald as the most impactful front seven defender on the planet. And you can make a hard argument that if Mack heads to Cheese Land, the Pack have the best offensive and defensive player in the game.
Bonus pick: High school football fans. It's game week. Good times.
Maryland. Several Maryland athletic representatives including head football coach D.J. Durkin have been suspended as the school investigates the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who collapsed from heat stroke during drills in May and died two weeks later. The school is investigating. There are a lot of layers to this, and obviously more to come. Side question: In the day and age of the "fake news" claims, what do we make of Will Muschamp's puzzling hard-line accusations of the story written by ESPN and his even harder-line defense of Durkin. Here's the clip.
Every "Why are you talking about Tiger, he didn't even win?" guy. Please stop talking.
Orioles. Man the O's stink. Like really bad. On Saturday, Baltimore was 46.5 games out with 46 to play. Yes, Baltimore was eliminated in the AL East on Aug. 11.
NFL preseason punishments. Cleveland makes Antonio Calloway play the whole game because he got arrested. Jacksonville suspends Dante Fowler and Jalen Ramsey for a week for violating team rules off the field, which if that's OK, then why has Blake Bortles not been suspended for violating team standards on the field. Anyhoo, Fowler was suspended for fighting with teammates. Ramsey was suspended for fighting with the media guys who reported on Fowler fighting with teammates. When do the games start again?
Paxton Lynch. Dude was a risky first-rounder after a big-stat career at Memphis that was concluded with a very sketchy performance against an OK Auburn defense in a meaningless bowl. It appears Lynch was more the guy who struggled against better quality than the dude that crushed the AAC. He is fighting for a roster spot in Denver with former Ole Miss gunslinger (seriously) Chad Kelly.
Bonus pick: Landshark Tony. Yes, the "Fins Up" tradition at Ole Miss is really cool. Started by Tony Fein, a former Ole Miss linebacker who served in Iraq and died in 2009, the landshark notion is cool. The mascot? Not so much. Well, at least Tony does not have to worry about known Shark aficionado Jim McElwain is not longer in the SEC, right?
Whether we want to admit it or not, it matters.
And for Jeremy Pruitt, the perception is starting to take shape. And so far, the perception is impressive.
In retrospect, the not naming players in the spring was kind of sly. We understand and dig it. (Granted we are not on the beat, and if we were it would likely frustrate us pretty bad.)
We think the aims at getting transfers makes a lot of sense for a roster that is going to have holes and has been stunted by the lack of development from the previous staff. Yes, you can make the argument of what difference will a few transfers make for a team that should be shooting for 6-6 and a lower-tier bowl.
But the answer to that is, a 6-6 mark will help momentum and the last thing Pruitt and the new crew need is another 4-8 and have folks wondering if he's the dude.
Now, add in the very smooth move of taking the whole team to church on Sunday before getting to work. Add in his answer to being asked about talking the Vols to the pews — "It's Sunday isn't it?" — and the perception is taking a positive shape for a lot of folks wondering if he can be the man.
We still will have to see if the perception is reality, but this is different than "Winning the press conference." Winning the press conference can be obtained with a couple of snappy one-liners and head-line-generating quotes.
But winning the fan base — especially before a season in which every win will be coveted and hard-fought — is something different entirely.
And Pruitt looks to be making real strides in that direction.
This and that
— Maybe not to the level of winning the weekend type of hype, but Johnny Football was was better in his second CFL start. Of course it would be tough to be way worse than his CFL debut. After throwing four first-half picks in his first game with Montreal, Manziel finished 16-of-26 for 168 yards and no interceptions.
— Nice win for the Braves on Sunday as they took two of three from Milwaukee. Atlanta was down 7-5 in the home half of the sixth and score the last three runs for an 8-7 win. Side note: Ronald Acuna Jr. is stroking in the lead-off spot. He's 27-for-81 hitting first with eight homers and 15 RBIs. His slash line is .333/.393/.716 in the No. 1 hole and that's strong friends.
— Up and down weekend for Stephen Curry. He pledged $25K to help cover the medical bills for the wife of a golfer who is fighting cancer. He announced this kind and generous gesture after shooting a 16-over-par 86 Friday in his effort to make the cut at the Web.com event. Curry finished first in humanity; he finished last in the tournament.
— Speaking of the Orioles, on his first start back from a DL-generated vacate, Boston pitcher Chris Sale fanned 12 Orioles on Sunday. He threw 68 pitches total. Lookouts-Orioles best of 5, who you got?
— Andrew Luck shaved the neck hair. His new, mustache-only look is very Magnum P.I./Smokey and the Bandit cool. Good times.
Weekend winners and losers. Please share.
Today is international left-handers day. It's also national filet mignon day.
"Bonnie and Clyde" with Warren Beatty was released on this day in 1967.
Construction of the Berlin Wall started on this day in 1961.
Ben Hogan would have been 106, and here's betting even at 106, dude would have broken 90 from the blues.
Mickey Mantle died on this day in 1995.
In honor of The Mick — and maybe in some ways Tiger too — who makes the Rushmore of the most popular athletes of all-time.