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Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, celebrates during champion's green jacket ceremony after winning the Masters golf tournament on Sunday, April 11, 2021, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Weekend winners

Hideki Matsuyama. More on this in a moment, but dude will never have to buy another saki ever in his home country. Ever.

Ted M. Ted won the Masterfully Mastering the Masterpiece that is the Masters with a respectable score of 23. We've had a lot of years with the scores in the teens, but only a couple of entries had the winner and more than half of the entries did not have four players make the weekend. Ted's winning sheet had Jordan Spieth (3), Jon Rahm (5), Justin Rose (7) and Patrick Reed (8). And he, like almost everyone else had DJ, who was there over the weekend, but only to put the Green Jacket on Hideki Matsuyama.

The Ginger Assassin and the announcer on the call. Here's more about the 18-year-old professional bowler picking up the first 7-10 split in 30 years on TV and only the fourth time ever. Wow. And the color analyst was every bit as impressive in his call of the dramatic spare.

Ronald Acuña Jr. Dear Lord and bucket os Skip Carey's Budweisers, when Acuña is going like this, he is must-see TV. How's this for a three-game set with the Phillies? Let's go 9-of-13, three doubles, two homers, four runs scores and four knocked in. Wowser.

Speaking of red hot, how about J.D. Martinez, the Red Sox slugger who is crushing baseballs all around the yard? In eight games, Martinez, who was DEEEE-redful in 2020, he had five homers and 16 RBIs. Yep, it's still close enough to opening day for the "on pace to" which pushes Martinez to some pretty staggering numbers of 100 homers and 320 RBIs at this pace over 160 games. Yeah, that might get him an MVP vote or all of them.

The Atlanta Hawks. Yeah, I wrote it. The Hawks may get a little more of my attention later in the week, but know this: Despite a slew of injuries, the Hawks have won seven of their last 10 and are now in fourth in the Eastern Conference. (Side question: How is this bunch a game better than the Celtics? Spy? Bueller?)

 

Weekend losers

MLB instant replay. Why even have the bleeping thing? Braves lose after a Phillies player pretty clearly missed home plate, but no overturn. And the Mets lose because a player leaned into a pitch — obviously — but that's not in the purview of overturnable calls. And yeah, I made up the word overturnable, so what? Either use technology or don't but this song and dance in the middle is asinine.  

Biden embracing the one-branch system of governing. Guy's getting a little pen happy, no? Dude is whipping around executive orders like he's taking his fraternity pledge class to Waffle House after a weekend bender. And how about this rationalization for a pro-Biden editorial writer: "In case you need a reality check, Barack Obama in two terms signed 276. Donald Trump in one term signed 220. Joe Biden by early April had signed 38." Uh, doing the math, 38 executive orders in less than three months — Jan. 21 inauguration to April 9 — is on pace for more than 152 executive orders in a year.

The Nationals. Wow, they have a three-game set to start the season wiped out by COVID and now, they are 1-5 through their first six — and pretty lucky to have that one to be honest.

Area umpire situation. Good details and intel in this story from TFP prep aces Lindsey Young and Patrick MacCoon.

My waist line, which grew directly proportionately with my AmEx bill. Egad did the 5-at-10 clan put some seafood feedbags on last week, and man was it good, too. Well done St. Simons, well-played indeed. I need a nap.

 

A new tradition

I thought it was typical TV bluster, a hot-take on the hot topic over the weekend.

But then I realized it was from Andy North, who is as familiar with hot takes as he is with the hot Januarys of his home state of Wisconsin.

This dude is so reserved he makes cardigans seem edgy. So considering the source, the impact of his words before Hideki Matsuyama handled his nerves and his chasers to prevail after one of the most boring Masters weekends I can recall were even greater:

"This could be a $1 billion win for Matsuyama."

And you know what, considering the stakes and the magnitude of Augusta and the fact that Matsuyama is the first Japanese golfer to win a major, he's likely right. In fact, it may just be the starting point.

As soon as his bogey on his 72nd hit the bottom of the cup Sunday evening, Matsuyama became MJ in Japan. He's likely their biggest sports star since, who Sadaharu Oh? Ichiro, maybe?

And now add in the presence of Matsuyama leading his country's athletes in the Opening Ceremonies of this summer's Olympics in Toyko, everyone else in their commemorative uniforms with Hideki wearing the most iconic coat in sports.

A billion-dollar deal? Yeah, Andy, I can see it.

What we didn't see though was the traditional fireworks, the birdie barrage on the back nine as the game's best deliver their best. This was a pressure cooker for sure, and one that turned away a lot of first-timers not named Matsuyama.

So it goes, not even Spielberg makes an award winner every time he flips on the camera. Still, with the colors and the patrons and the possibilities, wanting some drama down the stretch was only natural. It just wasn't happening.

You know you are trying to force some suspense into the events when you are hoping a dude you have absolutely no opinion about drops one in the water on 16 to make things more interesting.

But Matsuyama was ever cool and took a torrid finish to Saturday's third round all the way to Butler's Cabin.

The only lingering question is will it be a billion-dollar victory.

 

This and that

— Speaking of billions, man, how Kim Kardashian became a billionaire is staggering. Staggering. She was Paris Hilton's caddie for Pete's sake and used a sex tape as a spring board to fame on her way to becoming a billionaire — with a 'B.'

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall over the weekend on Georgia's next left tackle and Saban being Saban.

— OK, so now we're going to have protestors against a local establishment renting out its venue for a private event. Hmmmmmmm.

— I'm pretty sure NASCAR ran some races this weekend, and almost as sure someone won, but do not quote me on either.

— Saw this stat from an ace contributor: Jacob deGrom, since 2018, has 20 starts of six innings or more, at least 10 Ks, allowed 1 or fewer runs and did not get a win. Twenty. No one else in baseball has more than nine such starts in that time.

— The next shoe drops and Will Smith and his production team announce they will not shoot their next movie in Georgia because of the new voting law.

 

Today's questions

Weekend winners and losers. Go.

As for Multiple Choice Monday, which of the following is the biggest golfing royalty in their home countries?

> Ernie Els in South Africa;

> Rory in Ireland;

> Bernhard Langer in Germany;

> Nick Faldo in Great Britain.

As for today, April 12, let's review.

Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit the Earth on this day in 1961.

David Letterman is 74 today.

FDR died on this day in 1945.
Arnie won his final Masters and his final major on this day in 1964. Larry Mize chipped in on this day in 1987 to crush Greg Norman.

Also, Al Bundy/Jay Pritchett, Ed O'Neill is 75 today.

What's his Rushmore, because those two TV shows make it, right?

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