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Dustin Johnson of the United States watches the flight of his ball after playing off the 4th tee as Phil Mickelson of the United States looks on in rear during the first round of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St. Albans, England, Thursday, June 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Let's Open

For starters, the U.S. Open is being played at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, where Francis Ouimet won the Open in the 1910s. It became the story for the movie "Greatest Game Ever Played."

(Side question: Is there a Rushmore of quality golf movies — and no Spy, "The Legend of Bagger Vance" is not a golf movie — out there? Sure "Caddyshack" is a no-doubter, and "Dead Solid Perfect" is under-appreciated, but are there four? Side note on the side question: Not a big "Tin Cup" fan, to be honest, but it likely makes the foursome because of a lack of competition.)

So the setting is historic. And likely the Country Club will emerge a bona fide star from this event, not unlike that year America was made aware of Bethpage Black.

Yes, I expect the golf to be demanding. I expect the live betting to be fun.

To that end, give me Matt Fitzpatrick as your first-round leader for a small taste. Dude is very comfortable there — he won the 2013 U.S. Amateur there — and his game is in a great place.

As for the contest, we got about two dozen entries yesterday, so if someone wins, I'll buy them lunch.

But I am excited for the discussion around golf to be about the golf for a change. And I wrote that this morning for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. 

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What's in a name

So George Washington University is changing its name. The school, which is named for someone I think was kinda important in our history, has announced it will change the name of its mascot.

In the next year or so, GWU will drop the 'Colonials' mascot. A new name has not been announced.

(Side question: Generals has to be the front-runner right? Or is that too militaristic? Could they be a knife-wielding woodworker and be the George Washington Carvers? Hmmmm.)

(Side note: Here's hoping GWU is better prepared for this decision than the Washington Commanders were or especially the Cleveland Guardians were, since Cleveland picked the name of a small Cleveland roller derby crew and likely had to pay them seven or eight figures for the copyright violations.)

GWU has been itching to change the name for more than a few years, citing a historical system of oppression associated with colonialism.

Yeah, but didn't George Washington, you know, lead the colonials to freedom from oppression from the English?

And as we get ready for Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Warriors and the Celtics — don't get us started — Colonials, especially in connection to George Washington, is offensive to whom exactly? Has anyone ever seen a protest line outside a GW game?

Or are these the internal questions posed in a college environment of preemptive social wokeness?    

Here's the wording of the original petition circulated on campus in 2018 — which was passed by the student body with a 54% yes vote — to change the Colonials name:

"We, as students, faculty and staff of the George Washington University, believe it is of great exigence that the university changes the official nickname for its affiliates. The use of 'Colonials,' no matter how innocent the intention, is received as extremely offensive by not only affiliates of the university, but the nation and world at large. The historically, negatively charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression."

Hmmmmm. The world at large? Wow, forget offensive names, that type of self-importance is staggering.

OK. I said for years that 'Redskins' deserved to be in the crosshairs. I also completely recognized how the cartoonish images of the Cleveland Indians crossed the line.

But Colonials, in connection to George Washington? It also makes me wonder if everything is offensive, is then anything really offensive?

Discuss.

Braves' big roll

So yeah, your Atlanta Braves are whatever-and-0 in June. That'll do pig. That'll do.

(Side question: Does "Babe" make the Rushmore of pigs, because that Rushmore is sneaker than you may expect? Babe or Porky? Babe or Wilburn from "Charlotte's Web" fame? Babe or the Piggly Wiggly mascot? Babe or Miss Piggy? Discuss.)

As for the Braves, well, what more can we say? They head to Wrigley this weekend winners of 14 straight games, taking the club from 23-27 and in a double-digit hole behind the Mets to 37-27 and four games back.

We discussed Wednesday the passing hat of hotness that has allowed the lineup to roll because different dudes are delivering daily. Last night, Austin Riley snapped out of a mini-slump with three hits and two long homers. He did that as previously white-hot lead-off hitter Ronald Acuña went bagel-for-6.

(Side note: Speaking of bagel, man, when Jeff Francoeur is not in the booth with Chip and it's Paul Byrd and Brian Jordan, yeah, that's hard to listen to. Very hard.)

It was more than enough for starter Spencer Strider, who is the smallest-looking dude to throw that stinking' hard since Billy Wagner defied physics as an All-Star closer back in the day. And to be real honest, Strider's 'stache is 100% money.  

Side note: It was not all wins for everything Braves related last night. I gave a friend a long shot in-game parlay I liked because of the way two Braves crushed National starter Erick Fedde. Here was the play: Braves win first five innings (check); Braves win the game (check), Strider 6 or more Ks (check, he finished with 11), Austin Riley 2 or more total bases (check, he finished with 10) and Adam Duvall, who was 7-for-17 against Fedde entering the game with four extra-base hits, to have 2 or more total bases.

Yeah, Duvall finished bagel-for-5. Dashing a plus-823 ticket for my buddy.

(Side question of the side note: Which relatively common name spellings irk you for one reason or another? No offense intended here, your name was almost assuredly not your choice. Still, 'Erick' with the 'C' and the 'K' is a contender for me. The 'C' is fine; the 'K' is fine. But both seem like overkill. Geoff deserves some discussion here too. I knew a Shawn in college who had a huge issue with the Sean spelling. And most people I know named Steven/Stephen hate the converse spelling. So there's that. Wow, this digressed. Moving on.)

This and that

— We wrote earlier this week about transgender athletes. It's a difficult conversation. There are a lot of emotions that often lead to overreactions and who can say the most outrageous thing. But I saw an interview replay of Lia Thomas, the Penn swimmer who has won NCAA titles, has Olympic aspirations and become the face — fair and unfair — of this discussion after deciding to be a female, and there is one question that is under-asked in my opinion: We are like a week away from the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the ground-breaking federal legislation that opened so many doors for so many female athletes. And in the year celebrating a half century of a program that has changed the lives of millions of females, is Lia Thomas — who was born Matt Thomas — far and away the most famous female athlete in college sports? Does that seem apropos?

— This interview David Paschall did with former Baylor School star Keith Mitchell is worth your time. And Mitchell pulls no punches in his views on the LIV and some of his friends that followed the money. 

— One more golf tidbit: Looking for a long shot this morning at The Country Club? How about this Tweet from Jamie Kennedy of Golf Digest: "Who am I? Top 25 in FedEx Cup; Five straight top 15s; Top 15 at the PGA Champ; Top 10 in Total Driving; 3rd in Birdies in 2022; 62 in last competitive round." The answer is Davis Riley, who still can be had around the 70-to-1 number to win and plus-550 (bet $100, win $550) to finish in the top 10,

— Cool story here that Colts starting safety Khari Willis is retiring at the age of 26 after starting in Indy the last three years to pursue a life of spreading the word of Jesus Christ.

Today's questions

OK, opening the floor for last-second TV dad entries into the bracket that we have discussed this week.

And yes, Cliff Huxtable is still on an indefinite show cause penalty.

Also, the mailbag has a spot or three open, so there's that.

As for today, beyond Happy Open Day, it's June 16 and we can review.

"Pyscho" opened on this day in 1960. That one holds up very well.

"Grease" the movie opened on this day in 1978. That too holds up very well.

"Blue Brothers" premiered on this day in 1980. That also holds up quite well.

On this day in 2015 Donald Trump launched his bid to be the Republican nominee for president. That one has not aged as well.

And Phil Mickelson turns 52 today. Wonder what he's been up to lately?

Roberto Durán was born on this day in 1951. Does Duran's "Manos de la piedras (Hand of stone)" moniker make the Rushmore of boxing nicknames? Also could that nickname be insensitive to statues everywhere?

Go, and enjoy the day and the first round of the Open.

 

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