And the next golf shoe drops
Wow. Just wow.
After a gripping U.S. Open and a week's worth of LIV bashing from the media — especially Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee and social media blowhard Rick Reilly — the Saudi backers of the money-lined new golf league just recaptured the momentum.Brooks Koepka is headed to LIV, according to the Telegraph. Here's more.
And if that report is true, then buckets, this is getting thick.
Because amid all the talk of legacy and the threats of boycotts and banishment from the PGA Tour the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour), the majors and the Ryder Cup and other international competitions, the money is speaking loud and clear to some of the biggest names in the sport.
You have to believe that Brooks — a four-time major champion who is ranked No. 19 in the world — commanded a nine-figure signing bonus like DJ and Mickelson did.
And if the PGA Tour is not paying attention now, then they dang well better start.Which side is more intriguing:
Rory, JT, Jordan, Jon Rahm, and Scottie Scheffler or DJ, Brooks, Bryson, Phil and Patrick Reed?
Heck, while the Ryder Cup is among the best events in golf, let's eschew the President's Cup this year and have a PGA vs. LIV showdown.
Who's with me?
Feeling the draft
So the NBA Draft is this week.
I love the draft. You know this.
In fact, my love for the draft started with the NBA draft believe it or not. Yes, the NFL draft has now become my favorite, but it started back in the 1980s with the connection of college stars and the promise of better days.
For the rest of the week, we will discuss some NBA draft topics. While Chas will quickly note my love for Jabari Smith is well documented and if the Magic elect to take Gonzaga bean pole Chet Holmgren over Smith with the No. 1 pick, well, that's on them. And that will be the best day in OKC basketball history since Kevin Durant left.
Anywell, with whispers that the Hawks are looking to make a move, let's quickly cover — hey, how about a 5-in-10 (top 5 in 10 words or less) from the 5-at-10 — the most notable draft trades in modern history. Deal? Deal.
1. Celtics get the No. 3 pick and Robert Parrish for the No. 1 pick (Joe Barry Carroll) and the No. 13 pick (Rickey Brown) in the 1980 draft — No. 3 became Kevin McHale, so Boston landed two HoFers.
2. Lakers land a star — Kobe for Vlade Divac sounds criminal right? Poor Charlotte.
3. Traylor for sale or rent — Dirk Nowitzki for Robert Traylor? Best Dallas deal since Herschel.
4. Olden but not golden — Scottie Pippen from Seattle to Chicago for Olden Polynice.
5. Luka for Trae — Two young stars, who got the better return?
We discussed in this space on Monday the decision of the swimming governing body on transgender athletes.
In the wake of Lia Thomas dominating NCAA swimming news over the last few months and cruising to an NCAA title after transitioning, FINA ruled that transgender swimmers can't compete in female events if they did not transition before age 12.
Here's Dan Wetzel on the topic. And we'll offer this from the jump: If Wetzel is not the nation's best sports columnist, he's 100% in the team picture, and that crew is not large in numbers. I am a fan of is work.
Wetzel contends that the FINA ruling is making the best out of an untenable situation. Monday I wrote it seemed like the FINA ruling was forcing an already difficult life choice to be made at an even younger age.
Who knows? Maybe we're both right. And in retrospect, Wetzel's touch is more precise, because it's not fair for me to bemoan the Lia Thomas domination and then complain about a proposed ruling that addresses that without having a better option to offer.
To that end here's a quote that gets to that conundrum: "We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women's category," FINA president Husain Al-Musallam said in a statement.
And before we go further, speaking of Wetzel's touch, I think this is something we have discussed in this forum before and something a lot of us believe — it's just never been this well crafted. Here's an excellent paragraph from his column that truly shows the depth of this issue, and also the dichotomy of so many issues in our society:"While the transgender athlete issue has, undoubtedly, been hijacked at times by bigots and pandering politicians, that doesn't mean the problems weren't legitimate, even to many who are well-meaning and inclusive," Wetzel wrote.
Well done, Dan. And while far from perfect, FINA's solution is better than what was in place before.
This and that
— Braves played. Braves won. Side note Michael Harris II is pretty good at this baseball thing. He went 3-for-3 last night in the Braves' 2-1 win over the Giants.
— Wow, we spoke Monday of Paul Azinger being lucky that Phil Mickelson's LIV connection has made him a pariah in the American golf media circle and secured Azinger's job as the lead analyst of NBC's less-than-great golf coverage. Now comes news that the biggest analyst seat in the sport is open since Nick Faldo is stepping away from his CBS gig. Wow, other than having to deal with Jim Nantz' burnt toast, that's the jelly roll golf broadcasting gig. Wonder which direction CBS will go. Considering what they pay Tony Romo, maybe he could sit in a few weeks. For the less-stuffy events, they should call Chuck Barkley, because he's awesome. Heck, for the right price — say not necessarily LIV coin but more than a grand — I am available.
— So these social media photos show some heavy dirt moving going on at the famed 13th at Augusta National. Looks like they are moving the tee box back on the 510-yard par 5 known as Azalea. Makes sense, especially since the par 4 11th is almost as long at 505 yards. (Side question: Did you know that I have played Augusta National? (Twice in fact.) Side question on the side question: Did you know that I reached 13 in two the first time I played Augusta National? So there's that. And yes Spy, I three-putted for par. Shut up.)
— Here's to Mark Dragoo, the CSAS athletic director and former basketball coach who is retiring. Coach Dragoo helped keep the Best of Preps basketball tournament alive back in the day and helped it grow into the event it is. For that I will always be appreciative to him. Best wishes to a good dude.
True or false, it's Tuesday. Morning Ernie.
True or false, a 2-1 baseball game is more fun than a 10-9 game.
True or false, you are watching the college world series.
True or false, you were surprised that Brooks Koepka is LIV'in large.
True or false, there will be another eye-popping addition to the LIV field before next weekend's tournament in Portland.
You know the drill. Answer some T or Fs, leave some T or Fs.
As for today, June 21, happy first day of summer.
On this day in 1788, the Constitution was ratified by New Hampshire, making it official.
Chris Pratt is 43 today. Dude has a very enjoyable catalog, and maybe most famous for his surprised face GIF from "Parks and Rec."
Is there a Rushmore of GIFs, and if so, does that Chris Pratt one make it?