Sergio Garcia, of Spain, hits off the 16th tee during the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament, Friday, May 6, 2022, at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm golf club in Potomac, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


So the PGA Tour denied the requests from players looking to miss a PGA event to play in the LIV debut in June in London.

Game on.

The PGA Tour's statement from a reported memo says, "We have notified those who have applied that their request has been declined in accordance with the PGA Tour Tournament Regulations. As such, Tour members are not authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League's London event under our regulations. As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA Tour and its players."

Greg Norman, the former world No. 1 and current commissioner of the LIV league, responded with a statement that included, "Sadly, the PGA Tour seems intent on denying professional golfers their right to play golf, unless it's exclusively in a PGA Tour tournament. But no matter what obstacles the PGA Tour puts in our way, we will not be stopped. We will continue to give players options that promote the great game of golf globally."

Norman's statement went on to say that the PGA Tour is "anti-golfer, anti-fan and anti-competitive."

So, there's that.

It is unclear what, for certain, would be the punishment for any of the players who have now had their requests denied if they played in London in June. Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia are among the bigger names who made a request to play in the other tour.  

But you have to believe this is hardly an ideal threat since PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan previously threatened that any player who enters an LIV event faces the risk of losing their PGA Tour card.

And normally, the PGA grants requests for international tournaments, especially to non-American players like Westwood and Garcia. So there's that  

Now if we can go off on a tangent, because, hey, that's what we do, if we cast all of the main players in this ordeal as "Caddyshack" characters, here's my first swipe.

PGA commish Monahan — Judge Elihu Smails. (Pertinent quote: "You'll get nothing and like it.")

Greg Norman — Al Czervik. (Pertinent quote: "We just bought land behind the Great Wall — on the good side.")

Mickelson — Ty Webb (Pertinent quotes: "Don't sell yourself short Judge, you're a tremendous slouch," and "You know Judge, my dad never liked you.")

Lee Westwood — Spalding Smails (Pertinent quote: "What about my asthma?," which is perfectly followed by Judge Smails saying, "I'll give you asthma.")

Jim Nantz — Bishop Bickering (Pertinent quote: "Oh, are you a Roman Catholic? Oh, I'm sorry you can't come.")

Sergio Garcia — Carl Spackler (Pertinent quote: (In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, 'Au revoir, gopher.'")

Justin Thomas — Lou Loomis, the caddy shack manager (Pertinent quote: "I'm going to put it right on the line. There's been a lot of complaints already. Fooling around on the course, bad language, smoking grass, poor caddying. If you guys want to get fired, if you want to be replaced by golf carts, just keep it up.")

Rory McIlroy — Danny Noonan (Pertinent quote: "I know I made some bad mistakes in the past. I'm willing to make up for that. I wanna be good.")

Golf fans — The Havercamps. (Pertinent quote: "That's a peach hon.")


So, who you gonna call?

It's all good, man.

So, and maybe this is a testament to the ultimate greatness of "Better Call Saul" but as good as Monday night's episode was, it was the worst of the season, if that makes sense.

Spoiler alert. If you have not watched the most recent BCS, skip to the "This and that" friends.

Deal? Deal.

First, and a couple of you emailed me this, and I couldn't agree more, I really feel like we're wasting a whole lot of valuable time in the final season on the Howard vengeance storyline. Let's wrap that puppy up and move to the more intriguing and important avenues.

I'm not sure there is any type of payoff that will have been worth all of this time, especially since we have miles to go before we wrap.

Second, the "Jaws" influence of the shooting of BCS is breathtakingly excellent. I call it the "Jaws" influence because like the shark in the 1970s classic, Lalo is rarely on the screen, but he's always in everyone's mind and seems to be lurking around every corner.(Side question: Did anyone else think the German woman was a goner? I know I did.)

That "Jaws" principle of having the suspense/fear of not seeing the enemy but knowing he's out there has consumed the existences of Kim and the Chicken Man, and it's created a palatable tension for me as a viewer too, and it's not an easy trick. But it is an enjoyable experience. Third, if I were in a real-life jam — like a life-or-death matter — and had one phone call, Saul Goodman is not where my fingers are walking. Mike is a bad dude, friends. In the best way possible.

In truth there was not much more in this episode — and too much Howard, — but again, that's because of the bar BCS has set.

Still, I hope we don't get to the finish line and have to short-sell anything because of it.


NIL, not hardly

Yes, the Name, Image and Likeness discussion has been all over the place this week. Here's more fuel to the fire in an AP story that projects sooner rather than later, scholarship football and men's basketball players in the Power 5 will make around $50,000 per person.

I was skeptical too, thinking, how can Mississippi State's back-up punter get that kind of coin, but the logic plays out. And the funding will come from these third-party organizations that are appealing to fans and boosters to contribute small amounts to the big picture to pay the players.

I know a Vandy alum who has joined that school's NIL funding group. He told me about a University of Florida pitch that was looking for $10 a month from fans and alums for the players fund and they got commitments from almost 100,000 folks. That's a million bucks a month for the Gators salary structure.

The ripples of this are everywhere and also invisible.

And the exploding — and expensive — toothpaste that will never get back in the tube is in large part Mark Emmert's greatest failure in a tenure of terribleness that is almost without comparison.


This and that

— Buckets, this is one of the coolest stories I've seen in a long, Long, LONG time. OK, we all know the high-priced tales of this new-to-a-team player paying exorbitant prices to get a number from a current team member. It's nuts, right? Well, Graham Gano, the Giants kicker and wearer of the No. 5 jersey, was willing to part with his number for rookie first-round draft pick Kayvon Thibodeaux in exchange for $50,000. But that 50K was payable to Puppies Behind Bars, a charitable group that offers service dogs to wounded war veterans and first responders. How cool is that?

— Less than good news for the Mavs and 76ers last night as each lost pivotal Game 5s to fall into a 3-2 hole against the Suns and Heat, respectively. The numbers show that the team that wins Game 5 of a 2-2 series advances 82% of the time.

— Braves played. Braves lost. And yes, it's a long season and you have to trust it, but the Braves' inability to punch struggling opponents must be discussed. And it must be addressed. Boston had lost five straight before last night, which means Atlanta is just 5-9 against the last-place or near-last-place in their divisions quintet of Boston, Texas, Miami, Washington and Cincinnati. That also means this is the easier part of the Braves schedule and they are 14-17.

— Holy Schnikes, did you know that after 30-plus games, every team in the NL West has a winning record?

— OK, I know the comments thing has been a challenge. And that's OK. But your emails have been excellent, and I am trying to respond to all of them as I can, friends, there's been a bunch but keep 'em coming. Because you guys offer some amazing points that I frequently overlook. For example this from Doug on Tuesday: "The NBA, which pulled its All Star Game out of Charlotte over a transgender bathroom bill, is playing games next year in the United Arab Emirates where homosexuality is punishable by death." So there's that. Which circles back to the perils of picking and choosing just the popular issues to take the perceived popular stand.

— So we discussed Tom Brady a bit on Tuesday and his post-playing plans to move to the booth. But sweet buckets of Benjamins, Brady's reported contract is for 10 years and, hold on to your wallet, $375 million. That's just crazy money. How crazy? Brady is taking a pay cut by playing and not announcing right now. How crazy? When Brady starts, he will make more than ESPN is paying Joe Buck and Troy Aikman — combined. How crazy? Brady will earn more in 10 years at Fox than he has in his entire playing career — by more than $35 million.

— Brady's news also begs the question of worth. Because if you will watch just to hear Brady, it's actually likely worth it. Especially in the time of NFL popularity skyrocketing and every broadcast company across multiple platforms looking to find their spot. Consider this: You will have Mike Tirico-Cris Collinsworth on NBC, Buck-Aikman on ESPN, Brady-Kevin Burkhardt on Fox, Al Michaels-Kirk Herbstreit on Amazon, and Jim Nantz-Tony Romo on CBS. Wow, which one — hey we can wait a second on that.

— Final announcing note: You know when those numbers hit the street, Jim Nantz's agent got a very irate phone call that started, "Hello friends," and quickly asked about how he gets Brady money.
Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way: Which character on any current TV show would make for the best spin-off character? This is a tricky proposition because did we have any idea at the height of "Breaking Bad" that Saul Goodman would be this amazingly fascinating and this fascinatingly amazing?

Which is your favorite number? Mine has forever been 22.

Which NFL announcing crew — when Brady actually puts down his helmet and picks up his headset — would you choose if they are all doing a simulcast of the same game?

Which tournament will Phil Mickelson play in — "I don't play golf — for money — against people," as Ty Webb said (cough, cough) — in early June, the PGA's RBC Canadien Open or the LIV event in London?

As for today, May 11, let's review.

Uncle Jesse (Denver Pyle) would have been 102 today. Mike Lupica is 70. Cam Newton is 33.

In honor of Brady's decision, who is on the Rushmore of best former player who is also among the best announcers, regardless of sports. And no Emmitt Smith will not make it.