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BLOG: I was on Vacation

(credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

(credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

By: Andy Wheeler

So here’s the problem with vacations. Right when you get close to them you lose a certain amount of focus. For me…my thoughts and the ability to write go the way of the dodo bird. Now that I’ve had a week off…and I have 2 more weeks of vacation on the horizon…I’m going to make my best effort to blog at least 1 time a week for the remainder of the year. Let’s touch on a few things shall we?

The Phillies:
Their pitching is great and their offense will be maddening for the rest of the season. Bank on it now. Get used to it, be prepared for it and just know that’s the way it’s going to be.

Funny to me about yesterday’s 3 hit shutout by Jason Vargas was that I can’t believe more of the league hasn’t figured out how to pitch to the Phillies. Vargas is a slop pitcher…and the Phillies have problems with junk. The Phillies offense in theory could get WORSE…because if I were the rest of the league…I’d never give them another fastball to hit. Ever!

The Sixers:
So reports hit the papers that they’re being sold…but now things have gone quiet. And this makes me nervous a little because I don’t want the ownership situation to get in the way of this team making moves.

I want Andre Iguodala gone. I need him traded. I think he’s a great player…but I’m tired of the young guys on the team deferring to him in the clutch and allowing him to take the final shot. A guy that isn’t a good shooter shouldn’t be taking the final shot. And that’s what we’ve been forced to watch.

I honestly want them to make the Kaman deal with the Clippers. I also read a rumor about getting Varejao from Cleveland. Either of these deals will do. I’m ready for an Iggy free basketball team…and you should be too!

Flyers:
If they don’t sign this guy…I quit. Now today the news comes out that the cap is going up 5 million. Gee…that’s almost exactly what they need to sign him. I will literally boycott the Flyers season if Ilya Bryzgalov isn’t in net.

You don’t tease me with the idea of finally solving the biggest problem you’ve had for the last 15 to 20 years or so, and then not do it.

Rumors have the deal being completed this week…it better be. I’m looking at you Paul Holmgren!

Vancouver:
Now don’t get me wrong. Philly fans over the years have done some pretty stupid stuff. Our resume is very impressive in terms of crazy fan stuff. But what happened in Vancouver moved us out of whatever top spot idiots out there thought we were in and moved us out of the discussion for worst fans ever…FOREVER.

When Chicago won last year…we didn’t boo. We politely clapped as they were awarded the Stanley Cup on our home ice. Most outsiders would think we’d hop the glass and start swinging the way we are portrayed. But we did the right thing. We did the proper thing…we allowed the champions to have their moment.

Vancouver fans booed through the entire ceremony. Threw bottles on the ice and at the players….then rioted outside to the point where there were arrests and people sent to the hospital numbering in the hundreds.

You stay classy Canada!

Eagles:
Seriously this is ridiculous. Make a damn deal already. I refuse to go into further detail on the NFL until they do. This is just stupid and I won’t waste my time!

Golf:
So Rory McIlroy wins the U.S. Open in fantastic fashion. You know the story by now. Youngest ever Major winner…12 records broken yada yada yada. But has there ever been a more difficult name to say quickly? Try it. Roar-E Mac-ill-Roy. Say it 3 times fast. It’s impossible right?

It makes my mouth do weird things.

Also weird about this is the movie “Tin Cup” and some of the weird comparisons a crazy person like me could make.

Kevin Costner plays Roy McAvoy (pronounced Mac-A-Voy). It’s a great movie in which McAvoy plays in the U.S. Open and one of the story lines is that he sets the record for lowest score for a round at the Open.

So their names sound the same and they both play in the U.S. Open and do really well.

Coincidence? I THINK NOT!

Suspend for a moment that Rory is an up and coming star and Roy (Costner) was a washed up driving range pro. Also suspend the fact that Rory won in spectacular fashion and Roy lost in spectacular fashion.

Suspend all of that and realize….20 or 30 years from now…some idiot is going to think that this movie was loosely based on Rory because of the name similarities, despite the fact that it was made when Rory was 7.

What we saw this weekend…besides a course that played like Municipal Course (McIlroy admitted that the course “helped him out”) was the coronation of the new King.

You must have heard the idiom “Nature abhors a vacuum” well so do the powers that be in any sport.

What that idiom means by the way is empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural. And nature eventually fills them in. In this case the PGA and the natural evolution of the sport has made a new superstar…filling in the vacuum left by the enormous fall by Tiger Woods.

McIlory is the first of many who watched Tiger do his thing for all those years of dominance and copied him. We are about to see a massive influx of this kind of talent into golf…and the man that spurred that growth will be the man that it negatively effects the most.

In my opinion…Tiger Woods….at least the Tiger Woods we all want to see…is dead. He’s gone, that part of his career is over. Physically he’s a wreck. His body simply can’t handle what he does to it on a shot by shot basis. He’s started to age and now…he’s going to have to adjust his game. And that’s hard for golfers to do.

My dad, a PGA Professional used to be an outstanding golfer. Sweetest draw you’d ever want to see. But as age and a neurological disease took away much of his muscle control and balance, it has taken him years just to adjust. He keeps trying to hit that draw and play the same way, but he can’t anymore. Even though he thinks he can in his head, he can’t. So like any good golfer, he’s adjusted but it’s been a tough adjustment for him.

Tiger will be the same way. He’ll try and play the power game but his knee simply won’t allow for that kind of torque anymore. So eventually he’ll have to learn to power down and figure out another way to win. And for a guy like Tiger who’s a notorious swing tinkerer…much like Beasley Reece…he may never get right again.

And then there’s the mental game and the infusion of new talent. First off when Tiger was at his best, he was the predator that everyone in the jungle that ALL the animals feared. When he walked onto the driving range…the air left as all the other golfers recognized that the greatest player on the planet had arrived. It was a mental edge that was necessary to Tiger’s success. Fear.

Then his wife beat him up with a pitching wedge for his indiscretions. (I’ve been told by my editor that I need to add “allegedly” to that previous statement). Then instead of the fear being there among the other golfers he was a side show. A joke. Instead of fear in some cases it was pity.

Then add in the current grouping of players not fearing Tiger anymore, you have a whole new group of guys headlined by McIllroy that all they’ve ever wanted to do was beat Tiger Woods.

I think Jack’s record is safe for a while…let’s put it that way.

Until next time.