The Back Nine comes at you after a leisurely weekend that included a lot of time on the recliner watching the British Open and then sprinting to the car to head to the golf course as soon as it ended.
10. Unfortunately, I could neither mimic Rory McIlroy’s driver swing nor Cam Smith’s putting stroke. I have to tell you that the Open was as much fun as I have had watching a golf tournament as I can remember. It had everything – Dustin Johnson putting into a bunker, eagles falling from the sky, one of the best leaderboards ever and the bunkers with really cool names. Unfortunately, it also had Paul Azinger, whose “statements of the obvious” delight him so much he has to keep repeating them. But it was a great way to end the major golf season.
11. It’s not for everybody with the brown fairways and pot bunkers. But it’s for me. I regret now that I didn’t start planning for this a year ago and went. Like those Warriors fans who pooled their money to bet on Golden State to win it all and – of course – that happened so the seven buddies were able to splurge and get a house across the street from St. Andrews. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
12. There are going to be people who are going to be angry with Anthony Richardson moving away from branding his nickname because he is sensitive to the criticism about promoting gun violence. They’ll see it as cancel culture. I see it as a young man getting good advice in his camp and doing what he felt was the right thing. It’ll be forgotten in a week and then we get down to business. I’ve said this on the Tailgate radio show that I don’t know of a quarterback who has had this much pressure on him despite succeeding a quarterback who wasn’t popular. Jackie Eckdahl succeeded Steve Spurrier, Doug Johnson followed Danny Wuerffel, John Brantley was after Tim Tebow. That was not easy on any of them. The difference is that the pressure on Richardson comes from expectations and the fact that Florida has had one good quarterback since Tebow graduated.
13. It’s funny, but I was watching the “Saturdays in the South” series Sunday night right up until Alabama beat Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship Game and as I went to turn it off I said, “And that was the end for Florida football.” It would be nice for it to come back. But as we get prepared for this season, remember that the players on last year’s team still have to wash the stink of 2021 off of them before we’re going to believe they have bought in. That might have been the least popular team to ever play at Florida. Is that overreacting? Sure. That’s what the summer is for.
14. Yes, I will miss being at SEC Media Days, but last I heard nobody was coughing up the dough for my hotel rooms and meals. So, I will watch it on the SEC Network like everyone who is not there and some who are (my friend Pat Forde tested positive for COVID and has to watch it on TV from an Atlanta hotel room). I would be surprised if anything major comes out this year’s Clambake, but you never know considering the bomb that dropped last year (Oklahoma and Texas joining SEC).
15. A lot of congrats are in order for people like Sterlin Thompson going in the first round and Grant Holloway winning the 110 hurdles (again) in the world championships. But I want to talk about Patric Young. You probably know he was in a car accident and is now in Denver trying to recover from his major back injury. They have set up a Go Fund Me account at https://gofund.me/843bcb1f because insurance is not covering everything including Patric being airlifted to Denver from South Dakota. Bad things happen to good people and there is nobody better than Patric. Please help.
16. It’s the All-Star break and I am happy where the Braves are even if they are coming off a loss to the lowly Nationals. Atlanta is 2.5 games back and has the fifth most wins in baseball. But this shows you how cyclical baseball can be. Remember when Washington won it all in 2019, just three years ago? They have the fewest wins of any major league team at 31 at the break.
17. A tip of the visor to J.C. Deacon, who finished fifth in the Florida Open, a tournament he has won multiple times, and to Billy Horschel, who shot 67 the final day at St. Andrews to finish 21st. And to me, for getting the pick right on the Open. Cam Smith should at least let me drink from the Claret Jug. I don’t think I have ever guessed right on half of the majors before. Of course, I wagered nothing so all I have is the ability to pat myself on the back.
18. If Robbie Andreu and I had driven to Atlanta Sunday for SEC Media Days (like the old days), these songs would have been on the annual playlist I would have made for the ride:
* “She Came On” by Super Deluxe.
* ”Listen to the Band” by The Monkees.
* And “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer because Robbie loves him some Weezer.