Open Championship Sunday Thoughts

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino greets head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers prior to Clemson playing against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

We'll begin with our Tigers and football. We've arrived at ACC Media Day week. I doubt it will be as exciting as the SEC's version largely because no one cares about Wake football, Duke's progression (outside of Peyton Manning's training schedule), or anything Boston College not named Doug Flutie. We'll be interested to see how Coach Dabo deals with the media and what Jimbo has to say. I always pay attention to Paul Johnson. It will be interesting to see if the media holds Al Golden accountable for apparent stupidity upon arrival in South Florida. I'll also want to see if Golden dresses like a complete tool at media days or if he saves that attire for gamedays.

Dabo Swinney and staff hosted an event last week known as the "Five Star Summit" that featured the "All In Cookout." Yes, it sounds cheesy but what doesn't? Sans the name, this appears to be a damn good idea. Clemson gets its current commits along with some prospects for an informal social hour in Clemson. Both Friday commits were involved in last Friday's festivities so you cannot question the effectiveness of the event. As much as we question Swinney's on-field choices and unorthodox method of dealing with the media, you cannot question Dabo's ability to pull recruits to Tigertown.

We are winding down the "dark period" between college baseball and football. The freshmen will soon report to the coaching staff and camp will begin in just two weeks. We are always excited to see football season arrive but do have quite a few concerns heading towards September. No one can argue that Clemson is in great shape at the skill positions but what about the offensive line? Defensive line? Venables influence? Is Tony Steward really 100%? How will Rashard Hall respond after last season's injury and recovery? Will Ellington be completely healthy all year? We'll soon get more answers.

The Open Championship has largely been a disappointment for me. The disappointment isn't from the quality of the field or the overall layout of this good links-style golf course (although I am a little bent with the lack of waist-deep rough)-the disappointment arises from the weather. This is the freaking Open Championship...I want to see rain coming down sideways. I want to see players struggling to just get to their golf ball and, because of the Open weather, they are forced to play out of the ridiculous rough/wheat fields that typically line these golf courses. I want to see the leaders struggle to post a par score...after all this is the Open Championship. I expect to turn on the TV and see players in rain suits, not short sleeved shirts. The latter just means the conditions are way too nice and lack the difficulty expected for this tournament.

The players...Els seemed pretty confident heading into his Sunday game. It would be nice to see the Big Easy put pressure on the leaders. Tiger has played well this week and sits in 4th. However, his even yesterday keeps him five shots off the lead and leaves him with a lot of work to do to raise the jug again. Ahead of Tiger are Snedeker, McDowell, and Adam Scott. Scott opened with a 64 and has been consistent throughout. If he can keep methodically mowing down the course and avoid critical mistakes, this thing could very well boat race after hole 5 or 6. Of note, John Daly was able to make the cut at three over. JD then blew up and ended the championship at +14. Nevertheless, seeing JD out there is enjoyable. Now if the Golf Channel would only bring back his television show "Daly Planet," we'd be set.

The viewing...per usual, DirecTV offers the mix package which kicks ass. Also, the fact that this thing is played across the pond and morning Championship golf is available as soon as you wake up is jam up. Thursday and Friday coverage began at 4:30 AM with the weekend coverage pushed back slightly. I will say that I've never seen so many distillery and whiskey commercials in my life.

One final Sunday note, the American Century Championship's final round is televised at 3 PM this afternoon. What is this tournament, you may ask. This is a celebrity golf tournament held in Lake Tahoe featuring some famous people (John Elway, MJ, etc...). To begin, spectators drive their boats almost onto the golf course and can act a fool during play but generally appear to be under control. This event features the Stableford scoring system, which I really like because it encourages players to be more aggressive. What you'll also see this afternoon is Tony Romo being Tony Romo. This guy is nothing but excuse after excuse, even off the football field. Yesterday be complained about footprints in the poa annua grass and the effects of altitude on his golf game. Really Tony? You do realize this isn't the US Open. At least, though, Romo appears to be taking this more seriously and with more passion/intensity than he does playoff football. Again, I'll be tuned into that bad boy to see if Billy Joe Turnover can win another title or if Mark Rypien can hold off Dan Quinn. Of note, former Braves pitcher John Smoltz is in the thick of things and, with this scoring system, could easily make a run at this bad boy today.

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