First and foremost, we'll give a shoutout to all the Moms out there . Enjoy the day, you've definitely earned it.
In terms of our Tigers, Clemson was able to win last weekend's series against UMd, took both games of the Furman doubleheader mid-week, and now can sweep with Ga Southern with a victory this afternoon. The Tigers have a mid-week game against USC Spartanburg on Wednesday before heading down to Tallahassee to cap the ACC regular season against the 'Noles. As you all are likely aware, Clemson, NCST and FSU are in a log-jam at the top of the Atlantic Division rankings. Any of these three teams could conceivably take the division. After the Wolfpack's victory over Florida State yesterday, NCST currently leads the division by one game in the loss column against the 'Noles and two over Clemson. For those interested, the FSU/NCST game is on ESPN3 this afternoon and the series finale will be televised on ESPNU tomorrow night.
Other sports are getting close to concluding their seasons. Included are the Clemson Golfers. The Tigers head out to Tempe this week to participate in Regional play as the #5 seed in the field. Clemson has had a down year compared to previous campaigns but can change that perception with a strong performance in post-season play. We'll see if Penley and that crew can extend this season with a strong effort out in the desert.
This week's big golf news clearly centers around the Tour's unofficial fifth major...The Players (Championship) down at TPC Sawgrass. Sergio, David Lingmerth, and Woods all sit atop the leaderboard at 11 strokes under par. If you have been living under a rock for the last decade or so, I'll break this down very simply--Tiger and Garcia do not get along well. I am not sure why Sergio is crying and moaning about Tiger removing a club from his bag and the crowd responding. How is this Woods' problem? Maybe there is a reason Sergio has choked away many opportunities to move into golf's immortality by winning a major (though I will point out that Garcia has won down at Ponte Vedra before). The crowd noise wasn't deafening. You are a freaking professional golfer. You should be able to deal with slight murmurings--though not ideal--because you are a pro. Although I do not encourage foolishness on the golf course (this includes talking after another player has addressed the ball). However, complaining to the media after a round is childish. Deal with it and move on.
Sergio is lucky today because I can guaran-damn-te you that Garcia did not want to be paired with Tiger in the final round of this tournament. Playing behind Tiger and the circus-like atmosphere associated with Woods' galleries with a Tour rookie should play more to Garcia's favor. This should be an interesting afternoon of golf though it would be much more entertaining if Woods/Garcia were paired together in the final group.
For those of you who have never been down to Sawgrass, I highly encourage you to get down there if you ever have the opportunity. The tournament is awesome and facilities superb. The course was designed for spectators watching tournament golf with hills strategically placed to allow great viewing locations all over the course. 17 is the hole everyone talks about and the crowd and atmosphere there during the tournament is nothing short of party-like. If you ever get the opportunity to play the Stadium Course, be sure to bring along extra golf balls and spend plenty of time in the sand at the practice range. The course is very, very narrow with sand traps and water hazards all over the place. The precision with which the pro's get around that track is amazing and really makes you respect the skill and talent of these guys. When watching the tournament this afternoon, keep in mind how difficult this course really is and how good the professionals really are.
The NASCAR boys were in Darlington yesterday for the Southern 500. I am still a little miffed that NASCAR reduced the number of races from two to one and took away the traditional Labor Day weekend spot for the fall race. I do understand that economic factors drove these decisions and, all in all, do think that the decision for NASCAR to host a race on Mother's Day weekend and give this Saturday event to Darlington was a good decision. I guess I should just be happy that NASCAR didn't pull all racing from the Lady in Black to favor some cookie-cutter track near a big(ger) city. That seems to be the path the France Family has taken over the past decade or so.
As for the racing, it was exciting as usual with Matt Kenseth pulling out the big victory. Kasey Kahne got a late-race Darlington Stripe and Kyle Busch just couldn't hang on when it counted in this big event. Jeff Gordon (3), Jimmy Johnson (4), and Jr. (9) were all able to log Top-10 finishes.
I will point out, though, that with this Chase format (that I have complained about over and over again), several of NASCAR's most iconic tracks play a lesser factor in the eventual championship. With this race being in May and the second Daytona race held around July 4 every year, neither plays a huge role in the end playoff system. Then again, isn't everyone happy with the unique Chicago and Kansas speedways playing a critical role in determining a champion and not places like Darlington, Daytona, and Bristol? It should be no surprise that fewer people seem to care about stock car racing. In the name of television and in an effort to generate more $$$, the powers that be have removed a lot of what made NASCAR the big spectacle it became. In the end, this cannot be overall good for the sport.