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2014 US Open Sunday Thoughts

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

First and foremost, I'll kick this off with a shoutout to all the dads out there.  Enjoy Father's Day.

The most notable news out of Clemson last week was Dan Radakovich's decision to accept mediocrity in the Clemson baseball program.  Leading into the NCAA Tournament, I'd heard many murmurings that all pointed to a change at the top.  I guess DRad either wasn't listening to the fanbase or just couldn't make that tough a decision.  Possibly he thought that if we had one more year like the past one, the problem would work itself out.  I find that tough as I don't see JackLeg bowing out graciously.  Let's make no bones about it.  Leggett has lost control and there has to be change at the top to turn this train around.  The team didn't even look like it cared in the Regional.  This once great program is now accelerating downhill quickly.  The fans have given up on Leggett with general apathy towards this squad growing.  Tiger Field will likely be empty much of next season as the program's supporters not only recognize the dramatic fall from excellence we've seen but also are getting more and more put off that Clemson's leadership is failing them and failing this program in a big way.

All of this brings me to DRad and his brilliant plan of action moving forward.  DRad says that he is so comfortable with Leggett that he will stick his nose into the issue not to provide a real solution to the downward spiral that is Clemson baseball but to make idiotic recommendations.  First off, there was nothing out of his office for a week or so.  No vote of confidence, nothing other than Jack would be required to show up at DRad's office and discuss the season.  Then they have the discussion with little out of Clemson.  Then DRad comes out with some halfassed late release.  Then DRad decides that a halfassed presser was necessary so that the Clemson fanbase could hear this delayed and pathetic response directly from the horse's mouth.  I won't discuss the marketing brilliance behind these moves as several of you already nailed this stupidity in the comments section of our discussion of the subject.

What does DRad think will fix this problem?  Bring in a team psychiatrist, better market Leggett, force teh players and coaches to form a better relationship, and force Jack to go visit his peers to exchange ideas.  Each of these are laughable alone but put them all together and it is insane.  You cannot simply change a coach's personality.  Leggett is a 60 year old man who has been the head coach at Clemson for 20 years.  You think you can take this guy who is wound up tighter than a tick's ass.  He has been a complete jerk to just about everyone he comes into contact with and comes off consistently as a pompous, arrogant know it all.  Want more proof, go listen to his presser after Clemson got eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.  You want this guy to suddenly become a media savvy teddy bear who will win over the hearts of people all over the Southeast?  You are crazy.  On top of this, DRad identified that Jack's personality pisses off people around him--including his team.  (A) apparently DRad understands that there are quite a few players and former players out there who don't think too highly of this coach--hence the forced Kumbya sessions between the players and coaches.  (B) DRad understands that the team takes on the personality of its coach, hence they are always tight.  Solution:  team psychiatrist.  Maybe the next solution will be to insist these guys all take anxiety medication.  Finally, you, the Athletics Director, are going to go out and tell a man who has been a college baseball coach for 35 years how to coach baseball and that he needs more interaction with his peers?  I am sure Jack Left DRad's office a little pissed and miffed that anyone would challenge his superiority.  He then likely laughed at DRad wondering what kind of yahoo expects a guy nearing retirement age to change anything about how he does his job.  If this weren't my Alma Mater the whole thing would be comical.  Instead it is a shame

Radakovich will have a difficult time digging his way out of this fiasco.  He is about to lose the fanbase following this bit of shenanigans and the contract gifts extensions given to our football and basketball coach.  It is my opinion that DRad is either very poor at or disinterested in evaluating personnel appropriately.  I believe his focus is on fundraising and building facilities.  We all know Clemson has to go out, raise money, then keep up with the rest of the nation but there are other items out there of importance.  Assuring the right people are in the right places has to be at the forefront of Radakovich's job requirements.  Additionally, assuring that needing to make a replacement will not break the bank must be properly negotiated and risk assessed.  With all of the personnel decisions made this winter/spring, one has to question Dan Radakovich's ability to properly lead the entirety of the AD.

In golf, Martin Kaymer appears to be close to boatracing his US Open competition.  Kaymer opened with two strong 65s before managing his round yesterday.  He is five shots ahead of second place and should roll barring a Goosen-like '05 collapse.  One thing that Kaymer has done is effectively ruin what could have been a lot of good golf pools out there.  If you have Kaymer, you have a chance.  If you don't, you are completely hosed at this point.  Personally, I want to see this thing tighten up.  I have nothing against Martin Kaymer but, in the selfishness of wanting to see excitement down the stretch of the US Open, would love to see this thing as a competition on the back 9 this afternoon.

As for the golf course, I like the renovation.  I went to the 2005 US Open and the golf course looks nothing today like it did back then sans the greens.  I think that the USGA did a nice job restoring the course to the way it was originally designed.  The fairways and junk outside the fairway more resembles courses that I've played and is something that the average golfer can better relate to (rather than the absolute pristine conditions featuring long, long rough were more used to seeing.

The issue I have going into today's round is that the USGA has butchered the course layout today.  The USGA has taken #3 and moved the tees up to try and create a "diveable par 4."  This is a hole that was not designed to be this short.  If the USGA was going to go to great lengths to rip out all of the second cut and replace it with "natural area" because that was the original design intent of this course, then why in the hell would this same group go out and haphazardly move tees up to try and manufacture excitement at the expense of the original design intent.  The USGA screwed up watering the greens earlier in the week and they have really botched one of the best designed golf courses in the world by intentionally deviating from designated tee locations.  I believe the tee on #3 is something like 70 paces in front of the yardage listed on the scorecard.  Shame on you USGA.

Neckcar heads up to Michigan this afternoon.  I tend to enjoy Michigan as it is a forty year old 2 mile D-shaped oval.  Yes, it is similar to TMS but Michigan has been a staple in Winston Cup action.  The series has been going to Michigan for nearly 45 years and this event is one that I look forward to both in June and when the series returns in August.