Monday, August 6, 2007

Ochoa wins British Open, Tiger declaws Rory!

It's definitely "feel good" time on the LPGA Tour - well, at least the past two Sundays as two of the tours most well-known and also well-liked players have won. Natalie Gulbis broke through for her long awaited first tournament win last weekend. Yesterday, the world's #1 ranked player, Lorena Ochoa, finally sealed the deal in a major on Sunday posting an easy four stroke win over Jee Young Lee and Maria Hjorth in the Ricoh Women's British Open at the historic St. Andrews course in Scotland. Ochoa shot a one-over-par 74 in blustery conditions to finish the tournament at five under par. For Ochoa, it's her fourth win of the year and it's also the first major win for a Mexican-born player on the LPGA Tour. Given that she's only 25 years old, and judging by how much I've seen her grow the past few years, I just know there are many more majors to come for Ochoa. Congratulations to her on an outstanding win!!!

Don't say I didn't warn you... Upstart PGA player Rory Sabbatini recently called out world number one, Tiger Woods, basically stating something to the effect that he was "beatable" and that he wanted a piece of him some Sunday. Well, Sabbatini got his wish on Saturday as he took a one stroke lead over Tiger going into Sunday's final round of the Bridgestone Invitational tournament. Sabbatini REALLY shouldn't have riled the Tiger, but he did and it soon became very clear that the only one looking "beatable" this Sunday was a man named Rory... The blustery day began with Sabbatini at 4 under par with Tiger one stroke back... It looked like it was "game on" as both players birdied the first hole. Tiger then clawed into a tie for the lead with a birdie on two. The pivotal hole of the day was the fourth hole as Tiger birdied it, while Sabbatini bogeyed it to give the world's #1 ranked player a two stroke lead. A bogey by Sabbatini on five pushed Tiger's lead to three. A birdie by Tiger on six made the the margin four. On the ninth, both players found trouble, but Tiger somehow was able to salvage a par with a miraculous chip-in from just off the green, while Sabbatini could only manage a double-bogey six. Suddenly, Tiger's lead was six shots... Then the inevitable happened - Sabbatini literally "blew up" as a fan blurted out "Hey, Rory, still think Tiger is beatable?" You would have thought that Sabbatini would have at least been somewhat humbled by what had transpired by the last six holes and been able to laugh about it, but no!!! Instead, he turned and glared back at the fan, shouting out an expletive and then demanding that the spectator be removed by security. What a classless move on Sabbatini's part... **edit** Per the Golf Channel, the spectator (who turned out to be a firefighter) was removed. ** Sabbatini is lucky he doesn't compete in NASCAR as his little tirade would have cost him $25,000 there. Perhaps he needs to consult Tony Stewart with his anger management issues - incidentally, Stewart was fined this past Monday after winning his second consectutive race while using an expletive during a post-race interview. The firefighter paid $55 to see the tournament and he didn't curse or say anything inappropriate. Sabbatini set himself up two months ago and the bottom line is he couldn't back up what he said!!! I'm of the opinion that that the fan should have been allowed to stay. I would hope that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem at the very least would fine Sabbatini as he sets a very poor example for the rest of the PGA Tour's players.

A picture speaks a 1000 words: The scoreboard tells the story... the ever increasing red numbers match the man wearing his Sunday red!

The tournament was all but over at that point as you all know what Tiger usually does when he takes a commanding lead. This Sunday would be no different as Tiger would culminate his bogey free five-under-par 65, with a 15 foot par saving putt on the final hole to finish at eight under par. After his blowup on the 10th tee, Sabbatini steadied his ship on the back nine, posting a one-over-par score to finish the tournament at even par and tied for second with Justin Rose. For Tiger, it's his fourth win of the year and 58th of his career.


Another day, another milestone... yet another member of the great Atlanta Braves staff of the 1990's made history yesterday. Tom Glavine threw a strong 6 1/3 innings to become the 22nd pitcher in major league history to reach the 300 win milestone as the Mets beat the Chicago Cubs by an 8-3 score at Wrigley Field. Glavine did it in his typical finesse style, allowing 6 hits and two runs along with a walk and a lone strikeout... Congrats to Tom on this historic achievement!

Who is the hottest team in baseball at the moment? You all might be in shock when I tell you it's the Washington Nationals! The red-hot Ryan Zimmerman and All-Star Dmitri Young again led the way, each tallying three hits as the Nats swept the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 at RFK Stadium yesterday. Even starting pitcher Matt Chico got into the act, singling in Ryan Church in the second. For the Nats, it was their sixth consecutive win. Even more shocking to find is that the Nats at 51-60 are only 9 1/2 games out of a wild-card slot and a 1/2 game behind the World Champion Cardinals. They certainly have come a long way for a team that many were predicting would challenge the 1962 Mets record for futility after a 9-25 start to the season. The Nats now travel to San Francisco to go on "Barry watch." Personally I hope he doesn't break Aaron's record against the Nats... Two reasons for this - one, being a fan of the Nats, I just don't want him to do it against one of my favorite teams and have them be on all of the highlight films from now until forever... secondly, every game he doesn't break the record during this series means some MUCH NEEDED national TV exposure for the Nats!!! When were the Nats last in a nationally televised game??? Other than flying out to DC to actually watch some games, the only chance most non-DC area residents get to see this young, talented team is to tune into TBS when they are playing the Braves or WGN when they face the Cubs or go to their local teams' ballpark when they're in town...

Locally, the Dodgers continued their "Jeff Kentless funk," losing their fourth straight and for the 13th time in their past 18 games as Arizona and 2006 Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb defeated Brad Penny and the Blue Crew by a 3-0 score. With the loss, the Dodgers now find themselves four games behind the resurgent Diamondbacks and 2 1/2 games out of the wild card spot held by the San Diego Padres. Hopefully, the Dodgers will get Kent back tomorrow as they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds.

The other local team seems to have righted their ship somewhat as John Lackey led the Angels to a 4-3 win and split in their four game series against the Oakland A's. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth for his 27th save of the year. Lackey gave up nine hits and three runs while walking two and striking out five in getting his league-leading 14th win of the year. Casey Kotchman had the key hit in the game for the Halos, singling in Orlando Cabrera in the 7th to break a 3-3 tie. Garret Anderson drove in the other three Angel runs with a single and a triple. The Angels are now 3 1/2 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners in the American League West race. They now take on the best team in Baseball, the 68-43 Boston Red Sox as Curt Schilling comes off the disabled list to take on Jered Weaver in Anaheim at 7:05 tonight.


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