Sports Outside the Beltway

Move over Michelle Wie Part VII

Danny Lee just became the youngest winner in European Tour history

U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee birdied the final two holes for a 5-under 67 and a one-stroke victory Sunday in the Johnnie Walker Classic.

The 18-year-old New Zealander, set to turn pro after the Masters, had a 17-under 271 total on The Vines Resort’s composite course.

“It feels like I’m dreaming at the moment,” Lee said. “I won lots of amateur tournaments before and the U.S. Amateur, but this is a totally different feeling. It’s a pro event. All I wanted to do is make the cut and play well and get in the top 20. But I played extremely well today, and I won it.”

Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita (67), Chile’s Felipe Aguilar (68) and England’s Ross McGowan (70) tied for second in the event sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian tours. The second-place finishers all shared in the $298,000 that Lee would have collected if he was not an amateur.

Lee is the first amateur to win on the Australasian PGA Tour since Brett Rumford in the 1999 ANZ Players Championship at Royal Queensland. The last amateur winner of a European tour event was Pablo Martin at the 2007 Portuguese Open.

Lee was born in South Korea, moved to New Zealand at age 8, and has been a citizen of that country since last year. If not for his amateur status, Lee could have been a threat to make the International team in the President’s Cup matches.

The Constructivist at Mostly Harmless is also blogging on Lee’s victory. He thinks Asian or Asian-American men are beginning to catch up with their female peers.i At this point, I disagree. The male golfers while good, don’t have the depth the female side of the chart has.


Miami Dolphins re-sign tackle Vernon Carey

The fins look to be set at three of five offensive line positions for 2009. From the Sun-Sentinel-

Right tackle Vernon Carey signed an extension that will allow the Miami native and former University of Miami standout to remain one of the bookends on the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line opposite Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long.

A league source said the new contract is a six-year deal that could pay Carey as much as $42 million if all incentives are reached. The signing bonus was not disclosed but Carey’s new contract guarantees him $15 million.

The Miami Dolphins opted not to place the franchise tag on the four-year starter Thursday because the feeling was all parties were close to finalizing a long-term deal that will allow the former first-round pick to possibly finish his career with the NFL team he cheered for as a child.

Carey, who is 27, started 59 straight games for the Miami Dolphins and would have been in demand if he hit the open market because quality tackles rarely become free agents.

The signing is a good move. Miami paid too much for Carey when they drafted him in 2004. His performance level just isn’t what you would hope for from a player selected 19th in the draft. Compounding this is the fact Miami got head faked into trading up because they feared Carey wouldn’t be there with the 20th pick. The Dave Wannstedt era in Miami was full of many such dumb draft decisions.


Tiger Woods to return next week at Match Play

He’s back.

Eight months after winning the U.S. Open on one good leg, a healthy Tiger Woods is returning to golf. Woods said on his Web site Thursday that he will defend his title next week in the Accenture Match Play Championship, believing his reconstructed left knee and his game is good enough to win.

“I’m now ready to play again, Woods said.

The Match Play Championship in Tucson, Ariz., begins Wednesday, where Woods will end his 254-day break from competition.

This is great news for golf fans. For golf fanatics like myself, it is also welcome news. Now I won’t shake my head at yet the 108th article is written about-

Will Tiger be better when he comes back?

When will Tiger come back?
Will fatherhood make Tiger a better player?

Actually of those three, only the ‘When will Tiger come back articles’ are certain to end. The lemming mentality of the golf media still astounds me though it shouldn’t.

I’ll be watching next week.


Ottawa Senators’ Daniel Alfredsson out with a fractured jaw

With 52 points for the season, Alfredsson is the Senators’ leading scorer. From AP-

The Ottawa Senators will be without Daniel Alfredsson for at least a week after their captain fractured his jaw during the team’s 3-2 overtime loss Tuesday night in Colorado.

The 36-year-old Swede was struck in the face by a puck and left the game for X-rays, but returned to finish the third period and overtime.

Alfredsson didn’t require surgery, but will miss Thursday’s home game against Vancouver.


“We’ll probably look at it again next week and see where it is and go from there.”

Hockey is a rough sport but the people who play it are resoundingly tough. I wouldn’t be back from a fractured jaw in just a week’s time.

The injury comes at a bad time for a team that still has hopes of making the playoffs.

Yes a team can still hope but Ottawa needs a miracle to make the playoffs. They are at present in 11th place in the Eastern conference and 13 points behind the four teams tied for 5th to 8th place. 8th place is the final playoff spot.


Israeli Andy Ram allow to play in Dubai

Less than a week after denying Shahar Peer a visa, the UAE reverses course for one of her countrymen.

Israeli tennis player Andy Ram will be allowed to play in a premier Dubai tennis tournament after the Arab country said it would permit the No. 7-ranked doubles player to enter the country.

The Persian Gulf country banned Israeli women’s tennis star Shahar Peer earlier this week from entering the UAE to participate in the lucrative Dubai Tennis Championships. Organizers said they feared fan anger over Israel’s recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip would spill into riots in the Arab country if Peer were to play.

After Peer was barred, the tennis world harshly criticized the UAE for its ban of Israelis, and top past and present women players also came to Peer’s defense, including Billie Jean King.

Tennis governing officials warned that future tennis events in Dubai could be in doubt if the Emirates, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, continued to ban Israelis. And the ATP, which runs the men’s tournament, gave the Emirates a Friday evening deadline to decide whether to grant Ram a visa.

ATP president Adam Helfant described the Emirates’ decision at the “right” one.

Do I proofread for ESPN by any chance? I make typos like ‘at the right one’ rather than ‘as the right one’ and nobody is paying me to right this stuff.

Back to tennis. The UAE made the right decision for Ram, but it doesn’t let them off the hook so far as what they did to Peer. It’s too late to correct it, because the women’s tennis event is underway as I write this. There should be some form of punishment for what was done, but I’m still skeptical anything will happen worse than a wrist slap.


Oklahoma City Thunder rescind Tyson Chandler trade

A bad big left toe means he will have to return to New Orleans. From ESPN-

Tyson Chandler missed the New Orleans Hornets’ last 12 games before the All-Star break with a sprained left ankle. But that had nothing to do with why he failed his physical with the Oklahoma City Thunder and was thus sent back to the Hornets on Wednesday.

After examining Chandler’s left big toe, Dr. Carlan Yates, Oklahoma City’s team physician, determined that the risk of re-injury was too great to give Chandler a clean bill of health. He therefore advised the Thunder to rescind Tuesday’s trade that landed them Chandler for Joe Smith, Chris Wilcox and the rights to Devon Hardin.

“This is absolutely crazy,” Chandler said in a telephone conversation Wednesday night. “I’m super shocked. This is nuts.”

Chandler, 26, was baffled by Yates’ ruling in part because Yates performed surgery on Chandler’s big left toe in April of 2007 when the Hornets were playing in Oklahoma City. Chandler played 79 games the following season and while he’s missed 19 games this season, none have been because of his toe.

“He said he doesn’t know how long I’ll last,” Chandler said in reference to Yates. “He told me, ‘I have no doubt you can play on it. I’m just saying it could take a turn for the worse if you come down on somebody’s foot or hyperextend it or something.’”

Chandler was bothered by the toe in last season’s playoffs and withdrew from Team USA over the summer.

It sounds to me if Chandler has a nagging injury. At over 12 million dollars a year salary,if I were Oklahoma City management I wouldn’t want to pay for Tyson Chandler either.

Henry Abbott at ESPN writes-

Now we know the Hornets — a team on delicate financial footing — are likely to be spending more than they think they should, and a lot of that will be going to a big man who has some kind of long-term health concerns.

And they were ready to hoist damaged goods off on another team. Would that make future potential trading partners leery of working with New Orleans in the future? Time will only tell about that, and whether Chandler can become 100% healthy again.


NJ Nets Sean Williams arrested for trespassing

This is one of more interesting or quirky athlete gets arrested stories that I have seen of late.

New Jersey Nets forward Sean Williams was arrested at Boston College last weekend for allegedly violating a no-trespassing order.

The 22-year-old former BC player was arrested Sunday shortly before the Eagles played Duke for violating an order issued in May, according to the campus police report.

Williams’ Boston-based lawyer, Howard Fisher, said the player was invited to Sunday’s game by a member of Boston College’s coaching staff and blamed the arrest on “lack of communication” between the staffer and campus police.

The police report said Williams was belligerent when police tried to arrest him and wrote obscenities instead of his name on the fingerprint card and trespass warning.

Williams was dismissed from the school in 2007 after multiple problems that happened while he attended the school. I have just never heard of an athlete not being allowed to return to a place at the threat of arrest if they did.

Williams posted $40 bail but failed to show for arraignment Tuesday. Prosecutors asked the judge to issue an arrest warrant, but the arraignment was rescheduled for March 5 — the day after the Nets play the Celtics in Boston.

The judge is obviously a Williams or New Jersey Nets fan. Do all accused criminals who skip bail get that kind of preferential treatment from the judge? If Williams did, an argument can be made for the rest being allowed off also. Someone in Massachusetts should probably be asking if this judge belongs on the bench.


Ken Griffey Jr. signs with Seattle Mariners

He returns to the organization that he started his professional baseball career with. From AP-

Ken Griffey Jr. has decided to return to the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners announced the move Wednesday night. The 39-year-old star’s contract is for one year and believed to be worth $2 million in base salary, plus incentives.

Earlier in the day, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that an apparent agreement with the Atlanta Braves had fallen through. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Mariners had yet to announce the deal.

Griffey is fifth on baseball’s career home run list with 611.

Atlanta appeared to be Griffey’s choice on Tuesday for the same reason the former Mariners star left Seattle in 2000: geography. The Braves’ spring training camp is about a 20-minute drive from the Griffey family home in Orlando, Fla., and Atlanta is about an hour away by plane.

Griffey asked for a trade from the Mariners in 1999 to be closer to home. He eventually got one just before the 2000 season, to Cincinnati.

Griffey has been increasingly injury prone, but his batting stats remain good. He can draw a walk and hits for power. His batting averages have slipped but the other two compensate. Overall he can help a team, but Seattle is so rotten right now, that Griffey isn’t likely to turn things around He will probably bring some fans to the ballpark though.


Dallas Stars place Brad Richards on IR with fractured wrist

This is definitely a blow for the team’s playoff hopes. From AP-

Dallas Stars center Brad Richards was placed on injured reserve Tuesday because of a fractured right wrist. He could miss the rest of the regular season.

Richards was hurt in the Stars’ 3-2 shootout win at Columbus on Monday night. He scored only 27 seconds into the game, but took a hard check midway through the second period and skated to the bench holding his right wrist.

The Stars medical staff evaluated Richards on Tuesday and determined that he will not need surgery. Richards, expected to be out six to eight weeks, will be re-evaluated in a month.

Richards had 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 55 games for the Stars. He led the Stars with 179 shots, and was second for assists and points.

At present Dallas stands 6th in the Western conference but five teams are within 6 pts of them. If I had to place a bet, it would be the Stars don’t make the postseason.


Florida Marlins extend Manager Fredi Gonzalez’s contract through 2011

He took the fish to an 84-77 record and Sporting News National League Manager of year honors in 2008. From the Palm Beach Post-

Then came an unexpected but welcome zinger from team President David Samson: The Marlins had signed manager Fredi Gonzalez to a two-year contract extension through 2011.


Gonzalez was entering the final year of a three-year, $1.5 million contract that he signed after the Marlins fired Joe Girardi following the 2006 season. The extension, agreed to Saturday, means Marlins players can look forward to three more years of stability.

“It’s a smart move by the front office,” All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla said. “I think it’s very important to have the same guy around. He starts to get a feel for the ballclub. It all starts with him. He’s our leader.”

Gonzalez, The Sporting News National League manager of the year in 2008 for guiding Florida to an 84-77 record and a 13-win improvement with the league’s lowest payroll, said he didn’t know about the extension until he was called into owner Jeffrey Loria’s office Saturday.

I wouldn’t place any money on Gonzalez still being with the team at the end of 2011. For one thing, Florida has has ten managers in its 16 year existence. One of those managers, John Boles, did two stints in the job. Rene Lacheman has lasted the longest in the job, 3.5 years.

Another thing- Jeffrey Loria hasn’t shown himself to be very stable between his constant threats to take the Marlins out of South Florida if a new stadium isn’t built, to his firing Joe Girardi for no other reason than a personality clash. Loria’s ego matters more than success on the field for the Marlins, and Gonzalez will sooner or later fall prey to this nut owner.


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