Sports Outside the Beltway

Mark Calcavecchia sets PGA Tour record with 9 straight birdies

The previous streak of eight consecutive birdies had been done by six separate individuals. From AP-

Mark Calcavecchia birdied nine straight holes Saturday in the Canadian Open to break the PGA Tour record.

In perfect morning scoring conditions at rain-softened Glen Abbey, Calcavecchia opened the delayed second round with two pars, then reeled off the nine straight birdies. His nine birdie putts were from 15 feet or closer.

With 15-year-old son Eric working as his caddie, Calcavecchia shot a 7-under 65 to finish two rounds at 8 under. He was five strokes behind leader Jason Dufner entering the third round, postponed until Sunday after heavy afternoon rain.

The round was played using the lift, clean, and place rule. That will always optimize the chances for birdies.

In the 2001 Phoenix Open, Calcavecchia broke the PGA Tour’s 72-hole record with a 256 total — shooting 65-60-64-67 to finish 26 under at TPC Scottsdale. Tommy Armour III broke that record in the 2003 Texas Open, finishing at 254.

Calc, who lives a half hour up the road from me and has 13 career tour victories, has always had a knack for shooting lights out. His early days as a professional golfer were more of a struggle. One year he played in the Honda Classic after working the previous Honda as a caddie.

Calcavecchia broke the record set by Bob Goalby in his 1961 St. Petersburg Open victory and matched by Fuzzy Zoeller (1976 Quad Cities Open), Dewey Arnette (1987 Buick Open), Edward Fryatt (2000 Doral-Ryder Open), J.P. Hayes (2002 Bob Hope Classic) and Kelly (2003 Las Vegas Invitational). Hayes played alongside Calcavecchia on Saturday.

Out of those players, only Goalby won the week they made tour history. Due to rain, there will be a 36-hole finale tomorrow. That gives Calcavecchia, who stands five shots back at this moment, a chance to join Goalby as a winner.


Damaged Goods- Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa to have shoulder surgery

He will be out at least four months. From ESPN-

Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa will undergo surgery Friday to repair a small tear in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder.

“Marian’s injury did not respond sufficiently to our non-operative treatment over the last three weeks so we have collectively decided today to go ahead with the surgery,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “Marian is a franchise player, and we want what is best for him and the Blackhawks long-term. This was a mutual decision and one we feel very confident is the right one.”

The Hawks signed Hossa to a 12-year, $62.8 million deal on July 1. The Hawks said they were aware of the injury before signing him.

Did Chicago have Hossa undergo a physical before signing him? If not, why not? At that kind of salary I would want to make sure a player is healthy.

Hossa gave the standard statement about the surgery being best for him. I’m not going to argue with other people’s medical decisions. I just wonder if Hossa knew he was hurt before signing with Chicago.

No question, Hossa is an excellent player. He scored 40 goals and 71 points last year for the Detroit Red Wings. Hossa has been well traveled of late. Since 2006 he has been with Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Detroit before signing with Chicago.

Hossa is expected to be shelved at least four months, so he’ll miss at least the first two months of the regular season.

Which means my favorite team the Florida Panthers won’t have to try stopping Hossa in the 2009-10 NHL season. Florida and Chicago play a 2-game regular season series in Finland next October.


Chicago White Sox P Mark Buehrle throws a Perfect game

He did it against the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon. Buehrle struck out six and DeWayne Wise make an acrobatic catch of a struck ball in the 9th inning that was Tampa’s best chance at keeping history from being made.

Buehrle is only the 16th MLB pitcher to throw a perfect game. The last one was done in 2004 by Randy Johnson. Buehrle previously no-hit the Texas Rangers in 2007. This was also the second time the Rays have gone hitless. Derek Lowe threw a no-hitter against them in 2002.


Has 2007 LPGA Rookie of the Year Angela Park retired? Update- The answer is no

Update- Connie Wilson the LPGA Tour’s Vice president of communications was very kind to answer an email inquiry of mine. She said there was no truth to the rumor.

LPGA Caddy Larry Smith had the following on his blog.

She’s toast! The player I heard that was quitting golf didn’t but another did, I was told. Angela Park has packed it in. Jimin Kang was included in the field as her replacement.

For those of you who don’t know who Angela is, here is some biographical information from

Angela Park was born in Brazil. As a young girl, she moved to southern California, where she grew up. She took up golf and became one of the top young amateur golfers in the country, finishing in the top 10 in 24 of the 29 AJGA events she played. Perhaps her biggest achievement as an amateur was beating In Kyung Kim at the 2005 US Women’s Amateur before losing to Morgan Pressel in the semifinals.

Note- Angela was born in 1988. She will turn 21 next month.

Angela turned profession in 2006. At the end of the year she made it through qualifying school and began playing on the LPGA Tour in February 2007. She almost immediately had success. In the 2nd LPGA tournament of 2007, she finished tied for 3rd. She followed this up with seven more top 10 finishes on the year and finished with nearly one million dollars in earnings and won the Rookie of the Year title in a rout. Angela’s strongest finish in 2007 was a tie for 2nd at the U.S. Open.

The 2008 campaign while not as impressive for Angela, was still solid. She lost the Evian Masters in a playoff to Helen Alfredsson and again contended at the U.S. Open. This time she finished third in the most prestigious event there is for Ladies Professional golfers.

It was also during 2008 that Angela became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Two of her brothers are also naturalized and currently serving in the United States military.

Angela began 2009 strongly with two 3rd place finishes but has played very poorly for over a month. In fact some LPGA bloggers began to speculate if Angela was injured. Then comes this news.

Note- Caddy blogger Larry is not a fan at all of the Korean players. You have to take most of what he says about them with a heavy grain of salt. In this case, I don’t believe at all that Larry would make up a player’s retirement. It is possible he is misunderstanding Angela’s future plans.

I wasn’t able to find Angela’s twitter page, but a golf blogger said she twittered recently about needing another profession.

Bottom line- If Angela has given up pro golf, I wonder what the cause is. Injury, personal illness, family problems? Remember Angela has two brothers serving in the U.S. military. I sincerely hope nothing happened to either of them.

Steve Elling wrote an excellent article in 2008 about Angela. I have put it underneath the fold.


High school Coach bans Georgia Bulldogs staff from campus

This in response to the treatment of a potential recruit. From ESPN-

When the Georgia Bulldogs decided to back out of their scholarship offer to Carver (Ga.) High School quarterback Devin Burns, they didn’t cut off their relationship with just him.

They find themselves banned from stepping on the Carver campus, as well.

Burns, accompanied by his family, had traveled to Athens last weekend with the intention of formally committing to the Bulldogs after receiving a scholarship offer from coach Mark Richt and quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo this spring.

But while he was on the trip, the Bulldogs — who apparently knew of Burns’ travel plans — had decided to withdraw the offer.

Carver coach Dell McGee, upset with the timing, has since informed the Georgia coaching staff that for now, it was not welcome to visit the school, located by the Alabama border.

“I say that to show them that the incident that occurred wasn’t appreciated,” McGee said, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “The biggest thing is, the University of Georgia knew, they had knowledge of Devin and his parents coming there for the weekend. For them not to communicate that they had rescinded that offer before that was not very professional.”

What happened to Burns doesn’t sound very professional, but good will McGee’s actions bring? It may only make it more difficult for his athletes to be recruited by UGA. Bulldog head coach Mark Richt(who I played high school ball against) has since apologized. It is time for everyone to move on.


New York Islanders sign G Martin Biron

How safe does this acquisition make Rick DiPietro’s hold on the #1 Goalie job for the team?

The New York Islanders have agreed to terms with goalie Martin Biron on a one-year deal.

Biron was 29-19-5 for the Flyers last season, with a 2.76 goals-against average, and led Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh.

“Adding Marty gives us three bona fide No. 1 goalies,” general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “We learned about the importance of stability in our lineup from last year and he now allows us to have another quality starter.”

The 6-foot-3 goalie has a career 2.59 GAA in 433 NHL games with Philadelphia and Buffalo.

Biron is a good goalie as is DiPietro. DiPietro’s problem may be high expectations. He was taken #1 overall in the 2000 entry draft. That, and the fact the Islanders are one of the worst NHL teams at present, make me believe there will be a tussle for the starting goalie job in Nassau County.

The Philadelphia Flyers have completed the task of reshuffling their goalies in the offseason. They signed Ray Emery, Martin Biron signed with the Islanders, and #2 Goalie Antero Nittymaki is now with Tampa. Overall I don’t see the Flyers better or worse off at Goalie but am still puzzled by the Washington Capitals sitting on their hands this off season when it is pretty much universal their goaltending is in need of an upgrade.


Pittsburgh Pirates trade 1B Adam LaRoche to Boston for two prospects

After falling out of first place in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox took some steps to shore up their roster.

The Red Sox acquired slumping Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche on Wednesday for two midlevel prospects, less than a year after they picked up All-Star outfielder Jason Bay from the Pirates.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity that a team like that wants me,” said LaRoche, who is hitting .109 since July 4.

The Pirates, who have traded five starting position players since last July, will receive Double-A shortstop Argenis Diaz and Class A right-hander Hunter Strickland, an 18th-round draft pick two years ago.

LaRoche is 29-years-old, and may have had his past years already. It can be argued the Pirates knew this and that was the logic behind the trade. IMHO, that is portraying Pittsburgh’s General Manager as far too intelligent and insightful when it comes to judging talent.

Why don’t MLB just declare Pittsburgh a minor league team? Nobody in that organization’s management or ownership appears dedicated to making the franchise even remotely respectable. The Bucs haven’t had a winning season in over a decade.

Old-time baseball fans will recall the Pirates were terrible in the post WW II years also. However it wasn’t for lack of trying. Branch Rickey was GM for some of those years(46-58) and did make an honest effort to overhaul the team. As bad as the Pirates were back then, they went only 9 years without a winning season compared to the 16-year that is going on at present.


Texas Rangers release pitcher Orlando Hernandez

Is El Duque’s MLB over with? From AP-

El Duque’s comeback attempt with the Texas Rangers has ended.

Texas released Orlando Hernandez from his minor league contract Friday, making the right-hander a free agent just more than a month after he signed.

Hernandez was 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in eight relief appearances for Triple-A Oklahoma City since being activated three weeks ago. He had 12 strikeouts and four walks in 11 innings.

General Manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers had no plans to add Hernandez to their major league roster by Monday, when the pitcher would have been able to opt out of the contract.

“The reports that we got were about what you would expect, stuff-wise. … The velocity was not an issue or anything like that, just rust,” Daniels said. “With more time and innings, he may very well be ready, but he had the out in his contract and he was going to take it.”

Hernandez last pitched in the majors for the New York Mets in 2007 before toe surgery. Hernandez’s numbers with the Mets in 2007, suggest he should still be able to pitch in the majors. The toe injury could have adversely affected his ability to pitch. Hernandez’s age may also factor into how strong his arm is.

The Cuban pitcher’s age has been questioned at times, and is listed as high as 43 by some accounts. The Rangers said he was 39 when they signed him last month, though Daniels sounded less certain about that Friday.

“Ask the Census bureau,” he said.

No need to. The smoking Gun has a copy of El Duque’s Cuban divorce decree. It clearly says he was born in 1965.


Minnesota Wild sign G Wade Dubielewicz

He only appeared in five Columbus Blue Jacket games last year. From AP-

The Minnesota Wild have signed veteran goaltender Wade Dubielewicz to add depth behind All-Star Niklas Backstrom.

The move gives the Wild a third goaltender on the roster and more stability should they decide to trade backup Josh Harding, who had a 2.21 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage last season. The Wild signed Backstrom to an extension that will make him the No. 1 goaltender for the next four years.

The 30-year-old Dubielewicz has a career record of 17-15-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in 40 career appearances with the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Now the Wild have a good #1 goalies, and two backups who haven’t played all that much but have shown good ability. The Florida Panthers have Tomas Vokoun and the recently acquired Scott Clemmensen. In addition to that, they have Mike Brodeur who played well at Rochester of the ACL and the recently acquired Alexander Salak. Some teams are awash in Goalie options.

Then you have the Washington Capitals. This team has the overpriced underperforming Jose Theodore and the inexperienced Simeon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth. Admittedly Varlamov did a good job during the last NHL playoffs but the Russian goalie has exactly six games of regular season experience. It is far too early to say if Varlamov is a quality NHL goalie. Harding and Dubilewicz don’t have much experience, but they aren’t trying to backup a #1 goalie who isn’t up to the job. Why Washington didn’t try to replace Theodore is beyond me. Throwing good money at a bad goalie makes economic sense, but won’t improve your chances of winning a Stanley Cup.


Tiger Woods misses British Open cut

It is only the second time he’s not made the weekend at a major championship. From AP-

Tiger Woods has missed the cut in a major for only the second time in his professional career.

Woods made two double bogeys on the way to a 4-over 74 Friday and won’t be playing the weekend at the British Open, missing the cut by one stroke.

That’s happened only one other time since he turned pro — at the 2006 U.S. Open shortly after the death of his beloved father, Earl.

Woods tried to rally, making birdies on two of the last three holes, but a chip from the back of the green at No. 18 came up short and he settled for par.

The top 70, plus ties, make it to the final two rounds. Woods was at 5-over 145, one over the cut line.

The British Open doesn’t have a 10-shot rule, which allows anyone within that margin of the lead to keep going.

Tiger didn’t play well at all either today or yesterday. If the British Open had the ten shot rule, Tiger was unlikely to have been a factor this weekend.

Steve Marino and Tom Watson are tied for the 36 hole lead with Marc Calcavecchia one shot behind. 28 golfers are even par or better and within five shots of the lead. It looks like a wide open weekend at Turnberry.


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