Sports Outside the Beltway

Temple Of Doom sets 1:52.4 world trotting mark at Tioga Down

The previous record was 153 flat set in 2009. From

Temple Of Doom (above) set a world record at Tioga Downs on Sunday. Some of the best sophomore trotters in the world were gathered at Tioga for the 36th edition of The Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot.

Lucky Chucky was the horse collecting the headlines heading into the race, but in the first $134,965 division of the Zweig Memorial, Temple Of Doom and David Miller stole the show with a world record performance of 1:52.4 for 3-year old colt trotters on a five-eighths mile track.

The duo left from post position number five and trotted through fractions of :27.1, :57.2 and 1:25.1 before sprinting away from the field with long powerful strides with a final panel in :27.3. The mile eclipsed the world record set exactly one week ago by Lucky Chucky and John Campbell at Harrah’s Chester of 1:53, which was shared with Explosive Matter (Ron Pierce) from 2009.

Temple Of Doom posted only the second win of the career. The 3-year-old son of Yankee Glide-Armbro Temple is trained by Jonas Czernyson for Robert Rosenheim Stable.

“He had a bad post in the final of the Hambletonian and still raced good, and last week he raced really good at Chester. We have never put him on the front end but I decided to today and he raced as good as he ever has,” said winning driver David Miller. “I was a little surprised with the world record because we didn’t go that much in the second quarter, but he was sharp today and trotted right through the wire.”

Until Temple of Doom produces again, you have to wonder if he is a one race wonder. Much like Land Grant in a 1980′s edition of the Woodrow Wilson Pace.


Michelle Wie wins the CN Canadian Women’s Open

She shot a final round 70 to finish three shots ahead of Kristy McPherson, Jiyai Shin, Suzann Pettersen, and Jee Young Lee.

Wie opened Sunday tied for the lead at minus ten with Shin. Both golfers made an early bogey to fall back to minus nine.
This allowed Pettersen, Lee, and a red hot Kyeong Bae to get within one of the lead.

On the 8th hole, Wie got the lead to herself and never was tied again. She made a birdie putt from less than ten feet as Shin couldn’t get it up and down from a bunker. Michelle was up by two with ten holes to go.

Wie birdied holes 13, 14, and 15 to open up a four-shot lead. The 13th and 14th holes were par 5′s. Shin and Wie both made birdie from less than ten feet. On the 14th Wie hit her second shot into a greenside bunker and made a mediocre sand shot. No problem- Wie ran in a twenty footer for birdie as Shin scrambled for par. Her third birdie was a chip-in from just off the back of the green. She made a great par on 16 after a bad drive and an approach shot into a bunker. She did make a three-putt bogey on 17 but 18 was a safe walk in the park for her. A good drive and approach, two putts for par and the victory. Wie now has two LPGA Tour wins, but neither happened in the United States. Her first win was the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico last enough.

Curiously enough my family ate the exact same dinner, Chicken Parmesan served with Penne pasta, when Wie won both her tournaments. I make this dinner on average about every six weeks, but usually not with Penne. If Michelle Wie reads this, she may ask me to make of this food when she’s in contention. Cue the sarcastic laughter.

Today’s win was as impressive as her first. She played steady golf and made timely birdies. A television announcer said the win will put Wie at #7 in the Rolex rankings which are already a crowded fight for #1.

Other comments

*- Will Golf World magazine put Wie on its cover this week? Ai Miyazato has won 5 LPGA tournaments this year, Yani Tseng won two major championships, but GW never once put them on the cover. Instead we the magazine’s subscribers got to see Anthony Kim and Arjun Atwel featured.

I think Golf World won’t take a pass on a Wie cover but its editors and writers have proved to be dumb and clueless before and they could do it again.

*- At no time during the golf broadcast was a mention made of the cheating controversy I blogged about today and yesterday. This is a little surprising because announcer Judy Rankin has been known to check the internet and make mention of something she read.

*- Suzann Pettersen again couldn’t make birdie putts when in contention. She had four or five good to very good chances at least for birdie today.

*- LPGA’s live scoring had Jee Young Lee making an eagle on ten and pulling to one behind Wie. It was a mistake, Lee only made a birdie. Lee’s run at the title was spoiled by back to back bogeys on 11 and 12.

*- *- Will Jiyai Shin retake #1 in the Rolex rankings? She, Ai Miyazato, and Cristie Kerr are closely grouped and Shin finished 2nd today where as her rivals finished T15 and T8 respectively.

Shin remains #4 in the world rankings behind Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, and Suzann Pettersen.

Also blogging about Wie’s win- Hound Dog and The Constructivist at Mostly Harmless


LPGA Tour to conduct cheating inquiry

Steve Elling at CBS Sports has more on the incident at the CN Canadian Open which I wrote about yesterday.

Initially, the LPGA seemed satisfied with the player actions and sanctions.

“No one with the LPGA was privy to any discussions between the players and caddies in advance of the players’ efforts to seek out a rules official to explain the situation,” a spokesman said Saturday. “We know only that the players came forward, admitted their issue and received the appropriate result based on the rules of golf.”

However, that stance has clearly changed.

LPGA communications chief David Higdon confirmed Sunday morning to that the tour intends to interview all the parties involved and then mull a possible course of action.

“We have treated this situation very seriously, and have or will speak to all principles involved,” Higdon said in an email Sunday morning. “Yes, we are looking very closely at it.”

The LPGA has had issues in the past with South Korean natives, who have been accused by other players of bending rules by conversing with friends or parents and receiving advice in their native tongue, among other perceived violations. The LPGA at one point put players on notice that such conversations and interaction would not be tolerated. One longtime LPGA caddie with his own blog site claimed this weekend that Korean players have been getting away with rules violations for years, causing some to accuse him of racism.

The LPGA has to investigate what happened, and if Ahn and Chung’s actions were deliberate, they should be suspended from the tour. Ryan at Waggle Room now writes

On Saturday evening, Waggle Room learned that it was Ahn’s caddie who told the story direct to Smich but may not be willing to share details publicly for fear of being shunned in the golf community.

Ahn’s caddy could be in position of causing great harm to a pro golfer’s career and reputation. It is very understandable why he wouldn’t want to talk publicly.

One last comment about Smich. He has a long history of making derogatory comments about the South Korean players. People who have read his blog for any length of time, would have a basis to say he is a racist. I think his anger at being fired by Mi Hyun Kim 11 years ago has made him very bitter and his lack of success as a caddie of late,(He hasn’t been close to a winning bag in all the time he’s blogged, and if I checked, the top 20 finishes of his players in that time can be counted on one hand easily) caused his feelings to turn to hate or racism. His outspokenness has undoubtedly caused these players also not to want to hire him.

Interestingly enough I checked Smich’s archives, he worked for Ahn once at the Wegmans. So he has caddied for both Ahn and Chung in the past.

At the CN Canadian Open, Michelle Wie has a 2-shot lead with 5 holes to go.

Hat tip- Geoff Shackelford

Update- Golf writer and blogger Bob Weeks has more

A source told me on Sunday that the two players allegedly knew about the mix up by the time they reaced the scorer’s tent and discussed it in Korean, agreeing not to bring it up. The source then alleged that Ahn’s caddie also knew about the situation and threatened to turn them in.

Reportedly, the players waited two hours after their final round before contacting the LPGA Tour to report the incident, calling from their hotel.

Weeks is a much more credible source than Larry Smich. Chung and Ahn are in for big trouble.


Eight Million Dollar mistake- Cincinnati Bengals cut WR Antonio Bryant

He didn’t even play a down for the team. From ESPN-

Bryant was a major disappointment after signing a four-year, $28 million contract this offseason with just under $8 million guaranteed.

He signed with Cincinnati despite offseason knee surgery that hadn’t fully healed. He struggled in minicamp and training camp and didn’t play a game in a Bengals uniform. The writing was on the wall for Bryant once Cincinnati signed veteran receiver Terrell Owens to replace Bryant in the starting lineup.

NFL teams make costly mistakes on players coming off knee injuries all the time. A prime example is the Miami Dolphins who signed Quarterback Dante Culpepper after the 2005 season and at the same time taking a pass on Drew Brees. Culpepper was coming off knee surgery and Brees off a shoulder injury. I don’t think there is a reader of mine out there who doesn’t know how that signing worked out.

Back to Bryant. He is 30 years old. This injury could well be career ending.


Did LPGA Golfers Shi Hyun Ahn and Il Mi Chung cheat at the CN Canadian Open?

LPGA Blogger and Caddie Larry Smich wrote the following-

Finally, caught in the act! All this time, I’ve been detailing cheating by the Koreans and been called a racist and more for my observations. Even been taken to the woodshed by the head honcho. Well yesterday, it all became evident that I was spot on. Did you notice that Shi Hyun Ahn and Ilmi Chung were disqualified? The reason is that they both played the wrong ball on their final hole and not correcting the infraction before signing their cards, to put it mildly.

Here is what I’ve heard of the alleged incident. Both balls were in the fairway. Ahn missed the green and Ilmi hit hers on. Ahn chipped it close and tapped in for par. This is where it all begins. Apparently, Ahn noticed that this was not her ball and conversed in Korean with Ilmi. In the mean time, at least one caddie in the group noticed it also but did not say anything. They finished the hole, went to the scoring tent, checked the scores and signed their cards. Somewhere, either before or after going to the tent, Ahn told her caddie (a Nationwide looper and only working for her this week) “You did not see anything”. As of right now, I do not know who owned up and went to the officials. The third player in the group was oblivious to the situation and was not involved. BTW, Ahn shot 72 and Chung a 76.

Before I go any further I’ll give some background on Smich and the golfers he is accusing. He has been an LPGA caddie for over 30 years. In that time, he has had three winning bags. The last of which was with Mi Hyun Kim in 1999. Shortly after that win, Kim fired Smich.

Smich has worked for other South Korean players, but the last was over two years ago. He did work for Chung at some point in the middle of the last decade.

Anyone who reads Smich’s blog knows he doesn’t like the Korean players. Ryan at Waggle Room uses the word vendetta towards how Smich writes about players from South Korea. In 2007, Smich also accused LPGA player Young Kim of cheating. Most of the time Smich doesn’t name players when he makes cheating allegations.

Ahn is a one-time winner on the LPGA Tour and was the 2004 Rookie of the Year. She is a looker, and is nicknamed Cinderella. I get lots of hits at my home blog from people looking either for Ahn photos or are looking to find out what golfer is nicknamed Cinderella.

At the 2009 LPGA Championship, a golf ball of Ahn’s struck and killed a bird.

Chung has never won on the LPGA Tour and since the retirement of Pearl Sinn, I believe she is the oldest South Korean born player on the LPGA Tour.

Ryan at Waggle Room apparently got someone to corroborate part of what Smich says(Remember he didn’t see it happen)

We have learned of a second account of the situation. The second account is all the same until the green.

When Ahn and Chung realized what had happened, Chung’s caddy approached Downey’s caddy and said, “We have a bit of a problem, but I’m not saying anything.” Downey’s caddy went into the scoring tent. Ahn and Chung signed for their scores. Downey’s caddy was prepared to turn in Ahn and Chung, which then prompted their seeking of LPGA officials for a ruling and their certain disqualification.

The LPGA’s Mike Scanlan also made the following comment to Ryan-

“The players sought out a rules official after their round to explain the situation and were subsequently disqualified.

“No one with the LPGA was privy to any discussions between the players and caddies in advance of the players’ efforts to seek out a rules official to explain the situation. We know only that the players came forward, admitted their issue and received the appropriate result based on the Rules of Golf.”

Bob Weeks, who is also blogging on the incident, went looking for Larry Smich at the tournament. Interestingly enough, Smich couldn’t be found. The golfer who he was caddying for, Stephanie Loudon, had her husband carrying her bag for the third round.

At the moment, the golf tournament is on television, and so far as I know, no mention has been made of the Ahn and Chung incident.

Deliberate cheating in professional golf is very serious and not unheard of. A Latin American player was suspended by the PGA Tour around 40 years ago. Jane Blalock was suspended for a year by the LPGA in 1972. That was till she filed a antitrust lawsuit. The accusations against Blalock was probably the sport’s biggest cheating scandal of the last 50 years. She was one of the tour’s stars at the time. What we have today involves two fairly obscure players. I don’t know if we’ll ever learn what did happen. The golf media rather write repetitive article after repetitive article on Tiger Woods than give the LPGA even five minutes of their time.

On a side note, Michelle Wie is leading the Canadian Open. Should she hold on to win, the LPGA attention deficit might decrease at least for one week.

Note- The first photo above is Ahn and the second is Chung.


Balked- Philadelphia beats San Diego 3-2 in 12 innings

The Padres tied the game in the 9th inning. From AP-

(Brian) Lidge was one strike from saving a 2-1 win for Roy Oswalt when he balked with the bases loaded, bringing in Jerry Hairston Jr. with the tying run. Facing Chase Headley, Lidge started his motion and then stopped as he appeared to glance at Hairston at third.

Lidge called his balk “a bizarre thing.”

He said he was moving the ball into his glove to get his grip when the ball hit his glove and started coming out. He looked down while his momentum was taking him forward.

“Basically I had to step off or I would have fallen on my face,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to explain. It happened pretty quick. Suffice it say I wasn’t thrilled about that, and probably in a million more windups, something like that wouldn’t happen. Fortunately, we won the game.”

Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, who was with the Phillies the last two seasons, led off the ninth with a single. Hairston pinch ran and was sacrificed to second by David Eckstein. Miguel Tejada grounded out, Adrian Gonzalez was intentionally walked and Lidge hit Ryan Ludwick in the right hand with a pitch to load the bases and bring up Headley, who after the balk grounded out to end the inning.

It was Lidge’s fifth blown save in 22 chances.

Honestly with the bases loaded, two out in the ninth, the only thing the pitcher should be focused on is the batter at the plate. Not the baserunners.


College Sports Costs Most Schools Money

Despite raking in billions of dollars in television, ticket, and licensing revenues, all but 14 of the 106 schools in the NCAA’s top athletic division (FBS, formerly IA) lost money in 2009. The median loss was over $10 million.

Jon Soloman of the Birmingham News summarizes the results:

[A] new NCAA report that shows fewer schools are making a profit on college sports during a down economy and increased spending. The result: Athletics departments rely more than ever on institutional subsidies.

The NCAA reports only 14 athletics departments from the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) made more money than they spent in 2008-09, down from 25 in each of the previous two years. The average institutional subsidy for athletics in the FBS rose from $8 million in 2007-08 to $10.2 million in 2008-09, the most currently available year of data.


The NCAA study shows that the growth of average revenue generated directly by FBS athletics departments slowed to nearly 6 percent from 2008 to 2009, down from 17 percent growth from 2007 to 2008. Meanwhile, the growth of total athletics expenses ballooned to 11 percent from 2008 to 2009, nearly double from the previous year.


The gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” continues to grow considerably. The highest athletic revenue produced by one school was $138.5 million, yet the average FBS school produced $32.3 million. Similarly, the most money spent by one school was $127.7 million, compared to the average of $45.9 million.

The state of Alabama has at least four FBS programs: Alabama, Auburn, UAB, and Troy. South Alabama is trying to join them. Only Alabama is making money.

Given the ridiculous amounts of money football and basketball generate, how are these people managing to lose money? Basically, they’re spending it faster than they can bring it in:

Another view:

How are they spending so much? The chart on page 21 of the report, too large and detailed to usefully reproduce here, gives some insights. 34.2% is going to salaries, 17.9% to coaches and 15.6% administrators. Scholarships are 16.1%. Game expenses account for another 20.5%. Facilities management, 15.0%.

In terms of revenues, a whopping 45.8% is generated by football and 13.3% from men’s and women’s basketball, combined. Men’s sports generate a median $22.56 million; women’s sports, $836,000.

The numbers are staggering.


Pitcher Stephen Strasburg likely to have Tommy John surgery

He was 5-3 with a 2.91 Earned run average before getting injured. From AP-

Stephen Strasburg has a torn elbow ligament and will likely have Tommy John surgery, bringing the pitcher’s promising rookie season to an abrupt end.

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Friday an MRI on the right elbow revealed a “significant tear.” Strasburg will travel to the West Coast for a second opinion, but Rizzo anticipates the 22-year-old right-hander will need the operation that requires 12 to 18 months of rehabilitation.

“As you can imagine, he was initially upset,” Rizzo said. “But he has really turned himself from being upset to being focused on his rehabilitation. He’s determined to get the surgery done and begin the process of rehabilitation.”

Strasburg was pulled from Saturday’s game at Philadelphia when he grimaced while grabbing and shaking his wrist after throwing a changeup to Dominic Brown. The Nationals initially called the injury a strained flexor tendon in the forearm, but an MRI taken Sunday raised enough questions for the Nationals to order a more extensive MRI in which dye is injected into the arm.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, Strasburg struck out 14 batters in a sensational major league debut in June. He is 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings with the Nationals, who have kept him on strict pitch counts and had planned to shut him down once he reached about 105 innings.

Pitchers have recovered from Tommy John surgery and gone on to have a good MLB career but many more have had their careers ended. This doesn’t look good for either Strasberg or the Nationals.

I look like a prophet too. After Strasburg’s first MLB start, I commented-

I expect Strasburg to come up with a lame arm by the time he is 25.

He’s 21 and his arm isn’t mature.

Washington is a terrible club and seeking solutions and will overuse Strasburg

Strasburg’s first outing was excellent, so the club is not likely to turn back to a more patient course with this pitcher.

Baseball history has a long list of pitchers who came out gangbusters Dwight Gooden, Steve Busby, Wally Bunker, Mark Fidryich, and more but faded rapidly usually due to arm woes. If I recall correctly, Bill James said the only HOF pitcher to have impact as a rookie was Tom Seaver.

Well I was off by three years on when Strasburg would have his arm fall off. Earl Weaver said the best place for a young pitcher is long relief.


LPGA Tour to add Taiwan tour stop in 2011

This news isn’t very surprisingly in light of these facts

1- Yani Tseng is at present holder of two of the tour’s major championships and ranked as one of the top five rated players in the world. Tseng is from Taiwan
2- The increasing popularity of golf in Asia.

Of course people continue to grumble about the lack of United States based tour stops on the LPGA Tour. These people are being short sighted.

1- Any tournaments for the tour is good news

2- The LPGA could be close to bankruptcy at the moment. When a tournament is played, the tour takes a cut of the purse for operating expenses. I heard from a reliable source that the LPGA needs 30 tournaments a year to stay solvent. At the moment the LPGA schedule for next year looks like it will be under 30 events like it has been since 2009.

The LPGA is losing at least one United States LPGA event for 2011, the Jamie Farr, as it goes on hiatus for a year. Also CVS will no longer sponsor a California tour stop. That leaves 12 LPGA events in the United States, plus the foreign events. As it stands, the tour will visit Singapore, Thailand, Mexico(at least 3 times), Canada, England, France, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea next year with possible additions of Brazil and China.

The LPGA is in trouble right now. Nationalistic based pride and Asian paranoia need to be shelved.

Hat tip- Ryan at Waggle Room who apparently hasn’t gotten the memo about CVS not renewing its sponsorship.


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