Ole Miss basketball players kneel during national anthem

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The protest happened on the same day a pro-Confederacy rally was taking place in Oxford.

Several Ole Miss basketball players took a knee while the national anthem was being played before the team’s home game against Georgia Saturday afternoon.

The act by the players took place on the same day that the city of Oxford served as the site for the “Mississippi Stands Rally,” an event put on by pro-Confederate groups Confederate 901 and The Hiwaymen. The march was set to end roughly a mile away from The Pavilion, where the Rebels and Bulldogs tipped off at 4 p.m. ET. Ole Miss students had planned a counter-rally on campus.

The act of the players here is also noteworthy because of comments made by first-year head coach Kermit Davis last year. At his introductory press conference on March 20, Davis told Rebel fans about his teams: “We’re going to be a team that respects the flag and the national anthem. All of those things from culture is what we’re about. It’s who we’re going to be.”

No Ole Miss player had ever been accused of disrespecting the flag or the national anthem before Davis made his statement, but this was also something he had emphasized during his time as the head coach of Middle Tennessee State.

“The pride he took every time we got a letter from an opposing fan because our guys stand at attention during the national anthem and they all hold their hand over their heart. That’s a very big thing with Coach Davis,” MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro told the Clarion Ledger after Davis accepted the Ole Miss job. “Typically, when we go from arena to arena, a fan would notice that and they would send either him or me a note, a letter or email. We took great pride in that. That’s kind of one of the things I’ll always remember him by … how much pride he took into that.

”It’s a small thing in some ways, but it’s a huge thing to a lot of people, to him and to our program. That’s one of the things we’ll see as we continue forward. That’s going to be one of the legacies he’ll leave.”

In Davis’ first season at Ole Miss, the Rebels have been arguably the most pleasant surprise in the SEC. They entered Saturday with an 18-8 overall record, an 8-5 mark in conference play, and a No. 9 seed in the most recent NCAA tournament bracket projection from SB Nation’s Chris Dobbertean.


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Iowa suspends broadcaster for season after calling Maryland’s Bruno Fernando ‘King Kong’

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Iowa lost to Maryland on Fernando’s game-winning tip-in last week.

Iowa has suspended its radio play-by-play man for the rest of the basketball season after he referred to an African-born Maryland player as ‘King Kong’.

After Maryland defeated Iowa by one-point on a tip-in by star center Bruno Fernando on Tuesday, Hawkeyes radio voice Gary Dolphin referred to the emerging sophomore as “King Kong.”

“Twelve 3s on 22 made baskets. That’s some pretty good long-range shooting,” Dolphin said. “And then Fernando was King Kong at the end of the game.”

Dolphin has publicly apologized for the comment.

“During the broadcast, I used a comparison when trying to describe a talented Maryland basketball player. In no way did I intend to offend or disparage the player,” Dolphin said. “I take full responsibility for my inappropriate word choice and offer a sincere apology to him and anyone else who was offended. I wish the Iowa Hawkeye players, coaches and fans all the very best as they head into the final stretch of the season. I will use this as an opportunity to grow as a person and learn more about unconscious bias.”

Fernando made the go-ahead tip-in with seven seconds less while surrounded by multiple Iowa players.

Fernando was born in Angola.

This is not the first time Dolphin has been suspended this season. He was suspended two games earlier this year for comments he made about Iowa’s Maishe Dailey during what he thought was a commercial break but were aired.

“We get Maishe Dailey,” Dolphin said. “Dribbles into a double-team with his head down. God.”

Iowa is 21-6 on the season and 10-6 in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes have four games left in the regular season.


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The Freddie Mercury Story That Goes Untold in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

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Millions of people will tune in to the Oscars to see “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, compete for best picture.

There are already a lot of people cheering against it. “Bohemian Rhapsody” has been dogged by accusations of homophobia, and the film’s director, Bryan Singer, was accused of rape and sexual abuse.

But as a gay historian, I keep coming back to something else – the tragic history that’s glaringly absent from this movie.

Mercury, along with all the other men and women who tested positive for HIV in the 1980s, was a victim not just of a pandemic but of the failures of his own governments and of the scorn of his fellow citizens. The laughable initial response to the HIV pandemic helped seal Mercury’s fate.

None of that is in the movie.

Governments turn their backs

In the early 1980s, when an epidemic of HIV first struck a few population centers in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere, governments mounted almost no public health response.

Doctors initially noticed the virus in groups of people who happened to already be stigmatized for other reasons: men who had sex with men, drug users and, due to racism, Haitians and Haitian-Americans.

The prejudiced initial public health response assumed that many of these people were getting the virus because of whatever was already supposedly wrong with them. Gay men, the thinking went, were getting it because of “risky” behaviors like having lots of partners. HIV was not, therefore, a threat to most straight people. The medical profession’s view of HIV was so colored by the idea that it was intrinsically gay that at first they named the virus “GRID,” an acronym for “gay-related immunodeficiency.”

That was bad science, as we know now. Especially in the absence of good public health information about how to have safer sex, your risk of contracting any sexually transmitted infection goes up when you have more partners. But there was nothing about gay sex in particular that caused AIDS. Lots of straight people had multiple partners in the 1970s and 1980s, but initially, by chance, some communities of gay men were hit harder.

Governments and the general public quietly left people with HIV to their fate. As one activist pointed out, two years into the crisis, the U.S. government had spent more to get to the bottom of a series of mysterious poisonings in Chicago that killed seven people than to research AIDS, which had already killed hundreds of people in the U.S. alone.

The first report of HIV in the U.K. was in 1981. There was no test for the virus until 1985, and there was no really effective treatment until 1996.
In 1985, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher tried to block a public health campaign promoting safe sex; she thought it would encourage teenagers to have sex, and, she claimed, they were not at risk of infection.

All told, it was an absurd response to the major public health catastrophe of our time and to a disease that would go on to kill 36 million people around the world – about as many as died in World War I.

Glossing over the era’s homophobia

All this left Mercury and other queer men in a terrible place. Without good public health information, and with research lagging, they were unnecessarily exposed to the virus. Diagnosed in 1987, Mercury didn’t live long enough for the development of antiretroviral combination treatment that could have saved his life.

He faced not just a deadly disease but vitriolic prejudice against people with HIV and AIDS. Two years before he was diagnosed, a Los Angeles Times poll found that a majority of Americans wanted to quarantine HIV-positive people; 42 percent wanted to close gay bars. As Mercury fought to keep making music as he grew sicker and sicker, the lead singer of the then-popular band Skid Row wore a t-shirt that said, “AIDS kills faggots dead.”

You won’t see this in the movie, either. No one in “Bohemian Rhapsody” is overtly homophobic; when homophobia appears at all, it’s in subtler forms. For example, a bandmate tells Mercury that Queen is emphatically not the openly queer disco act The Village People.

In real life, Mercury faced rampant homophobia – he never really came out publicly, and it’s easy to see why. In 1988, the U.K. passed a notorious anti-gay law that declared, officially, that homosexuality shouldn’t be promoted and that same-sex couples had “pretend” families, not real families. The law stayed on the books for over a decade.

The era’s glam rock and disco music scenes had queer moments, but it was all predicated on everyone being straight in real life. David Bowie told the press he was queer in 1972 and then loudly took it back in 1983, saying “the biggest mistake I ever made” was telling the press “that I was bisexual.”

The Village People were unique because they were unabashedly out and proud, but they weren’t a hit act because of that. They were a hit because the straight public either didn’t realize it or didn’t want to know.

Ask yourself: When you danced to “YMCA” at your high school talent show, did you know it was about gay romance? I’m going to guess the answer is no.

The same was true of Queen. How many of the rock fans who packed stadiums to see them play “We Are the Champions” knew that the heroic singer was not just a rock god, but a fabulous queer icon, too? Not many.

In the 1980s, Mercury ditched his glam rock look and cut his hair in a style popular in gay subculture, donning a black leather jacket and sporting an enviable, gorgeous mustache. Many fans hated it. In the U.S., they threw razors onstage.

No one to blame but himself?

When Mercury died in 1991, his bandmates felt it necessary to do a TV interview to dispute what the media was saying – that Mercury had brought AIDS upon himself with his decadent partying.

Freddie Mercury’s bandmates try to set the record straight.

The movie also quietly makes it seem as if Mercury’s debauchery was to blame for his fate.

In the film, Mercury abandons the band to make a solo album in Munich with his diabolical boyfriend, who lures him into a shady queer world. His ex-girlfriend rescues him and he returns to the band. But by then, it’s too late: He has HIV.

In real life, Mercury didn’t break up the band, he wasn’t the first of the bandmates to make a solo album and, of course, partying doesn’t cause AIDS.

I hope someday, someone makes a better Freddie Mercury biopic, one that accurately depicts the historical moment he lived in and the challenges he dealt with. He deserves it.

Laurie Marhoefer, Associate Professor of History, University of Washington

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The post The Freddie Mercury Story That Goes Untold in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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This Man’s Anti-Gay Attack Was Seen By Thousands on Twitter But He Won’t Be Charged with a Hate Crime

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Salt Lake City Police have identified and charged Carlo Alazo, the man seen in a viral video shared on February 17, taunting a gay man before assaulting him.

FOX 13 reports: ‘A charging document states Trejo was with a group of friends when he heard Alazo, who was on the phone nearby, make a comment about “standing by a gay guy”. When Trejo reacted to that remark, Alazo became more belligerent and started calling Trejo and the other men in the group “fa—-“, along with making other derogatory comments directed at the women in the group. Alazo then asked if Trejo was gay and then hit the man when he said that he was, the document states. The blow, captured on camera, ended up striking Trejo’s cell phone rather than his person. Alazo then shoved one of the women and pulled out a knife, which he dropped, the document states.’

But Alazo won’t be charged with a hate crime because Utah’s laws don’t address sexual orientation.

Said Troy Williams of Equality Utah: “The assailant is not being charged with a hate crime. Because Utah’s current statute isn’t working. It’s broken. It’s unenforceable.”

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the state’s current hate crime law “is not worth the paper it’s written on…I would have to show that the person involved in criminal behavior had the intent to deny a constitutionally protected right…It’s so burdensome, we don’t even go to it.”

KUTV adds: ‘There is a bill in the state legislature that could finally correct this. Senate Bill 103 has cleared its first legislative hurdle at the capitol and could soon get a vote. The bill provides for “an enhanced penalty for a criminal offense committed against a victim who is selected because of certain personal attributes.” Those “certain personal attributes” are final being specified in the law, and include sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as other attributes like race and religion.’

Watch FOX 13’s report:

The post This Man’s Anti-Gay Attack Was Seen By Thousands on Twitter But He Won’t Be Charged with a Hate Crime appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Paul George’s clutch shooting makes you forget about his past struggles

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They used to say George wasn’t clutch. They were very wrong.

Paul George nailed a floater with 0.8 seconds left in double overtime to lift Oklahoma City to a wild 148-147 win over Utah on Friday. There were talks in the past that George couldn’t perform in crunch time. Those talks have come to a screeching halt this season.

Paul George is calling game.

George scored 13 points in clutch time against the Jazz. It tied the most clutch points he’s scored this season. The floater against Utah was his third game winner of the season.

He had a game-winning three against Brooklyn.

And he also pulled off a game-winning four-point play on Jan. 19 in Philadelphia.

Remember where he came from?

George was 0-14 in game-tying or go-ahead shots in the last seconds of regulation or overtime. He was the punch line of his own commercial — one in which he hits a clutch shot for a Gatorade ad says, “Ball game,” only to be mocked by fans for his inability to do so.

Now, George has nailed three such shots in his second season in Oklahoma City. He’s also shooting 30-of-73 from the field in crunch time — defined as the final five minutes of a five-point game in the fourth quarter or overtime — and 4-of-12 in the final 10 seconds of a close game.

George has morphed into a closer in Oklahoma City by necessity. Westbrook has had a poor shooting season, but it’s been his co-star whose shouldered the brunt of the scoring load this season.

The Thunder have positioned themselves as legitimate championship contenders in the Western Conference thanks much to George’s play. And if he continues hitting big shots like the one he hit against Utah, no team in the West is going to want those problems.


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The men of Carnaval: Rio vs. Sydney vs. New Orleans edition

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For those of you who have decided to give up men this year (and, some days, we can’t blame you), we thought we’d put together this decadent compilation of hunky celebrants from Rio, New Orleans, and Sydney to tide you over until Easter.


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Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals deserves a deep rewind

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Shaq vs. Hakeem and Anderson vs. free throws

It’s June 7, 1995. Game one of the NBA Finals at the O-rena in Orlando, Florida. The Magic and Rockets are tied at 118 with five and a half seconds left in overtime. Houston is inbounding at half court.

The Magic, a young franchise who has become the quickest expansion team to reach the finals behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Bucks in 1971, are trying desperately to keep hold of home court advantage. An advantage they got from their 57 win season which earned them the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Houston Rockets have clawed back from a twenty point deficit and are looking for a leg up in their chase of back to back championships. With the return of Michael Jordan only months prior, this may be Olajuwon’s last chance at another ring and the recently acquired Clyde Drexler’s only chance at one.

This game obviously won’t decide the championship, but game one is important for setting the tone for the series. The effect on morale if the Magic were to squander such a huge lead on their home court could be devastating. The momentum gained by Houston’s comeback could fuel their rockets for the rest of the series. But we can’t forget the build up to this moment so, let’s rewind.


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AAF 2019 schedule: Game times, TV channels, and live stream info for Week 3

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Three undefeated teams remain after two weeks of play in the Alliance of American Football.

After two weeks of play, we’re starting to get a picture of how the Alliance of American Football is shaping up. The AAF will begin its slate of Week 3 games on Saturday and Sunday, and they do so with three undefeated teams, three winless teams, and two sitting at 1-1.

Week 3 broadcasting information includes games on the NFL Network, CBS Sports Network and live streaming on B/R Live.

The Birmingham Iron and Orlando Apollos have been standouts so far, and they’re joined by the Arizona Hotshots in the undefeated column. The teams that have struggled are the Memphis Express, Atlanta Legends and Salt Lake City Stallions. Finally, the San Antonio Commanders and San Diego Fleet sit at 1-1.

None of the undefeated teams will face each other in Week 3, so there is a chance all three make it through unscathed.

The first game on Saturday, between Arizona and Salt Lake City, will be live streamed on B/R Live and will not be televised. Below is all the TV and other viewing information you need to follow the action in Week 3 of the Alliance of American Football.

How to watch AAF Week 3 action

All times Eastern

Saturday, Feb. 23

Arizona Hotshots at Salt Lake Stallions
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
Time: 3 p.m.
TV: N/A
Online Streaming: B/R Live

Memphis Express at Orlando Apollos
Location: Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
Time: 8 p.m.
TV: NFL Network
Online Streaming: FuboTV, NFL

Sunday, Feb. 24

Birmingham Iron at Atlanta Legends
Location: Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
Time: 4 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Online Streaming: FuboTV, CBS Sports

San Antonio Commanders at San Diego Fleet
Location: SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, Calif.
Time: 8 p.m.
TV: NFL Network
Online Streaming: FuboTV, NFL


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Duke vs. Syracuse odds: The impact of Zion Williamson’s injury on the point spread

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The star forward will not play in Saturday’s ACC matchup.

Duke travels to face Syracuse on Saturday, and they will be without star forward Zion Williamson following his freak knee injury suffered on Wednesday against North Carolina. The injury looked bad when he blew out his shoe, but he is listed as day-to-day with a grade 1 knee sprain.

Although the Blue Devils will be without their start, they still opened as a 5.5-point favorite over the Orange. The line has come down to 4.5 points at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. The drop in the line has brought in a sizable amount of money for Duke. Currently, 59 percent of the money wagered is on the Blue Devils.

Sportsbooks will make point spread adjustments when notable players get hurt, and they don’t get much more notable than Williamson. He is expected to be the No. 1 pick, and while Duke remains the national title favorite, lines are adjusting.

The oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag have Williamson worth six points, which means Duke could very well be a double digit road favorite against Syracuse had the forward been healthy. The head linesman at BetDSI said the value depends on the opponent — with it being anywhere from two to five points. Oddsmaker at Caesar’s Palace have Williamson worth four or five points, depending on the opponent.

The bigger question for Duke is whether or not Williamson will return between now and the end of the NCAA tournament. You can get odds on that at BetOnline.ag as follows:

Regular Season: 3/2
ACC Tournament: 7/4
NCAA Tournament: 5/2
Does not return this Season: 11/4


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An appreciation of Tiger Woods’ mind-bending ‘duck slice’ shot at WGC Mexico

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Tiger just after impact on what will be one of the most memorable shots of the year on the PGA Tour.

A shot so good, so inconceivable, and so vintage Tiger that it’s worth discussing and appreciating in full.

We’re two months into a golf year that’s been noteworthy for many reasons, few of them having to do with golf shots. It’s been a traveling circus of bad behavior and mistakes and controversies. Tiger Woods hit a golf shot at the WGC Mexico Championship late in his second round on Friday evening. The high from it will not last more than 24 hours, but it was nice to marvel at an actual golf shot for little bit and have that be the biggest story of the day.

The shot is a piece of art, worth celebrating on its own for eternity. Here are 10 thoughts about a 9-iron from 132 yards.

1. This is “vintage Tiger,” a term that’s been thrown around haphazardly in the last year, because it has it all. There’s the aggression and gumption to even try it. There is the artistry to conceive it. There is the mind to calculate how to do it best. And the obvious talent to pull it all off. This is the full package reminiscent of his peak powers and illustrative of the greatest golfing specimen the world has ever seen.

2. You are not supposed to be able to bend the ball that much from that close in range. Every pro can shape the ball in a variety of ways. The big banana cuts happen with room and space, not from this distance and angle and rarely from the sand. This was from just 132 yards, from the sand, behind a tree, and he got it up and out and able to curve that much in that short amount of distance.

3. Tiger’s greatest shots come from the most precarious positions, and many of those spots have been in the sand. There’s the shot from the fairway bunker at Hazeltine, which he has gone on record to call the greatest of his career. There’s the shot from the fairway bunker over water at Glen Abbey. And now this from the fairway bunker in Mexico.

This is not an original point and far smarter golf minds have made it in recent years but: this shot is another reminder in an era obsessed with distance and exclamatory shouts about speed and power that the best highlights are never the latest 400-yard drive. Power may be as important as its ever been, but the best highlights come from the fairway or around the green, the spots that remind you it can still be a game of skill and art and touch.

Tiger is the greatest of all time in that area and here, at 43-years-old, was another demonstration. How many of these career highlights are the booming 330-yard drives? The greatest shots in the history of golf, the ones seared into our memories, are not tee shots.

4. I’m not sure if the shot is best appreciated through video, with the ball dramatically darting across the green. Or in still image. Because the photos were as engrossing as the live action.

World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship - Round Two
Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images
Give this a Pulitzer.

I will take a slight diversion and say that golf produces the best photographs of any sport (I will hear arguments for the NBA). This is an incredible image but it’s one of dozens that I know I’ll be able to instantly recall just from the last five years alone. Between the setting and the characters, the photos and photographers out there chasing are as good as it gets in sports.

5. The finish. This is an obvious one and close Tiger watchers, especially here late in his career, have become familiar with the maaaaaaybe-sometimes-slightly exaggerated finish on a shot that he needs to dig out of the rough or shape in one extreme direction. The image of this finish should be the new PGA Tour logo.

6. The easiest thing to do in sports analysis is to say it used to be better or more challenging in the past. Not to go all “in my day I walked uphill both ways to school” but this kind of shotmaking may be lost, or at least endangered, in the new generation of pure power and Trackman-data-fed automatons. You’ll hear stories about Tiger teaching the next generation how to control the ball in ways they’d never even conceived. And then show them how to hit shots that seem like they’re out of a video game. These aren’t some scrubs at a clinic — they’re the best players in the world and at the very top of the rankings.

I want to believe there’s no one under 30 playing the game right now that would attempt this and execute this and only a few who even understand how it works. Maybe Jordan Spieth? And I’m not sure how many there are over 30 who would even try it or understand it. I’m probably being too dismissive of all the other incredible talent, but like I said, it’s what I want to believe dammit.

7. Two days ago, Tiger said during his pre-tournament press conference that “The ball just doesn’t curve at this altitude.” It curved pretty well here. So maybe this thing would have been an even more extreme bender had we been at sea level? As Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee pointed out, however, it does still spin at altitude and this WGC Mexico had the highest spin rate of any event on Tour last year. That certainly helped once the ball got on the ground and decided to race over toward the pin.

8. It is a pleasant shot of dopamine to watch Tiger be happy to talk about the shot and what went into it. He is always at his most valuable and insightful when he gets in the weeds on golf, from shotmaking to styles to course setups. Also, here we get the term “vintage duck slice.”

9. I do not care that he missed the putt, although he seemed pretty pissed about it. It does not matter. The shot is the shot in a vacuum and talking about the putt is like nitpicking about some potential travel call before a legendary in-game dunk. Phil Mickelson’s shot from the pine straw at Augusta was not diminished by the missed putt and neither is this.

10. I wrote this approximately 250 times last year during that incredible comeback season, but the fact that this highlight exists after the prior five years is still staggering. And, whatever you think of Tiger personally, it’s a gift. It’s a gift to watch the greatest golf mind and creative talent execute this kind of shotmaking when it seemed almost certain that he would never play on the PGA Tour again. It’s OK to be saccharine and cherish it.


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