Articles By Rob Doster

Path: /golfs-mt-rushmore

All this talk about the Mt. Rushmore of this and the Mt. Rushmore of that reminded me that the concept works better for golf than any other sport, since golfers naturally organize themselves in groups of four. So who comprises golf's ultimate foursome?

In completing my list, I used two primary criteria: achievement and impact. Who won important golf tournaments, and who transcended the game while doing so?

Here, then, is my ultimate foursome — the four men who have had the greatest, most lasting impact on the game of golf. Feel free to tell me where I’m wrong.

Tiger Woods

Rather than recite Tiger’s resume, I’d rather revisit the one moment that made Woods’ spot on golf’s Mount Rushmore an inevitability. In April 1997, Woods so dominated the most storied and tradition-steeped tournament in golf that the sport was changed forever.

We all remember the Masters-record 18-under par total that Woods shot in his first Masters as a pro. We remember his incredible 12-shot margin of victory. (Runner-up Tom Kite’s 282 total would have been good enough to win 17 previous Masters, but it only got him within 12 shots of Tiger.) We remember the way his mammoth drives turned the par-5s into pitch-and-putts. What many people don’t remember about the 1997 Masters is how badly Tiger started the tournament. On the front nine on Thursday, Woods went out in 40, leaving him 4-over par. That, apparently, is when the stars aligned and the golf gods smiled. Over the next 63 holes, Woods swept through Augusta National like a tornado, toying with the course and demoralizing the greatest players in the world. 

Tiger’s runaway, far from putting a crimp into the television ratings, instead gave golf its greatest ratings winner to date. In 1996, before Woods turned pro, the rating was 9.2 on Sunday. In 1997, when Woods won, the number jumped to 14.1.

The rest, as they say, is history — 14 major championships, 79 PGA Tour wins, the lowest career scoring average in PGA Tour history, and, yes, scandal and disgrace. But the impact and the level of achievement are undeniable and unprecedented.

Jack Nicklaus

Nicklaus brought out greatness in his opponents — Palmer, Player, Watson, Trevino. But more importantly, he made golf a greater game through his physical skill and strength, his mental toughness, his sustained level of excellence and his genius for strategically dismantling golf courses around the world.

You know the litany of accomplishments. 18 major championships, more than Hogan and Palmer combined. A mind-boggling 37 top twos in majors.

And lest we think the Tour of the 21st Century outshines the Tour in Jack’s prime, consider this: Nicklaus fought many of the game’s greatest at their very peak and beat them all. And when he didn’t beat them, he coaxed their very best out of them.

As if to prove the point, at age 46, Nicklaus was able to muster enough of his old-time wizardry to outduel names like Ballesteros, Kite, Norman — all of them at the peak of their powers — to win his sixth Masters in 1986 in one of the greatest sports moments of all time.

In his golden years, the Golden Bear has continued to shape the game with his prolific golf course design company. 

Arnold Palmer

There have been better players with prettier swings. But there has never been a more important golfer than the King, Arnold Palmer. He quadrupled purses, brought golf away from the country clubs and into our living rooms, and assembled an Army of devoted followers. He won — and lost — with more flair than any other athlete.

From 1958 to 1968, Palmer reigned amid the azaleas and pines of Augusta National, where Arnie’s Army first mustered. With the lone exception of 1963, he was in contention at every Masters during that epic stretch, winning four times, finishing second twice, third once and fourth twice.

Although he made his reputation at The Masters — and made the tournament what it is today — it was the 1960 U.S. Open that truly captured the King at the peak of his powers. The leaderboard on that final day included a chubby 20-year-old amateur named Jack Nicklaus. It included a legend — the Hawk, Ben Hogan. The third member of this historic trio lit a cigarette, stalked to the tee of the 318-yard, par-4 first hole at Cherry Hills and drove the green on his way to a historic final-round 65, erasing a seven-stroke deficit for the greatest comeback in Open history.

Sam Snead

If winning is the standard for determining excellence, there is no greater player in golf history than Sam Snead.

Using a smooth, syrupy swing that looked as natural and effortless as breathing, Slammin’ Sammy won more golf tournaments than any other player — a staggering total of 81 PGA Tour titles, and anywhere from 135 to 165 victories worldwide, depending on whom you ask. He posted wins in four different decades, from the 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro to the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open (his eighth title in that event), when he was 52 years old.

Snead won three Masters, including a 1954 playoff triumph over friend and rival Ben Hogan. He won three PGA Championships and a British Open.

There is one hole in the Slammer’s résumé that prevents him from staking a legitimate claim to being the greatest player in history. Somehow, Snead never won the one tournament that seemingly should have been his by birthright. He never won a U.S. Open. But his near-tragic failures at the Open do not diminish his accomplishments.

His swing was such an efficient device that it served him well into his golden years and remains the gold standard for golf swings. In 1979, he offered golf fans one final glimpse of his greatness, as he became the first player to score below his age, shooting 67 and 66 in the Quad Cities Open at the age of 67. By then, and for the rest of his life, Snead was a beloved ambassador and advocate for the game.


Ben Hogan is widely considered the greatest ball-striker in the game’s history, and he changed golf instruction forever with his Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. Along with Nicklaus, Woods, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen, he’s one of five players to own a career Grand Slam. His courage in coming back from a near-fatal car crash added to his legend. His tough-to-love, prickly personality kept him distant from fans and keeps him off Mount Rushmore. Barely.

Gary Player was golf’s first global ambassador, winning tournaments all over the world, including nine major championships.

Seve Ballesteros was Europe’s version of Arnold Palmer, putting a sport on his back and selling it to an entire continent. Almost singlehandedly, he transformed the Ryder Cup into one of the greatest spectacles in sports.

Bobby Jones was the game’s breakthrough superstar who pulled off one of golf’s signature achievements with his 1930 Grand Slam — winning the U.S. and British Opens and U.S. and British Amateurs in one season. Oh, and he founded The Masters.

Byron Nelson was golf’s greatest gentleman and the author of its greatest individual achievement — 11 wins in a row in 1945, a season in which he won 18 tournaments in all.

Tom Watson won eight majors and dominated golf’s oldest tournament, the British Open, like no one else, winning five times in a nine-year span and coming close to a historic sixth win in 2009 at age 59.  

<p> Who would make the list for professional golf's ultimate foursome?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 16:11
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-25-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 25.

Paula Patton is apparently splitting from Robin Thicke. I don't really know who Paula Patton is, but she seems to have good judgment.

Justin Verlander seemed to be creeping out companion Kate Upton at a recent Knicks-Magic game.

• A kid tried for an Air Jordan logo haircut. It didn't quite work.

Warren Sapp reacted like the rest of us to Jadaveon Clowney's insane 40-yard dash.

• This is pretty scary: A female broadcaster almost fell victim to a human trafficking con in Sochi.

Dirk's dagger in the Mavs' win over the Knicks yielded a quintessential Knicks GIF. At least J.R. Smith is still attempting to provide entertaining moments.

• I don't normally do politics in the Essential 11. But this photo is amazing in a multi-layered way.

Enjoy footage of a woman getting smacked in the face by a whale's tail.

Tim Lincecum is trying something with his facial hair. It's not working.

• Ali-Liston I was 50 years ago yesterday. The FBI believed the fight was fixed by the mob.

• This Klay Thompson slam ended with Kyle Singler back-pedaling into the photogs.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 10:36
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-24-2013

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 24.

The Instagrams of the week include this arresting shot from track athlete Leryn Franco.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. kept his promise to join Twitter if he won the Daytona 500. He already has more than 300,000 followers.

• Fox ran last year's Daytona 500 during the rain delay. Some viewers thought it was the real thing. Hilarity ensued.

50 Cent offered to kiss Michael Waltrip if he won the 500. Armed with that motivation, Waltrip finished 41st.

The folks in Sochi had a little fun at their own expense at the Closing Ceremony.

We knew Jadaveon Clowney was insanely, disgustingly fast, but this is ridiculous.

Digger Phelps struggled amusingly with Tyler Ennis' name.

Athletes who have lost a ridiculous amount of weight, including Barry Bonds, whose melon has shrunk back down to human size.

• And now for something completely different: the world's weirdest bras.

Watch a short kid dunk at a pep rally. So he had a little help.

CBS unveiled Telestrator Boob yesterday.

• Thomas Robinson blocked Corey Brewer's dunk attempt and stole a piece of his soul in the process.



-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Monday, February 24, 2014 - 11:15
All taxonomy terms: Jason Day, Victor Dubuisson, Golf
Path: /golf/5-key-stats-accenture-match-play-championship

Just call him Jason "All" Day. Aussie Jason Day outlasted an unbelievably resilient Victor Dubuisson in the finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, draining one last 4-footer on the 23rd hole of the grueling final match at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., to earn his second career PGA Tour win. Finally, a player known for appearing on major leaderboards but disappearing for the rest of the year can add a prestigious championship to his resume, a win that will propel him near the top of Masters favorites.

But Day had to earn it. Dubuisson, a 23-year-old Frenchman who was a virtual unknown to American audiences, all but clinched a spot on the European Ryder Cup team with an astonishing display of Houdini-level escape artistry. Two holes down with two to play, Dubuisson rallied, winning the final two holes with a birdie at 17 and a Day 3-putt at 18. On the first playoff hole, Dubuisson pulled off his first Great Escape, getting up and down out of the prickly cactus. On the second extra hole, he did himself one better, playing his ball from a bush and earning another impossible par.

"Vic coming down the stretch was just unbelievable," Day said. "I've never seen someone as young, apart from Jordan Spieth, and in the old days Tiger Woods, how clutch he was, especially out of the cactus. I kept shaking my head because it was so surprising because there was a couple of times there where I thought he was absolutely dead. The tournament was mine."

Ultimately, the tournament was Day's, and those final dramatic holes were the culmination of an impressive week of match play artistry from a litany of players who seemed determined to reward viewers for their loyalty given the absence of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott. Those who did tune in were rewarded with some of the most stomach-churning golf in recent memory.

Here are the key stats from five days in the desert.


89 Jason Day put on a clinic on how to survive in match play. Of the 36 greens he missed, he saved par 32 times, a staggering conversion rate of 89 percent. The PGA Tour leader converted 66 percent of the time in 2013.


26 At 26 years, 3 months, Day became the youngest-ever winner of the Accenture Match Play. Tiger Woods was 27 when he won in 2003.


0 Graeme McDowell, who reached the round of eight in the Match Play, won his first three matches without ever holding a lead until the final putt dropped. McDowell rallied to beat Gary Woodland in 19 holes, caught Hideki Matsuyama and beat him on the 18th hole, and rallied to beat Hunter Mahan in 21 holes. At no point in any of those matches did he stand on a tee with a lead.


72 Day had played 72 PGA Tour events since his previous win, the 2010 Byron Nelson Classic. The 26-year-old Day wasn't panicking that the wins weren't coming. "A career is very long in golf,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for myself is just to understand I’m not Rory. I’m not Tiger. I’m not Adam Scott. I’m not Justin Rose. I’m Jason Day. I need to do the work and it will happen. I’ve just got to be patient."\


2 Victor Dubuisson's second-place finish matches the best-ever finish by a French player in a PGA Tour event, joining Jean Van de Velde, Thomas Levet and Gregory Havret.



Players are fans, too, and they loved what they saw on Sunday. Here's a sample of some of the tweets that were flying across the twittersphere.

Rory McIlroy — "Congrats to @JDayGolf on the win! And well played @Vdubush! Haven't seen short game magic like that since the great Seve! Awesome viewing!"

Jordan Spieth — Congrats @JDayGolf !! What an amazing win and fireworks from @Vdubush . Great match and both are deserving champions. Great guys as well

Tom Watson — Two of the greatest up-and/downs I have ever seen Victor!!!

Sergio Garcia — What an amazing win @JDayGolf ! Well done, very much deserved my friend. @Vdubush great week, keep it going for September!!


Enjoy the video of Dubuisson's two remarkable par saves.



Post date: Monday, February 24, 2014 - 10:29
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-21

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

You spent your work day watching live U.S.-Canada hockey; now relax with some tape-delayed action from the slopes and the short track. Spoiler alert: People who love 'Murica will want to tune in.


1. Alpine Skiing — Women's Slalom
American teenage sensation Mikaela Shiffrin will try to become the youngest woman to win an Olympic slalom gold, as well as the first U.S. woman to win the slalom at the Olympics since 1972. The 18-year-old from Eagle-Vail, Colo., will have to beat some seasoned competitors, but she's dominated the event on the World Cup circuit.

Read more here:


2. Short Track Speed Skating — Men's 500m, Men's Relay, Women's 1000m

If you have a need for speed in a confined space, this is right up your alley. In the Women's 1000m, Jessica Smith represents the final chance for a U.S. individual medal in short track. The American Relay team is a solid medal contender as well.

Post date: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 12:48
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-21-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 21.

• Jennifer Love Hewitt is turning 35, which makes me feel old. Fortunately, she still looks amazing, which helps soften the blow. 

• Today's the day. U.S.-Canada. Battle lines are drawn. And to help you get ready, here are 17 reasons to love American hero T.J. Oshie. And even better, here's T.J. Oshie's hot fiancee, Lauren Cosgrove.

• We need this one to make up for the women's final. One inch to the left, and the U.S. women would have won gold.

A first-hand account of last night's figure skating final.

Jimmy Kimmel and Kate Hansen punk'd the world with that wolf-in-the-hotel hoax, myself included.

The Dutch speed skating coach thinks we Americans waste a lot of time and talent on football, a "sport that sucks."

The week's funniest tweets, from our friends at Mandatory.

• Fred Davis' weekend is not off to a good start. He was arrested for DUI the day after the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Matt Lauer zinged Bob Costas with an even better line than "jerk store."

• LeBron James proved he was human, bleeding on the court. Of course, he completed the posterization.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 10:39
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-20

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

Tonight's main event is also considered by many to be the main event of any Winter Games: the Women's Figure Skating free skate. Medals will be awarded, and stars will be born.


1. Figure Skating — Women's Free Skate
Reigning world and Olympic champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea entered these games as the favorite, but Russian teenagers Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaia and Americans Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds are competing for hearts, minds and high scores as well.

Read more here:


2. Freestyle Skiing — Women's Halfpipe, Men's Ski Cross

In Women's Halfpipe, competitors will be thinking of Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke, who lobbied for Olympic inclusion of the halfpipe event prior to her death from a training accident in 2012. American Maddie Bowman is a top contender for gold.

Austria's Michael Schmid won Ski Cross gold in Vancouver, and he'll look to do so again in Sochi. John Teller is the lone qualifying American in the event.

Post date: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 14:36
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-20-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 20.

• I'm sure you've seen this, but I'm going to link to it anyway: Kate Upton's zero-gravity photo shoot/video for SI.

The Swiss women's hockey team used an empty-netter to win bronze.

A statistical analysis of the best Olympians of the Sochi Games.

• Olympic luger Kate Hansen captured the essence of the Sochi experience: a wolf prowling the hall of her hotel. Some people say it's a dog, but I'm sticking with wolf.

The weirdest sports mascots of all time.

Dwight Howard got in the spirit of the Lakers fans' antipathy toward him.

• That whole Mayan end-of-the-world thing didn't work out, but don't fret: there's a Norse myth that the world will end this Saturday. Get ready for the Viking apocalypse.

• Speaking of Kate Upton, she joined Instagram yesterday. In 12 hours, despite posting very little, she had more than 420,000 followers.

• An errant shot from Rory McIlroy ended with a fan falling into some cactus, yielding this wince-inducing photo.

In the Richard Petty-Danica Patrick kerfuffle, Tony Stewart is all-in for Team Danica.

• We can all relax: Donkey basketball has been deemed NCAA-compliant.

• Enjoy Brian Williams "rapping" the Sugarhill Gang classic "Rapper's Delight."


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 10:53
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-19

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

There's a good chance you watched the hockey live, as productivity across the nation plummeted around lunchtime. But here are some other events you'll enjoy tonight on tape delay.


1. Alpine Skiing — Men's Giant Slalom
American Ted Ligety first won a gold medal eight years ago as a 21-year-old unknown. Now, he's the overwhelming favorite to erase his Vancouver disappointment of 2010 and win gold again.

Read more here:


2. Women's Bobsled

The American duo of Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams are the overnight leaders after a strong pair of runs, while Lolo Jones' driving partner Jazmine Fenlator piloted a couple of sloppy runs for an 11th-place showing after Day 1.


3. Women's Figure Skating — Short Program

The marquee event of any Winter Games is the women's figure skating individual competition, and Sochi is no different. Americans Gracie Gold, Polina Edmunds and Ashley Wagner will try to position themselves for medal contention, but the favorites are South Korea's Kim Yu-na and Russian sweetheart Julia Lipnitskaia, who will be feeling the pressure of her home country's hopes after Russia's shocking hockey loss.


4. Snowboarding — Men's Parallel Giant Slalom

Russian Vic Wild, who was born in the U.S., earned Russian citizenship by marrying Alena Zavarzina, and he also earned a spot on the Russian Olympic team. Now he tries to overcome a sloppy course to earn gold for his adopted homeland.

Post date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 13:12
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-19-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 19.

Presenting the 12 rookies of this year's SI Swimsuit issue, including Valerie van der Graaf (pictured). Wonder if there was any rookie hazing involved?

• Screen grab of the day so far: Putin reacts to Russia's elimination from the Olympic hockey tournament.

A U.S. bobsledder who didn't make the Olympic cut couldn't resist taking shots at Lolo Jones from the safety of Twitter.

John Calipari's perplexed face is tremendous in slow motion.

How about some slo-mo footage of NFL cheerleaders running the 40 in their work clothes? Oh, and Rich Eisen, too.

Texas A&M is putting in the nation's largest scoreboard — 7,661 square feet. That's three times the square footage of my house.

I had never heard of Meng, the scariest man in wrestling. Now I'm a little sorry I have. Dude's terrifying.

• Sorry to be a hump-day buzzkill, but there's disturbing footage of Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator. Methinks it's time to cop a plea.

• Ho-hum. Just another insane high school basketball buzzer-beater.

Melo consoled himself after a loss by checking out some fan's backside.

So does it matter if Robinson Cano doesn't run out grounders?

• They're a little more serious about their base-brawls in Cuba. This one features a guy swinging a bat at another guy's head.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 10:58
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-18

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

The fog-induced delays are over, and Sochi's back in business, with a number of entertaining and action-packed events on tonight's ledger.


1. Alpine Skiing — Women's Giant Slalom
Tina Maze of Slovenia is the headliner in this event and will go for her second gold of these Games. Mikaela Shiffrin represents America's best medal hope.

Read more here:


2. Freestyle Skiing — Men's Halfpipe

You would expect the U.S. to dominate the X-Games events in Sochi, and the Americans are on their way to doing just that. David Wise of the U.S. skis for gold in the halfpipe.


3. Short Track Speed Skating — Women's Relay

Elbows and bodies are likely to fly in this delightfully chaotic event, as South Korea and Canada battle for gold.


4. Women's Bobsled

Lolo Jones makes her highly anticipated Winter Olympics debut, but she's far from the only story on the bobsled track. In fact, the American duo of pilot Elana Meyers and brakeman Lauryn Williams are the headliners and their nation's best hope for gold.

Post date: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 13:55
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-18-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 18.

• We've learned that Kate Upton is in fact on the cover of this year's SI Swimsuit issue. It's the back cover, but it's still the cover.

• Those luxurious Sochi accommodations are still making headlines. Canadian bobsledder Heather Moyse had to take a hot bath in a trash can. And Lolo Jones did a little video expose on the horrible food they're feeding the athletes.

Five takeaways from Jimmy Fallon's first Tonight Show.

• Ah, capitalism. Ohio State's Marcus Hall is selling signed photos of his double-bird departure from the Big House last November.

In figure skating, a costume designer is as important as a coach.

Members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot were detained and then released in Sochi. I'm convinced that journalists keep their story alive just to say Pussy Riot.

Rick Pitino's views on social media are a little more complex than they're being portrayed.

• Anyway, without social media, we wouldn't have this hilarious assortment of Twitpics.

Being a pro athlete comes with its share of perks. Obviously.

• What's the deal this year with insane high school buzzer-beaters? Here's another one. Maybe it's just social media bringing them to our attention this year.

• This dude was prepared for the Kiss Cam. Well played.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 10:29
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-17

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

Bob's back. The eye infection that sidelined Bob Costas has been brought under control, allowing the longstanding, short-statured Olympic host to resume his duties. Here's what Bob will be bringing us tonight. Note that the blanket of fog covering Sochi has disrupted the schedule, leading to the postponement of the men's snowboarding.


1. Freestyle Skiing — Men's Aerials
American freestyler Mac Bohonnon will attempt to medal, while defending Olympic champion Alexei Grishin of Belarus will be absent from the finals after failing to qualify.

Read more here:


2. Figure Skating — Ice Dancing Free Skate

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are attempting to become the first American duo to win the gold medal in this elegant event that emphasizes grace over athleticism. Davis and White will try to hold off Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.


3. Ski Jumping — Men's Team Large Hill

The RusSki Gorki Jumping Center will be the scene as Poland and Austria battle for gold.


Post date: Monday, February 17, 2014 - 13:32
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-17-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 16.

• It's SI Swimsuit week. Here are some choice images of this year's cover models.

An eerie fog has enveloped Sochi. I think Bond villain Vladimir Putin must be behind it.

NBC's frontal assault on an emotional Bode Miller has drawn some criticism.

Bob Costas is finally back in his Olympic booster seat, sans glasses.

Johnny Weir is determined to pummel Sochi into submission with his flamboyance.

A poll suggests that most NFL players would be okay with a gay teammate.

• LeBron came down from Mt. Rushmore to participate in the highest-scoring NBA All-Star Game in history.

• This is an interesting idea: moving ice hockey to the Summer Olympics.

• Today's get-off-my-lawn moment: Mike Ditka criticized Matt Stafford for wearing his cap backwards. Mike Ditka is old and cranky.

• It's Presidents Day. Here's a gallery of presidents playing sports.

According to Vernon Davis, curling requires more strategy than football. Vernon Davis' friends will abuse him for this observation.

• In case you missed last night's All-Star Game, here's a slo-mo recap.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Monday, February 17, 2014 - 11:18
All taxonomy terms: Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Golf
Path: /golf/5-key-stats-northern-trust-open

For a weekend, anyway, Bubba Golf wasn't a roller coaster of missed fairways and impossibly curved and creative wedge shots. Instead, it was a stunning bogey-free display of fairways, greens and a white-hot putter that would have been the envy of Tiger in his prime. Bubba Watson dismantled the legendary Riviera layout with a weekend 64-64 that featured 14 birdies and no bogeys and ended with his first win since the 2012 Masters. Watson's two-shot win over Dustin Johnson at the Northern Trust Open was the fifth of his career and could get golf's folk hero back onto the short list of Masters favorites.

Over two flawless rounds, Watson showed a well-rounded, consistent game that no one knew he had. In addition to his accustomed position atop the driving distance stats, he was tied for eighth in the field in driving accuracy, second in greens in regulation and tied for eighth in putts per green in regulation. It was enough to hold off a charging Dustin Johnson, who put himself in position for his second win of the season but couldn't apply enough pressure with a par-par-par finish.

"You never know when your last win is going to be," said Watson. "My last win could have been The Masters, which would have been a great way to go out. But winning here at Northern Trust is nice. ... I never looked down, I never felt down that I haven't won yet but just keep plugging along and somehow it fell in my lap today."

Here are the key numbers from a beautiful LA weekend.

39 Watson played the final 39 holes of the Northern Trust Open without a single bogey. He was 14-under par for those 39 holes.

28 Watson's final round 64 was the lowest by a winner of the Northern Trust in 28 years.

318.5 Watson's field-leading driving distance, which allowed him to overpower the par 5s at Riviera and left him with short approaches on the par 4s. He was 8-under on the par 5s for the tournament and 7-under on the par 4s for the final two rounds.

4 Dustin Johnson is 4-for-4 in top-six finishes thus far in the 2013-14 season. He won the WGC-HSBC in November, finished tied for sixth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and has had back-to-back runner-up finishes at Pebble Beach and Riviera.

3 There were three former Georgia Bulldogs in the top 10 at Riviera — Watson, Brian Harman (T3) and Harris English (T10).

The shots of the week included Watson's bunker blast for birdie on the par-3 sixth hole on Sunday, part of a front-nine 30 that allowed him to erase a four-shot deficit.



Sadly, the iconic Eisenhower Pine on the 17th hole at Augusta National fell victim to an ice storm and had to be removed. "The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept," club chairman Billy Payne said. "We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible."

Post date: Monday, February 17, 2014 - 10:23
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-14

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

A little history will be made on NBC's Valentine's Day Olympic broadcast, as Meredith Vieira becomes the first woman to anchor Olympic coverage while Bob Costas continues to battle a stubborn eye infection.


1. Alpine Skiing — Men's Super Combined
One ominous note for U.S. fans: American medal favorite Bode Miller has expressed concern over the course in Sochi, saying: "If by the luck of the draw you draw (bib number) 5, you're running 45 minutes to an hour before somebody who's ranked two points behind you who draws 29. In these conditions, the course really changes a lot in an hour."


2. Freestyle Skiing — Women's Aerials

Ashley Caldwell, a 20-year-old from Virginia, is the top American medal hope in an X-Games-style event that produces maximum air and maximum thrills.


3. Women's Skeleton

The Women's Skeleton wraps up today with American Noelle Pikus-Pace in prime medal position.


4. Figure Skating — Men's Free Skate

American Jeremy Abbott's dramatic fall eliminated him from contention, and Russian legend Evegeni Plushenko withdrew, but high drama will still reign at the Men's Free Skate. Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu set a scoring record in the short program and will try to hold off Canada's Patrick Chan for gold.

Post date: Friday, February 14, 2014 - 12:58
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-14-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 14.

• Ladies and gentlemen (mostly gentlemen), your 50th anniversary SI Swimsuit cover. Happy Valentine's Day.

A heartfelt Valentine's greeting from Bill Belichick.

• Keeping with the love theme: Derek Jeter's dating diamond. It's impressive, especially strong up the middle.

An assortment of Valentines for the totalitarian dictator in your life.

A Russian perspective on the Miracle on Ice. I say, who cares? U-S-A!

Today's heartwarming story of Olympic sportsmanship.

Bob Costas' eye funk is allowing Meredith Vieira to make history.

• A craftsman never blames his tools, but some are blaming the U.S. speedskaters' uniforms for their poor performance.


The Internet's obsession with Kate Hansen's dancing continues.

The week's funniest tweets. Some real gems there.

The report to the Commissioner about the Incognito-Martin situation is out, if you'd care to dig in.

• Cat's already out of the bag, but here's video of Jimmy Kimmel's big reveal of the Swimsuit cover.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Friday, February 14, 2014 - 10:42
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-13

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

Matt Lauer is starting to get comfortable in the anchor's chair, as Bob Costas spends a third night tending to his eye infection. Normal spoiler alert: By tonight, all of this will have already happened, so if you want to go in fresh, avoid the usual sports sites today.


1. Freestyle Skiing — Men's Slopestyle
The U.S. men — Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nicholas Goepper — are attempting to make history in this event, and even if you already know the outcome, you'll want to tune in.


2. Short Track Speed Skating — Women's 500m

It's not a spoiler to say that this event lives up to its reputation for chaos and unpredictability. Sometimes, it's the last skater standing who skates away with gold.


3. Figure Skating — Men's Short Program

Count on Russian legend Evgeni Plushenko to make news, whatever he does. American Jeremy Abbott is out for redemption after a disappointing showing in the team event.

Post date: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 12:12
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-13-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 13.

• As anticipation builds for SI Swimsuit 2014, here's a rundown of top Swimsuit rookies for each year since 1999, including Class of 2011 standout Kate Upton.

• I found this amusing: What celebrities would look like if they were normal suburbanite schlubs like us.

Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy is tackling the Sochi stray problem all by himself.

Two American medal favorites have crashed and burned in Sochi.

• Short track speed skating strategy 101: Be patient and wait for everybody else to crash.

One blogger is already nauseated in anticipation of Derek Jeter's syrupy, schlocky farewell tour this season. I see his point, especially when I see a headline like this

It was Disco Demolition Night at the Warriors game.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner suspended a player for cussing. If that's the standard, a lot of people are in trouble.

• Reminder: Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. If you forget to give your honey something, make her forget that you forgot by mixing some of these Valentine-themed cocktails.

Buzzer-beater of the year so far comes to us from Washington high school hoops.

• Of a little more national significance was Tyler Ennis' buzzer-beater to beat Pittsburgh.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 10:31
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-12

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

Eye Watch 2014 rages on: Bob Costas is sidelined again by pinkeye, and he's being Wally Pipp'ed for a second night by Matt Lauer, who has his own facial weirdness happening with a scraggly beard. Normal spoiler alert: By tonight, all of this will have already happened, so if you want to go in fresh, avoid the usual sports sites today.


1. Alpine Skiing — Women's Downhill
You'll want to watch this event, as history has been made today in Sochi. Mild spoiler alert: That history does not involve top American Julia Mancuso.


2. Speed Skating — Men's 1000m

American Shani Davis, a heavy favorite, tries to make Olympic history with his third consecutive gold medal in this event. Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands stands in his way.


3. Snowboarding — Women's Halfpipe

American Kelly Clark is the headliner here, as she tries to win a third career medal in her fourth Olympic Games. She's joined in a strong field by Australia’s Torah Bright and U.S. contenders Hannah Teter, Arielle Gold and Kaitlyn Farrington.


4. Figure Skating — Pairs Free Skate

Medals are on the line as the pairs take the ice in the Iceberg Skating Palace.

Post date: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 13:27
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-12-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 12.

This Bar Refaeli Instagram gallery will tide you over until the SI 50th anniversary Swimsuit Issue hits newstands and interwebs.

• Occupational hazard of the day: Skiers have big butts, making it hard to buy clothes.

This Canadian beer machine at the Olympics is amazing. We're falling behind, America.

A Slovenian gold medal skier also made a video for her pump-up jam.

Conan chronicles the story of these Games: Bob Costas' eye funk.

So when people tie for the gold medal, where does the extra medal come from?

LeBron puts himself on the NBA Mt. Rushmore.

Some young girls got fooled by a Dwight Howard impersonator. Is there money in Dwight Howard impersonation?

Grizzlies mascot Super Grizz powerbombed a "fan" in a Gilbert Arenas jersey.

• For Michigan's visit, Ohio State handed out a roster guide that omitted all the "m's" except for one that they forgot.

Michael Jordan and wife Yvette just had twins. Mazel tov. Too bad MJ will be the lame, embarrassing old dad when the kids get older.

• When the Duke and Carolina managers get together for hoops, there will be blood.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 10:46
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-11

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

Tonight, Matt Lauer unexpectedly takes the anchor chair from Bob Costas, who is fighting a double eye infection and will be absent from his hosting duties at an Olympic Games for the first time since 1988. Normal spoiler alert: By tonight, all of this will have already happened, so if you want to go in fresh, avoid the usual sports sites today.


1. Snowboarding — Men's Halfpipe
American superstar Shaun White tried to defend his back-to-back Olympic golds in this event on a course that has generated some controversy due to less-than-optimal conditions. Casual NASCAR fans might want to tune in — word from the course is that wrecks are the norm today.


2. Freestyle Skiing — Women's Slopestyle

This event makes its Olympic debut on a slushy course that will require skill, patience and fearlessness. American Devin Logan faces off against a Canadian juggernaut in the freestyle skiing events.


3. Figure Skating — Pairs Short Program

The U.S. pair of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir takes to the ice to face a number of talented Russian duos. The pairs long program is set for Wednesday, Feb. 12

Post date: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 14:08
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-11-2014

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 11.

• I know it's SI Swimsuit day, but in honor of the Olympics, I'll stick to sports: the 23 hottest snowboarders of these Games.

• Thanks to his disgusting eye infection, Bob Costas climbs down off the booster seat for tonight's Olympic coverage and yields to Matt Lauer. First prime-time Olympic coverage he's missed since 1988. Before departing, Bob slammed some vodka with Mary Carillo.

A Canadian gay rights group made a video in which they called luge "a little gay." Actual lugers weren't thrilled.

The Russians kinda struggled in the men's cross country sprint finals. In Russia, the course skis you.

• Sochi isn't alone in being ill-equipped to host a major sporting event. Here are the worst places ever to host big events.

Some Syracuse basketball players tried their hand at curling.

• Worried about Sochi's stray dog population? Adopt one.

• The NHL's Olympic break could have a disruptive effect on some teams' Stanley Cup runs. So which team is the most screwed?

The Great Cleveland Dumpster Fire rages on.

• Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan had a big night: his dog won best in breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

• Holly Rowe climbed onto the scorer's table for her postgame interview. Holly Rowe will not be denied.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 10:32
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-10

Today's Highlights


8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

Spoiler alert: By tonight, all of this will have already happened, so if you want to go in fresh, avoid the usual sports sites today.


1. Alpine Skiing — Women's Super Combined
American sweetheart Julia Mancuso, known for busting out a tiara on the medal stand, chases gold in the nerve-rattling Women's Super Combined. She'll face off with defending Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.


2. Alpine Skiing — Men's Moguls
American Patrick Deneen missed the podium four years ago in Vancouver after failing to execute a jump, but he'll try for redemption in the white-knuckle humps and bumps of the Men's Moguls.


3. Short Track Speedskating — Men's 1500m Field
One of the Winter Games' most thrilling and chaotic events, short track speedskating takes center stage tonight. Charles Hamelin, a 29-year-old Canadian, will try to elbow his way past a younger field for gold.

Post date: Monday, February 10, 2014 - 12:33
Path: /golf/5-key-stats-att-pebble-beach-pro-am

He didn't exactly put the foot on the gas during a stumbling Sunday 74, but Jimmy Walker is on some kind of roll. Walker saw his six-stroke third-round lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am dwindle to one, but he was able to coax in a five-foot par putt on 18 to finish off a one-shot win over Dustin Johnson and John Renner. The win is Walker's third in eight tournaments in the 2013-14 season — a start that puts him in some rare company. 

"There wasn't a whole lot to celebrate coming down the stretch today, it just felt like I was kind of leaking oil and I felt like I gave it a pretty good little, pretty good little outburst on the last hole," Walker said after a cathartic fist pump on Pebble's impossibly picturesque par-5 18th. "... Holy cow."

Holy cow, indeed. Walker sits atop the FedExCup and Ryder Cup points standings, and he's vaulted himself into the major championship conversation after playing in only six majors in what was, until recently, a nondescript career.

"I think I am more equipped," Walker said of the major opportunities in front of him. "I'm playing better than I have been. ... It's what you want to make it in your head, I think. I really look forward to all of it. It's going to be awesome."

Here are the weekend's key numbers:

4 Walker becomes the fourth player to win as many as three tournaments in eight or fewer events to start a season, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and David Duval. Tiger's done it eight times.

4 Walker was also the fourth winner at Pebble Beach to shoot 74 in the final round, joining Johnny Miller (1994) and Dustin Johnson (2010), as well as Graeme McDowell at the 2010 U.S. Open.

23 Walker has improved his position in the World Golf Rankings by 23 spots in his first eight tournaments of 2013-14. He ended the 2013 season ranked 47th and is currently 24th.

-14 Jordan Spieth was a cumulative 14-under par in his first, second and fourth rounds of the tournament. A third-round 78, when Pebble Beach was baring its fangs, left him out of contention. He finished three shots back after a final-round 67.

1 Tour graduate Jim Renner made the cut for the first time in the fifth tournament of his rookie season, and he made it count, finishing tied for second, a single shot behind Walker. Renner did get a trophy for his efforts; he teamed with Consolidated Restaurant Operations CEO John Harkey Jr. to win the pro-am competition.


When your name is Woods and you play golf (and you bear more than a passing resemblance to your famous uncle), you feel a special kind of pressure. Cheyenne Woods, daughter of Tiger's half-brother Earl Woods Jr., did the family name proud this weekend, winning the Australian Ladies Masters on the European LPGA. But she's anxious to forge her own identity, which she's now well on her way to doing. "I've been pro for two years and, for the majority of it, people just think of me as Tiger Woods' niece, so now I have a game of my own and I have a title now, a win, which is exciting," she said. "It's nice now to say to people that I can play and I'm not just a name."

Post date: Monday, February 10, 2014 - 11:33