Back Nine: Weekend competitive, ask Tebow, Meyer
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 9, 2011 at 11:31 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after a wonderful Mother's Day weekend that included what may have been the nicest I've ever seen the water at St. Augustine Beach. On to The Players this week.
10. One of the coolest things about being around Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer during their round of golf in Tebow's golf tournament Saturday was to see their competitiveness first hand. They really wanted to beat each other. Tebow was angry that Meyer's group, which was playing in front of him, directed the Tebow foursome to the wrong side of the fairway on the speed hole (fastest time playing the hole deducted a stroke from their score). While we waited on the 17th tee, Tebow talked about how Meyer wants to win at everything, whether it's pingpong or volleyball. “He'll change the rules on you,” Tebow said. “We'll be playing family volleyball and in the middle of the game he'll say, “Oh yeah, you can hit the ball twice in a row.' No, you can't.” And, of course, Tebow wants to win at everything. You should have seen him bearing down when the tournament was on the line. Even though the tournament was a fun day, both of them took the golf seriously.
11. As cheap shots go, Andrew Bynum's ranks up there with some of the best. Bynum's forearm on J.J. Barea was almost as ugly as his explanation. “I was just kind of salty about being embarrassed,” he said. “For me, it was embarrassing to have the smallest guy on the court keep running down the lane and making shots.” Uh, there are others ways to stop him than pulling off a move like that. You could — and I'm just spit-ballin' here — cover him. Or fill the lane before he drives. Or you could just show some class. I don't want to hear about Laker pride. In your coach's last game, you were blown out badly and took cheap shots (Khloe Kardashian's husband was also tossed.) Nice way to bow out, Lakers. I will say this — Magic Johnson's suggestion they blow the team up is crazy. What they need is a lockdown defender and a point guard and the Lakers will be right back in the NBA Finals. They didn't cover anyone all year.
12. Speaking of the NBA Draft (OK, I really wasn't, but I needed a transition), I was stunned to see Terrence Jones return to Kentucky. I thought he'd leave just to get away from John Calipari's screaming. And I can't tell you how many Kentucky fans I talked to in Atlanta who were hoping he'd leave. Which is crazy because he's really good. I was equally stunned to see De'Andre Liggins decide to stay in the draft. Despite him leaving, I know North Carolina will be everyone's pick to be preseason No. 1, but I'll take the Wildcats. With what they have coming back and coming in, the SEC race may be over already. You know who won't win the SEC? Tennessee. Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson both leaving. Welcome to the SEC, Cuonzo Martin. And enjoy the sanctions.
13. This will hardly come as a surprise, but it looks like Florida will win another SEC All-Sports Trophy. The Gators have a commanding lead for the trophy, which is given out by the New York Times Regional Media Group, with baseball and both men's and women's outdoor track still to finish. Florida's men are also in the lead and the women trail first-place Tennessee by .01 points. UF has already won seven SEC titles this year.
14. The Back Nine will look back at that Kelsey Bruder walk-off home run in the second game of the Alabama series as a huge turning point for the UF softball team. The Gators were on the verge of losing for the second straight day at home before her blast and UF has not lost since. The three-game sweep over a very talented Tennessee team clinched the SEC East for UF heading into the conference tournament. The tournament is in Oxford, Miss., and Ole Miss didn't make the field. Can you hear the chirping of crickets? “It's a concern,” said Florida coach Tim Walton. “It happened a couple of years ago at Auburn when they didn't make the field. Maybe the answer is to take the tourney out all together, which would save money and give us some breathing room before the NCAAs.”
15. I certainly want to pay my respects to the family of Seve Ballesteros, one of the most charismatic golfers to play the game. You youngsters may not realize how good he was. He was brutal on the U.S. in the Ryder Cup. But my favorite Ballesteros story was when he was asked how he four-putted a hole during a tournament. “I mees, I mees, I mees, I make,” he said. Classic. He will be missed.
16. The Back Nine can report that TPC Sawgrass is in the best shape I've ever seen it. It should be a fun week. Let me go on the record and make my pick — Matt Kuchar. He was grinding out there Saturday walking the course because no carts were allowed. I ran into his dad, who is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Golf Channel writer Jason Sobel — “Excited about this week's Players Championship, but let's stop ‘fifth major' talk. There were only four Beatles on ‘Abbey Road' album cover.” I think the fifth major talk has quieted, especially this year when the No. 1 player in the world is skipping the tournament.
18. So the plan is to get up early every morning in Jacksonville and get a good workout. That's the plan, anyway. So we need something good for the iPod. Try these — “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes, “Two Against One” by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi and in honor of their upcoming tour “Last Train to Clarksville” by the Monkees.