Back Nine: No one knows what to expect from UF this year
Published: Monday, June 20, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 20, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you from a land far, far away where there are more sandbags than baseballs. Being away from Jennifer and Kelsey was brutal on Father's Day, but at least it was fun watching a U.S. Open that came down to the last hole. Not.
10. The Back Nine didn't like it when Tiger Woods obliterated the field in 2000 at Pebble Beach and it was no more enjoyable watching Sunday when the only way Rory McIlroy could lose is if he started playing left-handed. I would back off on the Tiger comparisons until he's won, oh, let's say two majors. McIlroy is going to be huge and I think he will win more majors, but if they were easy to win, Sergio Garcia would have a wheelbarrow full of them. I think McIlroy has the best finish to a swing I've ever seen and you're going to see youngsters trying to emulate it. Winning that first major is huge because you can't win two until you have won one. But it's how you handle that first one that is the key. There's a reason why the last 11 majors have been won by 11 different players. We shall see how young Rory deals with it all.
11. That said, was I watching the U.S. Open or the Greater Greensboro Open? Memo to the USGA — we don't watch the Open for birdies. We watch it for train wrecks. When Tiger won at Pebble Beach it was more impressive because everyone else was struggling to make pars. At Congressional, the rough wasn't penal enough. It just never felt like an Open. It doesn't take anything away from McIlroy's win — he still blew away the field on a record-setting weekend — but it wasn't fun to watch.
12. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson was no factor. He invented a club specifically for this event, but I think he did it just so he could show he could hit it in the trees with anything. I'm a Lefty fan, but his seven-over-par score for the Open was a testament to his inability to find fairways. He now ranks 163rd on the Tour in driving accuracy. Come on, Philly Mick, let's go.
13. The Old Market area in Omaha is a treat with so many restaurants you can't walk a block in the five-block area without finding one. You get a little stir crazy with the length of this trip, but Omaha does a great job hosting the College World Series. Across from the Old Market area they have set up a giant television so you can watch the games if you can't get in. What is truly amazing is how many people wait for hours in line outside TD Ameritrade Park waiting to buy general admission tickets. These people love their college baseball.
14. It's going to be a little strange on Jan. 1 not to have any bowl games. It's a Sunday and the last day of the NFL season. Maybe. Remember when New Year's Day was everything to college football? Of course, I remember when no preseason magazine would consider not having Florida in its top 25. Several have this summer. It's another example that people just don't know what to expect from Will Muschamp's first year. When was the last time we went to Hoover for SEC Media Days and had to think really hard about whether or not to put any Gators on the All-SEC team? You know there will be some on the postseason team, but in the preseason we don't really have a feel for who they will be. This is the Year of the Unknown at UF.
15. I was trying to explain Gainesville to a father and daughter from Winston-Salem who are big North Carolina fans. I told them about the schools and the people and the environment. But in the end, it came down to this — I love living in Gainesville because I love sports. And Florida is really good in just about everything. I think they understood.
16. Percy Harvin told a newspaper in his hometown of Virginia Beach that he thinks his migraines are finally cured. “This is the best I've felt since kindergarten,” he said. Harvin thinks a neck adjustment may be the reason he hasn't had a migraine in five or six months. He's training in Gainesville and said he's more explosive than ever. That's good news for the Vikings if we ever play football again.
17. Tweet of the Week comes from Ian O'Connor, a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com — “Best scenario for golf: Tiger comes back strong, and McIlroy plays Watson to Tiger's Jack in the back end of Tiger's prime.” That's what we want, but how do we know Tiger will ever be Tiger again?
18. While going for my daily walk in Omaha past the Homeland Security Office, which is across the street from a prison (I'm not making this up), the music has been roaring. Here are my latest downloads — “The Yacht Club” by Owl City, “Rose Red”: by Sons and Daughters and for the old school in you go way back to Chad and Jeremy's “Yesterday's Gone.”