Back Nine: SEC Media Days means football is fast approaching


Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 9:42 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 9:42 a.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after a wet Saturday at Haile Plantation and a long drive to Hoover, Ala., where SEC Media Days start today. Is summer already over?

10. In the first 18 years of The Bob Dooley Invitational, we had a little more than an hour of rain. On Saturday, well, we made up for it. Still, we were able to get the tournament in thanks to so many amazing people. Not only did the vendors stay and gut it out, but almost all of the golfers hung in there even though it was almost dark when we finished. The great people at Stop Children’s Cancer told me it probably was the best silent auction in terms of money raised, in part because we were delayed at the start and people were bidding earlier than normal. I don’t know how I know so many great people, but I am amazed at their generosity every year. My dad was able to make it over, got to meet Chris Leak and was charmed by Buck Belue. I can’t put into words how much gratitude I feel in my heart for so many people. Thank you, and you know who you are.

11. OK, so it’s time for college football season. SEC Media Days start today and we made the trip Monday. This might be the best roster of players at the event since I have been covering it. It really is going to be an interviewer’s smorgasbord. It feels like the event is earlier than normal, but it actually is only one day earlier. I’ve heard the SEC is considering moving it back a week because it cuts the summer so short. We’ll see, but the Back Nine is just excited that it’s here because it means college football season is coming. It’s still more than a month away, but you can hear it.

12. Of course, the guy everyone will want to talk to is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. I think he is the most anticipated player at the event in its history, although Tim Tebow’s appearances generated a lot of buzz for different reasons. Manziel has had a wild offseason and he gave the hacks even more ammunition when he was (according to reports) kicked out of the Manning Passing Academy over the weekend by Archie Manning. Manziel showed up late for meetings, slept through some of them and claimed to be “sick,” and I cannot put enough sarcastic quotations around that word. The Mannings, always classy, insisted that Manziel was not booted from the camp. Manziel was said to be upset that he had to leave. On Wednesday, we talk to him and he is expected to talk about it. Oh, Johnny Twitter should be fun in Hoover.

13. On the drive out here, Robbie Andreu and I were talking about how when we were kids we used to stay up to watch the MLB All-Star game and now we have no interest in watching. It’s a combination of reasons, including baseball’s dip in popularity, but the overwhelming reason is interleague play, as I’ve said many times. Remember when it was a big deal to see an American League player go up against a National League pitcher? Not anymore.

14. What a great day Sunday was for anyone who likes to watch golf. And when you have just put on a golf tournament, it’s nice to sit back on the recliner on the back porch and have Phil Mickelson win in a playoff in the morning and 19-year-old Jordan Spieth win a five-hole playoff in the afternoon. Spieth is one of only two golfers to win the U.S. Junior Amateur multiple times (the other is Tiger Woods) and he has an amazing career in front of him. My advice — don’t change equipment just because some company offers more money. Ask Rory McIlroy about it.

15. Which brings us to the British Open this week, the tournament that Euros consider the biggest tournament in the world, but I consider No. 3. It has its charm and history and it’s a major, and it’s great to be able to get up Sunday morning to watch the final round, but I’ll take The Masters and U.S. Open ahead of it. I need to go on record with a pick as I try to extend my streak of picking winners since Tiger ran his car into a fire hydrant, but I’m going to go with Ian Poulter. Now you know who won’t win.

16. Did I mention it’s almost college football season? I’m sorry, I just get so fired up when I think about Aug. 29 and a 6 p.m. game between North Carolina and South Carolina followed by a 9:15 game between Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. It’s just who I am.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Deadspin, which sent this out before it became a big deal nationally — “what appears to be two former Hernandez teammates wearing ‘Free Hernandez’ hats in a club.” And it was a picture of Mike and Maurkice Pouncey. The Pounceys were very close to Aaron Hernandez at Florida and were basically assigned to mentor him. But that’s ridiculous, and Maurkice has already apologized.

18. The ride to Hoover was supposed to include some new tunes, but we had issues with the radio. Still, I recommend these downloads — “Clint Eastwood” by the Dixie Desperados (and thanks to Jimmy and Mike and their producer Stan Lynch for the very cool silent auction prize), “Royals” by Lorde and for an oldie but a goodie “She’s About A Mover” by Sir Douglas Quintet.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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