Seventy-seven PGA tour players competed in Sunday’s final round of the Fed Ex St. Jude Classic won by Harris English. Only one of the 77 players shot better than a four-under 66.
Gary Woodland, showing strong signs of returning to his 2011 form that landed him 17th on the PGA money list, fired a six-under 64 Sunday to finish in a tie for 18th place. The previous week, Woodland tied for 16th in the Memorial.
One day after Woodland’s scorecard showed an eagle, four birdies, three bogeys and two double-bogeys for a third-round 71, Woodland had nothing but birdies (six) and pars (12) on his card.
On the final two days of the tournament, Woodland played the first six holes of TPC Southwind in Memphis in 9-under par, a remarkable feat.
Woodland earned $93,000 in the Memorial and $64,600 in Memphis. Those checks pushed his season tournament earnings to $419,157.56. (It is not known what he purchased with the 56 cents.)
Woodland has made nine consecutive cuts and appears primed for a big second half of the golf season. Woodland did not qualify for this weekend’s U.S. Open and the rest of the field can breathe a sigh of relief over that because he’s coming on strong.
I finally have accepted that screaming at my TV isn’t going to make the networks show Gary Woodland more frequently, so I have turned off the TV and turned on my iPhone.
Go to PGAtour.com’s mobile site, find Woodland on the leaderboard, click “play by play” and “expand all” and every shot he hit that day is described. Each shot is posted within minutes, sometimes seconds.
Woodland’s third round Saturday in the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis had to be one of the wildest rides any player has had in any tournament this season.
Woodland started the day tied for 61st at 1-over par and finished his round at 1-over, 2-over for the tournament. Yet, it’s how he arrived at his 71 that was so amazing.
According to pgatour.com’s mobile site, here’s what happened:
Woodland made an 18-footer on No. 1 for birdie, a 6-footer for birdie on No. 3, and a 16-foot birdie putt on No. 5. On No. 6, he slammed his drive 319 yards into the right rough and holed out from 136 yards for an eagle, putting him 5-under six holes into the day, and 4-under for the tournament. After a bogey on No. 8, Woodland made a 21-foot birdie putt on No. 9 to get back to 5-under for the day.
After a par on 10, the wheels flew off and he lost six strokes to par on the final eight holes. On No. 11, a 162-yard par-3, Woodland hit his tee shot into the water, dropped and hit the next one into a left rear green-side bunker. He put his sand shot two feet from the hole and made the putt for a double-bogey.
Woodland encountered more trouble on No. 14, a 239-yard par 3. He again carded a double-bogey 5. His tee shot landed in the left rear green-side bunker. Here’s where it gets a little tricky following a golfer on your phone: The play-by-play account said he hit his next shot into the left rear green-side bunker. There are two bunkers behind the green. So did he not get it out of the bunker he was in and hit into the other or stay in the same trap? My best guess is he didn’t get out because the other bunker would better be described as middle than left. That was his final par 3 hole of the day, leaving him five-over par on the course’s four shortest holes. He carded bogey on 17 and 18, both par 4 holes, encountering sand trouble on 17 and water trouble on 18.
Woodland made just eight pars to go with an eagle, four birdies, three bogeys and two double-bogeys to score 30-41 71.
Woodland’s inconsistency is understandable. He didn’t get to practice as often as he wanted to early in the season because of a wrist injury. Despite all the ups and downs, Woodland has managed to make the cut in nine consecutive tournaments, a good sign that he will be on the tour for a long time. Anyone who cards as many under-par holes as Woodland is a threat to contend often, provided he can stay healthy, which will allow him to adhere to his extensive practice routine.
The Buffalo Bills mid-to-late ’70’s offensive line known as The Electric Company didn’t make O.J. Simpson famous. O.J. made the men in front of him famous.
Quick, decisive, creative quarterbacks and running backs make blockers look better to the extent players constantly referred to as underrated sometimes can become overrated.
Nevertheless, now that the receiving corps has been upgraded, offensive line is the unit about which there is most cause for concern on the 2013 Kansas football roster.
More than 100 career starts are gone with the departures of Tanner Hawkinson, Duane Zlatnik and Trevor Marrongelli. Given that, is it realistic to expect that the same blocks that were there a year ago for James Sims and company will there this fall?
“I think, to be honest with you, in a couple of cases, we should improve in run-blocking,” second-year head coach Charlie Weis said. “I’m not going to get into particulars right there, but your view of how they run-block and my view of how they run-block isn’t exactly the same.”
That’s a relief, considering I’m a ball-watcher and don’t have the binoculars on the guys who start games with misshaped knuckles and finish them with swollen, misshaped knuckles.
Still, considering Hawkinson was drafted in the fifth round, Zlatnik was a main-stay strong man and Marrongelli brought so much experience, replacing them presents a tough challenge.
“I think that a couple of guys who are involved there now, that is their forte,” Weis said. “Their forte is run-blocking. I think that there’s a chance in a couple of cases that we could actually improve.”
As is the case with just about every unit on the team, Weis will rely on junior college recruits to protect the quarterback and pave the way for the talented running backs.
Moving from left to right, a look at the battles expected to be waged during summer camp:
At left tackle, Pat Lewandowski and Riley Spencer, neither of whom has started a game in college, compete for the starting spot. Lewandowski, a converted defensive lineman, is in his second season as an O-lineman. His quick feet grabbed the attention of Weis. He stands 6-foot-5-1/2 and weighs 287. Spencer, 6-6, 302, has more experience at the position but missed the final 11 games of last season with an injury.
At left guard, juco recruit Ngalu Fusimalohi will be pushed by third-year sophomore Damon Martin, who made one start a year ago. Martin has a reputation for being assignment-sound, but could bring a little more fire. Fusimalohi likely is one of the players Weis referenced when he talked about run-blocking being his forte. More than one player told me Fusimalohi is the nastiest football player on the team. Reading between the lines of what Weis said about last year’s O-line it was easy to infer that the coach wanted a meaner bunch in his second season.
At center, Weis has options. Juco transfer Mike Smithburg showed a nasty edge during spring practice, but his snaps in the spring game weren’t the smoothest. If he can iron those wrinkles, he has a strong shot to win the job. If not, he’ll compete for snaps at guard.
Sophomore Dylan Admire, is a bit short on size, but long on smarts. Brains come in handy at center, unless Admire is one of those super-intelligent athletes who think too much and suffer from paralysis through analysis. Gavin Howard brings smarts, but lacks stamina and isn’t exceptionally quick or strong. Howard also has experience at guard and tackle.
Senior Randall Dent made 10 starts at right guard and encountered mixed results, which isn’t necessarily discouraging considering his lack of experience. It’s not a stretch to project more consistency this season from the strong man whose forte is run-blocking.
Senior Aslam Sterling, who reshaped his body and shed more than 60 pounds since arriving at KU last summer, projects as the starter at right tackle. He had enough talent that even though he was way out of shape and was juggling heavier academic requirements, tougher practices and learning a complex new offense, he was given eight starts, six at right tackle, two at right guard. Red-shirt freshman Brian Beckmann, 6-6, 298, showed enough during the spring that Weis put him second on the depth chart at right tackle.
Better conditioning and more experience should make the right side of the line better than it was a year ago. If one of the candidates at left tackle can emerge in a big way, that would be huge. Listening to Weis talk about Lewandowski’s athleticism is a bit reminiscent of the way Mark Mangino talked about Hawkinson when he moved him from defensive end to left tackle.
Spencer? I remember former KU O-lineman David Lawrence, now a KU broadcaster/Free State High freshman football coach, watching film of Spencer on signing day and coming away from it impressed with his feet. Spencer opened Weis’ eyes during the spring.
If neither Lewandowski nor Spencer takes a big step this summer, the sleeper for protecting the blind side of Jake Heaps is juco recruit Zach Fondal, who turned down Arkansas, Texas Tech and South Florida to sign with Kansas. He will trail Lewandowski and Spencer in terms of knowledge of the offense and conditioning, but if he’s talented enough, Weis will want him on the field sooner than later.
High school recruit Joey Bloomfield, 6-6, 305, of Louisville shapes up as a likely candidate for a red-shirt year.
A lot can happen in 10-plus months, but right this minute it feels as if John Calipari and Bill Self will coach against each other in the national-title game for the third time in seven years next April in Cowboys Stadium.
Sure, defending champion Louisville and usual suspects Duke and Michigan State could spoil that rubber match, but landing Andrew Wiggins pushes Kansas right there with anybody. If it happens, it won’t be the first time Self draws a great deal out of a team that sends five new starters out for the center jump. Two of his nine consecutive Big 12 titles came after he lost all five starters.
If Self can convince immediately eligible post player Tarik Black, a bruiser who would complement Perry Ellis perfectly, that Kansas is his best available launching pad to an NBA career, the Jayhawks would boast serious depth at every position.
At the moment, Wiggins, fellow wing Wayne Selden and Ellis, the program’s three McDonald’s All-Americans, shape up as the lone sure starters. Either the 6-foot-5 Selden or 6-7 Wiggins could play inside when Self wants to run with a small lineup.
KU’s coaches think Frank Mason, a pure point guard, has the ability to push improving veteran Naadir Tharpe for starting honors and recruit Conner Frankamp has such deep shooting range he’ll be difficult to keep off the court, even though the 6-footer weighs just 155 pounds.
Landing Black, whose ability to graduate in three years from Memphis prevents him from having to sit out a year, would give Self the depth he likes inside.
Joel Embiid, a 7-foot, 225-pound native of Cameroon, is the most intriguing prospect of a KU class ranked No. 2 (behind Kentucky) by recruiting analysts. Those who have seen him play marvel at not just his coordination for a man his size but his skill for someone who has played so little basketball. The only question centers on how soon he’ll put it together. Rivals ranks him as the No. 25 prospect in the Class of 2013. ESPN.com ranks him No. 6. At the moment, he's more a prospect than a player guaranteed to make a major instant impact.
With Embiid and third-year sophomore Jamari Traylor, Self has two shot-blocking options, a nice luxury. Landen Lucas, a red-shirt freshman, made big strides in building his body and post moves during his year as a practice player. He could push for playing time as well. Justin Wesley also returns.
In Frankamp, fellow recruit Brannen Greene, a 6-6, 215-pound wing from Monroe, Ga., and sophomore Andrew White III, Kansas has three reserve shooters capable of making teams cautious about playing zone defenses.
Wiggins can’t bring as much to the program as Sherron Collins, Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur did because they all stayed longer than the one year Wiggins will, but he can match them in the national-title department.
“Now I just hope he comes out for basketball,” Lawrence attorney Mick Allen said after learning of Wiggins’ decision. “I stole that line from my granddad (Phog Allen) when Wilt (Chamberlain) committed to KU.”
The most shocking aspect of Thursday night’s coverage of the first round of the NFL draft involved the amount of shock expressed over Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o not getting drafted. Why did anyone consider him a first-round talent? He’s slow and stiff, not nearly agile enough to project as a front-line NFL player.
Te’o couldn’t tackle Alabama running back Eddie Lacey in the BCS title game. The surprise should have been over Lacey not getting drafted. Anybody who had Te’o ranked higher than Lacey must not have seen that game.
During the second round must we endure more speculative talk of teams trading up to get Te’o, when it’s clear he’s not talented enough to motivate a team to go to all that trouble to get him?
Might as well speculate that teams are trading up to get Tanner Hawkinson and Bradley McDougald, the two top prospects from Kansas in this year’s draft. Prediction: Hawkinson will be selected in the seventh round Saturday, McDougald either the same round or not at all. For Hawkinson, a lack of strength by NFL lineman standards will be what keeps him from getting drafted Friday, when the second and third rounds take place. For McDougald, unsure tackling will keep him from being considered earlier than late Saturday.
A year from now, James Sims will be a draft prospect and in 2015 several Kansas players could hear their names called.
Andrew Bolton, a defensive end who was bound for LSU out of junior college until he suffered a knee injury, has more of an NFL look than anybody on KU’s roster. He is expected to report this summer and if his knee has recovered sufficiently projects as a 2015 draft pick.
Defensive tackle Marquel Combs and safety Isaiah Johnson, junior college transfers on course to join the team in the summer, also have a lot of potential. So do defensive linemen Chris Martin and Keon Stowers, both spring standouts. Does Ben Heeney have a big enough frame to add enough weight? Wide receiver/running back/return man Tony Pierson has speed that will capture the attention of NFL scouts. Wide receiver Justin McCay has everything but blinding speed that scouts like in a receiver.
“McCay reminds me of Keyshawn (Johnson) when I first got to the Jets,” Weis said. “Routes were always a little short, not the fastest guy in the world, big, strong, tough, will catch everything you throw to him, will block everyone with physicality. Keyshawn was the first pick in the entire draft, so if he reminds me of Keyshawn ... They even wear the same number (19).”
McCay’s favorite receiver: “Keyshawn Johnson.”
Jake Heaps is on the small side for a pocket passer, but that won't stop him from getting drafted if he throws with a great deal of accuracy during his two years running the Jayhawks' offense.
KU connections in Thursday's first round were indirect ones. Tight end Tyler Eifert, recruited to Notre Dame by Weis, went to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 21st pick. Wide receiver/return man Cordarrelle Patterson was chosen by the Miami Dolphins with the 29th selection. Stowers and he are cousins.
Not even 24 hours had passed since the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA drafted Kansas point guard Angel Goodrich and she already was responsible for marketing the brand.
“It’s a great feeling to be coming home,” Goodrich, a native of Tahlequah, Okla., said on a Tuesday conference call arranged by the Shock. “A lot of friends texted me and Facebooked me telling me they’re excited and they’re already talking about getting some (Tulsa Shock) gear.”
Angel — only the great ones merit first-name reference — stirs that sort of passion in people who have seen her play basketball. She has that radar certain athletes have that enables her to overcome her one shortcoming, which of course, is that she’s short.
Wayne Gretzky wasn’t the fastest skater, but his instincts sent him on the shortest, most efficient path to goals. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson weren’t as explosive as so many lesser basketball players, but they felt the game so much better. Goodrich has natural ability to bring out the best in teammates.
Selected in the third round of the WNBA draft, the 5-foot-4 Goodrich plans to work out at KU in preparing for Shock training camp, which opens May 5. For what she said she believes is the first time in her life, she will be trying out for a team. The Shock also selected Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins with the third selection of the first round.
“She’s a great player,” Goodrich said of Diggins. “I’m looking forward to getting to know her better and learning from her. I’m thrilled to be going to the same team.”
Goodrich led the Jayhawks to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances and Diggins-led Notre Dame ended her career. Goodrich didn’t sound nervous about making the team. That’s not her style.
“I do love a challenge,” Goodrich said. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I’m going to work my tail off. As long as I know I gave it my all I won’t look back and won’t have anything to regret.”
The 34-game WNBA regular season runs from May 24 to Sept. 15 and the minimum salary is $37,950. Players receive $74 daily meal money on road trips.
Goodrich was the only Kansas player selected in the three-round draft. In the event Shock executives want to invite a free agent post player to camp, Goodrich has a good one in mind.
“I would recommend Carolyn (Davis),” she said. “I was definitely surprised she didn’t get drafted. To be honest, I’m still speechless about it.”
A fifth-year senior, Goodrich already has graduated from KU after majoring in behavioral science with a focus on children. She said she is working toward a minor in sociology.
Arlington, Texas — With so much talent on the floor, tonight’s game here inside Cowboys Stadium really does have a Final Four feel to it and that is in fact where basketball’s biggest game will take place in April, 2014.
Michigan-Kansas is a South Regional semifinal and one of the more intriguing on the board because it features KU’s tough defense against Michigan’s versatile band of big-time scorers, led by point guard Trey Burke.
The closer it draws to the 6:27 p.m. scheduled tipoff, the stronger my guess grows as to which team will prevail. Kansas has the experience advantage. Michigan relies more on three-point shots than Kansas and domes can be difficult places to shoot three-pointers.
Plus, nothing can prepare a team for playing against Jeff Withey’s defensive brilliance. Freshman Mitch McGary, 6-foot-10, 250-pound bruiser, has come on strong for the Wolverines, but he does not have the shooting range to draw Withey away from the basket. Michigan has gone 8-6 in its last 14 games, Kansas 12-1 in its last 13.
Kansas can play its way into trouble against teams that apply intense pressure on the guards. While Michigan is as good as anybody in the country at protecting the ball, it doesn’t apply full-court pressure and force a ton of turnovers. Kansas 77, Michigan 70.
Kansas junior reserve forward Justin Wesley injured his right ankle Saturday in practice and will not suit up for today's game against North Carolina, according to a Kansas source, who added that Wesley was scheduled to undergo an X-ray today. Wesley is wearing a soft cast and using crutches.
A junior from Forth Worth, Texas, Wesley has averaged 3.6 minutes, 0.4 points and 1.1 rebounds in 19 games.
The tipoff for the game has been moved from 4:15 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.
Kansas City, Mo. — Sitting court-side watching Kansas State's spirited comeback from 18 points down fall short reminded me of how the Wildcats could have had an even better season.
If then Kansas State coach Frank Martin and his staff had deemed Lawrence High standout Dorian Green worth recruiting, Green would have made a perfect complement to point guard Angel Rodriguez. Instead, Green went to Colorado State and became a starter from Day 1. He scored 26 points to lead the Rams past Missouri in Lexington, Ky. Thursday night. Meanwhile, K-State starting guard Will Spradling scored two points in 17 minutes in the 63-61 loss to La Salle.
Announcers talked more about Green than anyone else during the telecast of the Colorado State's first NCAA Tournament victory in 24 seasons. Yet, nobody made the connection of Green growing up in a town where the average kid grows up despising all things Missouri.
Green was asked about it in the post-game press conference.
"It feels good to be from Kansas and beat Missouri," Green said. "I just wanted to be aggressive tonight. Didn't matter who we were playing, but, you know, it's good to beat them from where I'm from."
Next up for Green and CSU's other four starters is Louisville, the tournament's overall No. 1 seed.
March Madmen all over the globe are about to become one with their favorite sporting event. A quick look at some NCAA Tournament tidbits with quotes spiced in from press conferences:
Eight New Mexico State players, including its top five scorers, were born outside the United States. The Aggies feature four players from Canada, two from France, one from Croatia and and one from South Africa.
New Mexico State not only has the most international team in the tournament, it also has the tallest player. Sim Bhullar, a freshman from Toronto, is a 7-foot-5, 355-pound starting center for the Aggies. Bhullar averages 10.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 24.3 minutes per game.
“I think he changes the whole game for us and other teams as well because a lot of teams are not used to seeing that (much size) in there,” teammate Daniel Mullings said. “And while guys are driving in he’s just a big force, just blocking everything and altering shots. So it’s a great advantage for us having him inside.”
St. Louis junior Rob Loe is the biggest player in most games he plays, but he’ll be giving up six inches and 110 pounds to Bhullar.
*Michigan starters Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson III and reserve Jon Horford all are sons of former NBA players.
“Purely coincidence, but we feel really good about it because you know their dads do know basketball,” Wolverines coach John Beilein said.
*One of the better individual tourney matchups pits Michigan’s Trey Burke and South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters, two of the nation’s top point guards, on each other.
“We’ll have Nate on Trey,” South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy said. “I don’t know what they’ll do. ... And I’ve said this before, Nate is a tremendous defender, but we’ve relied on him so much to play 40 minutes and to handle a basketball that I think sometimes people don’t get to see how good a defender he is."
*Bryce Drew is the third member of his family to serve as head coach at Valparaiso University, which faces Michigan State today. His father, Homer Drew, coached the Crusaders for 22 seasons. Bryce’s brother, Scott, was head coach for one year and is in his 10th season at Baylor. Bryce is in his second season as head coach at Valpo. He played six seasons in the NBA after hitting one of the most famous shots in recent NCAA Tournament history. Drew hit a 23-foot buzzer-beater to score an upset of Ole Miss in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament. He said he enjoys watching replays of the shot but never brings it up to recruits.
“I think the last thing that players want to hear is a coach talk about himself or what he’s done,” Drew said.
*At times, it looks as if a rebound or pass sneaks up on Marquette center Chris Otule, catches him by surprise, and he drops it. The temptation is to downgrade his hands when that happens, but it’s actually not the case. Otule wears goggles when he plays to protect his right eye. His left eye is artificial.
“I guess you could call it glaucoma,” Otule told the Milwakuee Journal-Sentinel. “I was born with one ye, actually, and the other one wasn’t full developed. So I had to get an artificial eye, since I was 1 or 2. And every time I grew out of it, I had to go back to the doctor and they’d make a new one.”
Otule, who splits time with more gifted offensive center Davante Gardner, had one of his better games, last season against UConn, the day he met Charlie Krauss, a 2-year-old boy from the Milwaukee area who lost his left eye to a congenital disorder known as Coats’ disease.
“It felt so good holding him, knowing that he’s going through the same thing I went through and that he looks up to me,” Otule told the Journal-Sentinel. “It helped motivate me more in that game, and for the rest of my life, to play for people like him.”
*Three factors contribute greatly to No. 14 seed Davidson becoming such a popular upset pick against third-seeded Marquette: 1. Davidson has won 17 in a row; 2. The Wildcats lead the nation in free-throw shooting, making 80.1 percent; 3. Forward Clint Mann, out since mid-January with an injury, is expected to play.
Not only that, Davidson has all 80 points back this season from the team that scored an 80-74 upset victory against Kansas on Dec. 19, 2011 in Sprint Center.
*If Josh Pastner ever leaves Memphis for another college job, he left himself open for an obvious question at his introductory news conference by saying, “I think our fan base is the best fan base in the entire country, hands down, and that’s not just coach-speak.” The question: How would you compare the fan base of your new school to that of your last one?