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Brian Harman. The clear winner of the weekend, Harman put his Georgia hands on the Claret Jug with a dazzling second-round 65 that was more than 8 shots better than the field's average on Friday. And with the tenacity of the Bulldog he is, Harman refused to let loose of the Open Championship. Of all his eye-popping numbers from a dominant 72 holes, this one is the most impressive: His 106 putts over 72 holes is the fewest for an Open champ in two decades, and at one point clichè-machine Paul Azinger said Sunday he had made 47 consecutive putts inside of 10 feet. He finished 58-for-59 from inside 10 feet. Wowser.
U.S. Soccer. Lionel Messi delivered on the hype and scored arguably the biggest U.S. goal since Brandi Chastain introduced the world to the sports bra. His game winner Friday was magical. And breathtaking. And made even some as indifferent to soccer as me take notice.
Bottom line at the local bijou. "Barbie" blew out the weekend box office. "Oppenheimer" was right behind the doll-ogy. And at $7 for a fountain drink and a kidney for a large bucket of popped corn, those cha-chings could be heard loud and clear this weekend.
Shohei. Dude is on pace to challenge the AL home run record Aaron Judge set last year. He also homered — his MLB-best 36th of the season — Sunday in what could be his final home game with the Angels.
U.S. soccer. And maybe this is just me, but if you are playing on the U.S. national team, shouldn't it be kind of required to be respectful of our national anthem? Asking for a few hundred million friends. This is not a shut-up and dribble lament as much as it should be a requirement from a U.S. national team perspective in my view.
Tour de France. Remember when that was a big deal to everyone, biker shorts or no? (Side note: Biker shorts are a privilege not a right, people. No one wants to see two pigs fighting for an acorn at the Food City, friends.) It's a testament to the need for star-power in the individual sports.
Golf. Yikes, that was one of the most boring final rounds — in pouring rain no less — I can recall in a major in a long, long time. And gang, when the B team — NBC's Nick Faldo and Mike Tirico — is way, way, WAY better than the A team of Dan Hicks and Azinger, some changes must be made. Side note: Didn't Faldo retire. Because there he was on the coverage and being his brilliant self. Do we think CBS pushed him out? Azinger is just dreadful. He actually said Sunday, "Harman would be happy with par here." You think so doctor? He had a five-shot lead and only needed to avoid imploding to win his first major.
CMT. So the struggling network that shows country music videos pulled Jason Aldean's controversial "Try that in a Small Town." OK. It's their network and their right, of course. But, not unlike the Bud Light plan of breaking away from being the "frat boy beer," know your audience and customer base. If I had to guess, this will not end well for CMT.
Hall of really good (Editor’s note: For some reason I had Todd Zeile rather than Scott Rolen in the first version this morning. This has been changed to updated that miscue. Same applies to Todd Zeile too.)
I like Fred McGriff. And who doesn’t love his nickname or that 12-gallon trucker’s hat he famously dons in the beginning of the Tom Emansky baseball fundamental commercial.
I hear good things about Scott Roeln and he had a fine career. A great career.
But not a Hall of Fame career in my opinion.
But never in either Fred’s or Scott’s career did I ever stop and think, “Wow, I’m watching a Hall of Famer play.”
And that should matter.
More than stats, and in truth, more than PEDs in my opinion.
That we have this conversation on the day Barry Bonds turns 59 and looks at his seven NL MVPs while Rolen celebrates his induction in Cooperstown is tragic for those of us who grew up not only loving baseball, but treasuring the embrace the game had with its past.
Worse still, if a guy like Zeile — a career .281 hitter with mediocre power and a stellar glove — is a Hall of Famer, then what do you say to guys like Dale Murphy and especially Andruw Jones?
At least McGriff got really close to 500 career homers.
Rolen finished inside the top-13 of the MVP voting exactly one time in his 17-year career. Once. And never finished top-three.
That’s a Hall of Famer?
Cooperstown is more hollow than ever, and just because the stars of that era are forever tainted with the PED stains, it’s a tragedy that they are letting Scott, Dick and Freddie in now.
This and that
— Also of note from the Open, Brian Harman is a bona fide member of the Jim Furyk all-stars, because when Harman took off his lid, he aged like 15 years. John Smoltz sends his regards. Dwight Yoakam does, too.
— The Braves took two of three from Milwaukee over the weekend, but it was hard not to notice that against an Atlanta team starving for starting pitching, former Braves righty Julio Teheran looked mighty salty Sunday.
— You know the rules. Here's Paschall with his annual "around the SEC" series look at Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson. I think Jayden Daniels at LSU is going to be the best QB in the league, but as an Auburn alum, I'd love to have KJ Jefferson behind center for any team I am rooting for. Truth be told, if Anthony Richardson soared into the top-five of last spring's NFL draft, you have to think Jefferson and Daniels both are going to be dudes that rise in the rankings before next April, no?
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
Multiple choice Monday has two variations today.
Which of these MLB players not in the Hall were better than (and more deserving of induction) that any number of the recent additions like McGriff, Ziele or Simmons?
— Andruw Jones.
— Dale Murphy.
— Don Mattingly.
— Nomar Garciaparra.
— Other (specify).
Next, if you are Zach Johnson, which of these players currently ranked outside the top 11 looks to be the best captain's pick for the Ryder Cup team in September?
— Justin Thomas.
— Brian Harman.
— Rickie Fowler.
— Tony Finau.
— Dustin Johnson.
As for today, July 24, let's review.
On this day in 1982, "Eye of the Tiger" hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
Rushmore of pump you up/workout songs of all time. Go.