Archive for the ‘GOLF’ Category

By W.G. Ramirez

I had a chance to cover the Sunset Regional Division I Girls Golf Championship at Siena Golf Club this past week, for the Las Vegas Review Journal. And while I watched some pretty phenomenal athletes brave a rough course and chilly conditions, I was more impressed by something that had nothing to do with their golf games, yet everything to do with how the game should be played.

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Allison Weiderman (left) and Aspen Bryant after the Sunset Region Championship.

There were no Yasiel Puig-like bat flips with golf clubs off a booming tee shot. I didn’t see any LeBron James-like staredowns after a long putt. And I certainly didn’t see any Joseph Fauria-like touchdown dances every time someone new took the lead, or challenged to take over as leader.

What emerged from the final four competitors over the last nine holes was a display of sportsmanship plenty of pro athletes can take a page from.

Cimarron-Memorial’s Aspen Bryant, Desert Oasis’ Allison Weiderman, Bishop Gorman’s Katie DeJesus and Palo Verde’s Allison Ryu were all within striking distance of one another at the turn. Bryant was competing as an individual, while the other competitors were part of their teams vying to earn a berth into next week’s state tournament on Wednesday and Thursday.

The top two teams in the region moved on, while the top five individuals from non-qualifying state teams earned a one-way ticket to Bear’s Best Golf Course.

But as much as each girl wanted to win, they seemingly put their personal wills and wants aside to extend support and praise to their competitors.

“I don’t dislike anybody because they’re playing the same game as me,” Bryant said. “They’re my competition, but it’s not like we’re in contact sports or something. We can still kind of be friendly.”

If anyone had a right to be salty on the back nine, as the sun was descending and the temperatures were dropping, it was the Cimarron senior, who dropped an 11 on the par-4, 10-hole to fall behind Weiderman by three strokes. After all, Bryant was the No. 1 seed based on season averages, and was a mere 3-over par after the front nine.

Instead, any bystander would have thought Bryant was there specifically to cheer her competitors on. The same can be said for Weiderman, the No. 2 seed. Both could be heard throughout the last several holes cheering for one another, not to mention DeJesus and Ryu. Whether it was off the tee box or after a beautifully played long putt by DeJesus on a couple of occasions, the girls’ graciousness was refreshing in a world where athleticism tends to rear its ugly head among competitors.

Don’t get them wrong, as Weiderman pointed out – they each want to win medalist honors.

“Golf is such an individual sport and you want everyone to be making their putts, you want the competition level to be higher, so that you think ‘if they put this in’ you want to put yours in right after them,” Weiderman said. “I just think cheering everyone else on just brings a better environment and everyone wants to do good if they have competitors saying ‘nice putt’ or ‘nice shot.’ ”

And as Desert Oasis coach Ken Gibson pointed out: “They want to win because they play well, not because somebody else plays bad.”

The positive vibes spilt into the “gallery,” which consisted of a couple of parents and coaches from each school, not to mention this amazed reporter who got to see an exciting finish to a regional golf championship. The coaches could be heard yelling “nice putt,” or “good shot,” or “atta girl” throughout the round to all the competitors. Parents knew one another and the golfers, because the girls had been competing against one another during divisional matches all season.

As Bryant’s 11 left her scrambling and challenging DeJesus just to stay near second at times, while both trailed Weiderman, staying positive with the others might have been the trick in keeping a certain poise that allowed her to shoot three pars and one birdie over the final five holes.

“I think when I don’t have any emotions toward it, I do better than if I’m happy when I start (well), or if I’m angry when I do bad,” Bryant said. “If I just don’t do anything, I usually play a lot better because I don’t think about anything but my next shot.”

And yet the one thing she continued to do, even if she stayed quiet while being shuttled from shot to shot, was cheer on her rivals.

Weiderman also stayed focused on her game, since she needed to finish strong for her team in order to get to next week. And she shot beautifully over the first five holes of the back nine, dropping three pars and a birdie.

“Showing no emotion sometimes does you better, so I felt bad and I didn’t really want to say anything,” Weiderman said. “But then I’m thinking ‘here’s my chance’. But I still don’t want her to get an 11.”

Nor did Bryant want her chief competitor to shoot 5-over over two crucial holes, including a 4-over 8 on the par-4 16.

“I truly feel bad when other people do bad, because it could just as easily be me,” Bryant said. “But I do think sometimes that just opens the door more for me. But I never wish bad things happen. I never want somebody’s ball to go into the water. (Because) the next hole it could be me in the water or something.”

When it was all said and done, the girls congratulated one another for a strong finish, and getting the round in before it became completely dark. I mean, they teed off at 12:48 p.m. and the final putt was dropped at 6:19 p.m. Nonetheless, they sat together to sign their scorecards and they converged to the final tote board for the announcements of who was going to state.

And the winners were…

Well, after all that sportsmanship several pro athletes could learn from, does it really matter?

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Prior to this series, I told you the Miami Heat were the value play, at anywhere from +150 to +170.

Anyone out there questioning me now about my NBA Finals series pick on the Heat – which again, you got at no charge just before the series started? I tried to tell you the value was with the Heat, and that we’d see experience take over, and a bit frustration take hold of the young and inexperienced Oklahoma City Thunder.

And no, I’m not counting my chickens before they’ve hatched, but now that I’m up 3 games to 1 in this series, I can tell you I’m in position to get back my initial investment by betting Oklahoma City on the moneyline in Game 5. The Thunder are +135 pretty much across the board. So if you bet the Heat to win this series on my recommendation, here’s how you need to figure on getting your initial investment back IF you want to hedge.

For every $100 you wagered on the Heat to win the series, you can wager $74 on the Thunder tomorrow night. So let’s say you $500 invested on Miami to win it all, a $370 wager on the Thunder at +135 tomorrow would get back $499.50 provided the Thunder win.

If the Heat wrap it up tomorrow night, you’d lose the $370, but you’d also win about $800 for your series bet. Subtract your hedge, and you’re still up a little more than $400. The hedge is entirely up to you though.

Personally speaking, I would probably be out to recover anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of the initial investment if I were you. And then progressively grab some of your investment as the series moves forward.

KING – As one of his biggest critics, I have to admit, LeBron James is playing his ass off this postseason. If the self-proclaimed “King” James scores 29 more points in this series, he will join Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan as the only players to have scored 700 points in one postseason.

Notably, only two players – but three times – in postseason history has a player averaged 30 points per game, 9 rebounds per game and 5 assists per game: Oscar Robertson in 1963 and James in 2009 and this postseason.

It’ll be long overdue if he can finally place a ring on his finger. I’m just wondering if I will finally be able to call him “King” after doing so.

TIGER – Haven’t had a chance to comment on last week’s collapse in San Francisco yet, but let it be known I am a big Tiger Woods fan. I will root for him until he retires, and already am watching the odds on next month’s British Open. According to Golfodds.com, he is a 10/1 favorite to win the Major, which will be held at the Royal Lytham & St. Annes course in Lancashire, England, from July 19-22.

Strange enough fact I came across from last week, and prior to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win, the last time Junior won a race had been coincidentally the exact same weekend Tiger Woods captured his last major victory (U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, in San Diego, CA.) on June 15th, 2008. Since that day, Junior had been mired in an unlucky 114 race skid. And though Tiger had won eight tournament victories in 2009, none of them were majors.

HOTTIE – Last, but certainly not least, I have to mention Miami-based model/professional sports dancer Alexis Augusto. Caught up with her recently and promised I’d mention to all my readers/followers/players she is in the running for Maxim Magazine’s Hometown Hotties.

This girl is a sports fanatic, and trust me, she knows her game.

She’s been on the Miami Dolphins cheerleading roster, she’s been on the Florida Panthers Ice Dancer roster. She was a cheerleader for Florida Atlantic University. She’s a fitness model for VPX Redline and loves her some Yankee pinstripes. The list goes on, but believe me, this lady is all about competition.

As a betting man, my money in the Maxim Magazine Hometown Hottie competition is on Italian-American bombshell from Brooklyn, New York.

Goto her PAGE and vote for her now.

According to fast-spreading reports across the nation, three adult film actresses will relive their encounters with Tiger Woods, the same week the PGA Tour hits Augusta, Georgia for The Masters.

Bad timing? Could be, as Woods is playing the best golf he’s played since his off-the-course affairs diminished his game, and vividly played hell on his mental and on-course game.

Needless to say, this is the last type of ‘foursome’ he needed during the most important week of 2012.

Devon James, Holly Sampson and Joslyn James have alleged they are former mistresses of Woods, and will now appear in “3 Mistresses: Notorious Tales of the World’s Greatest Golfer,” which is set to be released Tuesday.

The Masters begins on Thursday, and Woods is a 4-1 favorite to win the event, after the former world No. 1 ended a 30-month title drought with a five-shot triumph at Bay Hill last week.

The New York Post said the three women will give explicit details about alleged encounters with Woods.

In a press release from the director of the movie, Vivid Entertainment’s B. Skow, he said: “Any time three women get together to talk about the same guy, the results are going to be more than interesting. Now, when these women also happen to be adult stars that have sex for a living, and reveal they have been with the same guy, you can be sure they’ll share absolutely everything.”

At BetOnline.com, Tiger Woods was listed at -118 over Rory McIlroy (-102). Sportsbook.com had Tiger at +400, and McIlroy at +500. At Bovada, Tiger is listed at 7/2 to win The Masters, while McIlroy is listed at 9/2.

When asked: “think the recent news of the upcoming film featuring three porn stars discussing affairs with Tiger will affect odds?” LVH Race and Sports Assistant Manager Jeff Sherman, widely considered the best golf oddsmaker in Las Vegas, replied: “No… the public money is affecting his odds,” via Twitter.

Now let’s see if the film and widespread news affects his game.