Posted on: October 6, 2012 11:44 am

More team events in golf?

After the disappointing but undeniably riveting events of this past Ryder Cup I keep reading articles about getting more team events in golf.  While I agree that it would be fantastic to be able to watch and experience the unbelievable atmosphere generated by this unique event on a more regular basis, it is precisely because of it's uniqueness that the event generates as much drama as it does.  Do we want two Super Bowls a year because the first one is so good?  Should there be an "October" Madness because March Madness is one of the best sporting times of the year?  Of course not.  While it's understandable to want more of something that is so very, very good, it is ludicrous to think that it can be created out of thin air just by trying to duplicate the format.

The largest factor in why the Ryder Cup is so good is what's at stake.  There's pride, patriotism, bragging rights, and the ever-important ability to hold it over the other guys' heads for two years.  It's knowing that each and every shot a player hits matters, not just to him, but to his coach, his teammates, his peers, and even his country.  And as the matches wind down, those shots are magnified even more.  The intensity is spectacular.  Not to mention the history and the actual cup itself.  The camaraderie and shared team experience cannot be equalled in any other aspect of the sport.  There is only the Ryder Cup and, to a smaller degree, the President's Cup.

Aother major contributor to the drama is the infrequency of the event.  They only happen every two years; every four years on home soil.  So, again, everything is magnified because each player knows how hard it is to earn his way onto the team.  He knows that this may be his only, or his last, shot at playing in this great event so he needs to make the most of it.  I guarantee every player out there keeps a closer eye on the Ryder Cup points standings than they do on the FedEx Cup standings.  At least until the end of the year, and even then, I'm sure one of the main reasons they want to advance in the FedEx Cup is the extra opportunities it gives them for Ryder Cup points.  This might only pertain to the top 50-60 players in the US but in reality, those are the only players most of us are watching anyway.

So, while I agree it would be wonderful to be able to experience events like this on a regular basis, at least half of what makes it so good is precisely because we can't.  When the dates finally arrive, we can savor every moment while knowing, bittersweetly, that it's going to be another two years before we get to taste it again.

As an aside......


I wouldn't be opposed to some sort of year-long team event.  Take the top twelve as "captains" and then split them into ten-man teams, divided by moneylist rankings.  So 12,13,36,37...on one team and 11,14,35,38...etc.  Keep score with earnings or FedEx points or whatever.  It may add an interesting dynamic in that players could actually "root" for someone else on tour to do well.  Even making the cut would matter more than just a paycheck.  Right now, the Americans are all basically playing for themselves.  This would have the chance of creating at least the semblance of a "team" atmosphere, even if the stakes aren't all that great.  They could take the top two or four teams at the end of the year and play some sort of mini-matchplay event.  They could even do the same format as the Ryder Cup if they'd like.  I'm sure they could find a sponsor willing to put up a little cash for the participating teams.  Especially since they'd get their name mentioned all year long as the "standings" were updated on network television.  The big problem with this though, is when they'd find time to play the "finals".  They'd probably have to do it in November or something and who knows what participation would be like.  Just a thought...

Category: Golf
Tags: Ryder Cup
Posted on: November 17, 2009 11:41 pm

End the Streak. (part 2)

(First, thanks for the comments.  I'm not intentionally trying to be "controversial, I'm truly concerned that "the Streak" could get in the way of the Vikings winning a Super Bowl.  It actually made me feel a little better about things to hear the majority of you tell me this was the wrong solution.  I've just been a Vikings fan (a Minnesota sports fan, for that matter) for way too long not to look for potential landmines in our future.  This is one I see and I just think it should be addressed now so that it can potentially be avoided down the road.)

Okay, here we are.  Week 11.  Vikings are 8-1 and an awfully large percentage of the reasons why can be directly linked to Brett Favre playing quarterback.  I've softened my position somewhat on ending the streak now that we're through to the second half of the season and our offensive line has been doing a pretty good job protecting him.  Selfishly, it's just fun watching him play and knowing that on any given play, he can make something spectacular happen.  I want him on the field as much as the next guy.  Vikings fans, that is... 

But, like I said, my biggest fear is that some sort of injury that Favre could play through (say a groin pull, for instance), but that would limit his effectiveness, and worse yet, could become something season-threatening if exacerbated, could be ignored by the coaches and Favre himself with the "streak" hanging over his head.  I'm hoping that now that we've reached this point in the season and Favre can really start to see the realistic potential of reaching and winning the Super Bowl, he'll become a little more conscientious about taking care of himself for the games that really matter.

I have no idea how serious the groin is.  He just had two weeks off and didn't look any worse for the wear against the Lions this past weekend.  But, again, my argument has never been that the Vikings aren't better with him on the field.  I just want to make sure he's around when we really need him.

I think the Vikings have proven over the first ten weeks of the season that they can play with and beat anyone, anywhere.  We haven't had the most difficult schedule in the world but we've handled our business against the weaker teams and performed very well against the stronger ones.  I just want this topic out there and discussed in the public forum so that it gets addressed behind closed doors at Winter Park.  I don't want the people that need to make these decisions tip-toeing around the topic waiting for someone else to make the decision.  Childress needs to have the intestinal fortitude to take the bull by the horns and make that decision if necessary.

This has been a storybook year, so far, for the Vikings, Favre, and the fans that follow them.  Childress needs to keep that "big picture" in mind and make the tough call if necessary.  You gotta remember, noone in this town cares about Favre's streak other than him.  And who knows how much he even cares about it anymore now that he's got the record.  We're all fans of the Vikings and we want a Super Bowl.  Period.  Winning that, and only that, should be the prime decision-making factor in whether Favre plays or not.  Right now, we're still in the hunt for home-field throughout the playoffs and there's no doubt, that would be a big deal.  But, as I said earlier, I think we've shown we can compete with anyone, anywhere so if it comes down to resting Favre and possibly losing a game or keeping the streak alive and possibly losing him for the playoffs, there should be no doubt which decision should be made.  Except there's that streak thing........... 

As always, comments welcome....

Posted on: September 28, 2009 1:20 pm

It's Time. End the Streak.

Okay, this may be controversial to many but this is my take.

I thought about this a lot when we were in the Favre chase this summer and I am still 100% sure I want Favre's "streak" to end sooner rather than later.  He now owns the "IronMan" record and I don't think it's even possible for someone to catch him for at least another eight years.  I think the closest right now is at like 170-something.  So, he can hold onto it well into retirement and most likely far beyond.  I don't think adding a few more games is going to make much of a difference.  On the flip-side, ending it himself, by choice, could have a remarkable impact. 

What I mean is, the guy is 40 years old.  His body doesn't recover as fast as it used to and probably more importantly, his mind doesn't.  When I think back to the NFC Championship game the Packers lost against the Giants, I remember the look on Favre's face when he threw that interception.  He was physically and mentally exhausted.  He had finally had enough of the Giants beating on him so he got careless.  The cold, the stress, the physical beating he took all wore him out and he ran out of gas.  He had nothing left to finish with.  He wasn't even all that upset it had happened.  You could see it.  His main emotion seemed to be relief that it was finally over.  Not that he wanted to lose.  He just had nothing left to give.  I think that is a very real danger for him with the Vikings again this year. 

I'd love to see him pull a Cal Ripken and take himself out of the lineup for a game at some point.  If he really starts to feel battered, even if he could go, I'd love to see him step aside and give one of our backups a chance.  If he did it right, talked to the coaches, talked to the team, talked to T-jack and Sage, I think it could really be a huge positive, bonding experience for the entire team.  He could still dress and play in an emergency (if both T-Jack and Sage went down) but he'd get basically two weeks off to recuperate and refresh his body and mind.  If you look at it, why do you think he retires every year right now?  He's so beat up emotionally and physically by the end of the year, and it takes him so long to recharge, he just can't see himself going through everything again to play.  But then, after he's had a chance to heal up and relax for a while, the juices start flowing again.

He's almost like a baseball player in this regard.  Sometimes they just need a day or two off.  The season is such a grind.  Well, at this point in his career, I really think he'd benefit from a couple of weeks.  He could still practice and take a bunch of reps with his receivers, but mentally, he'd be able to take a break.

I just see so many positive possibilities with this and very few negatives.  The Vikings as an organization could "announce" it maybe a couple of weeks in advance so there would be no "disrespect" factor against whom it happens. (That's my biggest concern as far as negatives go.  They'd have to deal with that carefully.)  But then they'd be able to promote "Favre's Last Start of the Streak".  I think they could do it with a lot of class and I think it would be a huge, HUGE feather in Favre's cap as far as a PR move.  In my opinion, it would completely wipe out the retirement/unretirement negativity he's been getting.  I also think that, if done correctly, it would  go over extremely well with the team.  It would give them a chance to rally around whichever backup starts.  I think it would also give everyone confidence (after the Jets fiasco last year) that Favre has the best interests of the team at heart and it's all about winning a Super Bowl.  Not just about him.

But most importantly, I really, really think it would benefit Brett Favre!  I would bet that even now, after only three games, he's already feeling the grind of an NFL season.  I'd love to see him take week 5 off.  Even if it is against the Ravens.  Maybe because it's against the Ravens.  He's bound to get beat up pretty good that day, win or lose.  He gets the week off and then he's recharged for two tough road games against the Steelers and Packers into the bye week.  Then maybe one more game, depending on the standings and how the backup performed in the first game: either the Bengals or Panthers.  This keeps him fresh for the final weeks and hopefully we can get a bye in the first round and he's good to go the rest of the way.  It's probably already too late to do it in the Ravens game but the Steelers would still work.

Now, I'm not advocating throwing a game to rest Favre.  I think it's very possible the team could still win.  We've got the best running back in football and a very solid defense.  I think we could still get it done.  Plus, who knows, maybe the added mobility T-Jack/Sage would bring to the game would allow them to make some plays a beat up and admittedly slower of foot Favre could not.  Either way, I'd much rather risk sacrificing a game or two in the regular season and getting rid of the whole "Favre has to start" element so that he's mentally and physically ready when we absolutely have to him at the end of the year.

The final element, and to me, maybe the biggest benefit of this, is that it takes the "streak" onus off of Childress and Bevell as far as making the decision as to who should start.  If Favre is really dinged up but could still play at 70%, the coaching staff could decide that letting him rest an extra week is the best thing for Favre and the team, without having to be the guys who "end the streak". Think about it, every other player in the league gets that consideration when dealing with bumps, bruises, strains, etc.  Except Favre (and maybe a select few others).  They get pencilled in come hell or highwater.  Doesn't matter.  Even if it means dealing with it all year instead of maybe a week or two.  For a guy that's 40 years old, that could mean a massive difference in performance level come playoff time.

Now this could all be a moot point if Favre somehow skips through the season unscathed, but I don't think that's realistic.  This ain't an old man's league.  He's going to take some shots.  Period.  Fortunately or unfortunately, at this point, with what he's accomplished in his career, I think the word has to come from Favre himself.  He's earned it.  Hopefully, he's smart enough and humble enough to do it the right way.  I'm just saying, "Come on, Brett.  Take one for the team."

Besides, wouldn't it be better to end it on his own terms a la Ripken versus having it tragically ended like Gehrig? (Or Theisman or Tarkenton?)

That's my take.  All comments welcome. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or