Anyone who watches sports has to love the drama a game can bring. Throw in some controversy now and again and you've got a topic for a sports talk show. Sometimes its not about who won, but how they won.
This past weekend the PGA tour again had drama and controversy, with a little name calling mixed in. Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia were at the center of the verbal dispute. In question was an incident in Saturdays round with the two paired in the same group. While Sergio was about to hit a shot Tiger pulled a club from his bag and the crowd became excited and loud. Instead of backing away Sergio went ahead and hit his ball way right of the green and made bogey. During a weather suspension he questioned Tiger's timing of the incident. Tiger on the other hand said he was told by a marshal that Sergio had already hit his shot and called him a complainer. The marshal later said he did not tell Tiger that Sergio had hit his shot. Does that make Tiger a liar?
Golf is known as a "Gentleman's Game." But the name calling between Tiger and Sergio certainly doesn't qualify as gentlemanly. It made them both look bad. Their feud makes for good fodder, but is unnecessary especially for Tiger as he tries to get back to winning Majors and mending his reputation.
The second controversy in The Players Championship also included Tiger. During the final round Tiger hit his ball in a lateral water hazard on the 14th hole. The rule states that Tiger should have dropped his ball at the last point it crossed the hazard. His playing partner Casey Witteneberg told Tiger he saw where it last crossed the hazard and that is where Tiger dropped. Although inconclusive, a TV replay showed that Tiger got the benefit of the doubt with his drop. He did the right thing by consulting his playing partner, but it makes me wonder why there are not rules officials on every hole of a PGA event. If a PGA official had ruled it was the proper place to drop that would be the end of the story.
Tiger has been the subject of three questionable drops already this year. He was issued a 2-stroke penalty for an illegal drop in the Abu Dhabi golf championship. He was nearly disqualified at the Masters for an illegal drop that some think wasn't illegal in the first place. With a call to the PGA tour I found out that there is generally a team of eight rules officials that work a PGA event. This explains why when a ruling is called for it takes a fair amount of time. A rules official on every hole would help alleviate any controversy and potentially speed up play. Isn't that why they are there?
I am not in favor of television viewers being allowed to call in penalties on players. If a PGA official makes a ruling that should be the end of it. Move on! Finish the round and sign the scorecard. And, a memo to Tiger and Sergio, when the last putt is holed, shake hands with your opponent and leave the name calling to third graders.
One year ago today Idaho Steelheads coach Hardy Sauter was fired. The Steelheads season was finished. They had just been eliminated in the semi-final round of the ECHL playoffs for the second year in a row. Although they did advance out of the first round as a number seven seed, there were no expectations that they could go much further. During the season the team had some lengthy losing streaks including streaks of six and ten games. Sauter posted a mediocre record of 63-59-22 in two seasons as head coach.
In June of 2012 the franchise hired Brad Ralph, a young coach from the Augusta (Georgia) Riverhawks of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Ralph literally cleaned house hanging on to just a few players from the previous team. He even cut the team's all-time leading scorer Marty Flichel who had played eight seasons with the franchise. The moves paid off in the regular season as the Steelheads won 45 games, scoring more goals than any ECHL team.
Fast forward to last Wednesday after game three of the Western Conference semifinal series. The Steelheads lost at home to Ontario to fall behind two games to one. Coach Ralph called out a number of players for not producing. They had scored just one goal in the previous two games. After the public chastising, the Steelheads went on to score 13 goals over the next three games and win the series.
The Steelheads are one series win away from the Kelly Cup Finals. The team has lost back-to-back games only one time since March, and they just lit up one of the best goaltenders in the ECHL. The Western Conference Finals start Friday night at CenturyLink Arena with the Steelheads owning the home ice advantage against Stockton. It is the point of the season that if a team can win four out of every seven games they will become the Kelly Cup Champions. Ralph seems to be pushing the right buttons to get them there. At least there are some expectations, unlike a year ago today.
This week we have been giving special attention to the soundbites we feature on Idaho Sports Talk. It is just coincidence that I am releasing my latest I-movie at the same time. I enjoy editing video and my latest project "The Decoy" just kind of fell into my lap. For many years we have been playing a soundbite from a channel 2 newcast. The reporter, Jeff Ray, says "someone sent out what appeared to be a decoy...a man with a paper in front of his face."
The story from 2005 was about lottery winner Brad Duke. He was trying to keep his identity concealed until after an exclusive interview on the Today Show. KBCI Channel 2 tracked him down at the offices of Givens-Pursley Law firm. In order to get out of the building without being recognized Duke and his PR firm used a decoy to divert the attention of KBCI reporters. That is where the story of the soundbite ended until a few weeks ago.
I had played the Jeff Ray audio on the air. Later that night through twitter someone asked me the story behind it. I explained where it came from and that is when I learned the identity of "The Decoy." He said he was "the man with a paper in front of his face." His name is Glen Scott, an employee of Givens-Pursley in 2005.
I decided his story must be told! Many peeople know the story of Brad Duke's lottery win, but until now the story of "The Decoy" has never been told! I contacted Glen, former KBCI reporter Jeff Ray and Edward Moore who was, and still is Brad Duke's publicist. They all had a part in what happened that day. All of them agreed to cooperate in telling their stories for my I-film. I am proud of the way it turned out.