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Michelle Wie, the Sony Open, Tony Luke’s, Eagles Fight Song, and Steroids

Let’s sop up the weekend sports au jus in Bullet Points today:

1. We’ll start with golf. Tadd Fujikawa ended his dream weekend and started his dream career with a terrific T-20 5-under performance at the Sony Open. The roars heard all over the course for the kid were reminiscent of a rock concert and the kid was grateful, humble and fun to watch the whole weekend. He’s a foot shorter, a year younger and $20 million dollars poorer than Michelle Wie. By the way, Michelle Wie (or should it be BJ?) call your agent immediately and rethink your decision making paradigm. While we are at it, one golf magazine (not the one I consult with) said she was golf’s sixth highest paid player last year. Pretty good for someone who failed at every one of her goals – she did not make a cut in a men’s event and she did not win a single women’s event.

Let’s give Paula Creamer a chance…or Nat Gulbis.

Here are Michelle’s results from each of her starts in the Sony Open:

2004 72-68=140 1 behind cut, 11 behind leader
2005 75-74=149 7 behind cut, 17 behind leader
2006 79-68=147 4 behind cut, 13 behind leader
2007 78-76=154 14 behind cut, 25 behind leader

Professional golfers cannot earn a living on the tour with these numbers. Moreover, given her horrific results all last year against the men – averaging numbers similar to those in the 2007 Sony and featuring several dead last or second to dead last results, it’s clear that her numbers from 2004 were what’s called in the industry a “statistical outlier” – a result so far outside the norm as to be completely unreliable and not indicative of the truth at all.

This girl is not only grinding, but she is not learning to win. She better find playing against the women anything but “boring” fast because pressure is mounting on Tim Finchem to put an end to this charade quickly. “It demeans the hard work of the other touring professionals” said Susan Swift, a fan of both the PGA Tour and LPGA.

Other fans agree. “She needs to win an LPGA tournament – not top 5, not top 3, win – in order to give this quest some legitimacy, and then she needs to focus on winning a women’s major. Right now, she’s just being used as a ploy to sell more tickets at the gate” said Bethpage, NY golfer Chuck Cordova. “With every terrible result, its working less and less and its clear this has no legitimacy until she gets results and it’s not teaching winning to her, but that mediocre finishes are somehow ok.”

2. Giving credit where it is due, the comeback player of the year in the NFL has to be Jeff Garcia. People called him “The Liberty Belle” and when in Detroit the “Velvet Lion” because they thought he was soft, but if there’s not a QB controversy in Philly come next year, Eagle management should have their heads examined. Who needs McNabb? Trade him to some downtrodden team for four of their good players and they can dominate the NFC next year. BTW – Terrell Who?

I watched that Eagles-Saints game at NYC’s Tony Luke’s restaurant (a transplanted Philly staple) and WOW! The place was packed with Eagles fans joyously singing the fight song, scarfing down the best cheesesteaks in NYC and reveling in the newly renovated digs. Evan, the owner has won praise from leading NYC foodies and celeb chefs such as Anthony Bourdain of Les Halles. If you are an Eagles fan, its the best place in town to watch the game. Here’s a special offer – if you go in and find Evan and tell him “Sportswriter Jay sent me” you get a free side order of hot peppers with your order! But you have to a) find Evan and b) say “Sportswriter Jay sent me.”
Now, one thing about the Eagle Fight Song – you HAVE to change one line. It goes:

Fly Eagles Fly
On the road to victory..

What are they doing on a road? They are Eagles! They soar through the air. The road is for crappy carrion birds!, Scroungers like Ravens and Falcons. A bird on the road gets run over by a truck. Noble birds like Eagles soar through the air! So change the words to “On the wings of victory” (get it? winged victory?) or “as they soar to victory.” I’m gonna hook up with Jim Logan of the Philly inquirer and really try to get this moving. Eagle fans agree. “You’re right, that is a good idea” said Eagle fan David Rose. Philly transplant Nancy Carpenter (a.k.a. Photochick) likes it to “Yeah, on the wings of victory sounds better than flying around on a road.” Try it, it sounds great:

Fly Eagles Fly
On the wings of victory


3. Hat tip to Phil Mushnick of the New York Post for this, but ESPN clearly supports steroid use and certainly endorses it as well – despite Congressional admonition to the sports industries. All three of their voters, Tim Kirkjian, Jayson Stark and Peter Gammons were in the 25% minority who voted to ignore steroid cheating and his congressional “testimony” and let him in the Hall of Fame.

So now ESPN knows better than Congress. Whoever the world wide leader in sports truly is, they do not support the scourge of steroids – which amounts not only to cheating, but a vicious, dangerous public health hazard. But as one player agent said to me “I think all steroids should be legal. Steroids leads to more broken records, which leads to more ticket sales, which means more money in my pocket.”

That comment says it all. We must fight to see the stewardship of the game does not rest in the hands of the simoniacal.  As the great Grantland Rice wrote:  “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.”  75% of the baseball writers remembered that, but ESPN threw it under the bus.
Tim Finchem, you must choose. What do you stand for? The integrity of golf? If so, you must act strongly and call Dr. Gary Wadler and WADA right now to develop testing for performance enhancers in golf. Do you stand for the integrity of golf – a game where we are supposed to call penalties on ourself and put the game above prizing every last cent for big corporations? The time for action is now. Make the best decision you have ever made in your tenure and protect the present and future of the game. Or are “casual eyeballs” and a few extra dollars worth trashing the game’s soul.

This is a watershed moment for Finchem and his tenure. Will he wave at it as it passes by? Or will he be forever remembered in the long run for protecting the good and noble spirit of the game? Money or integrity, Tim. You will be judged by your actions.

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