brearnwright

Education Reform

The Best Single Round of Golf

’86 Masters, Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus was basically considered out of the game at this time. The stage was set for an unforgetable Masters Sunday EVEN WITHOUT JACK–Ballesteros, Watson, Langer, Norman, Kite, Price–so many GREAT players had a chance to win (not like today’s majors!). Nicklaus plays the first nine without making much noise. Ballesteros is in the process of making it a Sunday stroll for the first part of the round. But as we all know, The Masters doesn’t start until the final nine of the 4th day!

Indeed, that is precisely when Jack makes an initial move. Birdies at 10 and 11 get him going. A bogey at 12 would have stopped any other golfer in the field. Not Jack! Birdies at 13 and 14 and an incredible approach to the green at 15 sets up an eagle! This 6 hole stretch would give any tour player an entire career of anecdotes to tell his grandchildren! For Nicklaus, it was just a wake-up call for his fellow competitors.

A majestic iron shot at 16 nearly goes in for an ace.  Birdie at 16, 5 under on the back going into 17.

The putt at 17 will go on to produce one of the iconic photos of golf/sports history as he follows his ball into the hole with his putter for sole possesion of the lead: “Yes Sir!”

A mis-club at 18 leaves Jack with a 1,000 ft putt. He needs two putts to take the lead into the clubhouse, a place where it can be protected by the golf gods. No pressure for the Golden Bear as he nearly holes it and all but guarantees his 18th professional major (you know, the one that Tiger so desperately wants!!).
For the next 45 minutes, some of the greatest golfers of all time try to catch Jack who sits comfortably awaiting his 6th green jacket, knowing that he just set another standard that no-one will ever equal–that of The Greatest round ever played in a major!

NBA announces preliminary schedule for Game 1 of the playoffs

Brearn Wright:

Brearn Wright and the NBA

Originally posted on ProBasketballTalk:

There are still some seedings to be worked out on the final night of the NBA season, but the league has released a preliminary schedule of the days and times for Game 1 of every playoff series that will take place this weekend.

The Miami Heat will begin their quest for a third straight title on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern, in a contest that will be nationally televised on ABC. The Spurs, meanwhile, will take the league’s best record into the postseason beginning at 1:00 p.m., and their game can be seen on TNT.

Only two matchups are completely set — the Pacers will host the Hawks on Saturday, (though the time is yet to be determined), while the Rockets will host the Blazers on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on TNT.

The complete schedule is reprinted below, and we’re likely to get finalized versions with matchups and times for…

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Gilligan’s Skipper

I think the guy who tends to go below the radar in all such discussions is Bruce Bochy. I have not seen a more even keeled skipper who does more with less than Boch. He may give you the impression that he’s asleep at the wheel when his team is going through a rough patch but that’s just him bringing a sense of normality that eventually coaxes the players to get out of the funk and ‘do it’.

But if he needs to, he can kick players in the rear with best of them- like when Sabian and he confronted the Giants starters and read them the riot act mid-season in 2012.  The result? The starters came charging out of the gate and the Giants win their 2nd world series in 3 years.  This brings me to the last point; Bochy knows how win!

Adam Silver says NBA will ‘take a fresh look’ at changing playoff format to include league’s best teams

Brearn Wright:

Brearn Wright and NBA

Originally posted on ProBasketballTalk:

The NBA’s playoff format has come under more scrutiny than usual this season, given the large disparity in the quality of teams (and the number of wins) in the two prevailing conferences.

The East will have at least one and possibly two teams make the playoffs with sub-.500 records, while the West will have a team somewhere near a mark of 15 games over .500 miss the postseason entirely.

Adam Silver has promised innovation since taking the reigns as Commissioner on Feb. 1, and said on Friday in San Antonio that it may be time to look at changing the format of the playoffs to include the league’s best teams.

From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:

Conducting an in-game interview with Spurs broadcasters Bill Land and Sean Elliott during the telecast of Friday’s Spurs-Suns game at AT&T Center, Silver said the league needs to consider changes to…

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The New Ozzie Smith

Troy Tulowitzki is, hands down, the best shortstop in baseball. He’s not only the best-hitting shortstop (even after adjusting for him playing in the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the MLB, and with Hanley Ramirez as a close second), but an excellent fielder (which Hanley is not).

Even if you discount him for the fact that he’s oft-injured, he still comes out on top. Any year that he manages to play 145+ games, he’ll be a strong MVP candidate, and his ability to hit and field needs to be recognized.

If you want to know about the best-fielding shortstop, then the answer is Andrelton Simmons, who is not only the best-fielding shortstop in the game right now, but one of the best defensive baseball players in the history of the game.

Tennis Anyone?

Roger Federer is indisuputably the best that has played. You could argue for Rod Laver, and that he won the Grand Slam twice, but only one was in the Open Era.  The game was alot less competitive back then. Even discounting modern technology and conditioning methods, the game was far less global back then. Globalization of the sport has really profilferated over the last 10 years.

I don’t care how one silces and dices their analysis. Roger Federer is by far the best in history of open tennis, and probably of all time. At one point he had reached 18 of 19 Grand Slam Finals, 23 consecutive semi finals! To put it in perspective, with respect to 23 consecutive semifinals, the next most in the open era is Lendl at 10. Sampras probably never went past 6 or 7 himself as he only ever reached the French Open’s semi finals once. Federer also holds the record for masters titles with Nadal, and while Nadal is younger, he has not been able to demonstrate the week in week out dominance that Federer has shown in his prime and to an extent even over the last two and a half years.

It is important to note that there are no masters titles on grass, and while Nadal has dominated clay more than Federer has dominated hard, Federer has dominated both hard and grass while Nadal has only dominated clay. Additonally, Federer’s far superior playing style has afforded him the ability to stay strong throughout every season, winning 5 World Tour Finals, while Nadal has won zero.

In Federers prime between 2004-2007, any time he faced an opponent outside of Nadal at Roland Garros, he was considered the clear favorite.  The fact that he still retains some aura of invicibility is absoloutely amazing considering his dominant stretch started almost 10 years ago. The fact that Berdych and Tsonga are still thrilled to beat him in grand slams, and that Djokovic has had to come back from match points down at 2 US Opens shows how difficult it still is to beat Roger Federer in grand slams. Sure, Nadal has had his number by holding a 6-2 record in grand slams, but greatness is measured by dominance over all your peers, not a single peer. PLUS, Nadal’s win to loss ratio versus Federer has been skewed by the fact that Federer reached Roland Garros finals 4x when facing Nadal, while Nadal only reached one hardcourt final (australia) so far, when facing Federer.
 

The Best Coach in the Final Four (Written Before Last Night’s Results)

Coaching in college basketball is something that’s really hard to quantify. Part of the problem is that it’s not just about coaching– they’re part coach, part general manager, part brand manager, part hype-man, etc. The rest of the problem often boils down to the fact that you’re usually watching a team play a collection of inferior talent, making it hard to distinguish between good coaching and just not being absolutely horrible at your job.

When it comes to this year’s Final Four, I’d have to say that it’s either Billy Donovan or John Calipari. With Donovan, you have the coach that is more respected for his actual coaching acumen; his rise within the coaching ranks from start to taking over a big-name school was pretty quick, he’s been selected on multiple occasions to be the head coach of the USA Men’s lower level national teams (Under-19 and Under-18). With Calipari, you have a coach that might be the best recruiter in the history of the game and one of the greatest brand-mangers/hype-man in the business.

If I’m forced to pick between the two, I’d go with Donovan because I think he gets an edge when it comes to player development (if only because he actually gets a reasonable amount of time to work with them); his players are often drafted because of a particular skill they have whereas Calipari’s players are often drafted because they have “potential”. It’s a little unfair but it’s really about nit-picking at this point because, once you get into the tier of long-established coaches, there’s not a whole lot that seriously differentiates them (they tend become “long-established” for a reason).

Nobody can possibly have placed any concrete measure on what Kevin Ollie is after just two years and without having needed to rely on his recruiting and team-building skills all that much. As for Bo Ryan, I think he’s a fine coach, but his teams never really jump off the page; there’s never really been a year that you thought that his team could really win it all.

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