Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Move Over, Secretary McNamara

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld offers this pearl:

"But some seem not to have learned history's lessons."

Remarkably, he was referring to administration critics rather than himself. While he considers the topic of history, he might want to consider how it will feel to sit on the short list of defense secretary disasters.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

PGA Championship Picks

The PGA Championship begins tomorrow at Medinah Country Club.

Medinah is a long course with huge trees that line most fairways. Putting is always paramount in championship golf, but driving the ball long and straight will be just as important this week. Also, this is the last week PGA Tour players can earn points for the Ryder Cup, and that will affect golfers on the bubble.

Here is my analysis of some contenders along with my pick to be win the PGA Championship.

Tim Clark: This guy is smart and tough, and he drives the ball straight (although not long). I think he will putt well enough to offset his short hitting - top 30 finish.

Kenny Perry: Drives it straight and long, which will go a long way this week. Most of his wins have come on tough courses, so he could be a dark horse this weekend - top 15.

Sergio Garcia: Garcia was in the hunt in the PGA at Medinah in 1999 as a 19-year old. Be prepared to watch tape of him scissors-kicking after a great shot that year....it will be played at least a dozen times this weekend. Sergio has not been able to find the fairway or make short putts this year, so this trip to Medinah will be less fruitful - out of top 25.

Vijay Singh: #4 player in the world has won this tournament twice before. He is not at the top of his game, but I think he will get his driver in gear this week and compete - top 30.

Retief Goosen: #5 player in the world has struggled a good bit this week. His game is built for the toughest courses when he is playing well, but he has a poor finish, perhaps missing the cut.

Phil Mickelson: Defending champion and #2 player in the world. Phil could not find a fairway when it mattered at the US Open. He will have to do better to compete this week, and he will - top 10.

Stewart Cink: He is longer than most people think, and he is a great putter. He has moved into contention for the Ryder Cup with a string of good finishes, and I think he will be in the hunt again this weekend - top 15.

Ernie Els: Traditionally Ernie's weakest major. He is finally playing better, but he is still not in top form - top 25.

Tiger Woods: Tiger won the PGA at Medinah in 1999, and he has been on fire lately. Combining his length with his ability to make pressure putts makes him Vegas' favorite. I think he will spend just a tad too much time in the rough this week - top 5.

Jim Furyk: One of only two players (Chris DiMarco is the other) who can match Tiger mentally. He has won other tournaments in Chicago, including a US Open, and he is perhaps the best driver in the game. He has finished in the top four of his last four starts, including two majors. I like him to get his second major title this weekend.

Friday, August 11, 2006

An Artist Departs

Only three weeks after learning he had pancreatic cancer, Fred Sudermann passed away on Wednesday. My sister Emily is married to Fred's son, Michael.

Fred was distinguished in his service to Wichita State University, and he was co-founder of the National Institute for Aviation Research that is based at the school.

Fred's true loves were his family and friends, and his art. He and my sister were unusually close for a father-in-law and daughter-in-law separated by half a continent. I know she always treasured his love and support.

Fred's art was among the most innovative I have ever seen, with almost a MacGyver quality. He could take the most common items and assemble them into something beautiful and unusual. If you gave him a coat hanger and five minutes in your backyard, he would make a mobile you would want to display prominently in your home.

I feel for his family, as they have moved from diagnosis to funeral in such a short time. I am glad his art will remain with them, so they will be reminded of the light that shined so brightly in Fred.

You can read more about Fred in this Wichita Eagle article.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Mess in Iraq

"This is a conflict that began with misinformation, muddled messages, and the Panglossian suggestion that a country whose history has been bathed in blood could be transformed into a little Nebraska."

Newsweek's Anna Quindlen nails the core errors that brought us to the conflict in Iraq and predicts a slew of pithy slogans that oversimplify that mess during election season.

"Last week the General Accountability Office, the nonpartison congressional watchdog group, released a report saying the war strategy was murky, the effort poorly planned and the $ 1.5 billion pumped into Iraq each week by the United States chronically mismanaged. In other words, the U.S. government has its own chaos to deal with."

(nod to my dad for this story)


Floyd Landis Was Dehydrated?

Floyd Landis is now floating the idea that dehydration might have caused him to have extremely elevated levels of testosterone when tested at the Tour de France. Sure, Floyd, you were probably the only dehydrated cyclist in the Tour.

Dude is starting to run out of excuses, so I thought I would help by referring him to my friend Jake.

"I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD"


The Horror

I have a strong stomach, but the thought of bidding on Coach Chuck Amato's shoes (game worn, no less) is enough to make me heave.

Can this clown get any worse?

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