Monday, August 10, 2009

08.10.2009

Stewart Cink wins British Open and Then Travels Back In Time to 1977 and has A Playoff with Tom Watson

Stewart Cink battled the elements, battled his new putter and battled the field at the 2009 British Open but in a new wrinkle by the R and A for this year the tournament winner had to go back in time and beat the winner from the famous “Dual in The Sun” that occurred between Jack Nicklaus and tournament winner Tom Watson to validate the win…

Watson proved to be no match for Cink using equipment from 1977 that was inferior to the equipment used by Pros today… His four hole playoff was a lopsided affair that seemed very unfair to 1977 Tom Watson… Upon arriving back in 2009 Cink was presented with the Claret Jug and 2009 Tom Watson was there to greet him and congratulate him on his victory…

Well that is not exactly what happened but close… I am still reeling over this loss by Tom Watson… Tom may have gagged a little on his chip and his putt on 18 but he did hit two fantastic golf shots on 18 but in golf you can hit a great shot with a bad result or you can drive the ball under a tree, punch a hard five iron to about two feet (a shot you never practice) and make a birdie (I did this recently)…

No one ever in any Sport has experienced the pressure he was under… No one at 59 years old has been close to winning a sporting event of this magnitude so no one will ever know the pressure he was under at that moment… Great showing Tom… Rumor is Jack Nicklaus is going to lose 20 pounds and practice nothing but links golf the next year and play in with the intent of winning next years British Open

They Killed Kenny, You Bastasrds!!!

Kenny Perry choked at the Masters…

I am not saying he is a bad guy (he is for sure not) and I am not saying he is not a good if not a great sometimes player and I am not saying I could have done any better… You have to love what he accomplished in 2008 and how he capped it off being on the victorious Ryder Cub Team but in the Masters he flat out choked… You have to like how he handled the defeat at the end of the tournament but I know he has had a few very sleepless nights since that day…

It started on hole number 15 (although the 3 putt on 13 was huge)… He made a very tentative over the top pull type swing (totally outside of his normal swing plane with allot of left hand), caught the ball thin but still managed to find the green just to the left (Just listen the to the dialogue with his caddie when he completed the swing, when his caddied asked, “Did you get enough of it”)… He made a nice two putt to for birdie but that pull swing was a bad sign…

On 16 he proved he is a pressure player and his best short iron shot of the tournament right at the flag and birdied the hole (little easier to swing that eight iron under pressure Vs a four or five iron)… At that point CBS pretty much was given him the tournament and I have to admit I had visions of him putting on the green jacket… Question is did he have that vision???

Does that thought pop in your head at all??? Think about it… You just birdied the 16th hole to take a two shot lead in the most prestigious championship in all of golf (in all of Sports in my opinion)… You are about to enter a club that includes the most exclusive names in the history of golf (Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Woods, Watson, Seve, Hogan, Nelson, Faldo, Floyd, Mickelson, Zoeller, Crenshaw) with some unbelievable perks (full access to the course, a locker in the champions locker room which is a room that only the winners ever get to see, every Tuesday night the week of the Masters at the Champions Dinner, etc)… This is does not even count the positive financial impacts this creates in your life… Feel the pressure??? Breathe man breathe!!!

When he got to 17 his tee shot (his driver had been fantastic to this point) went dead right which means he never got the club face to it’s proper position and made a bad back swing (surprising because his issue under pressure shot is a pull not a push)... He got lucky when the ball bounced back out pretty much in the middle of the fairway… He is a six iron away and he makes the same bad swing he made on 15, pulled the ball left but this time over the green… Now all the thoughts (if he had them from above) become oh shit, if I get this up and down the tournament is mine, more pressure though… Now the choke factor or the demons are taking over in a different way then they were before…

Kenny then hits a very bad chip shot and leaves him a long putt for par (he has a history of bad chips under pressure)… To me this was also mistake number one in the decision making process, he could have putted the ball from that spot and got it closer then he did with the chip and a putt is a much easier shot under pressure then a chip is for any player at any level… He now stands over a long part putt, demons all around and he misses… One up with one to play…

I would think at this point your focus is just golf and all the thoughts of green jackets, etc… if they were ever there before now they are gone… A player of his caliber has been here before… This is not a situation like when he lost the PGA in his own back yard… This is a situation where make a par on the last hole and you are “Masters Champion”… Mistake number 2….

Even though his driver had been his best club all week it was time to hit the 3 wood… With the 3 wood he is not in any danger of making the bunker he ends up hitting his tee shot into and if he pulls his three wood it will then be a tough long shot but still he has a good shot at a four…

Now he is in the bunker after hitting a good drive (sometimes you are penalized for hitting a good shot)… Mistake number 3… The play to me at this point is to take left of the green out of play completely because it is just dead over there… Aim for the right front area of the green (not even the green itself and if you pull it you may be on the green, hit it where you are aimed and you have to get up an down (not a real difficult shot to execute with that pin placement on 18) or you hit it long into the right bunker (a tough up and down but a shot that still gives you a chance at a four and a much better chance then where his approach ends up (left of the green on that hole on the final day is just bad news)…

Kenny ends up making a bogey and let’s Cabrera and Campbell back in the tournament… At this point my thought is he is done!!! Of course luck takes over, Perry and Cabrera both Par the 18th hole in the playoff (Cabrera hits in the trees, try’s to hit a miraculous shot that bangs off a tree to the middle of the fairway and then gets up and down for par from the middle of the fairway which is where Kenny should have tried to get up and down from before sudden death)…

On number 10 the demons took over again and Kenny missed the green to the left (if you look at that swing he is way out of his normal swing path again) with little chance to get up and down from that spot…

There are some memorable losers in the tournament that have done it many different ways including Greg Norman, Tom Weiskoff, Robert Devincenzo, Ken Venturi and Scott Hoch and now you can add unfortunate one Kenny Perry to the list…

They (the demons) killed Kenny… You bastards!!!

Those same demons kept me from sleeping very well that night just thinking about that collapse so that is how hard I took his loss??? I really wanted to see this guy wearing that green jacket and I have to admit I thought he had it but those damn demons strike again…

Let’s hope somehow this guy wins a major and I am not buying the line he said, “If losing the Masters in a playoff is the worst things that happens to me then that is not that bad”… I see his point but I still believe this is going to pop in his head daily for a long time… Can he handle it??? Time will tell…

Update:

I heard KP interviewed on Mike and Mike and my respect for this gentleman just grows and grows… KP admitted that when he hit the great shot on 16 he thought man I just won the Masters and got way ahead of himself… Those damn demons!!!


UK Spring Football

What a beautiful day this was for a Spring Football Game… It was very nice to see my tailgating peeps for the day and watch some football…

My first impressions were that the defense looked pretty good (nothing spectacular) and Will Fiedler (UK’s back up QB) looked awesome… On the first drive he went 6 for 8 (one of those was a drop), converted twice on 3rd down and threw a nice TD Strike to Randall Cobb (who did look awesome)… Upon further review that fact that Will finished 10 of 24 (meaning after 6 for 8 he went 4 for 16) leaves me not so impressed…

Mike Hartline looked like Mike Hartline of 2008 season… He looked good on the short passes and slants over the middle, looked to have an improved pocket presence but still struggled with the deep ball… At this point my prediction is that after the summer is over you can take every comment and article that was written last year about who should play QB, insert Morgan Newton for Randall Cobb and that is what you will read and hear from the UK fans and media until that occurs… All I can say is I am glad we have two high profile QB’s in the wings…

The running backs and receivers looked pretty good… Alphonso Smith, A redshirt freshmen Walk On and Turtle ran the ball effectively… None of the receivers stood out to me except #42 who is a transfer walk on who caught two TD’s…

I am not sure what you take away from this as a fan but I am sure the coaches have a nice picture of what needs to go on this summer and what they will need to work on as fall camp opens…

I think this will be an exciting year for UK football but with a very tough schedule UK will have their hands full… I would love another bowl game but the offense will have to make great improvements over last year to get to six or seven wins… If Brooksy can pull off another bowl trip and a win then he will be crowned king…

My early prediction for the 2009 season is 6 and 6… This schedule is just too tough… This team is capable on the defensive side of the ball of pulling an upset but………

Brooksy has yet to win a big road game during his tenure at UK… He did beat Arkansas two years ago which was petty big at the time… Can UK beat Florida or Bama at home??? Can they finally beat UT??? This team could do better then 6 and 6 but could also go 5 and 7… I just cannot see a Coach Brooks team winning more then 8 games during a “regular” season…

Ugh… Now the Jarmon thing… If you do not know this kid graduated in three years, is working on his second major and is going to study abroad to work on his French… Problem is the NCAA’s appeals process does not look at one’s character or the circumstance it is just a simple did you do it or did you not do it…

For sure he took a banned substance that he bought over the counter (something to me is wrong with that picture)… A legal substance banned by the NCAA… Rules are rules though and he broke the rules and now has to pay the ultimate price… If you did not hear his press conference finds it and listens to it and you will see what a great kid he is and will continue to be… Oh well thanks NCAA you booted out a model student athlete and made him a millionaire…

Coach Brooksy still is not getting any love from the SEC media or the national media for what he has accomplished at UK… Reason being is his record against the powers in the SEC which are Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Bama and South Carolina he is something like 2 and 25 and he has also lost at home to Vandy twice… The losing streaks against Florida and UT are the longest by one team against another team in the country (both date back to the 80's)... Very fair criticism in my opinion but the fact that he has taken UK to and won three bowl games deserves a high level of praise…

Has he built a sustained winner??? Get back to me in five years or seasons from now and we will see…
It is also something to note that UK has the longest non conferece winning streak in the nation at 14 games...


Redbirds

Finally a trade that proves the organization is committed too winning and not just milking the Puljos thing… Bringing in Matt Holiday is the equals the move a few years back when they brought in Larry Walker… Lugo and Derosa are good pick ups also…

With the pitching they have in place and a few tweaks here and there and if they can get Greene by September then look out… This team has a real chance if the pitching holds up… They may need another starting pitcher…

On another note I cannot believe the organization let Stan Musial get snubbed on All Star Night… This was not time for anyone other than Stan the Man along with the ghost of Rogers Hornsby and Dizzy Dean to be honored… Very, very sad!!! This is baseball folks, Cardinals baseball for that matter… Baseball and the Redbirds should have made sure he was recognized on the same level that Ted Williams was a few years back…


Coach Cal

Coach Calipari does bend a little when it comes to players and discipline and some of that is a good thing and some of that is not in my opinion…

Could Coach Cal have also been up to some Shenanigans’ at Memphis??? Hmmmmmmmmmmm… All of this information is making me very uncomfortable but time will shake it out… This guy can coach and I think he will win a championship at UK and he for sure does not have the social problems as our previous coach did but you cannot ignore the stuff that is going on with Memphis… I am glad he has not been linked to anything at this point but we better be keeping score just in case…

There is a sportswriter from Kentucky who once wrote (as I have mentioned before) that there would be a Martian in the Whitehouse before there would be and African American Basketball Coach at UK which means of course Bill Clinton is a Martian… When Joker takes over the football program I am not sure what that will make the current President… Now this guy (the sportswriter) thinks a college should hire Bob Knight to be the coach… Well first of all Bob Knights time as a coach has passed and this is confirmed by the bang up job he did at Texas Tech after the IU gig, right… His argument is that although Bob Knight would score dead last in the category of personal behavior that a school should over look this and hire him like UK over looked all the issues with John Calipari… Unbelievable!!!

Cal much like BCG, whether you admit it or not, has “been around” some questionable items at their respected coaching stops but neither have been implicated by the NCAA or their schools…

Me personally I am not worried because unlike his predecessor Calipari understands the stage he is on and that will go along way… This to me makes a big difference…

See you from my seats in Rupp later this year!!!


Random Thoughts

- Coach Cal.com is the wave of the future for coaches… Coaches have to have the presence of a Website, Twitter, Facebook, etc… because that is going to get their name and the universities name out there… The old newspaper guys can fight this all they want but the Newspaper industry is dead… I have not picked one up in over a year…

- I was unsure about Twitter but I see writers starting to use this in a very effective way because something can happen at 1:00 PM EST today, they can write about it and then publish it within the hour vs. having to wait until the next day, the next magazine run or the nightly news… I will be signing up for some Twitter items over the next month…

- Mike Hartline is 3rd team preseason all SEC… Either someone knows something we do not or behind Tim Tebow and Javon Snead everyone else in the SEC is just mediocre at that position… I hope it is the first point…
- Glad to see Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice make the hall… If Rice does not get hurt in 75 the Sox may have won the World Series… Maybe would have even cost his teammate, Fred Lynn, the MVP and The Rookie of the Year award he won that year (still the only player to do that)… I hope the veterans committee at some point steps up and puts in Lynn along with Dave Parker…
- We are enjoying the Louisville Bats this year… They are leading their division by nine full games…
- It is time for Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson to also get there chance at the hall…
- UK’s starting defensive ends next year will have zero combined career tackles… Something to keep an eye on…
- The most ridiculous comment I believe I have ever seen or heard from a UK fan was one who said, “UK fans need to quit focusing on football, football is hurting the basketball program, just give up on it…” This person obviously has no clue what a financial impact filling up the Football Stadium and fielding a good team every year does for the University…
- Coach Calipari made an appearance at the Spring Game… My buddy Sheets said he saw BCG at Keenland (standing very much by himself)… Not that there is anything wrong with that (BCG being at Keenland) and just pointing out he is still in town…
- Tiger just being Tiger at the Memorial and AT and T but what happened at the British??… True Links golf if tough and he is losing it to the right bad… Back on track at the Buick and at Firestone…
- Hated to see Greg Norman have such a bad Master’s and British Open tournaments… I believe he practiced for the tournaments allot more than he even said he did… He had some great media interviews before the tournament started and I enjoyed watching them on the Masters website… Another heartbreak for him at the Senior British…
- How good of a guy is Kenny Perry??? He donates 5% of his winnings each year to Libscomb University…
- First time in about 20 years I did not handicapped the Kentucky Derby or any of the Triple Crown races… Would like to have cashed that ticket… I think the Filly, Rachel Alexander may have won the Triple Crown had she run in all three races… She romped in the Haskell a few weekends back…
- UK Linebacker Micah Johnson is a beast… We need a big year out of him in 2009…
- My golf game is marginal… I am shooting around 83 every time I play and I like to be 75 to 80… Driver has let me down this year big time but I have seen some significant promise lately… My short game is really good and that is due to practice although I gagged at a chance to shoot one over on nine holes with a shank chip recently…

- Run that by me again… KET ran some old sports shows this weekend that focused on multiple universities in the Commonwealth… My two favorites were a discussion about the 1976 Peach Bowl (UK vs. Clemson) and the 1921 Centre College football teams upset of mighty Harvard at Harvard… If you do not know that story read the book “The Praying Colonels”… I have mentioned before that ESPN ranked Centre’s victory as the greatest upset ever in college football…

Music

Heartless Bastards, a new band find from my wife… They sound really great with a rock, bluegrass type of sound… Racontourers were on Austin City Limits and they were awesome… I love Sonic Youth’s new CD also… The TING TINGS rock, That’s Not My Name!!! If you have not seen “The Hangover” then you need to go see it… VERY FUNNY!!!

Life Stuff

What have I learned about aging…

- I have spent time with my grandmother this summer as she has moved to a retirement community (I am very grateful for this opportunity)… At 92 years old it was finally time for her to move out of the county and into the city to a facility that has daily activities, meals a great social structure… My other grandparents already live there and love it (Absolute god send I have these grandparents)… What I have learned from all of this is first of all I wish we would have done this for her 10 years ago… Although she did not really need to do it then the transition to now would have been much easier… At 92 she still has a strong mind, etc… but this is an adjustment for someone who lived within three miles of the house she was born in her entire life… One lesson learned is that when I am about 75 years old or so I am going to make this move myself so no one has to do this for me…

- The other lesson I have learned is that both sets of my grandparents managed their finances, did not spend more then they made and invested a little money here and there and generally took care of their stuff… They worked hard their entire lives, had little more than a high school education, lived through the great depression and all came from very, very humble beginnings… Amazing what effort, responsibility, self motivation and making good decisions will do for people!!! They are comfortable people at this point other then the health issues caused from just plain getting older…

- They did all of this by donating allot of time, effort and money to various organizations throughout their years including Little League Baseball, Lions Club, Special Olympics and various religious organizations… Things that I very much plan to do when I retire as a tribute to them and a way to give back like they have done…

What I have learned about investing, retirement planning, healthcare, etc... That everyone should know (I get asked about this allot from people so I am sharing)

- I get asked allot and I hear people talk allot about how difficult it is to figure on how to invest, when to invest, how to budget, how to plan for retirement, etc… It is not that hard and you cannot afford to not understand this in your own way so make the effort…

- It is very important to understand you are not going to read one book, one article or have someone give you a magic formula for figuring out your finances and your retirement but with some self motivation and some good decision making you can make it happen… If you are married you need to work on this together and it will be a fantastic growth exercise and do not be afraid to include your kids so they understand what all this means…


- If you stopped investing when the market started taking a dip in May of 2008 that was a bad thing… Stocks have been “on sale” at rock bottom prices since then… If you were not investing prior to this period and are still not then you missed the greatest time ever to start… I believe the market will dip again after the fourth quarter numbers are in but that does not change how I am buying or what I am buying…


-The correct strategy over the last six months would have been to buy as much as you possibly could afford and then some more… The market just experienced the biggest five month gain since 1938 and will continue to stabilize and grow (even with a fourth quarter dip coming)… Recessions do not last forever and we have had five or six of them since 1920 and the reason we have had them vary greatly although the cause of the current financial crisis is almost a duplicate of the 1908 crisis the economy experienced (yes 1908)…

-Re-do your plan or better yet make a plan and a budget… How much do you need to retire??? How much Social Security will you draw (if in fact it is there)??? Do you have a pension??? What are your projected expenses when you retire??? What are your projected gains on investments??? I re-did my entire budget and plan this year and was surprised at the results using what I have learned from the market the last ten years, especially the last eighteen months… Go to Money Magazine.com and they have some very simple tools to help you get started… They have a simple quiz that takes less then five minutes to answer about your net worth, investing, etc… This quiz will tell you if you are on the right path or not about debt ration, retirement, investing, etc… If you do not understand any of the questions or cannot answer them then you have some work to do… I scored a B plus so I have some work to do…

- Be conservative when projecting out what your investments will look like up to retirement age and that way you will/should have more then you planned for… What is the magic number??? You must decide… There are several tools available to help project these things out available on line…

-Roth IRA and Roth 401k’s are the way to invest… These dollars are contributed after tax meaning when you get to 59 1/2 or after and start taking money out the money will not be taxed… Taxes are going to go up folks, they have to as government grows bigger and bigger and BIGGER… Raising taxes on everyone over the next eight to ten years (not just income taxes) is how this will be accomplished so pay the income taxes now versus paying them at a higher rate later when you take retirement distributions… Do you know what your tax rate is today between, income tax, social security; Medicare, state tax and sales tax you pay on the money you spend??? If not you should find out…

- Know your tax liability in retirement… This is really, really important… If you are drawing Social Security and taking distributions from a pre-tax investment account and/or working and/or drawing a pension and your total earnings are over $23000 in income then 85% of your Social Security will be taxed at the Federal Rate when you file your income tax returns (Pension, 401k distributions out of pre-tax accounts are income which is why Roth IRA’s and Roth 401k’s are the way to invest because these distributions in retirement do not count as income)…
Know which states do not tax pension benefits… If you are going to draw a pension that is where you want to live when you retire…

- Make sure you are allocating plenty of money in your budget for Healthcare when you retire... Don’t buy into the myth that healthcare costs are going to go down with the proposed government option because the costs and taxes to pay for the program are going to go up impacting everyone (check the tax rate for a married couple making a combined gross income of $80000 per year in Germany, France, Spain, Canada and England which are all countries who have government controlled healthcare and you will find an average of 45%, ouch… The average in the US right now is 28%)…

- The cost for private insurance is going to go up over the next fifteen years… If you are depending on the government for 100% of your health coverage especially in retirement I think that is a very bad plan… If you end up on a government plan you will need a supplement to cover life threatening type illnesses (cancer, etc…) as you get older to ensure you get the care or treatment you will want… If you are not in a position to buy supplemental coverage then you are putting your life and your any legacy you are trying to leave at risk… My plan is to stay completely off of any government option no matter what my age and no matter what the cost and that includes some limited Veterans coverage that I will be eligible for at a later date… Stay healthy, make sure you are getting good cardio exercise each week (at least three times), eat healthy foods, take vitamins which are all good decisions that can prolong your life and your health...

- If you have kids and you are not investing in ESA’s then you are missing the boat… 85% of families do not take advantage of this option and it is a relatively inexpensive way to save some money for college… If your kid does not use the money for college you get it back…
Debt is dumb!!! This point is reemphasized because the people who have struggled and are still struggling during the “financial crisis” are the people who historically have spent more then they made, had no plan, still have no plan, and have a very bad debt ratio, do not save or invest money, etc… and are now failing to do anything any different… That will never work!!! My favorite quote I have heard from all this is “Life is hard, even harder if you are stupid”… It does not take a college education to figure all of this out… If my grandparents did it and if I am doing it then you can do it too…

- The failure by the government and society at this point is a great teaching opportunity was missed to teach people how to manage their finances, be independent and chart their own path over the last several months… You cannot spend your way out of financial trouble whether you are an individual, a business or the government that math just does not work… The government is one of the main things that got us in this financial mess and now they are going to get us out… Please!!!

- Book those gains… If you have a financial plan with clear and defined goals then here is a simple rule of thumb… If you get to the end of the year and you are ahead of your overall goal then do what is called “Book the Gains” or in some circles “Rebalancing”… The biggest lesson I have learned from all of this is here in this formula (you have to decide your own formula)… If I would have done more of this over the last ten years then the blow I experienced would have been lessened over the last year… With some time and effort I have managed to recover all of my on paper losses from May of 08 to this point and guess what, I booked some of these gains in the last week…

- What should your mix be for stocks, international stocks, bonds and cash??? You have to decide… There are all types of formulas to figure this out for all over the internet but my two main sources are listed below…
If you do not know where to start the best places to go are Dave Ramsey.com and Money Magazine.com… These two places if used the right way will get you on the path to a better financial life and legacy…

Again, why do I share this information??? Mainly because I get asked about it allot… Lastly consider where I was in my life from ages of 13 to about 30 and all the influences I had during this period from things in my life (mainly me making poor decisions) and it is amazing that I can even have this type of conversation with anyone, period…

Consider who I am, where I came from and what my educational background is to this point in my life… Proof that anyone and I mean anyone who starts a pattern of making good decisions, puts forth some effort and makes and effort to understand things for what they are not what people tell you they are has a solid chance to as my friend Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else!!!”

If you are depending on someone else to make decisions for you then… well good luck with that… Create your own legacy!!!