published Monday, July 22nd, 2013

5-at-10: Lefty's pinnacle, Tiger's tumbling and UT's monster recruiting roll

It's here. It's all happening. High school football teams in Tennessee can get together in shorts and helmets. NFL training camps are on the horizon. The college kids will report at the end of this month. The time is now.

Side note: We'd like to wish our wonderful mother a Happy Birthday today. She's 49 — which is getting harder and harder to explain. And we'll share her insightful quote from 1984, when we were reviewing the draft list of the 14-year-old baseball players as the 5-at-10 Sr. was preparing to assemble our team for that summer. We got near the bottom, and we suggested one kid because he had batting gloves and sweat bands. Our mother quickly added, "The equipment is the easiest part of any game to obtain."

Amen, and pass the biscuits.

From the "Talks too much studios," pucker up buttercup.

Lefty closes the Open door

  • photo
    Phil Mickelson of the United States holds the Claret Jug trophy as he is driven away in a buggy from the press conference after winning the British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield, Scotland, Sunday July 21, 2013.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The reason we love major championships — be them individual sports like golf or tennis or the overall championships in the major team events — is because of the pressure and the prizes on the line.

The great ones in sports are measured in large part by how they preform in the biggest moments and on the biggest stages.

By that measure, Phil Mickelson put to rest any doubts about his greatness Sunday by storming to front and ripping the Claret Jug away from golf's best field. It was magical — his 5-under 66 was one of only 15 scores under par Sunday — and splendid. He became just the third player in the modern era to win a major by three or more shots after trailing by five shots entering the final round. (Faldo at Augusta in '96 and Leonard at The Open in '97 were the others.)

In fact, in winning his fifth career major, Mickelson turned in the most impressive final round at a major since Jack in 1986. It doesn't seem that long ago that we wondered if Mickelson would ever win a major before his breakthrough at Augusta in 2004. Now, it's hard not to look back at his river of "so-closes" and wonder what could of been.

That debate is for another time, because the now should be the discourse about Mickelson's magic. His combination of execution and artistry is breathtaking. When Tiger was controlling golf, he was overpowering people with his length, his will and his relentless efficiency, especially on the green. Tiger was Tyson. Mickelson is more of a mixture. He's more Ali, in that he has won with power and he has won with grace, and more times than not he has been his own worst enemy.

Sunday, Lefty flipped the script. He landed haymaker and made every move effectively. He also entered the rare Tiger-like putting zone on the back nine, when every putt he rolled looked pure and you started going from "No way he makes that," to "No way he misses that."

Well-played, Lefty, well-played indeed.

————

Open leftovers

Tiger Woods also continued his free fall from the peaks of his power. He carded a 74, falling out of contention from almost the very start.

Woods, who has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, is mired in the longest major-less streak of his career and the question now is will he win another major rather than can he catch Jack's 18 major titles?

Woods has repeatedly said he is happy with his game and his swing. The results? Well, not so much.

Woods is faltering because he has lost the best club in his bag. No this is not an iron or a wood or even his putter, although that his the most affected. No Tiger is merely a great golfer right now — he's still No. 1 in the world after all. He is not the elite, ferocious competitor that he was in the 2000s, when he thought he was faultless and, more importantly, so did everyone else.

Woods' shortcoming are because his best golfing weapon was always a stainless steely will and mental toughness that refused to allow him to fail and simply did not allow anyone feel comfortable around him on the leaderboard.

That's gone. And that's gone forever — you can't put intimidation paste back in the tube — and that's why Tiger will never be Tiger again. Sure, he can win titles and maybe a major or three along the way — he's still a great golfer with four wins this year — but he'll never prowl the course and intimidate the field the way he once did.

That ship has sailed, docked and unloaded.

Congrats to ThatIDidKnow, who turned in an Open Contest sheet that had five names in the top 13. Well-played indeed.

————

Hits keep coming

We're going to debate UT football this week, and we'll get more into this year's Vols on Tuesday.

Today, let's just take a deep breath and drink in the recruiting roll that Tennessee coach Butch Jones is enjoying.

There was a stretch this weekend in which Jones was adding four-star prospects at an Danny Struggla strikeout pace — about one every 50 minutes.

Let's remember that the Vols are just eight months removed from the sea of turmoil that included at least one and reportedly several coaches turning down the UT job following another 5-7 season.

Jones has landed a series of recruiting haymakers, including adding two four-star receivers, a four-star linebacker, two four-star defensive backs and two three-star offensive linemen in the last week. TFP UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown details the run here.

————

This and that

  • photo
    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive lineman Keionta Davis, center, rushes during a simulated play, in the rain, at Scrappy Moore Field on July 16. Davis was participating in summer workouts.
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter.
    enlarge photo

— Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested for barking at a police dog. Morrison, who likely was going to start for the Gators, was arrested for resisting — his second run in with the law in five weeks — and has been suspended for the first two games. (Side note: Yes, UT is Florida's third game of the season.) When asked why he barked at the police dog, Morrison said, the dog barked first. Forget stand your ground laws, this is about marking your territory.

— UTC redshirt freshman Keionta Davis is ready to get back on the field, as Mocs football ace John Frierson tells us here. We believe Mr. Davis is going to be a stud duck for UTC. That is all.

— Prince William and his bride Kate are about to have a baby. Here's hoping they name the tot Jadeveon. Or Barkevious. (Those names are Slinky good — fun for boys or girls.)

————

Today's question

Feel free to jive on any of the above or any of the not mentioned. (Hey the Braves are back in action... and Uggla just struck out again.)

If you need a talking point — and feel free to give us a call on the radio show Press Row, Mondays-Fridays on 105.1 FM and espnchattanooga.com — here are three:

— Where will UT's recruiting class end up ranked? Right now on verbals and such, they are No. 1 in almost every ranking. But signing day is miles to go before we sleep.

— Is Phil Mickelson a top-10 golfer all time? We think no, but he may be top 15 now. Where do you rank Phil all-time and where do you rank Sunday in the pantheon of one day showings.

— Will Tiger win another major?

Discuss.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
rdc919 said...

Remember in recruiting the big dogs walk late. UT will finish no better than 4th or 5th in the conference.

July 22, 2013 at 10:22 a.m.
chas9 said...

I'm just back from traveling, so I'm catching up on old 5@10 business. First, Bruce Willis is the correct choice. Second, Ali McGraw's pool scene in Goodbye Columbus is my generation's Phoebe Cates. Do yourself a favor and look it up if you missed it. Third, on the subject of female sports journalists, whatever happened to The Sports Babe? She was a good fit for radio.

On to today's business. Will Tennessee's stand your ground law help The Vols' offensive line?

The Big Orange deserve their rivals.com rank as the nation's best 2014 football class, and UK is back where it belongs. Which is at #4, ahead of the other 12 SEC teams and just ahead of the other UT.

Speaking of recruiting, The War Eagles got a highly-touted JC WR, D'haquille Williams, a sure-fire first team all-name selection, alongside Cincy's Silverberry. And bye-bye to AU whiz Korvotney Barber.

But Jay, will your royal baby watching today keep you from your day job?

July 22, 2013 at 11 a.m.
jgreeson said...

rdc —

There is a long way between now and signing day, no doubt. And there's a slew of hay to be put in the barn.

Still, what Butch and Co. have working right now is some serious MoJo.

9er —

We were beginning to wonder about your whereabouts. Glad to have you back.

Love the names. We need to have a Rushmore of names in the days ahead. Sad news about Korvotney, no doubt.

As for the baby watching, uh, let's say we've not missed many meals waiting on the stork to arrive.

Princess Silverberry would be pretty cool, though.

July 22, 2013 at 11:14 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

I've been saying ever since the Thanksgiving incident that Tiger had just lost the mental edge on everyone in the field. No more was he invincible Tiger. And if he's not invincible Tiger, he's much more Greg Norman and a lot less Tiger Woods. The intimidation factor that you are talking about is the key here, and that's gone. That doesn't mean Tiger can't be the best player in the world (he probably is), but it does mean that he'll contend at majors, maybe sneak one or two out along the way, but won't ever five majors in eight tries like it seemed like he used to do all the time. Combine the injuries in there, and it is almost impossible to imagine Tiger breaking Jack's record. That being said, I think Tiger does win another major or two in the next ten years. I wouldn't be surprised to see him steal one in his 50s even, if he is still playing at that point. But we'll just have to wait and see.

The Vols recruiting haul is getting a touch ridiculous. Wish they could land a 5 star or two. If they did that, then this thing would be over. Good night. See you later.

Very happy for Phil. I have no idea where he ranks all-time. If he had pulled off one or two of those US Opens that he finished second in, he would probably be in the Top 5 all-time. I've been off his bandwagon all year because of his increasing injuries. I think I was wrong. Probably back on the train for the PGA.

Feel really bad for Lee Westwood. Eight top three finishes without ever winning a major- a record. He's ahead of Colin Montgomerie. I didn't think anyone could be ahead of Monty in "close, but no cigars" at majors. Felt bad for Adam Scott too. He was in control and then just blew it....

July 22, 2013 at 11:17 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Good Monday Morning.

Nice recoup over the weekend and was able to get a little bit of everything done. Even finished Chapter 12 of "Chatlanta" which has been sitting dormient for several months. I have one friend who's actually "reading" it (or the first 11 chapters completed) and not saying he/she will read it and they never do. My favorite was when she said "I wish I had some Taco Bell to munch on while reading this. Your description of Scappy and Smokey's Place (fictional sports bar/restaurant in the story as the backdrop in Chapter 2) is making me hungry." ^^() She's female and weighs as much as Davis Tull ::was biting tongue at that moment::.

Anyway, first, I want to say Thank GAWD for the five at ten. It's almost like the cubby hole lounge you go to in order to escape the lunacy of the world. It's a good thing I no longer have cable because I'm about fed up with Comicon, She Expo, Zimmerman, and the Royals (not the Kansas City Ones). I could probably use some baseball but payday isn't until this Friday. D:

Comic-con: Not to call the kettle black given MY background but 1) 95% of the media world could care less about the comic world except that one weekend and 2) Hollywood has soo highjacked it that almost everything now is "exclusive" to Comic-con which doesn't even leave "crumbs" to the hundreds of other large scale comic conventions across the country. Marvel wants to impress me? Help Connooga book Hugh Jackman or Robert Downey Jr. (Oh yeah, not gonna happen).

She-Expo: Not to bite the hand that feeds the main sponsor BUT...when will this be done and over? I know the event is a heavily attended but the Facebook "haters" don't seem to be impressed.

Anyway, now that's out of my system, let's get excited about football.

-Enjoyed Frierson's piece on Keionta Davis. However, speaking of Huesman & Co.

-Any idea when the actual media days will be this week?

-Any follow-up on whether Shayfat has been suspended/dismissed following that insident with his car and his (type edit) and the fact it was 3:15 in the morning when the police arrived?

Butch and company looks good "on paper". In the field, that is my main focus.

Yeah, I can probably use some Rangers baseball (will take Frisco Rough Riders as an alternative as well).

July 22, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Yeah, I think I'm more interested in the panda at the zoo whelping than the royal baby, though Kate is a very lovely young lady. You know, if she ever gets tired of a life of luxury and pampering and wants to see how the other side of the tracks rolls, the Spy's up for the task.

And will they say "it's a boy!" or "it's a girl!" or "It's another member of an undeserving yet protected member of an institution that has long outlived its purpose!" But I digress....

Lefty has conquered Scotland more forcefully than William Wallace (I know he didn't conquer it, but I needed the reference and didn't want to continue to come across as some Crown-loathing republican - and that is with a small r - which I am). His record at The Open Championship has been less than lackluster. It would have to improve greatly just to be mediocre. Yet he absolutely blitzed Muirfield on Sunday. For all his own foibles, he is a gracious winner.

So ... how many Vols fans will bark when the Florida defense takes the field against the Orange and White offense?

July 22, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.
chas9 said...

JMC--Give the awkwardly-named She thingie a break. After all, they will offer up some dork named Dr. Travis Stork. I'm not making this up. Is he an escapee from one of your comedy routines? And please tell me you'll do a routine based on this current TFP headline: Police Say Baby's Ashes Taken in Alabama Purse Snatching."

July 22, 2013 at 11:26 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Chase-

The Dr. Stork person is not from one of my bits; but I'll seriously look into the story about the purse snatching.

July 22, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.
Buschleague said...

5--Awesome Open! Phil is a lock for top 20 and no way top 10. If he picks off 3-4 more majors maybe..I think Tiger will get 4-5 more but even if he doesn't I'd still say he's best ever.

Side note:UTC and UT 7-5 on the year.

July 22, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

The only positive about the Royal Infant is that the story might take GZ off the news a bit, even though I read a poll stating 80 percent of Americans don't care about it at all. Another 10 percent care only slightly. The media are the ones loving it, they need another child to fawn over other than Cruise, Jolie, Pitt, etc's kids. Horrible.

Here's hoping for good weather this week for the softball tournament in town, and that the parents and kids spend money all over.

Braves didn't show a lot of killer instinct against the last place White Sox.

I just can't get into watching golf on TV. Put me at an event or better yet put a club in my hand and I'm overjoyed. Maybe it's a Tiger overdose, same for me as Royal Infant overdose.

July 22, 2013 at 12:49 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

LB-

Agreed on the "media push" factor. If it weren't for the fact we have 24 hour news channels (not one but three) + all the morning and "View" clones I noticed during my 12 days at the homestead in the 423, this would have barely been a blimp on the radar. To be honest, I don't remember even William and Harry's births getting this much coverage. Then again, like a lot of us on this forum, they were born pre-FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Anyway, the other major stories being the Six Flags one generated from where I'm at + GZ + Syria/Egypt, this is like "Look, we have good news to report." And I'm like "Yes, I do too: Mocs kickoff in six weeks + the Vols (officially) two weeks after that".

Austin Peay + Western Kentucky does not exist. This is not open for discussion. The season in Knoxville starts on 09/14.

July 22, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.
chas9 said...

In merrie olde England, you can bet on the royal baby-to-be's name. William and Alxandra are heavy favorites. Here's saying the odds are crazy long on it being D'haquille. But if you hit it, think how good the payout would be.

July 22, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Chase-

As of this posting, it is 12:12 PM Dallas time. So that means it's obviously dinnertime where you're at. Hope the bangers and mash are cooked to perfection.

July 22, 2013 at 1:12 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

If the Vols overlook Western Kentucky all of the excitement could be gone like a mistress on a motorbike.

July 22, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

MT, Stewmiester (assuming you two pop in)

Frierson just Tweeted via Facebook link another "Navy Dude" coming to the 423. Some cat named Danny Ring. Supposedly started three games for the Midshipmen last season.

July 22, 2013 at 2:08 p.m.
Stewwie said...

JM to the C,

Never heard of Danny Ring, but hopefully he's a good catch. I'm sure Frierson will tell us more about him in tomorrow's TFP.

Speaking of former Navy dudes, did Colton Jumper ever decide where he's going to play ball this fall? Is he going to sign with UTC?

July 22, 2013 at 2:52 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Say Jay, are you bouncing off the walls today? I was looking at some stuff on YouTube last night and a commercial for 5 Hour Energy starring Bo Jackson played before one video. I just assumed that every Auburn Tiger in the world would be all jacked-up on energy shots now.

I'm in a rough spot right now with this Antonio Morrison deal. He is a Florida Gator, a wretched and loathsome lot. However, a world in which people are locked away for barking in public is not a world I want to live in. Free Antonio!

July 22, 2013 at 3:02 p.m.
jgreeson said...

GD —

We can see the moral dilemma there. But we'll side against Morrison on this one. If he had been howling at the moon, that's one thing. But picking a fight with a canine in a car is a dog of a different breed.

Stewwie —

Yep. We'll have more on D Ring in tomorrow's TFP. Last we heard on Jumper was he was going to prep school. We'll check on that.

LB —

You bet it is. That's the first biggest game on the schedule there. As we talked about on the radio, a loss there could derail the whole train.

9er —

You have D'haquille. OK. How long a shot is Dianna? Thoughts.

Buscher —

It was an awesome Open. Excellent even.

JMC —

You need to work ole Dr. Stork into the routine. Gold, Jerry, gold. Better than soup at Mindy's even.

Spy —

Everyone's fighting for the scraps from Longshanks table. And is there a worse golfing name than Longshanks?

Stuck —

Concur about Westwood. Just the next chapter and verse of the saying, "There's nothing due in this world but library books and postage."

July 22, 2013 at 3:18 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

I agree that howling at the moon is justifiable juvenility. The authorities in Bryson City, North Carolina do not see it that way. Many years have passed, so, long story short...If you are going to consume copious amounts of Jagermeister and vodka during the course of an evening(I wouldn't suggest it), don't do it in Bryson City.

July 22, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.
MocTastic said...

JG, had that this morning but somebody told me to sit on it. :) Danny Ring didnt' want to commit to the Navy for his career, thus the transfer, no baggage. He was projected to be a starter for Navy this coming season. DL, 6-4 270ish. Since he didn't play as a frosh, he should have three years of playing at UTC. Navy doesn't do redshirts as they all graduate in 4 years. They do sort of a redshirt on some by sending them to Naval Academy Prep School, but he didn't go there. He will play and contribute and probably start in 2014.

July 22, 2013 at 4:03 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...

MT-

Always on top of it. Sounds like a promising component.

July 22, 2013 at 4:17 p.m.
sportsfan said...

Jay - for the mailbag. Is it time for Tiger to retire the red and black traditional Sunday attire? Doesn't seem to pack the punch it used to. Now it just seems kinda sad.

July 22, 2013 at 8 p.m.
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