• Tiger getting busier while Rory still dealing with lawsuite

    As professional golf waits for the season to gear up again, Tiger Woods eyes a return, while Rory McIlroy continues to settle his lawsuit with his management company. 

    After pulling out of the PGA Championship due to back issues, Woods will return to the golf course to participate in his foundation’s tournament, the Hero World Challenge, on Dec. 4-7. 

    According to Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, Tiger is still listening to his doctors.  The former great is having had back surgery on March 31, while also returning to the golf course in June, participating in four events.  However, he pulled out of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and a week later missed the cut on Aug. 8 at the PGA Championship. 

    Woods began the year ranked highly, but fell to 17th because of his results and inactivity. 

    Yet as Woods works to get back to course play, he announced on Tuesday that his first golf course, El Cardonal course at Diamente in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, opens on Dec. 16. 

    He plans to open a course called Bluejack National, near Houston, but we will have to wait to see how his first course turns out.  Woods has tried to design courses in the Dubai desert, Asheville, North Carolina, and Mexico’s Baja Coast, but none of them came through. 

    Now that we have looked at the former No. 1 player, what is Rory McIlroy, the current No. 1 player up to? 

    McIlroy is skipping the European Master’s BMW Master’s at the end of October and the PGA Tour’s WGC-HSBC Champions during November to devote time to his lawsuit against former management company Horizon Sports.  Supposedly during mediation talks, he and Horizon Sports could not reach an agreement and a February 2015 court date has been set. 

    Even with taking some time off, McIlroy will return to the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Nov. 20. 

    However, this court date could affect his tournament schedule for 2015.  He is still listed to participate in the Euro Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in January. 

    These tournaments will be beneficial for McIlroy as he prepares to complete golf’s career grand slam to win the Masters this year.         

  • Royals, Giants face off in Game 1 of World Series

    The 2014 World Series will get kicked off in Missouri tonight as the Kansas City Royals host the San Francisco Giants in the first game of the best-of-seven series.

    For the Royals, this is their first World Series appearance since they won it all in 1985. The Giants are back for the third time in five years and looking for their third title. Both teams started this postseason by winning wild card games and are looking to make history by winning this destiny-filled series.

    Honestly, I have no idea who will win this one. My postseason bracket this year was awful and these two teams have been playing with some kind of magic that makes anything possible. Nevertheless, here’s my brief rundown of the matchups and my pick to win it all.

    The starting pitchers that have been confirmed so far are as follows:

    Game 1- (SF) Madison Bumgarner v. (KC) James Shields

    Game 2- (SF) Jake Peavy v.(KC) Yordano Ventura

    Game 3- (KC) TBD v. (SF) Tim Hudson

    Game 4- (KC) TBD v. (SF) Ryan Vogelsong

    Statistically, the Giants have a lower team earned run average (2.18) than the Royals (2.93), but I don’t think that completely sums up the pitching comparison. San Francisco’s starting rotation has been a little better this postseason, in my opinion, but Kansas City has a much deeper and stronger bullpen. The Giants’ relievers have been good, but their bullpen isn’t as solid as Kansas City’s.

    Both closers successfully saved every game they were asked to, with San Francisco’s Sergio Casilla going 4-for-4 and not allowing a run in 6.2 innings pitched and Kansas City’s Greg Holland going 6-for-6 with one run scored in eight innings pitched. Again, I think the Royals have a slight advantage in pitching as the game goes on and I think their bullpen will need to be extra special against the Giants’ persistent offense.

    Offensively, both of these teams are incredibly dangerous. They can both score big early and know how to get runs across the plate when the game is on the line. Kansas City has a better team batting average (.259 to San Francisco’s .244) and a number of guys with impressive hitting stats through the postseason, but you can’t underestimate the veteran hitters in the Giants’ lineup.

    The Giants will be led by Buster Posey (.302 AVG, .354 OBP, 5 RBI), Pablo Sandoval (.326 AVG, .396 OBP, RBI), Hunter Pence (.256 AVG, .341 OBP, 3RBI) and former Longhorn Brandon Belt (.286 AVG, .409 OBP, 6 RBI, HR) when they come to the plate. As a team, they hit five homeruns and stole three bases in 10 postseason games so far. They have a number of supporting guys in the lineup that can get on base and drive in runs when needed.

    The Royals’ offensive attack will be headed by Eric Hosmer (.448 AVG, .556 OBP, 8 RBI, 2 HR), Lorenzo Cain (.353 AVG, .378 OBP, 4 RBI), Mike Moustakas (.241 AVG, .267 OBP, 5 RBI, 4 HR) and Alex Gordon (.222 AVG, .400 OBP, 9 RBI, HR). With an impressive 13 stolen bases so far, I expect them to continue their aggressive base running. They have a lot of speedy guys who can get on base, and with eight homeruns hit as a team in the postseason, their power hitting is getting hot at exactly the right time.

    Both teams have solid defenses that have made big plays to get them this far. Statistically, the Giants are better defensively with a .785 defensive efficiency ratio so far in the playoffs to the Royals’ .748 DER, but both have committed three errors, allowed three stolen bases and caught one runner in the postseason.

    If San Francisco’s veteran Posey can control the Royals’ base running, it could affect their offense all the way through. But the Royals have had their way on the base paths against some great catchers already, so we’ll see what happens.

    Choosing a winner in this series was very tough for me. Both teams are incredibly resilient and find ways to come up big when necessary and both can take quick leads and preserve them with solid defense. Every time I think one team has an edge, I recall something about the other team that makes me doubt whether any advantage exists.

    I don’t think there is a set favorite to win this series. These teams are too similar and both are playing with this great vibe you only see in the postseason. Anything, and I mean anything, can happen when these guys take the field. I think, and hope, this series will go the full seven games and we’ll see some wild, extra-inning, walk off baseball.

    So, who wins the title- the seasoned, veteran-filled team or the feisty club full of young stars? It’s an awfully tough decision, but I’m going to go with the Kansas City Royals.

  • Royals, Giants face off in Game 1 of World Series

    The 2014 World Series will get kicked off in Missouri tonight as the Kansas City Royals host the San Francisco Giants in the first game of the best-of-seven series.

    For the Royals, this is their first World Series appearance since they won it all in 1985. The Giants are back for the third time in five years and looking for their third title. Both teams started this postseason by winning wild card games and are looking to make history by winning this destiny-filled series.

    Honestly, I have no idea who will win this one. My postseason bracket this year was awful and these two teams have been playing with some kind of magic that makes anything possible. Nevertheless, here’s my brief rundown of the matchups and my pick to win it all.

    The starting pitchers that have been confirmed so far are as follows:

    Game 1- (SF) Madison Bumgarner v. (KC) James Shields

    Game 2- (SF) Jake Peavy v.(KC) Yordano Ventura

    Game 3- (KC) TBD v. (SF) Tim Hudson

    Game 4- (KC) TBD v. (SF) Ryan Vogelsong

    Statistically, the Giants have a lower team earned run average (2.18) than the Royals (2.93), but I don’t think that completely sums up the pitching comparison. San Francisco’s starting rotation has been a little better this postseason, in my opinion, but Kansas City has a much deeper and stronger bullpen. The Giants’ relievers have been good, but their bullpen isn’t as solid as Kansas City’s.

    Both closers successfully saved every game they were asked to, with San Francisco’s Sergio Casilla going 4-for-4 and not allowing a run in 6.2 innings pitched and Kansas City’s Greg Holland going 6-for-6 with one run scored in eight innings pitched. Again, I think the Royals have a slight advantage in pitching as the game goes on and I think their bullpen will need to be extra special against the Giants’ persistent offense.

    Offensively, both of these teams are incredibly dangerous. They can both score big early and know how to get runs across the plate when the game is on the line. Kansas City has a better team batting average (.259 to San Francisco’s .244) and a number of guys with impressive hitting stats through the postseason, but you can’t underestimate the veteran hitters in the Giants’ lineup.

    The Giants will be led by Buster Posey (.302 AVG, .354 OBP, 5 RBI), Pablo Sandoval (.326 AVG, .396 OBP, RBI), Hunter Pence (.256 AVG, .341 OBP, 3RBI) and former Longhorn Brandon Belt (.286 AVG, .409 OBP, 6 RBI, HR) when they come to the plate. As a team, they hit five homeruns and stole three bases in 10 postseason games so far. They have a number of supporting guys in the lineup that can get on base and drive in runs when needed.

    The Royals’ offensive attack will be headed by Eric Hosmer (.448 AVG, .556 OBP, 8 RBI, 2 HR), Lorenzo Cain (.353 AVG, .378 OBP, 4 RBI), Mike Moustakas (.241 AVG, .267 OBP, 5 RBI, 4 HR) and Alex Gordon (.222 AVG, .400 OBP, 9 RBI, HR). With an impressive 13 stolen bases so far, I expect them to continue their aggressive base running. They have a lot of speedy guys who can get on base, and with eight homeruns hit as a team in the postseason, their power hitting is getting hot at exactly the right time.

    Both teams have solid defenses that have made big plays to get them this far. Statistically, the Giants are better defensively with a .785 defensive efficiency ratio so far in the playoffs to the Royals’ .748 DER, but both have committed three errors, allowed three stolen bases and caught one runner in the postseason.

    If San Francisco’s veteran Posey can control the Royals’ base running, it could affect their offense all the way through. But the Royals have had their way on the base paths against some great catchers already, so we’ll see what happens.

    Choosing a winner in this series was very tough for me. Both teams are incredibly resilient and find ways to come up big when necessary and both can take quick leads and preserve them with solid defense. Every time I think one team has an edge, I recall something about the other team that makes me doubt whether any advantage exists.

    I don’t think there is a set favorite to win this series. These teams are too similar and both are playing with this great vibe you only see in the postseason. Anything, and I mean anything, can happen when these guys take the field. I think, and hope, this series will go the full seven games and we’ll see some wild, extra-inning, walk off baseball.

    So, who wins the title- the seasoned, veteran-filled team or the feisty club full of young stars? It’s an awfully tough decision, but I’m going to go with the Kansas City Royals.

  • Texas Stars sweep weekend games, remain undefeated

    The Texas Stars, Austin’s minor league hockey team, improved to 3-0-0 this weekend following wins against Oklahoma City and Utica.

    Both games were close with the Stars winning by just a one goal margin each time, but the Dallas Stars' AHL affliliate was able to pull through each time. 

    The Stars started out the weekend with a road game against the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday. Texas, who won 3-2, had a combined a team effort as three different players registered in the scoring column.

    Texas took an early 2-0 lead at the end of the first period but saw their lead evaporate midway in the second period with two goals by Oklahoma City. Though, the Stars powered through, scoring towards the end of the second period and taking the lead for good at 3-2.

    Jack Campbell and Jyrki Jokipakka highlighted Texas'. Campbell, the Stars’ goalie, had 37 saves against the Barons, while Jokipakka scored the winning goal for the Stars.

    The Stars also won their second game of the weekend against the Utica Comets in Austin. Compared to their game against the Barons, Texas’ contest against the Comets was much more of a defensive thriller as the Stars outlasted Utica 1-0.

    The Stars used an early third period goal by Travis Morin to break away for the win after neither team could put the puck in the back of the net during the first two periods.

    Goalie Jack Campbell also played well for the Stars, saving all 29 attempts that came his way.

    Up next for the Texas Stars is a home-and-home series against the Oklahoma City Barons this weekend. The Stars will play at the Barons on Friday and will conclude the weekend with a home game against Oklahoma City on Saturday.

  • Longhorns Look to Solidify Secondary In Class of 2015

    Texas head football coach Charlie Strong has always been known as a defensive-minded coach. Prior to his stint as head coach at Louisville from 2010-2013, Strong served as an assistant or  defensive coordinator since 1983, most notably as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida from 2003-2009. At Florida, Strong boasted a large list of accomplishments, most notably producing 13 All-Americans and a National Defensive Player of the Year.

     

    This defensive mindset held by Strong, has been reflected in his recruitment of the Class of 2015, most notably in his recruitment of the defensive backfield. Aside from quarterback Zach Gentry, the Longhorns top recruit from the Class of 2015 is safety DeShon Elliot. Elliot, from Rockwall-Heath High School in Heath, Texas, is the number five ranked safety prospect in the nation according to ESPN.com. 

     

    At 6-2, 205 pounds, Elliot is a physical safety who excels at covering larger receivers and stopping the run. Due to this, Elliot has been compared to former Longhorn and current Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who was the number 14 pick in the 2010 NFL draft. 

     

    To play alongside Elliot, the Longhorns have eyed two cornerback recruits; Iman Marshall from Long Beach Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California and Kendall Sheffield from Thurgood Marshall High School in Missouri City, Texas. 

     

    Both Marshall and Sheffield are highly touted prospects, with Marshall being the top ranked corner prospect and Sheffield being the third ranked corner prospect according to rivals.com. With both prospects being ranked so high, it may be difficult for the Longhorns to compete with top flight programs such as Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State. However, the background of Strong and the success of the Texas secondary in past years should place the Longhorns in the running for the two prospects, both of whom have NFL aspirations. 

     

    One key selling point for the Longhorns is their ability to get prospects to the NFL. In the case of Marshall and Sheffield, Texas provides a uniquely impressive pitch, as the program has produced five first-round draft picks in the defensive backfield since 2006, most recently safety Kenny Vaccaro, who was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 15th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Additionally, Strong produced seven first-round draft picks during his time as defensive coordinator at Florida, including cornerback Joe Haden, who was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the seventh pick in the 2010 draft. 

     

    The Class of 2015 is Strong’s first recruiting class and his first chance to mold the team in his image. Strong is a coach who preaches physically and defense, and with the addition of Elliot and possibly Marshall and Sheffield, the Longhorns look to be improving on just that.

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