June 21, 2011
Just over two months ago, Rory McIlroy was coping with a devastating loss at the Master’s. After leading for most of the tournament, he bombed during the last leg, essentially handing Charl Schwartzel the green jacket. While columnists and commentators started questioning his ability to perform under pressure, McIlroy focused on his next big feat: the U.S. Open.
After Tiger Woods announced he would not be playing in the tournament due to injuries, many golf fans wondered if his reign as best golfer in the world is truly over. The 2011 U.S. Open began on June 16, with golf fans around the world converging at Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda. The young Irishman gave his most impressive showing last Thursday and Friday, breaking twelve records on his way to making U.S. Open history, including being the youngest champion in 88 years. He finished 16 under par, and even more amazingly, stayed at 13 under par for 72 holes.
One record he did not break was Tiger’s margin of victory (15 strokes) at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. This has led to the questions of whose win was better, whose more impressive? These are questions I won’t attempt to answer, as I don’t know enough about the 2000 Open or the sport itself to comment with authority.
What is clear is that McIlroy’s win was an impressive one, and is reminiscent of the youth and excitement Tiger injected into the sport when he arrived on the professional golf scene. Since Tiger’s fall from the top, golf has been in need of rejuvenation, and McIlroy, at least this time, rose to the occasion. Though it was a monumental day for him, he remained humble. Speaking on his Twitter feed, McIlroy quoted Muhammad Ali, saying: “It’s repetition of affirmations that leads to belief — and once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
Last week, the Nationals proved that good things come to those who wait. Almost three months into the season, the Nationals finally came out swinging, and boy, did they swing for the fences. With a newly healthy Ryan Zimmerman (who was out for the first 58 of their 72 games), and an eight-game winning streak, the Nats moved from last place to third. They’re still 9.5 games behind division-leading Philadelphia. Their wins included two shutouts: a 2-0 win against the Padres in San Diego, and an almost unbelievable 10-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. After winning the first two games of the beltway series against the Orioles this past weekend, the team suffered their first loss since June 9, falling to the birds 4-7. Despite the loss, players and fans are optimistic that the winning streak was a turning point, not a fluke, for the organization.
By this time of year, NFL players would be getting ready for training camps and team meetings, preparing for the upcoming fall season. Of course, due to the lockout, training camps, along with all other team activities, have been suspended. Optimistic that the lockout will end and the season will go on as planned, several Redskins players have decided to take matters into their own hands. They’ve begun organizing informal workouts and running plays on their own time and on public, not team, property. Redskins such as quarterbacks John Beck and Rex Grossman, along with tight end Chris Cooley and veteran linebacker London Fletcher, are among the ones who gather on fields around the city to run plays and workout. The consensus among these players is that “something” is better than “nothing”. An agreement could be on the horizon as team owners are holding emergency meetings in Chicago starting today.