Walking on Eggshells: Hecklers and Phil Mickelson
You might think in light of Phil Mickelson's PGA Player's Championship victory this past weekend at TPC Sawgrass in Jacksonville, Fla., that WOE would begin this week with an apology to Phil and perhaps even congratulations for winning golf's "fifth" major. But sadly, you'd be wrong. There will be no such congratulatory remarks for Phil until he decides to start wearing some sort of chest support on the course. It must be really uncomfortable with those things flopping around every time he swings. Instead, WOE would like to nominate Sean O'Hair for an award. O'Hair, who fell from first place to a tie for 11th overall after a final-round 76, finished at -5 for the tournament. What the leaderboard won't tell you, however, is that Sean O'Hair may in fact have the biggest set of cojones on the PGA Tour. Standing on the tee box of the infamous 17th hole with the island green 135 yards away and still just two shots back of Mickelson, O'Hair took dead aim at the far right pin location and went for the birdie -- but found the water. Twice. O'Hair went on to make quadruple bogie. Congratulations Sean O'Hair -- you play to win, not for second place. At the young age of 24, you actually understand what sports are all about, and gave up nearly $750,000 in prize money for a chance to win the Players. Sean O'Hair, you are WOE's first-ever Badass of the Weekend.
With the golf update out of the way, I would like to take a quick time out to say how relieved I am that the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame will be reopening in Eveleth, Minn., in a few weeks. Corporate sponsors have been trying to get the name changed, but the Valtrex Hockey Hall of Fame did not sound quite right. The idea was quickly abandoned and replaced by the less-contagious United States Hockey Hall of Fame Museum, Inc. I'm not sure why the hockey hall of fame needs to be incorporated, so we'll just have to assume that the corporation will be funneling its profits into the "Get the NHL on a real television station" fund.
That's enough tomfoolery for one week, so let's just get to the awards.
Lightweights of the Weekend: Dartmouth Men's Lightweight Crew, Eastern Sprints Champions
WOE rarely misses an opportunity to congratulate successful Dartmouth sports teams, and WOE would like to thank the lightweights for walking through Cornell in the last 500 meters of the grand final to bring home the first-place trophy at Sprints. WOE would also like to mention the Unsung Heroes of the Weekend: the Dartmouth men's heavyweight crew. Although they did not enjoy the same success as the lightweights and finished 16th out of 18 heavyweight crews at Sprints, the heavyweights race the lightweights in practice and pushed them to get faster every week.
Jokester of the Weekend: Ken Griffey, Jr., CF, Cincinnati Reds
In a sport known for hotfoots and shaving cream pie incidents, the Cincinnati Reds center fielder and future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. always brings his A game. After being heckled for six innings by Matt Schafer, an overweight fan seated behind the Reds dugout, Griffey decided to do something about it. He sent an accomplice back to the Reds clubhouse to retrieve the largest athletic supporter available, wrote "#3" and "Jr." on the supporter, and then tossed it to Schafer as he took the field for the seventh inning, much to the delight of Schafer's entire section. Schafer, after twirling the support on his finger for the cameras, was won over by Griffey and apologized for his earlier comments. Griffey said, "I thought it would be funny, since he was kind of a big guy. I'm just happy he didn't have to go the whole nine innings making a complete idiot of himself."
Consolation Prize of the Weekend: NBA MVP, Dirk "Cry Baby" Nowitzki
Finally, after two years, Steve Nash is not the most valuable player of the league. Instead, Dirk Nowitzki earned this season's honor as MVP. He is the first European to receive the award in its 52-year history as well as the first Dallas Maverick to ever be elected MVP. Also, Dirk is on the short list of MVPs who did not win a single playoff series, joining the likes of Moses Malone ('78-'79, and again in '81-'82), and Wes Unseld ('68-'69). Reports that Nowitzki invested thousands of dollars in Kleenex stock prior to losing the Mavericks first-round series have not been substantiated, although inside sources have confirmed finding dozens of empty boxes and hundreds of tear-saturated tissues in Nowitzki's garbage.