JT with a back 9 for the ages; Bosox-Yankees classic last night

Mike McAllister of PGATour.com recapped Justin Thomas' back 9 at Quail Hollow in the PGA Championship. It was a highly interesting read and reported the remarkable picture that JT painted on the back 9 at the 99th PGA Championship played at the extremely challenging Quail Hollow course.

On 10, as McAllister relayed, JT hit a drive on the 601 yard par 5 towards the trees on the right hand side of the hole. He started talking to the ball, "Get lucky, just spit it out for me, please." He was one shot off Hideki Matsuyama's lead and in dire need of this break. It happened. His ball bounced off the tree and rolled left into the fairway. Walking down the fairway, according to McAllister, Justin said to his caddie Jim Johnson, "That's why you ask."

But what happened after that was even more magnificent. Facing a birdie putt of 8 feet, 3 inches, Justin read it as a double breaker, rolling right and then left, so he opted to putt it straight as one would on a double breaking putt. The ball hung out on the left side. Heartbreak was about to set in. But here's what happened with commentary from Jim, Sir Nick and Dottie of CBS Sports.

Justin proceeded to chip in for birdie at 13, and made one of the most underrated up and downs of his round. On 16, the 506 yard par 4, Justin hit his approach shot short of the green into the front right bunker. Hideki, trailing by 1,  hit his approach over the green. Justin was at -8 and Hideki was at -7. Justin blasted out of the trap to 6 feet, while Hideki chipped up to 4 feet. Justin putted first and calmly sank his putt center cut. Hideki, feeling some added pressure, missed his 4 footer to the left as the ball lipped out. Justin now had a 2 shot lead over Hideki, who was his main competition in the final round. On the par 3, 17th, Justin hit a 7 iron on a 221 yard hole, knowing he just needed to hit it 200, because he was amped up and was going to hit it hard. The ball would release to the hole once it landed on the green. He executed it to perfection as the ball rolled to 15 feet. He again clutchly sank the putt and had a 3 shot lead at -9 heading into 18. He finished with a low stress bogey, and captured his first major at 24 years old. The pride of Goshen, Kentucky, by way of the University of Alabama, where he played one year and was college player of the year, finally emerged out of Jordan Spieth's shadow and made his own history. He's won 4 times this year and 5 times overall now with victories at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in late October of 2016, back to back in Hawaii in January at the SBS Tournament of Champions in Maui and the Sony Open in Honolulu this year, and now his first major championship, along with his 2015 victory at the CIMB Classic. 

One major down for JT, and with his talent, more are anticipated, What a performance by one classy young man.

Bosox-Yanks epic at Yankee Stadium

With the Yankees up 2-1 heading into the top of the 9th, Yankees manager Joe Girardi did what he always does in close out situations and called on Aroldis Champman to come in and get the Red Sox out, so the Yankees could take 2 of 3 from the Bosox and get to 3.5 back of the Sox in the American League East Standings.

Chapman threw his hardest stuff at Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez, who struck out on pitches of 101, 102, 103 MPH from Chapman. Honestly, the Sox looked sunk. Then DH Rafael Devers came to the plate. Here's what happened when Chapman threw him a 103 MPH fastball:

 

The 20 year old Devers showed no fear and tied the game 2-2 to send it into extra innings. In the top of the 10th the awesome Andrew Benintendi, another young stud for the Sox at 23 years old, knocked in the eventual game winning run with a single to right. Benintendi, who was a superb hitter at the University of Arkansas, also hit 2, three run homers on Saturday in the Sox' 10-5 victory. It was the best of times in Boston and the worst of times in the City. 

 

Tomorrow

Florida State football 2017

 

 

 

Winner at WGC Bridgestone Invitational

A lot of power names in this classic with Spieth, Johnson, McIlroy, Day, Matsuyama and Justin Thomas headlining amongst a star studded field. I'm going to take someone else though. I'll go with the 39 year old from Winter Park, Florida by way of the Ramblin Wreck. He played superbly at the 146th Open Championship 2 weeks ago going toe to toe with Spieth, but just got beaten by a masterful performance by the now 23 year old Texas phenom, who's looking pretty interesting heading into the 99th PGA Championship next week at Quail Hollow, N.C., a classic course. I'll take the man with the smooth swing, easy smile, and an All American personality. He finished T-3 here in 2016 shooting 66 on Sunday. DJ was the winner. Going with the Kuch to capture the championship at the Firestone South Course in Akron, Ohio.

Matt Kuchar

Like Kuch to capture the title at WGC Bridgestone

Like Kuch to capture the title at WGC Bridgestone

TV Times

Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel, 12:30-5:30 PM CT

Saturday-Sunday, Golf Channel 11 AM-12:30 PM CT, CBS 1-5 PM CT.   

The SEC in 2017, a national look and predictions

It's the year of the quarterback and the offense this season. There will be good defenses of course. Alabama and Auburn will be very good on defense, so will LSU, Florida, and Georgia has 10 defensive starters returning. South Carolina will be better. Vanderbilt will be pretty solid on defense. A&M should be better, but you never know with them. Their front 7 is always a question mark. Ole Miss will need to improve, same with State. Tennessee, who knows with them. I guess they'll be better. They've recruited well, but haven't seemed to develop a good defense. They have question marks overall on their team. Kentucky should be pretty decent on defense. Stoops is doing a good job in Lexington. Arkansas, like A&M, needs to improve on defense to be a competitor in the west. But overall, fairly solid defensive play this season. Defense is key a lot of times, but these quarterbacks will be electric this season.

Quarterbacks in the SEC

1. Alabama-Jalen Hurts, primed for a big year. Tua Tagovailoa will play a role and has unlimited talent.

2.Auburn-Looking for a big year out of Jarrett Stidham, and they like their depth with Sean White, who will be competing for the starting job in fall camp, and freshman Malik Willis has a ton of ability.

3.Georgia-Jacob Eason should have an excellent year.

4.Ole Miss-Shea Patterson has off the charts talent.

5. Arkansas- Austin Allen is outstanding and very tough.

6. Mississippi State-Nick Fitzgerald is a phenomenal runner and passer. Needs to develop his downfield passing a little more.

7.South Carolina-Jake Bentley. The sophomore from Opelika, AL. is an outstanding passer and can move.

8. Kentucky-Stephen Johnson is another Fitzgerald-like player who passes it and runs it well.

9. Vanderbilt-Kyle Shurmur-Another excellent passer. Not too mobile, but with protection he can really pick apart a secondary.

10. Missouri-Drew Lock-Has a chance for a really big 2017. Outstanding arm, moves pretty well when necessary, but more of a pocket passer. Like him a lot. Should have a big junior year.

Teams that need to find a good quarterback.

All 4 of these teams have options, but need to develop a leader of their offense.

11. Florida- Has 4 players competing. Malik Zaire transferred from Notre Dame, and he has got a lot of running talent and some passing talent, but he'll be battling it out with 3 others including Luke Del Rio, who I personally like a lot.

12. A&M- Jake Hubenak is back, and he may be good enough, but there is a competition going into fall camp.

13. LSU- Danny Etling is back. Not sure he's the answer to making LSU a contender for the conference title. And there will be a competition come fall camp.

14. Tennessee- Two guys competing for the job right now. Undecided who the guy will be. One guy is Dormady. Jones likes both, so one of them will need to take the bull by the horns this August if Tennessee expects to challenge for the East crown.

Winners in the West and the East

West-Alabama, but Auburn will really challenge the Crimson Tide.

East-Georgia, but Florida will put up a big time fight with the Dawgs.

SEC championship game

Alabama 38, Georgia 34-Bama captures another SEC title under Nick Saban and heads to its fourth straight playoff.

Playoff teams

Alabama vs. Southern Cal

Penn State vs Florida State

Semifinals

Alabama 42, Southern Cal 28

Penn State 45 Florida State 42

National Championship game

Alabama 41, Penn State 27

Will have breakdowns of all SEC teams along with other national contenders in Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida State coming up in the next 3 weeks. Thanks.  

 
 

Commit # 14 is in, David, Pedro shine yesterday, Tony Kemp stellar

Ja'Veon Marlow, an 85 and 5.5 3 star running back out of Winter Haven, Florida, is our 14th commitment to this 2018 class. Ja'Veon dropped his anchor yesterday.

Ja'Veon is a 5'10", 200 pound Florida product who ran for 900 yards and 11 TDs last year. His tape is excellent. Saw 6 or 7 house calls. Tough, physical, breakaway speed, great cutter, and catches the ball very well out of the backfield. I saw him grab a 30 yard TD pass. Ja'Veon is the real deal. 

He chose us over offers from Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Arizona, UNC, Pittsburgh and several other schools. He was highly regarded by many staffs throughout the country. While his ratings are solid on 247 sports and Rivals, I see him going up in the rankings this fall with more carries and more success. I like Ja'Veon very close to a 4 star by the middle, latter half of the fall. He's outstanding. 

We are 26th in the team rankings on Rivals, and 28th by 247. We are fifth in the SEC by both services. Tennessee is at 3, LSU is 5, A&M is 12th, Kentucky is 16th and we're at 28th on 247. 26th by Rivals, with LSU at 3, Tennessee at 4, though Butch still has to coach'em and that's where we have the advantage, A&M is 15, and Kentucky is 16. So both services like our class.

We now have in this 2018 class a running back, a quarterback, a wide receiver, an athlete who can play a slot running back/wide out role, 2 tight ends, 2 offensive linemen, a linebacker, 4 defensive backs and a kicker. It's a good mix of talent at a variety of positions. I'd like to see us get two defensive linemen even 3, a tackle or 2, and maybe 2 d ends, depending on who's out there. Another linebacker wouldn't hurt either. I know D Mase wants to add another db and there are good candidates out there. So it's really exciting right now with recruiting and Media Days is here. Will have D Mase's comments along with inside linebacker Oren Burks, running back Ralph Webb, and quarterback Kyle Shurmur thoughts as well, coming up either tomorrow or Wednesday. Really getting excited for the 2017 season. We've got a good team. We're going to do well. 

David Price, Pedro Alvarez, Tony Kemp
 

David Price pitched very well yesterday though his bullpen couldn't hold a 3-2 lead and the Boston Red Sox lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 yesterday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. 

David went 6 innings, gave up 5 hits, 2 runs with 2 walks and 5 ring ups. He threw 106 pitches with 72 for strikes against 34 balls, over a 2:1 strike to ball ratio, which is solid. He gets to where he throws a lot of pitches in an inning and gets his pitch count up. Would like to see him extend his innings to 7 or more per game, but I still think he's getting comfortable from his injury. His elbow has heeled, but he's just getting into his rhythm on the mound. I see David having a strong 2nd half and he's on a good team that leads the American League East at 50-39, though tenuously, with a 3.5 game lead over the Yankees and the Rays. So while they have a lead, David and company are going to have to pitch well in the second half for the Sox to excel. Excited to see that transpire though. Should be an excellent second half of major league baseball. David was hitting 94-96 with his heat, he threw some very good cutters, 88-90 MPH, and had a good change up working at 85-87 MPH. His curve ball is coming along. It'll keep developing where he'll be confident to use it in the second half. David is 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, walks plus hits per inning. His ERA has really improved over the past 3 weeks. It was over 5 maybe a month ago, so he's been pitching well recently. A 1.26 WHIP is decent. I know he'd like to get it down to 1.10 even 1.00, where he's usually at. I see that coming in the second half. Clayton Kershaw has a 0.88 WHIP which is spectacular. The Los Angeles Dodgers ace is having not only a Cy Young season, but an MVP season as well. He's 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA. In 132 innings, he's walked 22 and struck out 159. That's spectacular. He pitched a complete game victory yesterday and walked none while striking out 13. He's the best in the business. But David is pretty darn good too. 

Pedro Alvarez had 2 hits yesterday, 2 singles, and drove in what turned out to be the winning run in the 7th inning for the Norfolk Tides as they defeated the Columbus (Ohio) Clippers 3-2. Pedro came up with 2 outs in the top of the 7th at Columbus, with runners on first and 2nd. He stroked a single hard through the left side. Pedro has a flair for the dramatic. He's got 17 homers and 56 RBIs, good for 5th in homers and tied for 3rd in Ribeyes in the International League. The Baltimore Orioles have got to be noticing Pedro's hitting They need him up there. They're struggling and need a spark. Pedro can carry a team with his bat when he's hot and right now he is. I wish they'd get him up there.

Also, Tony Kemp is hitting .332 for the Fresno Grizzlies, the Houston Astros triple A team in the Pacific Coast League. Tony just keeps putting up the numbers. I wish the 'Stros would give him a shot. I know they have a super team with the second best record in baseball behind the Dodgers (61-29) at 60-29. Jose Altuve is one of the best players in the big leagues at 2nd, but Tony can play left field, center or right. He's a tremendous athlete, so the Astros, as loaded as they are, can still use him. If not, I wish he could get a trade to a contender that'll play him. He really has earned the right to be a major league starter in my opinion, as has Pedro. They're too good to keep in the minors.

Will be back with D Mase, Ralph, Oren and Kyle unplugged tomorrow or Wednesday AM. Great stuff going on in recruiting and 2017 looks riveting for our football team.