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  • 09 Jul
    导出博客文章PITTSFORD, N.Y. - Being a fan who had never seen a pro golf event in person, the
    PGA Championship sure was a sweet way to start. I had tickets to Fridays second
    round for the better part of a year and traveled to Oak Hill Country Club with
    the simple goal of soaking it all in - see the course, watch the players up
    close, and hopefully, see Tiger and Phil in person. How did I do? Ten things
    come to mind. 1. Rain, baby. Despite rain never being in the forecast it had
    started overnight and was in full downpour mode when we arrived at the course at
    about 9am. Luckily play was never delayed but the deluge was pretty consistent
    for about three hours. It didnt take long for the gallery areas around Oak Hill
    to become mudpits - it wasnt very country club-like, but at least I wore old
    (and comfortable) shoes. 2. Major Sighting. We entered the course through a gate
    near the 11th hole. As we found our bearings and walked to the 12th, I cashed in
    on one of my goals right away - the years major winners were playing through.
    The pairing of British Open winner Phil Mickelson, U.S. Open winner Justin Rose
    and Masters champion Adam Scott had a huge gallery following them and there was
    electricity in the crowd as each hit their approach shots. 3. Seriously, no
    photos. The spectator guide that was sent to us said that taking photos was not
    allowed. And yet, cellphone calls and texting from the course was allowed in
    designated areas. So I figured that people would be trying to sneak shots here
    and there when they could. Well guess what? There were staff at the course in
    green marshal shirts marked "Mobile Device Enforcement" scanning the crowds for
    those brave enough to try. And it worked. I heard "Put it away, please" several
    times. Seriously, no photos. 4. The Range. Having seen the Canadian Open
    several times, my travel mates swore that this was the place to be to get the
    best up-close look at the players. And boy were they right. While the crowds on
    the course were four and five-deep trying to track approach shots, the practice
    area was relatively lightly attended. But it was truly something to see. In the
    space of about 90 minutes we saw Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Brandt Snedeker,
    Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, Davis Love III, and many more. Matt Kuchar and
    Padraig Harrington walked right past me to an elevated tee area. Martin Kaymer
    launched rockets alongside fellow former PGA champions Rich Beem and
    Shaun Micheel. And later, Miguel Angel Jimenez showed up after his round smoking
    his trademark cigar. Fantastic. 5. "These guys are good". Thats an old PGA Tour
    ad promo but its absolutely true. Watching these guys hit in person shows why
    they are the best in the world. Players start with sand wedges and hit short
    bounce-bounce-stop shots that are nothing short of trickery. Bounce-bounce-stop.
    One after another. Irons are hit for accuracy, distance, and with unbelievable
    arc. Drivers are belted so far that you lose track of them for a second or two
    before they re-appear on a bounce more than 300 yards away. Thats the part you
    cant truly appreciate on television. 6. The Dufner Dips. Ten guys from Ottawa
    made the trip with bright red custom-made t-shirts and called themselves the
    Dufner Dips. Their goal was to find fan favourite Jason Dufner and give him his
    own red shirt for luck. For the thousands of fans who attended, they were the
    only ones I saw all day who dressed alike in support of a player. I stood next
    to them on the range while they did interview after interview with the media.
    One fellow said they had been interviewed nine times that day. When Dufner
    appeared at the other end of the range they went to track him down - I can only
    imagine he was thrilled to accept their gift. 7. Out of the sky. Walking the
    par-4 10th hole, a golf ball, literally, dropped out of the sky in front of us.
    Sergio Garcia had whipped his tee shot right and into the trees - it hit a
    branch above us and fell into the muddy gallery area. We never even heard
    "fore!". We circled the ball and Garcia showed up minutes later to take stock of
    the situation. He summoned a rules official, who determined that Garcia could
    take relief of one club because the ball lay in "damaged grounds" because of the
    gallery. After taking a drop he asked us to remain "very quiet please", then
    calmly hit an iron off the mud, over the trees in front and up near the green.
    Unbelievable shot. From there he got up and down to save an unlikely par. And it
    all happened from about six feet in front of me. 8. Ticket Envy. All spectators
    at the event were asked to wear their hanging tickets at all times. Mine said
    "Grounds" but I quickly learned that there were plenty of other kinds.
    "Wannamaker Club" looked good. "Clubhouse" was pretty solid. But I have to admit
    that "Mercedes Box" or "American Express Club" had me at hello. Still, "Grounds"
    got me around the course just fine. But without free snacks. 9. Parking. Several
    homes around the course were selling lawn space for fans to park on. And these
    were not small homes - they were beautiful houses with massive lawns. We parked
    on a lawn for $30 that could probably accommodate 30 cars. Quick calculation:
    $900 per day for four days, $3,600 plus whatever they made earlier in the week
    for the practice rounds. Sweet gig - too bad the PGA is played at Oak Hill only
    every decade or so. 10. Ah yes, Tiger Woods. The worlds No. 1 golfer arrived
    about an hour before his tee time and you could hear the buzz in the crowd
    before you saw the man. He did an interview and then proceeded to the practice
    area, where I was able to watch him hit for about a half hour from 50 feet away.
    He was hitting alongside Love and Stewart Cink, but to the gallery the two
    former major winners were practically invisible. Tiger didnt say a word. He
    barely acknowledged the crowd. He was dialed in, preparing for his round. I
    watched him hit drive after drive, thinking about all the things that have made
    him one of the biggest celebrities on the planet. Was I star struck? I have to
    admit that I was. And from 50 feet away, I could only think about how I was
    fortunate to cross off one of the bucket list moments of just about any golf fan
    - to see Tiger live.
    Cullen
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    . There are some early surprises in the race for the Hart
    Trophy, but two of the contenders are the leagues biggest stars over the past
    decade. There are many more players in contention for the awards than just the
    three that Ive named, and a good or bad week can easily alter the landscape, but
    through the first 20 or so games of the NHL season, this is how the awards races
    look to me.
    DOnta Foreman
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    . - Chris Tierney snapped a tie with a power-play goal late
    in the third period as the London Knights rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the
    Erie Otters 5-3 in Ontario Hockey League action on Wednesday.
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    .Y. - Nelson Mandela will be honoured by the New York Yankees with a plaque in
    Monument Park.
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    . Aaron Harrison scored a 22 points for Kentucky (6-1),
    which has won four in a row following a Nov. 12 loss to current No. 1 Michigan
    State. Julius Randle overcame a scoreless first half and added his sixth
    double-double in as many games with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
    DeAndre
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    Australian crickets story is littered with crucible
    moments; times when the national team has either stood up or flaked out. In the
    moment, these instances may not seem that important, only gaining resonance
    through what happens afterwards. Other moments stand out like beacons almost
    from the second they take place. Whatever is decided at levels above, whatever
    reviews or appointments take place, the fate rests ultimately with the
    players.The third dull, wintry day in Hobart felt like one such day and the next
    two to follow are no less important. Australia are so far behind South Africa
    they have only slim hope of getting out of Bellerive without a match and series
    defeat, but it is vital that they show evidence of improvement. The jobs of
    many, from the chief executive James Sutherland down to the debutant Callum
    Ferguson, are on the line.How much hinges on all this? Remember the words of the
    coach Darren Lehmann after Australia were bundled out for 85 on day one. Asked
    about the future, he did not want to think about the consequences of a hiding.
    Ill probably tell you in a few days, he said. Hopefully we fight back really
    well and the future is bright. We know weve got to get better in a lot of areas,
    weve always said that. Even four Tests ago when we were No.1. Now were way away
    from that.Each of the past five Australian captains have met moments of similar
    weight - of both the winning and losing varieties. For Allan Border, perhaps the
    most resonant was day one of the 1989 Ashes series at Headingley, when he came
    out to bat after a pair of early wickets on an overcast day and played an
    innings so brazen it included one six cut hard over backward point - back in the
    day when that shot was almost unheard of. Sixteen years of Ashes dominance were
    forged that morning.Border experienced the other side towards the end of his
    career, when he and his team were unable to take a chance to defeat West Indies
    in a series for the first time in 17 years. A chase of 186 to win in Adelaide
    was left too much in the hands of the tail, leaving Australia one run short of
    victory, and Border to hurl his worry ball so hard into the dressing room floor
    that it rebounded to strike the ceiling.For Mark Taylor, a personal turning
    point did not dovetail with team success, but foreshadowed it. By the time of
    the second innings of the first Ashes Test in 1997, he had gone 19 innings
    without passing 50, and a previously happy and dominant team were feeling the
    strain. Rolled by Darren Gough and Andy Caddick, then clattered to all parts of
    Edgbaston by Graham Thorpe and Nasser Hussain, Australia started their second
    innings 360 runs behind.Without a hundred, Taylors captaincy would have been at
    an end, and in the early overs the tension was close to unbearable. But in the
    company of Matthew Elliott and Greg Blewett, he carved out an ugly hundred,
    adding respectability to the scoreboard and allowing the team enough breathing
    space to regroup and ultimately win the series. Taylor led the team for another
    two years.Again in England, Steve Waughs captaincy came under enormous pressure
    during the 1999 World Cup, following on from a surprising 2-2 Test series draw
    against West Indies in the Caribbean. The team was not happy, Waugh and Shane
    Warne butting heads, and losses to New Zealand and Pakistan left the team
    needing to win each of their last seven matches of the tournament or face
    elimination at every stage. Waughs response, mosst pointedly in a pair of
    nail-biters over South Africa, was to make critical runs.ddddddddddddWarne, by
    now toying with retirement, overcame doubts about a shoulder still regaining
    strength after surgery to rip the ball in his former fashion. The World Cup was
    won, and Waugh stayed on as leader until 2004. Despite a winning record overall,
    Ricky Pontings leadership is remembered most for a pair of Ashes defeats. The
    first in 2005 was said to have swung on Glenn McGraths injured ankle, but
    Pontings call to send England in even after he knew he would be without his best
    pace bowler proved much the more fateful juncture, leading ultimately to the
    loss of the urn for the first time since Borders 1989 redemption.Move ahead to
    2010-11, and a home Ashes series now viewed as one sided may actually have
    pivoted on the loss of two wickets either side of the first drinks on Boxing
    Day. Phillip Hughes and Ponting were prospering well enough in front of a mighty
    crowd when the former skewed Tim Bresnan to point, before next over the captain
    snicked Chris Tremlett into the slips. The former coach Tim Nielsen still
    gnashes his teeth about that one and all the ignominy to follow - it proved to
    be Pontings last Test as captain.Michael Clarkes leadership tale always teetered
    between triumph and disaster with little in between. The pivotal point leading
    to the former came when Mitchell Johnson took the ball just before lunch on day
    two of the first 2013-14 Ashes Test at the Gabba, worrying out Jonathan Trott as
    per team plans and sending momentum flooding to Australia. The latter, perhaps
    harder to isolate, was arguably the second afternoon of the Cardiff Test in
    2015, when a series of squandered starts sentenced Australia to an opening
    defeat in a series they would never lead. Clarke, fighting his own inner
    battles, was en route to retirement from that moment.So it is that Steven Smiths
    men find themselves in the crucible at Bellerive. They enjoyed a far better day
    on Monday than Saturday, even if Quinton de Kocks impersonation of Adam
    Gilchrist gathered impressive depth. The batting spine shown by Smith and Usman
    Khawaja, in particular, demonstrated a level of self-knowledge about where this
    team now stands after four consecutive losses and the distinct prospect of a
    fifth. The heaviness of expectation was not lost on Josh Hazlewood.Extremely
    important I think, he said. Everyone knows we need to improve and improve
    quickly. We talk amongst ourselves and everyone knows we need to improve. So I
    think its about everyone individually doing what they can on or off the field,
    and important to do it as a group as well. Hopefully it happens on the field.
    Were obviously a pretty tight group, we play a lot of cricket together and were
    on the road together a lot. Everyone gets along fantastically on and off the
    field, but nows an important time to stick together and even be
    tighter.Australian cricket has never been richer or better resourced. The
    national teams players have never been better paid nor looked after. There are
    problems with scheduling, and issues of coaching philosophy as it relates to the
    business of batting. But Australias Test team is ultimately in the hands of the
    players who shape it, through their own skill and presence of mind. The next two
    days will, once again, tell that tale.
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