The best golfers in the world are coming here this week to knock the dimpled ball around at Congressional. At stake, assuming they don’t get swallowed up by the tall grass, is the U.S. Open golf championship. It’s a fairly big deal.
It’s also a reminder that we haven’t hosted nearly enough of these Fairly Big Deals in recent years. Let’s face it, the past two decades have been awfully quiet - much quieter than the two that preceded them. I mean, look at Dallas … if you can bear to. In the past ninth months, the city (and its environs) has been the site of the World Series, the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals. Washington, on the other hand, hasn’t seen the Series since 1933 and, unless Dan Snyder puts a lid on FedEx Field, it’ll probably never see a Super Bowl. D.C. has become, basically, the place winning teams visit when they’re feted at the White House.
Since 1992, the last season of Joe Gibbs‘ first stint with the Redskins, these, more or less, have been the biggest sports events to be staged in our metropolis:
• 2 U.S. Opens (1997, 2011).
• 1 NBA All-Star Game (2001).
• 1 ACC men’s basketball tournament (2005).
• 1 men’s Frozen Four (2009).
• 1 Davis Cup semifinal (1997). U.S. (featuring Pete Sampras) 4, Australia (featuring Patrick Rafter) 1.
• 2 prize fights of any consequence - Riddick Bowe’s two-round demolition of Jesse Ferguson for the WBA heavyweight title (1993) and Mike Tyson’s sayonara bout against Kevin McBride in 2005. (McBride TKO’d him in the sixth.)
• George Mason’s upset of Connecticut in the Elite Eight of the NCAA basketball tourney (2006).
• Assorted soccer snacks - 5 games in the 1994 World Cup (none involving the U.S.), 9 games in the ‘96 Olympics (only one involving the U.S.) and three MLS Cup games (only one involving D.C. United).
That’s it, folks. For big-event thrills, that’s been the extent of our entertainment. A lot of it, of course, is that our teams haven’t been very good. To play in the most important games, you have to make the playoffs first. Even when one of our teams has been good, though - like Maryland’s NCAA champion hoops team in 2002 - it’s tended to play its biggest games elsewhere (Syracuse, N.Y., and Atlanta). What a bummer.View Entire Story
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Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of “The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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