- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 16, 2002

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. Notes, observations and assorted other stuff from the U.S. Open, the biggest golf tournament in the 516 area code:

Our long national nightmare is over. Tiger Woods just made his first birdie in 15 holes.

Brace yourself. With NBC certain to air every swing of his club today, you're about to see Sergio Garcia re-grip about 9,999 times.

Maybe they'll run a Re-Grip-o-Meter in the corner of the screen to keep count.

Fearless prediction: At some point in his round with Tiger, Sergio will realize: This ain't the "Battle of Bighorn."

It's weeks like these that make you appreciate what a fabulous commentator Johnny Miller is. The man is 100 percent sacred cow-free.

Miller made an interesting comment Tuesday during an interview session with the media about the difference between growing up in his era and growing up in the Tiger era. "My role models were guys like Palmer," he said, "and he had a [slashing] swing nobody wanted to copy. Nicklaus was phenomenal, but nobody wanted to copy his flying right elbow. And Trevino was great, but who wanted to aim left and push the ball out there?
"Now all of a sudden you have a guy [Woods] you can look at and say, 'This guy is textbook.' He's flawless. That big, huge shoulder turn that he has, the width, the big follow-through, the strength work that he does, the conditioning, all the things he does are things you want to copy, where my role models didn't have these great swings."

Johnny also came out with this gem, comparing Tiger's aura to Greg Norman's: "It's weird, because Greg Norman was a tremendous player, as good as Tiger in a lot of ways, but there was something about Greg that almost made people become heroic. [Whereas] Tiger seems to, with this last generation of golfers, do just the opposite. Maybe try shots they shouldn't try, or not be able to pull off shots they should or normally could, just because of who Tiger is."

Every time I see Shingo Katayama and his silly cowboy hat, I have this overwhelming urge to start humming the theme from "Rawhide."

One of the spectators here, Duke McCulley of Southampton, told me his brother was offered $20 for his "Be Nice To Monty" badge (which Golf Digest, of course, was giving out for free). What do you figure the badges will be going for on EBay this week $50? More?

Kudos to Bruce Fleisher for skipping Bethpage Black to play in a Senior Tour event. Fleisher hasn't competed in the Open since '86, and his would have been a strictly ceremonial presence. Better to let one of the young kids have a chance.

Dudley Hart's impressive play in the first round he tied for third with a 69 got me wondering: How many other famous Dudleys have there been in sports history? Some quick research turned up these names:
Dudley Wysong, golf Lost to Jack Nicklaus 8 and 6 in the final of the '61 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, Jack's second amateur title. Later won twice on the PGA Tour. Also finished second to Al Geiberger in the '66 PGA.
Dudley Bradley, basketball The 13th pick in the '79 NBA Draft by the Pacers (after a fine career at North Carolina). Was essentially a defensive specialist as a pro. Had a couple of stints with the Bullets.
And th-th-th-that's all, folks.

Here are a few more, though, whose last name was Dudley:
"Bullet" Bill Dudley, football University of Virginia legend from the '40s who went on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Had his best years with the Steelers but also ran, kicked and defended for the Lions and Redskins (and, in fact, was just named to the Redskins' 70th anniversary team).
Ed Dudley, golf Played on the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1937, the same year he finished third in the Masters and fifth in the U.S. Open. PGA president, 1942-48. Member of the PGA Hall of Fame.
(Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, my neighbor in the media tent this week, says, "Dudley was Augusta National's first golf pro. He was Bobby Jones' personal choice for the job. A very stylish player. In the summer, when Augusta was closed down, he was the pro at Broadmoor out in Colorado.")
Clise Dudley, baseball Mostly unsuccessful (17-33 lifetime) pitcher for the Dodgers, Phillies and Pirates from '29 to '33.
(Furman knew all about Clise, too. "He hit a home run in his first at bat in the big leagues," he informed me. I checked it out. He was right. It came, in fact, on the first pitch Dudley ever saw.)
Jack Dudley, horse racing One of the owners of Needles, the '56 Kentucky Derby winner and the first Florida-bred horse to capture the Derby.
(Furman suggested this one himself. The man has seen all and knows all. He's been in sportswriting for over 60 years.)
Rick Dudley, hockey Winger in the NHL (Buffalo, Winnipeg) and WHA (Cincinnati) in the '70s and '80s and most recently general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Had 31 goals and 39 assists one season for Sabres.

Speaking of the Redskins' 70th anniversary team, I was greatly amused by the quote from selection committee chairman Bernard Shaw that "people will be arguing this list for generations."
Actually, Bernie, people will be arguing this list for about five years when the Redskins will announce their 75th anniversary team.

My biggest quibble with the team other than the exclusion of Stephen Davis, that is is the choice of Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice over Rob Goode at running back. Nothing against Charlie, but it's really pretty ridiculous when you look at the facts. Their careers essentially overlapped (both played in the early '50s), and during that time Goode made two Pro Bowls and Justice didn't make any.
Statistically, Goode outrushed Justice, 2,257 yards to 1,284 and rushed for 16 touchdowns to Choo Choo's three. He was simply a better pro player. But Justice was a big hero in North Carolina, where he'd gone to college, and he no doubt gave the Redskins' TV ratings in the South a boost. Is that why he made the 70th team, guys? Or was it because he finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting twice? It couldn't have been for what he did in a Redskins uniform.

News item: Dan Snyder and wife Tanya are expecting their third child (with the help of a surrogate mother):
Comment: That'll work out perfectly. In his will, he can leave the offense to one kid, the defense to another and the special teams to the third.

Newsday reports that receiver Ike Hilliard has been blowing off the New York Giants' summer school and "likely is entering his final season with the team." You don't suppose Ike, a former Florida Gator, wants to reunite with Steve Spurrier, do you?

Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz drafting his own son reminds me of the time the Redskins' Bobby Beathard traded the last pick of the '88 draft to the Rams so they could take a running back from Southern Oregon State named Jeff Beathard. (Bobby just didn't feel right about doing it himself.) The Redskins, I seem to recall, got nothing in return except maybe "future considerations"; Beathard just gave the Rams the pick.

It had to be one of Bobby's all-time best moves. Not only did he arrange for his son to be drafted, he also arranged for him to be Mr. Irrelevant (as the last player selected).

I guess we can forget about Bruce Arena being the Herb Brooks of American soccer.

It's incredible how many coaches these days are retiring after winning championships. You've got Scotty Bowman in hockey, Phil Jackson in basketball ('98) and Bill Parcells ('90) and Dick Vermeil ('99) in football. Unlike the other three, though, I suspect Scotty will be able to stay retired.

I've got two words for Mike Tyson: professional wrestling.

I mean, could Tyson even beat the George Foreman of seven or eight years ago?

Just once, I'd like to read about a sports figure who left something off his resume.

And finally, you've gotta feel for War Emblem. Losing the Belmont means he has no chance of being one of ESPN's 50 Greatest Athletes of the 21st Century.



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