PED's Revisited: Today on ESPN's "The Herd", host Colin Cowherd made an interesting observation on the makeup of the list of 13 players suspended Monday for their ties to Biogenesis America. An overwhelming majority of the players are from the Dominican Republic. While making an excellent point about the players' motivation to do anything to escape that impoverished nation, Cowherd could have taken the conversation a bit farther. We have always had a fascination with how an island country with a population of just over 10 million could supply almost a fourth of all Major League Baseball players. Well, perhaps now we have at least a glimpse of why that is occurring. If PED's don't provide an unfair advantage, we wouldn't be so upset by the use of them by Barry Bonds, Roger Clements, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez, to name just a few who have obliterated the record books, seemingly with the assistance of banned substances. Therefore, doesn't it make sense to start to question the validity of these Dominican players' rise to the Major Leagues ahead of other athletes who have not been using PED's? Although we have no control over the PED laws in the Dominican Republic, we surely have jurisdiction over the unfair infiltration of Major League Baseball by juiced athletes that come from a system or a country where there is an obvious incentive to circumvent the rules. I'm not saying there are not a lot of worthy Dominican players, but if they're worthy, let them earn their roster spots without the use of PED's.
PGA Tournament Preview: It's no secret to readers of this blog that I am a big proponent of Tiger Woods. Given his performance last week on a major tournament-like venue with narrow fairways, long rough and fast greens, it makes sense to make him the favorite this week. Of course, his four other tournament victories and two top tens in majors contribute to that line of reasoning. But there are some other players who should be near the top of the favorite list, as well. We can start with Phil Mickelson, The Open Championship winner and runner-up at the U.S. Open. Oak Hill, the site of this week's tournament, is likely to play more like a U.S. Open venue, given that it's hosted multiple national championships. Players that can go long, but keep the ball in the fairway will have a big advantage this week. Tiger, with his three wood and long iron stingers fits that mold. But since taking his driver out of the bag, so does Phil. I don't make much of his 21st place finish last week at Firestone. After all, after Tiger's 61 on Friday, everyone else was playing for second place. However, Phil played pretty well on the weekend and could be in the mix come Sunday at Oak Hill. I also like Luke Donald, still looking for that elusive major. Countryman Justin Rose's U.S. Open triumph at Merion earlier this summer has to have Donald wondering when he'll be able to pull one off. The reason Donald comes to mind is because he can hit his driver straight. Why he hasn't contended in more majors is a mystery to me. Zach Johnson has also been playing well and he quietly snuck into fifth place at Firestone with a 68 - 67 on the weekend. Among some other top players, Matt Kuchar and Keegan Bradley are worth mentioning. Both can hit the ball straight and long, and of course Bradley already has one PGA win under his belt. At the end of the day, I think it's Tiger's to lose. If he plays well, someone else will really have to have a special tournament to beat him. It's been five years since his last major, and I predict that drought will come to an end on Sunday, quieting the "Tiger's not back yet" talk.
It' Football Time: Whether it's college or pro, it's time for some football. I'm not big on preseason games and rarely watch one. So for me, we still have almost three weeks left until any real action. As a Virginia Tech Hokie, the season couldn't kick off in a more challenging fashion, having to watch to see if my team can stay with defending national champion and preseason number one Alabama. The Hokies aren't ranked, so apparently that challenge will be as daunting as any in recent years. I'll weigh in on this one in more detail as game day approaches. I'm currently working on my own Top 25 and I wouldn't be surprised if you don't see some big surprises.
As far as the NFL goes, my Redskins' fate is seemingly in the hands of those responsible for the recovery of Robert Griffin III's injured and repaired knee. I'm also working on my predictions for the season, which I'll release division by division over last couple of weeks in August. For now, though, we'll have to be satisfied with what might be and with who might not play.