"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

NBA PLAYOFFS TAKE SHAPE AND IT'S TIME FOR THE PLAYERS TO BE GIVEN MAJOR STATUS

Cavaliers Have Their Feet Up, Still Waiting and Resting: As the Toronto Raptors defeated the Miami Heat in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Cleveland Cavaliers continued to rest, probably rooting for the Heat to win Friday night and send the series back to Canada for a deciding seventh game. The Cavs haven't played since Sunday's close out of the Atlanta Hawks, and it's likely to be another several days before they take the court again. Cleveland has played the minimum eight games, allowing them to get plenty of off days and enter the next series against either the Heat or Raptors healthy and with a fully charged battery. Their opponents, especially if the series winner has to play seven games, will likely come into Cleveland in need of a little refueling. Except for perhaps a bit of distraction that would come with Lebron taking on his old team, I really don't see the Cavs experiencing much resistance on their way to the Finals. I also don't see the Warriors sweeping the Thunder, who now seem likely to take care of business against the Spurs at home tonight  in OKC to advance. I know, the Spurs have been left for dead before, but an aging Tim Duncan appears to be overmatched against the younger, more mobile twin towers of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. The Warriors looked vulnerable at times last night, but Steph Curry hit some big shots, especially a circus three pointer in the last minute that proved to be final dagger in the Blazers' slim chances to pull a series upset.  Many so-called experts have been saying for weeks that the Thunder might have the best chance to defeat the Warriors, and that may be so. But the best chance still isn't a particularly good one, so I'll be looking forward to a Cavaliers - Warriors rematch. I've been saying for weeks myself that the Cavs will prevail in that one, and I've seen nothing so far that would make me abandon that position.

The Players Needs More Love: The tournament that is generally considered the fifth major in men's professional golf still tends to take a backseat to the majors. However, it's deep field, great course and finishing holes drams makes it every bit as compelling a contest as the majors. Given the growth in the game in the last forty years, especially at the global level, it makes sense to consider adding it as an official major championship. It wouldn't necessarily alter the records that much, considering the two golfers at the top of the list, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, have multiple titles. It would raise Jack's total to 21 with Woods at 16. More importantly, it would allow previous non-major winners like Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, K.J. Choi and Ricky Fowler, to name a few, admission to that all-important club. But that's not my primary reason to include it. The real intent is to recognize a tournament that has the best field of any in the world. Players qualify for inclusion not through a short-term tournament process, but by how they rank in the world and that's earned by consistent good play over a period of time. The Masters, while a great tournament with as much tradition and drama as any, is still a limited field event. And many of those in the limited field are former champions who aren't really competitive with today's players. The U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship, while full field tournaments, all have qualifying processes that open the tournament to players that otherwise wouldn't make a field like the one at The Players. Is there something so magical about the number four? And for those that argue that it would work against, from a historical perspective, the players that competed prior to the inception of the tournament in 1974, I have the following answer. Prior to Arnold Palmer's time, The Open Championship and the PGA overlapped, meaning those players had to choose which one to play. Ben Hogan made the trip once and won. Just think how many majors he could have had if the current format had been in place in the forties and fifties. It's time for the tunnel vision of tradition to evolve with the new reach of the game and  recognize that The Players is worthy of major championship status.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first two, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel" and "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and SmashwordsTune into www.WPFLRADIO.com at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on "Lou in the Morning" with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.