Originally posted 8/17/11…

Here’s your IRIS Sports week-two-water-cooler talk…

1) American Cinderella story in the Golf world. Keegan Bradley, 25, won the PGA Golf Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club last Sunday. He edged out fellow American Jason Dufner – and by edged out, I mean they tied and then played 3 extra tiebreaker holes. This was Keegan’s first attempt at a major championship (there are only 4 a year: Masters, British Open, US Open, & the “player’s championship,” the PGA Championship) so to win it is huge! He came into the weekend ranked 108th in the world and finished ranked 29th. Also cool is the fact that 2 Americans were duking it out for 1st place. It had been a while since an American won a major (Mickelson won Masters in 2010) so taking 1st and 2nd is good to see. “Tracking Tiger” (wink): Tiger did not make the cut in this tournament – some he says he’s just rusty, some say he’s fallen from grace – either way, I’m sure he’ll be back fighting soon enough.

2) So much scandal in the college football world! The hot topic right now is the University of Miami. Referred to as “The U,” the school is under NCAA investigation as one of their biggest boosters, Nevin Shapiro, has made claims of illegally recruiting players (think extravagant gifts, prostitutes, and cash) for 8 years (2002-2010). This is all coming out now because Shapiro has been convicted (and sentenced to 20 years) for executing a $930 million Ponzi scheme (winner!). If true, this mess may affect coaches who have moved on to other schools, players who have moved on to the NFL, not to mention current Miami players. The NCAA is still investigating – fingers crossed that this is just the ramblings of a convicted felon. Sadly, that’s unlikely. There is a long list of schools that have been investigated or sanctioned over the past year and a half (Ohio State, Auburn, Southern Cal, and North Carolina to name a few). It’s disappointing when the people who are supposed to know better lose perspective on what collegiate sports should be about – the kids & their personal development. U can Use this “The U” talk at the water cooler with Ur friends.

3) Baseball often reminds me of the playground days. Here are 2 examples why…

*Check out this wild double play by the Toronto Blue Jays. The announcer calls it a “run down,” I prefer pickle ‘cause that’s what we called it on the playground (plus it’s more fun to say): http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=18015477&topic_id=&c_id=mlb&tcid=vpp_copy_18015477&v=3

*Watch Chicago Cubs second baseman make an uggla-y catch. Dan Uggla, that is. Uggla plays for the Atlanta Braves and had a 33-game hitting streak going until Darwin Barney ended it with this crazy catch: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=18015099&topic_id=&c_id=mlb&tcid=vpp_copy_18015099&v=3  Both the hitting streak and the catch are impressive.

IRIS tip: You can whip out your phone at the water cooler and impress your co-workers by showing them these videos (Just kidding. Play it cool, man.)

4) The inspirational Serena Williams is on her way back up. After a bizarre foot injury last year caused by stepping on glass in a restaurant in Germany followed by 2 foot surgeries and a scare caused by blot clots in her lungs, she was out for 49 weeks. She is now 8 weeks into her comeback and won 2 tournaments (Bank of the West Classic in Stanford in July and the Roger’s Cup in Toronto last Sunday). Although she’s still struggling with her foot injury, she’s prepping for the US Open coming up August 29th -September 11th. There is apparently a struggle with how to rank her for the Open because she is a better player than her rank indicates. Guess we’ll find out at the end of the month.

5) More baseball! This one is important, and will especially impress your stat-crazy boyfriend or your super-jock coworkers. Jim Thome (pronounced Toe-may…not “some” with a lisp) of the Minnesota Twins hit his 599th and 600th home runs Monday night in Detroit. He is a well-liked 40 year old family man who started his career 20 years ago with the Cleveland Indians. It’s always fun to see the good guys succeed. The 600-homerun club is a small one. He’s only the 8th player in history to accomplish this, joining the ranks of Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa. Go Jim!

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