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For over 25 years, Bob Matthews has held the title of Rochester's most popular sports writer/commentator. For over 20 years, Bob has hosted WHAM's nightly sports talk program...consistently ranked at the top of his time slot!
From 1978 to 2012, Bob Matthews was a sports columnist for the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle and a regular "As the Sports World Turns" contributor to the Gannett News Service. He is the only person to be selected Press-Radio Club Sportswriter of the Year (five times) and Sportscaster of the Year, and was a pioneer inductee into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame.
A Rochester native, Bob graduated from Brighton High School where he played varsity baseball, basketball and served as student council V-P. Bob is also a veteran, serving his country in Vietnam.
Always opinionated and outspoken, Bob's proudest accomplishment is advocating for Frontier Field. His all-time favorite athlete...former Red Wing Luke Easter. One of his sports regrets……not being around for the glory year of the Rochester Royals.
MOVE OVER TIGER AND RORY – OAK HILL SPOTLIGHT MAKES ROOM FOR LEFTY
RAYS AND DODGERS ARE RED HOT
PERFECT ALL-STAR GOODBYE FOR MARIANO RIVERA
The deadline is Monday for votes from Democrat and Chronicle readers regarding the much-anticipated cover subject for the media group’s sure-to-be-excellent special PGA Tournament print section – Will it be defending champion Rory McIlroy or the resurrected top-ranked Tiger Woods.
That’s unfortunate, because my hunch is that Phil Mickelson might outpoll them both.
Mickelson won The Open Sunday with a masterful 66. He was the only player to break par (-3) for the tournament and there couldn’t have been a more popular champion.
I thought Woods winning The Open would be the biggest boost possible for the 2013 PGA Championship (not that it needed one) in terms of international interest and TV ratings. But Mickelson coming to town as The Open champion might be as impactful.
I almost always root for Woods, especially on Sundays. I respect him as the greatest golfer of my lifetime and try to watch him add to his laurels whenever I can.
But Mickelson is an exception. He’s the anti-Tiger as a devoted husband and father.
His golf career and private life haven’t been marred by scandal. He doesn’t swear or throw clubs. He doesn’t win as often as Woods but he is a far better family man and golf ambassador. He doesn’t win as much money but he’s a richer person.
Woods undoubtedly will be the big favorite to win the PGA Championship. Why? Because he’s Tiger. He figures to win his 15th major one of these Sunday afternoons. Maybe it will be August 11 at Oak Hill.
Woods still leads the PGA Tour this year in victories (4), official earnings and scoring average. He figures to be voted Player of the Year even if he extends his streak of majors without a victory to 22 in the PGA Championship.
But Mickelson has momentum and likely would have the galleries behind him in a duel with Tiger. Such a showdown would attract massive TV ratings and give Oak Hill the exposure it deserves.
Comparing Tiger-Phil-Rory this season (PGA Tour ranking in parentheses):
Money leaders – Woods $6,159,119 (1st) in 10 events...Mickelson $4,860,810 (2nd) in 15 events...McIlroy $1,390,586(43rd) in 11 events.
Scoring average – Woods 68.987 (1st)...Mickelson 69.662 (7th)...McIlroy 70.422 (38th)
Percentage of available purse money won – Woods 8.16% (1st)...Mickelson 4.66 % (2nd)...McIiroy 1.69 % (29th)
Victories this year – Woods 4 (1st)...Mickelson 2 (t2nd)...McIlroy 0 (t27th).
Average driving distance – McIlroy 299.3 (17th)...Woods 291.8 (63rd)...Mickelson 290.0 (75th)...PGA Tour average is 287.2)
Driving accuracy – Woods 63.69 fairways hit (58th)...McIlroy 58.98 (132nd)...Mickelson 56.18 (183rd)...PGA Tour average is 61.10)
Greens in regulation – McIlroy 68.57 (17th)...Woods 67.44 (36th)...Mickelson 67.128 (43rd).
A few more tidbits:
Mickelson on Sunday became only the third player to win two majors since Tiger won his last major (the 2008 U.S. Open) -- Padraig Harrington 2008 The Open and 2008 PGA...Rory McIlroy 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA...Mickelson 2010 Masters and 2013 The Open.
How they finished in the 2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill – Mickelson t23d, 66-75-72-75—288...Woods t39th, 74-72-73-73 – 292.
Woods’ PGA Tournament finishes year-by-year 1995 through 2012 – DNP...DNP...t29th...t10th...WON...WON...t29th...2nd...t39th...t24th...t4th...WON...WON...DNP...2nd...t28th...MC...11th.
Mickelson’s PGA Tournament finishes year-by-year 1990 through 2012 – DNP...DNP...DNP...t6th...3rd...MC...t8th...t29th...t34th...t57th...t9th...2nd...t34th...t23rd...t6th...WON...t16th...t32nd...t7th...7erd...t12th...t19th...t36th.
Since the PGA Championship switched from match play (191`6 through 1957) to stroke play (1958 through present), the only repeat champion has been Tiger Woods – twice (1999-2000 and 2006-07).
Only five players have won career Grand Slams (Masters, U.S. Open, the Open and PGA Championship) – Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods...Mickelson now needs only the U.S. Open to complete his career Grand Slam. He won The Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), the PGA Championship (2005) and now The Open (2013). He finished second in the U.S. Open a record six times (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2013).
BASEBALL’S HOT AND NOT SO HOT
Tampa Bay is 13-1 in its last 14 games and 20-4 in its last 24 games. Since starting the season 14-18, the Rays are a MLB-best 44-23. They start a huge four-game series in Boston Monday night.
Boston is 60-40 and leading the AL East by 1 ½ games over Tampa Bay. The Red Sox were 49-51 after 100 games last season (and went 20-42 thereafter).
Matt Harvey (Mets) has a team-record 2.38 ERA in his first 30 games. He’s the first pitcher in team history to have four games with 10 strikeouts and 0 walks in a single season.
The Dodgers are on a 20-5 roll and stars Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford were in the lineup for the first time this season on Sunday.
Miguel Cabera (Detroit) hit his 31st HR of the season Sunday and leads MLB in hits (134) and RBI (96).
Felix Hernandez (Seattle) won his sixth straight decision on Sunday. He’s 11-4 with an AL-best 2.43 ERA and hasn’t lost since May 25. Another Cy Young Award?
Allen Craig (St. Louis) has 12 hits and 6 RBI in a 7-game hitting streak. The Cardinals let Albert Pujols leave as a free agent and -- at least for now –Craig is a more productive first baseman.
Bartolo Colon (Oakland) is 13-3 after a 6-0 shutout over the Angels Sunday. He has a 1.46 ERA in his last 12 starts. He’s 8-0, 2.q25 ERA vs. AL West rivals.
Milwaukee is 14-3 in its last 17 home games vs. Miami...The Brewers were the last team in MLB to pitch a shutout this season but have 8 in their last 31 games.
Francisco Liriano (Pittsburgh) is 9-4 with a 2.44 ERA. Former Rochester Red Wings teammate Garrett Jones has homers in two straight games.
Toronto has lost 4 straight games and is 5-11 in July after a 17-9 June.
Washington is 2-8 in its last 10 games.
Yasiel Puig (Dodgers) didn’t start Sunday after a 0x9 (with 5 strikeouts) mini-slump Friday and Saturday. The word is out. Don’t throw him strikes. He’ll chase.
CC Sabathia (Yankees) has allowed a career-high 23 HRs this season.
James Shields (Kansas City) has 1 win in his 10 home starts.
Miami has gone a team-record 37 innings without scoring a run, the longest such drought in MLB in 28 years. The Marlins have been shut out 12 times this season.
San Diego is 5-19 in its last 24 games.
Coco Crisp (Oakland) has gone 82 at-bats without an extra-base hit.
The Angels were 1x16 with runners in scoring position in a three-game series vs. Oakland.
A FITTING All-STAR GOODBYE FOR MARIANO RIVERA
Major League Baseball did a wonderful job on Mariano Rivera’s farewell appearance at the All-Star Game. The respect Rivera has from teammates, opposing players and fans in every city is rare if not unique. But you know some misguided Hall of Fame voters is prepared to deny Mariano the honor of being the first unanimous selection. Next to Babe Ruth in right field, I don’t believe there ever has been a better player at his position that Rivera as relief pitcher.
I don’t believe Jim Leyland is having a good season as manager of the Detroit Tigers, but I’ll give him major props for his work in the All-Star Game and for coming up with the idea to keep the American League players in the dugout while Mariano Rivera trotted to the mound to start the bottom of the eighth inning. It was a brilliant gesture of respect.
No one had a better All-Star Game experience than Mariano Rivera and no one had a worse night than Neil Diamond.
Major League Baseball retired No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Rivera was grandfathered in and will be the last player to wear it. It couldn’t have worked out better.
I don’t rank Shaquille O’Neal with the great NBA analysts on TV, but I’m buying his outspoken opinion that the Brooklyn Nets will be much better than the New York Knicks this season.
Gary Myers of the New York Daily News ranks the 32 NFL teams entering training camp. The top five (in order): Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Green Bay, Atlanta, Houston, Giants, New England, Indianapolis, Cincinnati...The AFC East: Patriots 8th, Dolphins 15th, Bills 26th, Jets 27th.
Bert Trautmann , who died last week at age 89, had an interesting life. He was a decorated paratrooper for Germany before being captured late in World War II. After the War, he decided to stay in England and owned a farm and played goalkeeper for the local soccer club. He impressed scouts and wound up as the iron-man goalie for Manchester City from 1949 through 1964. Many fans at first protested a former German soldier playing pro soccer in England, but his solid play eventually earned him respect. His career highlights included helping Manchester City beat Birmingham 3-1 in the 1956 FA Cup final. He played the last 17 minutes and made several key stops despite a broken neck.
The Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres have the dubious distinction of being rated 100-to-1 to win Super Bowl XLVIII and 2014 Stanley Cup respectively by Statfox.com.
The New York Mets are miserable with their Triple-A hookup with Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League (lousy stadium; too hot; inflated stats in dry air; inconvenient travel). The Mets would much prefer a team in the International League but Norfolk and Buffalo were glad to hook up with other parent clubs when they had a chance. The Mets were counting on Rochester to bail them out but Rochester decided to stick with Minnesota. That appears to be a wise move by Rochester Community Baseball.
Records of Minnesota farm teams entering Monday: Rochester (AAA) 53-50...New Britain (AA) 48-52...Fort Myers (Advanced-A) 59-36...Cedar Rapids (A) 60-37...Elizabethton (Rookie) 17-12...GCL Twins (Rookie) 11-14.
Andrew Albers on Sunday became the first Rochester pitcher to win 10 games this season. It hasn’t been an automatic in recent years. In fact, he’s the first Red Wing to win 10 games since Philp Humber and Francisco Liriano each won 10 in 2008...The team leaders in victories since were Humber, Mike Gosling and Rob Delaney (7 each) in 2009, Delaney (7) in 2010, Andrew Baldwin and Eric Hacker (7 each) in 2011, and Liam Hendricks and Esmerling Vasquez (9 each) in 2012.
Rochester native Joe Walters (Irondequoit/University of Maryland) is tearing up Major League Lacrosse for the Hamilton Nationals and owner Curt Styres. He leads the league in assists (21) and also has 18 goals. He’s fifth in MLL scoring with 39 points in only 9 games.
The Rochester Rhinos lead the 13-team USL PRO soccer league in something – ties. The Rhinos have a 3-8-10 record and have scored only 17 goals in 21 games. The best news is that the next game is against hapless Antigua Barracuda FC Sunday, 4:05 p.m., at Sahlen’s Stadium. Suggested promotion: Guaranteed Non-Tie Afternoon. Antigua is 0-20-0 and has been outscored 72-8.
PGA Tour career official earnings: Tiger Woods $107,109,819 (1st)...Phil Mickelson $72,505,508 (2nd)...Jeff Sluman $18,165,206 (51st)...Rory McIlroy $14,748,146 (80th).