Five months of frustration about to vanish with NFL lockout coming to an end

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks up at the scoreboard while playing the Carolina Panthers during their NFL football game in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

If you were one of the many NFL fans that said you were done watching football because of all the greed that has taken place over the last five months between the players and owners, you can officially stop lying to yourself right now. Because once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been signed, you know damn well that the first thing you’re going to do is check the rumor mill to see what your favorite team has in store in terms of free agency.

And hey, I’m not judging you. There have been many times over the last couple of months that I wanted to say that I too was done with football. That I wasn’t going to dump a couple of hundred dollars on NFL Sunday Ticket and only further line the pockets of the super-rich. But I would have been lying to myself as well.

According to NFL Network’s Albert Breer, the “economics” of the labor agreement are done and there have been several reports over the last couple of days that state the CBA will be signed anytime between now and Tuesday. Once that happens and the free agent winds start blowing, what happened over these last five months will quickly fade until nobody even remembers how nasty this entire process has been for everyone involved. People may say differently. They may say that they will never forget what has transpired and won’t return. But the truth of the matter is that the NFL is still king. As long as gambling and fantasy football (which might as well be gambling) never ceases to exist, people will continue to watch. It’s the most popular sport in America.

For those few and far between that really won’t come back, I commend you. Instead of spending countless hours this fall watching players and a game that you have zero impact on, you’ll turn a blind eye and do something else. Don’t line anyone’s pockets but your own. I wish I could do the same thing but I’m not as strong as you are. I love the NFL and no matter how much frustration it has caused fans over these last couple of months, I’m going to welcome it back with open arms once the games count in September.

Sure, like a scorned lover I won’t dive back in with two feet. I’ll proceed with caution as if the water is infested with piranha. But over time, I’ll be fully invested again. It’s football after all.

Friday Quick-Hitters:

– Brandon Marshall told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that his wife did not stab him and that he truly did slip on a vase. This is also the same Brandon Marshall who once said he slipped on a McDonald’s wrapper and wound up putting his forearm through a television set. So this is either the unluckiest, goofiest human being on the face of the planet or my man is doing some lying.

– The new salary cap in the NFL will reportedly be $120 million and will also come with a salary floor. Thus, some teams will be forced to spend money on free agents just to qualify for the salary floor. That means you, Malcolm Glazer…

James Harrison has released a lengthy statement apologizing for his harsh comments on commissioner Roger Goodell and teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall. Of course, the only thing he apologized for in reference to Goodell was his “careless use of a slang word.” Nothing like apologizing without really apologizing, eh James?

– Tom Watson hit a hole-in-one in the second round of the British Open today to give him his 15th ace of his career. I think I speak for all weekend golfers who have never hit one hole-in-one in their lifetime (not to mention 15) when I say: Congrats, Tom…you douche bag.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Tiger Woods’ nice gesture helps Tom Watson say goodbye to the Open

American Tom Watson kisses the famous Swilkan bridge on the 18th hole on the second day of the Open championship in St.Andrews, Scotland on July 16, 2010.  UPI/Hugo Philpott Photo via Newscom

Tiger Woods has faced a ton of criticism over the past eight months – and deservedly so. But he also deserves recognition for his gesture at the British Open on Friday night, in which he helped Tom Watson (someone who hasn’t held back in his criticism of Tiger over the past half year) say goodbye to the Open in style.

From Peace FM Online:

One year after his miraculous run at Turnberry, Watson couldn’t summon up the magic once again. With the cut line hovering between 1-over and 2-over, Watson posted a 75 on Friday to fall to 4-over and out of cut contention. He knew it, the crowd knew it, and so Watson’s final holes became a farewell celebration.

With darkness rapidly approaching, Watson stepped to the 18th tee. As you can see by the photo above, the light was quickly fading. It looked as if Watson would have to play his 18th on Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. local time, an awkward, anticlimactic ending not befitting a player of his stature.

And then: respect from an unexpected quarter. Tiger Woods, playing in the group ahead, motioned for Watson’s group to swing away so that Watson could finish on Friday evening, basking in the cheers of the adoring Scotland crowd. Watson and Woods have had their differences of late, with Watson critiquing Woods’ behavior both on and off the course, but on this afternoon, Woods put aside personal differences and let Watson enjoy one last triumphant walk up 18.

As Watson approached the famed Swilcan Bridge, the iconic centerpiece of the Old Course, he stopped to kiss the centuries-old stones. It was a perfect moment, a classic instant that will be replayed every time the Open Championship returns to St. Andrews. He joins Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, to name two recent legends, in taking a touching moment to enjoy one last view from the bridge.

Watson nearly got an eagle on the hole, but settled instead for a birdie. He’s something of a British Open legend, so for him to be able to go out like that was special.

Kudos to Tiger for respecting golf’s history and putting aside his differences with Watson so that Tom could have his moment in the sun (or fleeting darkness).

Stewart Cink wins British Open


Along with Lance Armstrong’s recent performance at the Tour de France, 59 year-old Tom Watson’s run toward his sixth British Open championship has been both fun and inspiring. This is the same guy who hasn’t won a major since 1983. Unfortunately, Watson’s legs started to give out in the four-hole playoff and Cink soon prevailed.

Those four holes will rank in the annals of sporting cruelty along with leaving Willie Mays in center field when he could no longer shag a fly ball, letting Joe Namath heave interceptions for the Rams or, worst of all, standing by while the great Ali was pummeled by unworthy hacks like Trevor Berbick.

Throughout this most unforgettable of weeks, he’d remembered the man he used to be, resurrecting the champion who’d won the famous Duel in the Sun on these beautiful acres 32 years ago against the mighty Jack Nicklaus.

When his eight iron hit the 72nd green, immortality was to have become a formality. Two putts to win.

And that’s when Tom Watson lost his nerve. That’s when he betrayed his age and the long years it’s been since he’d been a golfer capable of winning majors.

“The playoff was just one bad shot after another,” Watson said, “I didn’t give (Cink) much competition.”

It was obvious, given the polite but lukewarm reception for Cink, that everyone had really come to see Watson achieve this most impossible of dreams.

The writer of the piece, Robert Lusetich, does a nice job describing the showdown. While it’s a shame Watson didn’t win, a story like this is great for sports.

Watson leads by one stroke at British Open

Heading into the final round of play at Turnberry golf course in Scotland, unexpected contender Tom Watson leads by a stroke at the 2009 British Open.

Watson is turning this British Open into a fairy tale.

Even as he slipped out of the lead Saturday in the testing breeze off the Firth of Clyde, Watson didn’t blink except to hold back the occasional tears. He is close enough to the claret jug to believe he can win again.

A 30-foot birdie putt on the 16th gave him a share of the lead.

Then came a hybrid 2-iron that took a bounce to the left and onto the green, setting up another birdie.

When he walked up the 18th fairway, his name atop the massive yellow leaderboard, Watson had a 1-over 71 for a one-shot lead, leaving him 18 holes away from becoming the oldest major champion in history.

Can this really happen?

Even Watson wasn’t sure early in the week. Now, those doubts have morphed into determination.

“The first day here, ‘Yeah, let the old geezer have his day in the sun,’ ” Watson said. “The second day you said, ‘Well, that’s OK.’ And now today, you kind of perk up your ears and say, ‘This old geezer might have a chance to win the tournament.’ I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know one thing. I feel good about what I did today. I feel good about my game plan.”

I wonder how many media members in Scotland hit the pavement after Tiger Woods missed the cut on Friday. I couldn’t blame them seeing as how Tiger is usually the headline in any PGA event, but Watson is one hell of a walking story himself.

It’ll be interesting to see if Watson can hang on today and win a major at 59.

Will Tiger miss the cut at the British Open?

Tiger Woods is having a hell of a time at Turnberry the past couple days.

Woods, who shot a 71 in the opening round of the 2009 British Open on Thursday, is in danger of missing the cut after shooting a 74 in Round 2 on Friday. He is now five-over-par and is toeing the potential cut line to get into Round 3.

Tiger has missed only one cut in a major during his professional career, which came in the 2006 U.S. Open following the death of his father. Considering he opened play as a 9/4 favorite to win, Woods missing the opening cut would be a shocking development.

Outside of Tiger potentially missing the cut, the big story is that 59-year-old Tom Watson once again sits atop the leader board. Watson was one-stroke off of Miguel Jimenez entering play on Friday, but shot a 70 in Round 2 and is now tied with Steve Marino for first place with a score of 135.

The second round is still going on, but Mark Calcavecchia is currently one stroke behind Watson and Marino at 136, while Jimenez, Vijay Singh, Ross Fisher, Retief Goosen and Kenichi Kuboya are all tied at 137.

Update: Woods officially missed the cut at the British Open. It was only the second time he missed the cut at a major in his professional career.

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