Category Archives: Sports

Championship at the Potomac River

This weekend marks the end of the 2022-23 PGA Tour season with the third and final event in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.  The seeding of the remaining 30 players is based on their performance throughout the year and the first two playoff tournaments in Memphis and Chicago.  Since 2021 the reward for such performance has been what can only be called a reverse handicap.  The #1 seed (Scottie Scheffler) tees off this afternoon at 10 under par.  This advantage is reduced for the other participants based on their seeding with those in the 26-30 positions opening their round at even par.  In other words, for a fan favorite like Jordan Spieth (#29 seed) to take down Scheffler, he needs to outscore Scheffler by 11 strokes, a tall order to say the least.

In one more Carl Jung moment of synchronicity, I realized it was no coincidence that the finale of the current PGA season is ending the weekend after the first debate among eight of the contenders for the Republican nomination for primary.  Consider the parallels.  First, on the same day the PGA Tour elite tee off in round one, Donald Trump has an 8:00 pm tee off time at the Fulton County jail to begin a judicial contest which may determine whether he spends four years in the White House or more in prison. 

Second, for both the debate and the Tour Championship, the elephant(s) in the room are those who are not on the stage.  Trump and Brooks Koepka.  For non-golf aficionados, Koepka was among those who abandoned the PGA Tour for the Saudi funded LIV Tour.  Yet he remains #13 in the Official World Golf Rankings and solidified that status by winning the PGA Championship  (the second of four major championships) in May.  [Note: The PGA and PGA Tour are two separate entities which is why he was able to play in the PGA Championship.]  The only difference between Trump and Koepka is the fact Trump, having “qualified” for the RNC debate, chose to sit it out, while Koepka was banned from playing in the FedEx Cup playoffs even though he was “high enough in the polls” to qualify.

Third, and most important, the race for the presidential nomination, as it stands today according to the average of polls, is comparable to the seeding system for the FedEx Cup.  The bottom tier based on their inability to meet the RNC criteria to participate in the first debate–Doug Burgum, Will Hurd, Perry Johnson, Francis Suarez and Larry Elder–begin their quest at even par.  Mike Pence, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley and Chris Christie make up the next tier and start the election cycle at three or four under par.  Vivek Ramaswamy is seeded third at 10 under par.  Ron DeSantis is second at 15 under.  The prohibitive favorite Trump tees off at 52 under par.  Just imagine if Scottie Scheffler had a 37 stroke advantage over second place Victor Hovland and even more over the rest of the field.

But these two events differ in one very important aspect.  The presidential contest is actually two contests, one for the nomination and one for the White House.  The PGA Tour equivalent would require players seeded #2 through #30 holding a tournament to decide who takes on #1 seed Scheffler or “incumbent” FedEx champ Rory one-on-one for the FedEx Cup.  Which explains why non-Trump participants in the race to be crowned the ultimate winner next November are boxed into a corner.

To win the nomination championship they need to convince a significant portion of the 35 percent of GOP primary voters who are always-Trump to see one of them as the heir to MAGA-dom.  That explains why six of the eight participants in last night’s debate raised their hands in the affirmative when asked, “If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, would you still support him if he is convicted of a crime?”  That same response, however, makes them less acceptable in the general election to independents and anti-Trump Republicans who view anyone who says Trump is innocent as living on Earth2 and a continuing threat to democracy.

For a political party that prides itself on playing the long game as evidenced by their engagement in state and local elections and control of the Supreme Court, it is shocking no one took the advice of former and disillusioned Republicans who suggested viable presidential aspirants wait until 2028.  Their realistic chance of future success depends on letting Trump take the wind out of his own sails before leaving port to navigate the national political seas.

For what it’s worth.


The Dog Days of Reaganomics

“The Dog Days of Summer” is an expression that one hears often in baseball. The phrase comes from the very challenging days of playing baseball in the heat of the summer. Not only are players contending with the heat, but they are also contending with the length of the baseball season. The excitement of the beginning of the season has certainly waned, and the end of the season with championships on the line is too far away to make a difference. Added to this is the sad reality that some teams recognize that their championship hopes have all but been shattered. Championships are won or lost in these “dog days of summer.”


Sometimes you find the best definitions for a word or phrase in the most unlikely places.  In this case, Dr. Horn used baseball as a metaphor for life.  For Christians, he compares it to the time between the excitement of rebirth and the ultimate reward of eternal life in heaven.  I may not share his belief in salvation, but from his perspective, the metaphor is valid. 

When friends and family tell me they no longer pay attention to the news, what I believe they are saying is, “These are the dog days of political discourse.”  I understand completely.   The excitement of Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 has waned.  And the 2024 election is still too far in the distance.

I too find the heat and humidity of this warmest of all summers draining.  I prefer the comfort of air conditioning, and rather than watching the evening talk shows, I now make a nightly habit of following the Baltimore Orioles’ hold on the top spot in the American League East. (NOTE: I became an Orioles’ fan during my time as a graduate student at John Hopkins University (1971-73), when Memorial Stadium was a 10-minute walk from my apartment and bleacher seats were 85 cents.)

This morning, as I glanced at the AL East standings, I observed what can only be called “a metaphor within a metaphor.”  Despite a blown save last night, Baltimore is still in first place, two games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.  Meanwhile the New York Yankees continue to go back and forth with the Boston Red Sox for last place in the division, 11.5 games back of the Orioles.

It is no stretch to think of the Yankees as the latest incarnation of Reaganomics which depended on two theories of growth:  supply side economics, and by increasing the wealth of the rich, benefits would “trickle down” to the poorest workers. Owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman have spared no expense ($187 million this year) when it comes to supplying the team with talent. In one more example of failed “trickle down” impact, more than half of that investment ($108 million) goes toward the salaries of just three of the team’s 26 active players: Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton.  And yet, the Yankees remain a half-game out of the AL East cellar.

In contrast, the Orioles’ active roster has a combined payroll of $65 million.  Instead of buying talent, the Orioles have developed a cadre of exciting young players through what baseball writers credit as the best farm system in baseball.  And the team’s success is not likely to end any time soon.  Eight of the top 100 2023 draft choices are future Orioles, waiting in the wings, playing in the minor leagues for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides and Double-A Bowie Baysox.

Think of infrastructure, sustainable energy, workforce heath care and investment in critical  industries  as the farm team of the American economy.  Americans are better served by investments in these building blocks which can be the foundation of sustainable growth.  Massive tax cuts to a few rich people and multinational corporations may give the economy a short-term shot in the arm, but as we saw at the end of the last three GOP administrations, the benefits are short-lived ending in economic recession, higher unemployment and/or stagnant wage growth. 

The Republican Party has given this Orioles-like approach to economic policy what they thought was a derogatory name:  Bidenomics.  Their error is evident every time the president retweets one of his detractors blaming him for the bi-partisan infrastructure legislation, CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act with the tag line, “I approve this message.”  In my July 6 post, “Shoot the Messenger,” I chastised Biden’s communications team for failing to make the connection between Biden economic policies and America’s leading global standing.  Even I could not imagine Marjorie Taylor Greene and other MAGA mouthpieces would fill the gap.

For what it’s worth.

Random Thoughts 9 June 2023

If you expected a diatribe about the indictment of Donald Trump, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. Unlike a majority of GOP representatives and Senators and non-Trump contenders for the party’s nomination for president, I am keeping my powder dry until I have a chance to read the actual indictment.  So, today I want to return to my other obsession, the corrupt deal between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).


Much is being said about the $11 billion investment by the PIF being “blood money.”  Critics point to the Saudi government’s financial support of terrorism and the killing and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Yet little, if any, of the discussion focuses on the source of the money.  Yesterday, the BBC described the PIF as “a big pot of money – £514 billions to be exact.”  They went on to say:

The reason there’s so much cash in it is because of the massive amounts of money Saudi Arabia has made through selling oil.

Yes, the PIF is investing in golf, but they are investing with your money.  According to The Guardian:

Saudi Aramco has reported a record $161bn (£134bn) profit for 2022, the largest annual profit ever recorded by an oil and gas company, fueled by soaring energy prices and rising global demand.

The soaring prices are a direct result of Mohammed bin Salma’s decision to cut Aramco production contrary to recommendations by other OPEC oil ministers.  Producing an average barrel of crude oil costs Aramco $4.50 which is then sold to American customers today for $72.00/barrel.  In March 2023 alone, based on reported sales to the U.S. of 427,000 barrels, the PIF coffers increased by $28.8 million.  Which suggests the Saudi investment in global golf involves more than just “blood money.”  It is also extortion money.  Yesterday, the Washington Post reported:

In private, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman threatened to fundamentally alter the decades-old U.S.-Saudi relationship and impose significant economic costs on the United States if it retaliated against the oil cuts, according to a classified document obtained by The Washington Post.

As if you needed another reason to boycott the PGA Tour, just think about how much of the next increase in gas prices is going into the pockets of hypocritical PGA Tour golfers, commissioner Jay Monahan and the board of directors of the still unnamed global golf governing body.


After one day, I’m still on the wagon.  I did not watch a second of TV coverage of the Canadian Open broadcast.  However, I did plan to tune into the LPGA Shoprite Classic being played in Galloway, New Jersey.  I increasingly find the women’s tour more entertaining.  The pace of play is much faster.  The ladies, so far, do not feel a need to straddle every inch between one’s ball and the hole to read a putt.  And success depends on the ability to master the full range of clubs in one’s bag rather than relying solely on a titanium driver and three wedges.

However, I am having a change of heart after reading the statement on the PGA Tour/PIF merger issued by LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan.

As we have consistently said, a fractured ecosystem is not good for the game and we look forward to learning what today’s announcement means for the growth and impact of global golf. We remain focused on growing the LPGA, continuing to work with the top partners in the world to provide the best opportunity for our membership and to make sure that everything we do continues to allow us to inspire, elevate and advance opportunities for girls and women, on and off the golf course.

What message does the PIF buyout send to young girls about opportunity?  There are joint PGA/LPGA events.  Will these also fall under the umbrella of the PIF?  Does Ms. Samaan realize LPGA affiliation with the Saudi venture represents more than greed?  Is she ignoring Saudi allegiance to Sharia law and its suppression of women’s right and criminalization of homosexuality?  It is a slap in the face to female golfers and particularly openly gay LPGA professionals such as Ryan O’Toole and Georgia Hall whose story is featured during Pride Month on the tour’s website.

Hopefully, members of the women’s tour have more cajones than their male counterparts, if and when, the PIF proposes bringing the LPGA into their gold-embroidered tent.


Kurt Streeter, golf analyst for the New York Times, summarized the PGA Tour/LIV merger this way.

The PGA Tour presented itself as the guy who calls a penalty on himself if he accidentally moves his ball a quarter-inch. Turns out it was the guy who makes a double-bogey and marks it down as a par.

For what it’s worth.





The Super Bowl would not be the Super Bowl without a major controversy.  Yesterday was not exception.  With less than two minutes remaining in a tied game, a holding call on Eagles cornerback James Bradberry all but assured a Chiefs win.  Rather than focus on the referees, today’s game analysis will highlight two heroes and the villain who most contributed to the game’s outcome. 

Hero #1 is Bradberry.  He is exactly what we needed, an anti-George Santos.  In a post-game interview, Bradberry admitted he pulled JuJu Smith-Schuster’s jersey. Without the necessity of a courtroom scene reminiscent of A Few Good Men.

INTERVIEWER (quietly):  Did you hold Smith-Schuster?
BRADBERRY:  I did the job I was sent to do.
INTERVIEWER (much louder):  Did you hold Smith-Schuster?
BRADBERRY:  You’re goddamn right I did!

Instead, Bradberry explained, “I pulled on his jersey.  They called it.  I was hoping they would let it ride.”  Who did he think the referee was?  Bill Barr?

Hero #2 is Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni.  When asked about the holding call, he refused to take the bait.  “It’s not my job to make the call…there’s so many plays that contribute to the end result and today they were better than we were.”  When faced with a reporter’s gotcha question, he chose civility.  Sirianni is a coach for whom anyone should be proud to play.

If not the game officials, the coaches or any of the players, who deserved the Simon Legree award Sunday evening?  The National Football League and its commissioner Roger Goodell.  Dr. ESP, how can you say that?  Goodell was sitting in the stands with Damar Hamlin and the Kelce brothers’ mother.  The only possible connection the league had to the outcome was selecting the officiating team.

The link was easy to miss because it took place years before Super Bowl LVII was played.  Fox Sports analyst Howie Long made the connection but did not realize it at the time.  During the half-time program, Long was asked, “Can the Chiefs get back in this game?” He prefaced his answer with the following.

During a regular season game the teams are in the locker room for 13 minutes.  Tonight, half-time is 29 minutes.  That gives a good coach more than enough time to make adjustments.

Halftime actually began around 8:00 pm EST and the second half kickoff came 50 minutes later.  Long punctuated his observation, invoking Super Bowl LI when the New England Patriots overcame a 21-3 halftime deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-38 in overtime.  Per the title of today’s post, I have dubbed this phenomenon “SLOw the MOmentum.”

What do the 2017 Patriots and the 2023 Chiefs have in common?  Both had all-pro quarterbacks and two of the best coaches in recent NFL history.  But their opponents had the momentum and the lead at halftime.  For a great coach with a talented team, 45 minutes to adjust one’s game plan is more than enough time to turn around a football game. 

But there may have been an even more important factor resulting from the artificially prolonged intermission.  The extra 35 minutes gave whatever painkillers the Chiefs’ medical team used to alleviate the effects of Patrick Mahomes’ reinjured upper ankle time to kick in.  As Dow Corporation used to advertise, “Better living (or in this case, maneuverability)  through chemistry.”  Whether a more hobbled Mahomes or backup Chad Henne could have as efficiently executed the second-half opening touchdown drive is less probable.

Apply SLO-the-MO to something other than sports.  Imagine if, after Joe Biden won the South Carolina Democratic primary, the National Committee postponed Super Tuesday. “Let’s take a month off for the Winter Olympics.”  Does anyone doubt Biden’s opponents would have used that time to derail the Biden bandwagon?

Or if Steve Jobs, after introducing the iPhone, took the Apple senior leadership to Austin for a two-week vacation at SXSW.  The R&D and marketing departments at Nokia and Motorola would have been working 24/7 to overcome their competition’s surprise announcement.

This has nothing to do with Rihanna or her performance.  I will leave that to The Other Guy.  I suggest Goodell and the NFL owners consider an alternative.  If you want a Super Bowl concert, hold it on Saturday night at the stadium.  Bundle tickets for the concert and the game on Sunday.  More money for the NFL.  Broadcast it live around the world.  Apple will still sponsor it. As Jesus might have said, “Render unto Saturday Night what belongs on Saturday Night’s and render unto Sunday what is football.”

For what it’s worth.

While My Qatar Gently Weeps

The World Cup could be played on a sandlot and still be a major event, watched by hundreds of millions of viewers, due to the quality of the competition and the skilled participants. But it is more than a sporting event. It is the Super Bowl of international team athletic contests with all the pomp, circumstance and distractions that make it more than a game. Which is why, throughout the competition, there have been reminders why the choice of Qatar as the site for FIFA2022 was a travesty.

Forget the FIFA governing body bribes. Or the 6,500 deaths associated with construction of the eight venues and visitor accommodations. Or the unfulfilled promises to those immigrant laborers who were able to survive the heat and accommodations. Or Qatar’s history of civil rights violations. Those have been well-documented. My focus is on the evidence which has emerged during the games.

#1: Empty Seats. The capacity of the eight newly-constructed venues range from 44,089 at 974 Stadium in Ras Abu Aboud to 88,966 at Lusail Stadium located in its namesake city. According to HUKOOMI.COM, the Qatar e-Government website, the “intended audience” includes visiting students, tourists and business owners as well as resident parents, business owners and employees. Keep in mind Qatar’s population is 2.9 million, not enough to fill the seats once, much less multiple times over the four week tournament.

Compare this to some of the venues announced for the 2026 World Cup co-hosted by the USA, Mexico and Canada. Matches at the Meadowlands will be within close proximity to a metropolitan tri-state population of 19.8 million people. Similar numbers for Toronto, Mexico City and the other 13 sites ensure every seat will be filled even if the field is expanded to 48 or 62 teams, something which is under serious consideration.

#2: To ensure the pitch (playing surface) at each of the eight venues are both functionally and aesthetically up to FIFA standards, they have been overseeded with rye grass, a winter variant needed when the contest was moved from June/July to November/December to avoid the brutal summer heat of Qatar’s desert environment. Still, the pitches have been constantly watered and artificially cooled to ensure their consistently. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in complaints the surfaces are more slippery than in past years.

#3: Broken promises. Perhaps the most publicized reversal was the decision by Qatari officials, two days before the opening ceremonies, to ban alcohol consumption in and around the stadiums. This was contrary to the commitment made as part of Qatar’s bid to host the games in which they agreed to allow alcohol in designated stadium areas. AB InBev, Budweiser’s parent company, is the single largest FIFA sponsor and surely would have opposed the site selection if Qatar had been upfront about these restrictions.

Less reported was Qatar’s promise to provide kosher meals and access to prayer services for Israeli and other Jewish attendees. Claiming security concerns, the Qatari officials reneged on both commitments.

#4: Subsidizing foreign fan attendance. Concerned about lack of attendance by fans of the other national teams, Qatar created the Fan Leader Network Programme under which they promised to pay for airfare, lodging, match tickets and per diem for handpicked attendees from the 31 other nations represented at the tournament. In return, these anointed attendees were expected to “report any social media posts which were critical of Qatar.” (New York Times, 11/7/22) Following international press disclosure of the program, the Qatari Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body established in 2011 to oversee preparation and conduct of the games, suspended the per diem payments.

#5: Screening attendee apparel. Friday, Kevin Amirehsani and his sister Kiana were prevented from entering the Iran/Wales match until Kiana changed out of her “Woman. Life. Freedom.” t-shirt. Today, it was three Iranians–Saed, his wife Negin and friend Kiyarash–who were detained for wearing similar apparel. On Saturday, World Cup security demanded German soccer fan Bengt Kunkel and a friend surrender their rainbow colored armbands before they were allowed to attend the France/Germany match.

So much for delivery and legacy. The regime established by the Supreme Committee must have taken its game plan out of The Art of the Deal when it comes to contracts, Florida’s Stop Woke and Don’t Say Gay Acts when it comes to tolerance and Texas’ anti-abortion law when it comes to women’s rights. Who says the world doesn’t look to the USA for leadership? At least the autocratic world still does.


Yesterday, the government of Iran demanded the United States be expelled from the World Cup after the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) posted a picture on its social media sites of the Iranian flag sans the Islamic Republic logo, as it appeared during the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The act was designed to show solidarity with protesters following the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s “morality police” for refusing to wear a hijab.

One would hope the USSF could have been much smarter in finding a way to show support for the protesters. Does anyone honestly believe the USSF would be any less offended if the Iranians had posted the Union Jack as the USA standard to sympathize with Black Lives Matter protesters? If the USSF thinks it is appropriate to feature the flag of their pre-revolution monarch to “stick it to” the Iranians, why would it not be equivalent to question the legitimacy of the current U.S. government by displaying the banner of America’s own pre-revolutionary monarchy?

For what it’s worth.