Spieth’s Leap to the Top

As most of you probably already know, the 22 year old Jordan Spieth has had an extremely successful career in just a few short seasons. Beginning his career at the University of Texas at Austin, Jordan Spieth realized the extent of his talents and packed his bags in a dart for the PGA after just one year at Texas. As quickly as Jordan found success in the NCAA he found the true extent of his abilities in the 2015 PGA season.

2015 was a tremendous year for both Jordan Spieth and golf viewers across the globe. Although Jordan started his career with a level of success that only some could have dreamed of, his true talent was realized worldwide at the 2015 Masters tournament in Augusta. After a phenomenal three day lead, Jordan closed the deal on Sunday at the 2015 Masters and joined the elitist club of Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and a multitude of other incredible athletes while wearing the infamous green jacket.

Upon winning the Masters, Jordan was also able to capture the Tour Championship, completing the season with $12 million in prize money. If the successes previously mentioned were not enough to convince you of his success, Spieth also captured the FedEx Cup, which earned him an additional $10 million. In finishing the 2015 season at the tender age of 22 years old, Jordan became the wealthiest golfer in the game, accumulating a larger net worth than even the great Tiger Woods. While becoming the youngest winner of the masters and the wealthiest golfer in the game, Jordan also became the youngest golfer to win the FedEx Cup since 1929, PGA Tour player of the year, and the number 1 spot on the leaderboard.

Leicester City Champions

Who won the 2016 Barclay’s Premier League? It was Manchester United, not Chelsea, and not Manchester City either. The champions were little ole Leicester City. Yes, Leicester City finished in first place in arguably the world’s best football league. In just 2014, they were in England’s second tier league called the English Champions League! They were lucky not to be relegated after the 2015 season, finishing near the bottom of the table. But at 5000-1 odds at the beginning of the 2016 season, Leicester City are champions. I believe this is the greatest accomplishment in sports history. Americans do not even realize this. This would be like the Texas Legends from the NBA Development League winning the NBA finals over the likes of the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Cleveland Cavaliers. The worst odds for an NBA team coming into this year’s season, were the Philadelphia 76ers who had 360-1 odds of winning the finals, and yes, they did finish in last place…Leicester City was 5000-1 odds!!! There are better odds of Christmas Day being the hottest day in the calendar year. Regardless, Jamie Vardy and the other Leicester City players came together to make the impossible a possibility. Do you believe in miracles?

-Jake Goldberg

Dangerous Roads

NASCAR is easily one of the most dangerous sports of our time. Essentially you are in a metal death trap that goes upwards to 200 mph. You are also surrounded by several other metal death traps that are also going 200 mph. Seems pretty scary, huh? What makes it even scarier is that there are some really dirty drivers that will do anything to have that money and hold that trophy. Regardless of the situation.

Any racer who has every enjoyed even a small amount of success on a professional level knows that he must, from time to time, get his hands dirty during a competition. That being said, some of the most respected and big name drivers in racing history have had a reputation of being a dirty racer. But the question is, when is it too far. Like I said, these athletes are in a metal death trap that goes insanely fast. One nudge too hard and you could end the life of another human. Fines can be larger, rules can implements, but when are you going to have to take a stand on a receptively dirty driver.nascar

Baylor Basketball Star Rico Gathers Makes A Career Change

As college basketball teams across the country reevaluate their rosters for the 2016-2017 season one Big 12 standout is lacing up his cleats for his first days of practice in the NFL.

Baylor basketball star Rico Gathers (6ft. 7in., 270lbs.) was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 6th round of this year’s draft after not playing football for 9 years. Gathers’ pro day was visited by 26 teams and there is little question as to why as Gathers’ posted a 40-yard-dash time of 4.65; for comparison, New England Patriots star Tight End Rob Gronkowski posted a 40 time of 4.85. Gathers’ is not the the first player to go from NCAA Basketball to NFL Football, in fact, he joins a list of some very notable NFL names including: Antonio Gates, Martellus Bennett, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas. The Dallas Cowboys currently employ five Tight Ends including Gathers, but the team has said they are interested in seeing how he can play at Defensive End as well. Fans seemed to be grateful for a front office risk that is focused on a potential future star, and ESPN’s Mel Kieper called the pick, “a great coin-flip late.” Gathers knows it will be an uphill battle readjusting to playing football and most certainly doing so against the best in the world, as he puts it, “It’s going to be much harder than eight grade was.”

Breanna Stewart, a UConn Star

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Breanna Stewart just finished her college careering assisting UConn in their 4th NCAA championship in a row. 4 peat! UConn has now won 11 championships total. Stewart was had 151 victories and 5 loses while at UConn and has won Most Outstanding Player for the fourth year in a row. The only other players that can claim that many wins are her teammates. Stewart is one heck of a player and continues to keep her name in the news! No other player has won more than two consecutive Most Outstanding Player honors. Stewart ranks third in point (466), third in rebounds (207) and second in blocks (71). She averaged 19 points per game.

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It is no surprise that after these four incredible years in the NCAA, Stewart went first in the WNBA draft. UConn has made history yet again with their players going first, second, and third in the draft. Stewart is going to continue her basketball career post college with The Seattle Storm.

Steward was also recently selected to be on the 2016 US Olympic Women’s Basketball Team. And UConn continues to be present as well with 5 of the 12 players on the team being former Huskies.

Keep it up Stewie! You do nothing but impress!

The NHL’s Problem

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Two weeks ago, I had never watched an NHL game. I could name zero players, and would struggle to name most of the major league teams. I didn’t know the difference between hits and shots, and power plays seemed like a phrase more appropriate for front office politics than live professional sporting events. I have spent the last two weeks attempting to immerse myself in the NHL’s pop culture and day-to-day happenings, with very limited success. I still don’t know the difference between a hit and a shot. I still cannot define a power play. I do not recognize players, and I couldn’t name all the teams even with helpful hints. And I still have not watched an NHL game.

The reason is simple: the sport is not interesting. It’s not interesting for very specific reasons. When I watch an NBA game, the offense and defense are fairly equally matched. The offense will score on about 50% of its possessions, and the defense will stop the offense on about 50% of the possessions. Even in a low-scoring game, the teams will combine for 150 or more points. Stuff happens. And with so much scoring, the opportunities to be a witness to something amazing drastically increase.

In the NHL, defense has such an arbitrary advantage that it feels like nothing is happening until someone scores. Even the worst goalies in the league stop the offense around 90% of the time. When someone does score, it’s never really clear how it happened. The goalie lost his balance. The play broke down. The puck squirted out and one player breaks away with it. Players often score because of circumstances where the game expectations have been subverted. It never feels like I’m watching superheroes compete. This is why I give my time to professional sports – to see things I can’t see anywhere else or accomplish myself.

For three 20-minute periods, I watch guys dressed in funny colors skating around on the ice holding sticks, a sight I can see for free in any number of places. The presumption is that the names on the backs of the jerseys are somehow worth infinitely more of my discretionary income, but as a person unfamiliar with the NHL, the names and faces of the athletes are meaningless to me. The NHL has to do better. For the brief moments of undeniable action, you spend hours sitting unrewarded. This is what highlights were made for. I don’t know how to fix it (whether it’s bigger goals, fewer players, no goalies), but it’s not right.

A few times each game, a cylinder made of hard plastic will temporarily enter an enclosed space, resulting in a point for one of the teams. Millions of fans will be ecstatic, millions more will have broken hearts. All of them will wonder how exactly it happened. I’ll wonder why.

The Year of the Young Guns

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Jenny Shin, 23,  just one of the many young women collecting trophies in 2016 on the LPGA Tour

2016 is shaping up to be The Year of the Young Guns on the LPGA Tour. According to LPGA.com, 11 tournaments have been played since January and golfers under the age of 25 have won them all. Let’s list the name of the aforementioned winners shall we?

Hyo Joo Kim (20) – Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic

Ha Na Jang (24) – Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers // HSBC Women’s Champions

Haru Nomura (23) – ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open // Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presnted by CTBC

Lexi Thompson (21) – Honda LPGA Thailand

Sei Young Kim (23) – JTBC Founders Cup

Lydia Ko (19) – Kia Classic // ANA Inspiration

Minjee Lee (19) – LOTTE Championship Presented by Hershey

Jenny Shin (23) – Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC

In my opinion, this is great news for both the LPGA and sponsors that are looking to appeal to younger audiences. These young guns are doing for the LPGA what Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and Rickie Fowler are doing for the PGA. They’re reviving the game and using their social influence to attract followers to the sport of golf. From fashion, to being featured on social media channels,  younger female golfers have awesome role models that are around their age that they can relate to. It’s only a matter of time before big sponsors come in and use these rising stars as their next big spokespeople.

The Golf Channel briefly talks about the young guns winning the most recent LPGA  tournaments here.

 

 

What is next for Hassan Ridgeway and other 2016 NFL recruits?

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The Indianapolis Colts have selected former Texas Longhorns defensive tackle, Hassan Ridgeway, during the 2016 National Football League Draft. Ridgeway was selected in the fourth round, as the 116th selection. Ridgeway now joins the other 335 Texas Longhorns who have been accepted into the National Football League. Celebrations for the players are occurring and tweets are being sent, but what is to come for the recruits after the hype? Well folks, Hassan Ridgeway and the rest of the newcomers are about to get down to business.

Shortly after the Draft, all newcomers are to attend their respective team’s minicamps. Upon arrival, they are greeted by tours of practice facilities, fans and returning players. After a quick orientation and lunch, the newcomers receive a physical. Then, the exciting moment: equipment and jerseys. The team’s top recruits get first priority when picking gear. They are then able to show off their new wardrobe in their first interviews following the jersey selection. The following day they will be able to take the field. The newcomers will be joined by players and free agents who are hoping to receive an invitation to the official training camp in July. This experience puts the newly recruited players to the test. They will begin competing for a position on the field, and most of all, fighting to prove their name.

There is no doubt that Hassan Ridgeway will leave his mark in the National Football League as he has at The University of Texas at Austin. Congratulations Hassan, and hook ‘em horns.

-Lauren Trevino

NBA allows Jerseys to have Ads, but with restrictions.

The NBA recently approved the sale of jersey sponsorships beginning in the 2017-18 season. But the league will prohibit teams from selling jersey ads to certain types of companies. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the NBA has told teams that they are not allowed to sell jersey ads to companies involved with alcohol, tobacco, gambling or politics. Media companies are also prohibited from buying jersey ads, as are any competitors of Nike, which will become the league’s official apparel sponsor starting next season.

The NBA Board of Governors voted in April to approve the pilot program, which will be tested out for three years, then re-evaluated.

Ads will be featured on the front left of the game jersey opposite the Nike logo. Patches will measure approximately 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches, and will be similar to those featured on the All-Star game jerseys earlier this year.The jersey sponsorships will be sold by each individual team.

 

Injury in the Age of Competition

Roger Federer was forced to withdraw from the Madrid Masters on Monday due to a back injury he suffered over the weekend. This is yet another setback on his schedule, but the former world No. 1 decided it was best for him not to take any chances. With the French Open a looming 3 weeks away, rehab and a focus on getting healthy is his main objective. “I would rather play it safe,” he said, “I am very disappointed, to say the least.” That disappointment comes as no surprise, as the star has missed a handful of events in the past few months due to various injuries. Federer’s withdrawal shines light on an important conversation, the question of whether it is more important to add points to your ranking or to take care of yourself and your body. Although it might be disappointing for Fed to pull out of an event he enjoys, doing so won’t do much damage to his rank. It is the players who have more to lose that are the ones we need to worry about. Playing would do nothing but strain his injuries and put him at a higher risk for doing something even more harmful. In a world where athletes are becoming increasingly more motivated to reach top rankings – motivated by sponsors, fans and promotions – at what point is enough, enough?