Saturday, June 18, 2005

Politics, Personals, and Predictions

The pace (of my life) picks up profusely in the weeks ahead and I feel the summer will rush by far too fast. I'll git to this later in this blog, but first a little politics. The wacko left will stoop to new lows in their quest to regain the power that was lost in recent elections. They care not how they accomplish these goals. The latest tack is the out right lies and outrageous contortions concerning the treatment of prisoners at Gitmo. Sure sounds to me like Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is getting more blowback than he bargained for with his comments this week about Gitmo and U.S. soldiers. From this Wash Times article:

" Sen. Richard J. Durbin expressed a conditional "regret" yesterday for his remarks linking Guantanamo Bay interrogations to Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot after Vice President Dick Cheney and the American Legion unleashed another day of rebukes of the Senate's No. 2 Democrat.
Mr. Durbin had refused to apologize for his Nazi speech in a Senate debate Thursday. But as the high-ranking Democrat and his party continued to feel a political backlash, Mr. Durbin issued his third -- and most contrite -- statement yesterday. "I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood," said the Illinois senator. "I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."

Mr. Durbin would have us believe that" historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood", but does nothing to to correct the distorted comparisons he made. I have an email from a soldier that served at Gitmo written to Linda Vester:

"I am a soldier from New Jersey who served in Guantanamo Bay from April 2004 til April 2005. I was a witness to the exceptional treatment these prisoners received. They received constant medical care, food, Islamic religious items. I also noticed how these prisoners treated us soldiers and caregivers. They cursed, spit, threw fecal matter and semen on us. They also verbally threatened and physically assaulted us. They degraded America, disrespected our beliefs. They treated female personnel with disrespect, calling them pigs, sluts and whores. And we are trained to sit back and take it all in. When politicians come [to visit] they say hello and take a tour and then they are back on a jet to go home. I challenge any politician to pick: Either stay at Guantanamo Bay in a cell or fall hostage to some radical group in Iraq .... Linda, I urge you to try to request documentation of prisoner-on-soldier and relief worker abuse. Soldiers go to work inside the wire one day and come out with broken arms. Red Cross workers also have been assaulted. Why don't the politicians ask THOSE questions? One final thought: I wish all those pompous politicians would put on a uniform and do what we do every day ...."— C., U.S. Army Sergeant, New Jersey


Qualifier Gore Tied With Defending Champ Goosen, Browne
By David Shefter, USGA
Pinehurst, N.C. – Every kid who has played golf has dreamed of
making a putt to win the U.S. Open or envisioned himself playing in
the final pairing.
Heck, Hollywood even made a movie about it.
A Tin Cup story is brewing at the 2005 Open at Pinehurst No. 2. A
jovial, happy-go-lucky gentleman with a smile that could melt
Antarctica is tied for the lead halfway through the championship. Call
it a Cinderalla story.
A model of consistency, Retief Goosen had 12 pars to go along with
three birdies and three bogeys Friday. (Steve Gibbons/USGA) Jason Gore, who applies his trade on the Nationwide Tour, shot a
3-under-par 67 on Friday and now sits atop the leaderboard with
defending champion Retief Goosen and Olin Browne, who shot a 59
during sectional qualifying on June 6 to earn his way to Pinehurst.
Goosen shot a 70 on Friday while Browne posted a 71. All three are at
2-under 138 for the championship, one stroke ahead of K.J. Choi (70)
and Mark Hensby (68).
No other player in the field, including the Big Four of Vijay Singh
(70-70—140), Tiger Woods (70-71—141), Phil Mickelson (69-77—146)
and Ernie Els (71-76—147), are under par. Besides Singh, the group at
even-par 140 includes Michael Campbell, Sergio Garcia and Lee
Westwood. At 141 includes 2003 Open champion Jim Furyk, Rocco
Mediate and Adam Scott.
David Toms did get to three under par after 15 holes, but gave five
strokes back over his final two holes, including a triple-bogey 6 at the
par-3 ninth and he now sits at 2-over 142.
The cut came at 8-over 148 with 83 golfers (81 professionals and two
amateurs) surviving to play the weekend.
But while Goosen’s place in the standings was somewhat expected
and Browne is at least a known entity around the PGA Tour, Gore is a
virtual wild card. Yes, he’s won three times on the Triple-A level – i.e.
the Nationwide Tour – and he’s played two seasons on the PGA Tour
where he failed to retain his card both times, but nobody, not even
family members, could have seen this coming.
Not in the U.S. Open. Not in just his second major-championship
appearance as a pro.
Yet there he was late Friday, his name promptly displayed on
leaderboards throughout the 7,214-yard, par-70 layout. By the time he
reached the eighth hole, he had people cheering his name. "Jason!
At 6 feet 1 inch and 235 pounds, Gore looks like a linebacker and
drives the ball like a gorilla (averaging 310.8 yards through two
rounds). But his demeanor is more of a teddy bear. If he had a white
beard, he could be described as Santa Claus in spikes.
His game delivered plenty of gifts on Friday and as his gallery began
to grow over the final few holes, he kept his composure. The
31-year-old from Valencia, Calif., eventually tied for the lead on No. 6,
his 15th of the round, when he holed a 15-foot birdie putt. He lipped
out a 30-footer for birdie at seven and two holes later, delivered a
gorgeous shot from the front, greenside bunker to within 18 inches
for a par. It was the perfect way to conclude a five-birdie, two-bogey
"It’s kind of fun, isn’t it?" said Gore, who owns three career
Nationwide Tour wins and is 58th on that circuit’s money list in ’05
with $29,879 in earnings. "I’m going to beat this cliché up, but I’m
trying to keep it simple, trying not to get too excited or too down on
Should Gore go on to win the Open, he would become the first player
since Orville Moody in 1969 to take the title after going through local
and sectional qualifying. But Gore also realizes the championship is
only half over. Then again, America loves an underdog and there’s no
bigger one than Gore at the moment.
"This is really an opportunity for me to play well," said Gore. "It’s
going to be fun. I just really have nothing to lose, and I feel if I can
play two smart rounds of golf, then we’ll count them up at the end.
Gore is enjoying his week in Pinehurst with his mom, Kathy, his wife
of two years, Megan, and his 8-month-old son Jaxon. Gore’s father,
Shelly, died in September of 1997 of a heart attack, the morning he
was supposed to fly to Boise, Idaho, to make his professional debut in
a Nike Tour event. So getting to play on Sunday of the Open will be
quite a Father’s Day present. It also could turn into one of his biggest
"Jaxon has got two ear infections so it should be quite a night," said
the 1997 USA Walker Cupper. "I get to spend two days playing a great
golf course. That’s really what I’m trying to think. This is a great
venue and I get to enjoy two more days at the U.S. Open."
Gore certainly has some strong competition to contend with,
especially Goosen, who is vastly becoming a 21st century version of
Scott Simpson, only with better game. Simpson always seemed to
save his best for the Open and won the 1987 event at The Olympic
Club. He also lost an 18-hole playoff to Payne Stewart in ’91 at
Goosen plays almost like a robot, yet he may be the most
underappreciated professional on the planet. He is the Open’s
Rodney Dangerfield. Not a single media member picked him to win
this week in the U.S. Open Web site’s poll, even though he’s already
engraved his name twice on the trophy. Who could forget last year’s
final round when he had 11 one-putt greens to edge Phil Mickelson
by a stroke.
Through 13 holes on Friday, Goosen was 4 under for the
championship, only to give back strokes with bogeys at five and
seven. In his even-par 70, he hit 10 of 18 greens (he hit 16 on
Thursday) and just five of 14 fairways. But he totaled for less putts
(28) than Thursday.
Should Goosen win, he would become the first player since Curtis
Strange (1988 and ’89) to win consecutive U.S. Open titles and join an
elite company of six players to achieve that feat (Willie Anderson,
Johnny McDermott, Bob Jones, Ralph Guldahl, Ben Hogan and
Jason Gore, on the ninth hole Friday, is trying to become the first
player to win a U.S. Open after having to go through local and
sectional qualifying since Orville Moody in 1969. (Steve
Gibbons/USGA) "I’m excited about this weekend and hopefully I can keep it up and see
if I can win it for the third time," said the mono-toned Goosen. "It’s
going to be a grind. It’s not going to be easy. I don’t know what the
weather is going to do."
Many people probably weren’t expecting Browne to maintain his
status on the leaderboard, but despite a double bogey at the par-3
sixth hole, he stayed in the same position he owned on Thursday
"The game is all about balance," said Browne, whose 59 in sectional
qualifying at Rockville, Md., has become almost legendary.
"Certainly life is all about balance, and I hit the ball as well as I’m
capable of [on Thursday] and it was the complete opposite today.
Hopefully, I’ve gotten that out of the way."
Lurking behind the leaders is a host of big-name players, including
two of the Big Four in Singh and Woods. And don’t forget about
Garcia, who came in to the week on a high after winning the Booz
Allen Classic last Sunday. Garcia is trying to become the first player
to win the Open after winning the previous week. This is his third
attempt at that feat.
Garcia birdied two of his last three holes to get some momentum for
the weekend. But the Spaniard also missed glorious birdie
opportunities at three and four, his 12th and 13th holes of the round.
In fact, he three-putted the third hole from 8 feet, lipping out a short
par putt, and did the same at 15. At the par-5 fourth, he was in the
greenside bunker in two, blasted out to 9 feet and missed the putt on
the low side.
"If I finish even par for the tournament I would win by more than one, I
would think," said Garcia who hopes to become the first European
winner of this event in 35 yards. "I really think about two or three over
is going to win this thing. The course is not going to get any easier.
You are grinding it out to shoot even par. You’ve got to realize that."
Singh, the world’s No. 2-ranked player and owner of three major titles,
maintained his steady play with another 70. He bounced back and
forth all day, getting to two under following a birdie at 13, only to give
the strokes back with back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16.
"I hit the ball really good," said Singh, whose best U.S. Open finish
came at Pinehurst six years ago when he tied for third with Woods.
"It’s not going to get any easier on the weekend, so I feel I’m in a good
position right now. Even par would be a good score for the
tournament depending on how the conditions play over the
Said Woods: "Days like today typify a U.S. Open. You’ve just got to go
out there and be patient as possible and grind away."
Mickelson, the runner-up at the 1999 Open at Pinehurst, went
completely the wrong direction after starting the Open with a 69. Now
his bid for a first Open title looks to be in serious jeopardy.
Conditions could not have been better from a temperature
perspective. Easily the coolest day of what has been a hot and
steamy weak in the Sandhills of North Carolina, temperatures
hovered in the 70s with overcast skies until around noon when the
sun appeared in full bloom for the afternoon wave.
But the golf course continued to play difficult, even though more
golfers broke par on Friday (13) than on Thursday (nine). Peter
Hedblom of Sweden shot the lowest U.S. Open round ever at
Pinehurst with a 66 to get himself back into contention after an
opening-round 77.
One of 48 first-time participants in this year’s field, Heblom had five
birdies and one bogey in his round of 66. The previous best U.S.
Open score at Pinehurst was 67 shared by six players, including
Mediate and Browne. His round featured just 25 points, six less than
in Thursday’s round of 77 when he made only one birdie to go with
eight bogeys.
Hedblom’s first foray into the Open didn’t come without a little travel
woes. Actually, he arrived in the U.S. last Saturday night just fine, but
his club had other plans.
"The airline lost them from Stockholm to Newark, so I didn’t get them
in Newark," said Hedblom. "And then they were in Newark for a
couple of days and then they turned up."
That was on Tuesday at 11:20 a.m. and Hedblom had arranged a
practice round for noon. The airline informed him they would get to
Pinehurst by Monday night. He had to use a another set from his
equipment manufacturer, even though the shafts were a bit different.
"My coach, Gary Gilchrist, called [the airline] and put pressure on
them," added Hedblom. "He told them we really need those clubs.
Actually a nice guy at Continental helped me to find them."
So Hedblom had a pretty good excuse for that opening-round
stumble. But after Friday’s brilliant round, he moved up 83 spots from
113th to 30th. And it could go even lower depending how the
afternoon wave performs.
"It’s just going to be fun to play the last 36 holes," he said.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? During a practice round, Gore was
strolling the fairways when he accounted a USGA agronomist
working the grounds. The agronomist yelled "Olin Browne." Gore
politely walked by with his glaring smile and politely corrected him.
"No," Gore said, "I’m much better looking."
This weekend, we’ll find out if he can play that way, too.

Realtime Scoring (click here)

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