published Friday, May 11th, 2012

5 at 10: Mail bag

From the "Talk too much Studios" here we go...

Hey 5@10,

What a great win this past weekend for Rickie Fowler. Right now, the PGA Tour is so unpredictable. It seems like there’s never a clear cut favorite. I guess I’m just so used to Tiger winning tournaments before they even start. Who do you think will take the baton from Tiger as the next great golfer? Also, who do you think is the current greatest player to never win a major?


Golf is in a good spot and a scary spot.

There's a ton of young talent and there is the looming legends of Tiger and Phil that could contend almost anywhere. And even when Tiger and Phil are not on the first page of the leaderboard, they still are the most popular guys on the tour.

That said, that's a scary place to be too. Without big-time star power, individual sports can become forgettable. NASCAR is struggling with that a little bit right now. And like leadership, you need you star-power athletes to at least be among your best (we could call this the Dale Jr. corollary, but your question is about golf, so FORE.)

The next great golf stars, huh? Here's the five we'd buy stock in and take our chances every week:

1) Rory McIlroy — Unreal swing and a real drive to be great

2) Rickie Fowler — Has a chance to be a real rock star on tour

3) Dustin Johnson — When he's healthy

4) Jason Day — Dude is so good

5) Harris English — Maybe we're a little bit biased, but kid has the total package

As for the greatest player to never win a major, that's tough. As for current players we'd say Lee Westwood followed by Adam Scott and Luke Donald. As for all-time, well, the most accomplished was Harry Cooper, who won 31 times on the PGA Tour and never won a major. It's hard to pick from the group that includes Kenny Perry, Colin Montgomerie, Westwood and even Sergio Garcia.


From BiSpy

  • photo
    Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) and Boston Celtics center Ryan Hollins (50) battle for a loose ball during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA first-round playoff series basketball game Tuesday, May 8, 2012, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 87-86. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Hawks, as an organization, died many years ago when, with Mo and Nique already in the house, signed Reggie Theus. No knock on Theus, a fine player in his own right. But with three guys known for their proclivity to shoot first and ask questions later, much less pass the basketball, just how did they think that would work out? Wasn't Joe Johnson a Celtics draft pick at one point? (Then again, so was Joe Forte, I believe, and I thought he was going to be a good one. Oops.)


Their underachieving history is eye-popping, and if the first death blow was adding Reggie Theus, who was great in that NBC Saturday morning show "Hang Time," they pulled the plug dealing Dominique to the Clippers for Danny Manning. (And yes, Joe Johnson and Joe Forte were Celtics draft picks.)

The Hawks are desperately fractured and barring some kind of miracle, there's no way out of the tragic sports cycle of being pretty good.

Pretty good gets you into the playoffs year after year.

Pretty good gets you into the second round every third year and no farther.

Pretty good gets you a river of first-round picks in the late teens and early 20s, and unless there is some crazy happening in the draft, seldom is anything more than an accessory available that far into the first round. Plus with the cap-strapped situation created by giving Joe Johnson a nine-figure deal and the NBA trend of everybody going to a place where they have enough pieces to win the whole thing, there's not a solution in sight.

Side note about the Hawks: Any time the Hawks play in Philips Arena, it almost feels like a neutral site. The Hawks fans — all 17 of them are there — and since the A-T-L is filled with so many transplants, any opposing team of merit has as many supporters in the stands. It's weird.


From Todd962

What, no hockey talk? You jinx the Preds right out of the playoffs and you arent even going to take a bow for your efforts?

And a question, has anything helped hockey get into the mainstream of sports more than HD Television? I remember watching hockey years ago and having trouble following what the duece was going on cause you couldnt tell where the puck was. You just waited for the fight or for the goal buzzer to go off. With the HD tv's of today you can see the puck flying in the net twice as good as Rinne.

Mr. 962

We answered this briefly in the comments earlier this week and we stand by that.

HD has helped every sport, but hockey has probably received the most fundamental TV boost for the reason you stated. In pre-HD days (known simply as the dark ages at the 5-at-10 compound) it was impossible to follow the puck. And the idea of the blue line following the puck was at best distracting and at worst some blurry-vision form of eye torture. Golf in HD deserves some major props, too.

We also feel that it's important to know that no sport improves more in person than hockey. It's outstanding in person. NASCAR is a fairly close second, by the way.

In addition to the positives of HD, we wanted to open the discussion to the advances of TV sports viewing in general.

Think about watching a baseball game now without the permanent score box. And if you don't think you're addicted to the yellow first-down line, try watching an old replay. TV advancements have been crazy good.


From PDavi

I've heard a rumor you like the draft. True or false?

And if it's true, I have a question I've been meaning to toss your way.

What's the worse draft pick in each of the major sports? As you say, discuss (or talk too much).

Thanks, and I'll hang up and listen.


Yes, the rumors are true, we love the draft. But we have a funny feeling you knew this.

And this is an interesting question and one that yields a fair amount of debate. In an effort to hedge that debate, let's clarify some parameters. Some one who goes No. 1 overall and gets injured can't be the worst pick. For a pick to be truly "the worst" it has to have a pungent blend of overreaching, misjudging talent, ignoring huge talent elsewhere on the board and disastrous results.

Let's give this a try, and make it a little more difficult with a top five in the big three (sorry folks, we may have tripled our hockey talk lately, but we're just not able to discuss hockey draft success and failures):

Worst NFL Draft picks

1) Raiders take JaMarcus Russell No. 1 overall — This pick was so bad it had a lot to do with the NFL labor struggles last offseason. Seriously. That said, we could have a complete top-five of Raiders' miscues, since they used the No. 2 overall pick on reserve offensive lineman/part-time starter at guard Robert Gallery (who's now in New England), Darius Heyward Bey in the top 10 and used a first-rounder on a kicker.

2) The entire QB class of 1999 (with the exception of Donovan McNabb) — Tim Couch went No. 1 overall, Akili Smith went No. 3 and Cade McNown went No. 12. Wow, what's the career highlight for any of those guys?

3) Ryan Leaf No. 2 in 1998 — You're aware of his story

4) Charlie Rogers No. 2 in 2003 — Freakish athlete that was a freakish disappointment. Made doubly worse since Texas stud and possible Hall of Famer Andre Johnson was taken a few spots later.

5) There really are too many to mention, but this one deserves notice. The Denver Broncos used a third-round pick on Maurice Clarett in 2005. Clarett had been out of football for two years and likely could have been had for a seventh-round pick. Instead, Denver used a third-rounder on a player that never played a down. Side note: Brandon Jacobs and Marion Barber each went within the next 10 picks.


1) Portland took Sam Bowie over MJ in 1984. This may be the most famous draft miscue of all time. Plus, the Trailblazers are mirror images of the Raiders.

2) Detroit took Darko Milicic No. 2 overall in 2003. In the draft that included the three Heatles in the top five, the Pistons pulled Darko off the board and watched as the next three picks were Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

3) Golden State took Joe Barry Carroll first in 1980. To make matter worse, the Warriors traded Robert Parrish and the No. 3 pick to Boston to move up to take Joe Barely Cares. (As Spy knows that No. 3 pick became Kevin McHale. Ouch-standing.)

4) Portland took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007 — 2007 was a bad year to be No. 1 overall. (Side note: The No. 2 picks Oden and Calvin Johnson have been excellent.)

5) Portland took LaRue Martin No. 1 overall in 1972. There was some med school student available that year. Some kid named Erving, that everyone called Dr. J.

(And that's without Kwame Brown, Shawn Bradley and a slew of others. There have been a lot of bad NBA draft picks.)


1) The White Sox and the Angels took Danny Goodwin No. 1 overall in 1971 and 1975 respectively. Yep, you'd think someone who was drafted No. 1 overall twice would be someone we'd recognize, right?

2) The Pirates took Bryan Bullington No. 1 overall in 2002.

3) The Mets took Shawn Abnber No. 1 overall in 1984 (they debated between Abner and some kid named Mark McGwire)

4) The Mets took Steve Chilcott No. 1 overall in 1966 (ahead of some youngster named Reggie Jackson)

5) The Yankees took Brien Taylor No. 1 overall in 1991


Dear 5 @ 10-
I noticed that as things began to deteriorate during the Predators playoff run, you started to pull back in an effort to not jinx the team. And in seeing this, it got me to thinking about superstitions in sports. Now back in the day, I know that I had certain rituals prior to competing that absolutely HAD to be done a certain way, in a certain order, at a certain time, no questions asked. However, I have since resigned myself to the fact that what I wear, where I sit, what I drink, etc. will not somehow influence the outcome of a sporting event or carry my team to victory. Oh what a dark day that was. This may have been discussed previously, but does the 5er have any particular rituals or superstitions that help him get through personal or team events? Do you have any favorites from the sporting world? 

Great question.

Back when we were playing a lot of sports, we had a lot of superstitions. We'd get dressed the same way. Find a routine that worked if we were hitting shots or throwing strikes. In fact, we truly respect Crash Davis' view that, "A player on a streak has to respect the streak because they don't come around that often."

As a fan — and as an SEC football fan — we're almost required to have superstitions. We wore the same shirt/visor combo in every win of Auburn's national championship season. (We retired it after 2010, so maybe last year's struggles were as much about the 5-at-10's wardrobe as bad quarterback play.) You're correct of course that where we sit, what we wear, what we drink, what have you has ZERO impact on the game, but we're fans, short for fanatics. So it goes.

As for the sports superstitions, here's a quick list in no particular order. (If you think we left one off share, and feel free to share your fan superstitions, too.)

—Playoff bears in hockey are cool.

— MJ wore his UNC shorts under his Bulls shorts. It worked for him alright.

— We've always been somewhat puzzled by the SI cover jinx.

— Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game on his way to baseball's Hall of Fame

— And we have to say our favorite would be that no one talks to the pitcher or even mentions a no-hitter when it's in progress. Got to respect the streak.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

Yes, the Bowie pick is infamous (MJ was the THIRD pick), and Tim Couch kinda disappointed, too. Marinovich was born and bred to succeed.

And because The Hawks began the discussion, we must honor Jon Koncak (aka Jon Kontract), taken 5th overall. And Danny Manning is one of the most underwhelming ever. His numbers are deceiving.

May 11, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

What happened to "a player that gets picked number 1 and gets injured can't be the worst pick?" Greg Oden clearly has suffered mainly because of injuries. Is this the "Greg Oden corollary?" I also looked up Bowie- he played just 63 games from 85-86 until 88-89. What would he have been without those injuries? Who knows? (Honestly, I don't know what happened to Bowie that kept him sidelined for so much of those three years, I'm just assuming it was injuries, and I've always hear that he suffered a lot of injuries early in his career.) Oden is the one that I am surprised you included more than anyone else. People really thought he was clearly the best player in the draft. I always said I was a little scared since he had not been able to stay healthy at Ohio State for one college basketball season. And the fact that he looked like he was about 40 years old as a college freshman. That body had to break down. I still may have taken him number one- Durant is so thin and his strength has always been a question mark. Still- Durant had fewer question marks. Oden at number two probably would have been a no-brainer, though. Unless you look back on it now.

Darko always takes the cake for me as the worst draft pick I've ever seen. Turrible. Even Michael Jordan shakes his head at that one. And that's embarrassing.

As for the advances in TV- the yellow line is something I don't always notice. When I watch old games, I don't notice it's not there after about three minutes. Seriously. Now the line I like is when they have a line for where the line of scrimmage is. That way if a QB is scrambling or if a RB is trying to get back to the line, I know right where it is. Or late in games if a team is trying to get into field goal range, if they put the line they need to get to for the kicker to be at his long kick.

As for the boxscore on the screen in baseball, or football for that matter, I like to claim credit for that. When I was younger, I said to someone, "You know what would be cool? If on the screen during a football game, they kept a permanent little box that had the score, the quarter, the time, the down and the distance. Or if in a baseball it told you the score, the inning, the count, and if anyone was on base. That way you could just turn on a game and instantly be into the situation." Within two years, they started doing this. It was amazing. So, I take some undeserved credit for that, since the only person I told was my grade school classmate.

I know, I know. I'm talking too much again.

May 11, 2012 at 10:33 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Simply a grea, Great, GREAT call on Koncak, who actually fills two bills in this mail bag. Bad draft pick as you state, and he's the forerunner to Hawks bad contract decisions.

You bring up an interesting team the all-Danny Manning, where the numbers suggest a far-better career than the film/memory would attest. We need to do this.

StuckinKent —

Fair point about the injuries, and we should have been more clear on the front end.

But the main detractors for Bowie and Oden were how healthy could they stay. Our disclaimor on the the injury factor and draft picks is more after the fact.

Oden and Bowie battled checkered injury reports in college and high school for Oden — and you’re right, Oden was 19 going on 90. If we interviewed him we'd feel the need to call him Mr. Oden.

— 5-at-10

Great post, and I should have been more clear.

May 11, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.
Todd962 said...

The Raiders are the most laughable team in the NFL and I enjoy a good chuckle at thier expense whenever possible. NFL network was running team specific top 10 personnel lists for the individual organizations last night. I got sucked in by the Steelers, which was pretty good(Joe Green wasnt the only mean s.o.b. on those teams. Jack Lambert, scary, had as many super bowl rings as teeth.), but it was followed by the Raiders, which was not so good. I think # 10 was the guy that cleans out the hot dog cooker and # 7 was a beer vendor for the nose bleed section. The Steelers show has reputable analysts and league h.o.f.'ers from other teams offering insight on the list, the Raiders show had a guy wearing a shield as a hat with face paint on. Not a shocker why they make not top lists consistently.

Has anyone else watched a Mocs basketball game on the Fox affiliate here and noticed that they do not have a game clock on the bloody screen? Infuriating beyond belief when you flip into a basketball game and have no idea how much time is left in the game. Its 2012 people, lets get with the times.

Sports superstitions are awesome. As a freshman in high school I wore the same t shirt under my jersey and as a senior that shirt looked pretty ridiculous. Grown men shouldnt wear small t shirts. Thats a rule. It was a feat to even get it on. Also carried a card from a team building camp freshman year in my wallet which is still in there today. I fear if I take it out it could jeopardize the team...more than a decade removed from my last season. Cant risk it.

May 11, 2012 at 12:05 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Mr. 962 —

We concur about the card in your wallet. If you take it out and something bad happens, well, not to mince words here, but it would be directly your fault. And the courts could prove it. In their nice court rooms that have many leather-bound books and smell of rich mahogany.

Undershirts, wow, we had that one too. And the same socks.

Mocs basketball on TV is infuriating in general. And we're not even talking about the Fire defense or the offensive rule that anything more than two passes is basketball communism. The angle is brutal and the lighting is bad. And you're spot on about the lack of the clock.

We're a sucker for TV list shows. And the NFL Network has some great ones. What the Steelers put together in the mid-1970s, in retrospect, was unbelievable.

Bradshaw, Harris, Stallworth, Swann, Webster on offense; Greene, Greenwood, Ham, Lambert, Blount on defense. Wow.

And the crazy thing is the Raiders were once a very proud franchise that had a circus following. Now the circus has assumed control. In fact, we believe the Raiders' down fall can be directly contributed to a former player who removed a team-building card from his wallet.

Coincidence? We think not.

— 5-at-10

May 11, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.
wcole777 said...

I would like to throw one more feller on the list of guys I think are going to be coming up on the PGA tour as some power players and that would be Bud Cauley. Impressive dude and if I'm not mistaken one of only eight players to go pro straight out of college without any other qualifying requirements. I may be wrong on that stat but think it's correct.

Also have to give honorable mention to my Auburn man, Jason Dufner, though much older and definitely not in the same category with the young bucks, who seems to be finding his stride and looks to have some serious potential assuming he can continue to find good fortune on Saturday and Sunday when it counts.

I missed it yesterday but I could hear T.O. saying something along the lines of this: "I'm sorry boys, but they got this depression on and I got to do for me and mine!"

Great 5@10 this week!

May 11, 2012 at 12:42 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Jay, did you see the article about Usain Bolt breaking up with his girlfriend so he could focus on winning in the olympics this summer? Pretty funny stuff. You think she was just bugging him that bad or is he taking the boxer's approach to this and abstaining to save his legs? Poor guys got to make it through the summer with his heart trapped in a glass case of emotion.

I'm Ron Burgundy, as always, you stay classy Chattanooga.

May 11, 2012 at 2:22 p.m.
jgreeson said...

WC —

Cauley is a nice call and we almost went with Dufner, but erred on the side of youth.

Here's saying T.O. may be quoting another Coen Brothers classic and telling Dr. Phil "Sometimes I get the menstrual cramps real hard."

Mr. 962 —

Do you think Usain Bolt is trying to preemptively stop Dr. Evil from taking his MoJo. Maybe he's embracing Annie and Nuke's plan of playing better by abstaining.

And yes that can leave you trapped in a glass case of emotion. For us, we'd just say thatmilk was a poor choice.

— We're the 5-at-10? (Dang it who put the question mark on the teleprompter?)

May 11, 2012 at 3:12 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

There are bad No. 1 NHL draft picks - Alexandre Daigle by the Senators (the No. 2 overall pick? Chris Pronger) and of course, the Atlanta Thrashers taking Patrik Stefan No. 1 in 1999 (Vancouver, with the next two picks, took the Sedin brothers).

May 11, 2012 at 7:08 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Say there, 5, ain't you coming up on 10 years in Chattavegas?

Also, pass along a Happy Mother's Day from the Spy to the special women in your life, especially your wonderful and very patient better half.

May 12, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
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