I saw that 156 players began the British Open. Eighty-one made the cut and got to play Royal Troon in Scotland over the weekend. But, at it turns out, only two players had a shot at winning.

Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson played together on Saturday and then again on Sunday, and they were, quite simply, at a different level than the rest of the field.

Golfers out there will understand how rare Sunday was.  Mickelson made two birdies and an eagle in his first six holes on Sunday, made four bogeys in the entire tournament, shot 70-65 over his final two rounds and still, amazingly, lost by three strokes as Stenson went 68-63 to finish at 20 under par.

Even third place finisher J. B. Holmes set a record. He was the next closest competitor, 11 shots behind Mickelson. Finishing third that many shots behind the runnerup has never happened at a Major.

Let me give you a history lesson. The duel between Stenson and Mickelson was quite similar to famous 1977 British Open, in which Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, miles ahead of anyone else on the leader board, waged a similar weekend battle just down the road at Turnberry. The so-called Duel in the Sun is famous in golf history, one of the sport’s greatest performances. It involved Nicklaus shooting 65-66 in his final two rounds, Watson shooting 65-65 to win. Just under four decades later, Stenson and Mickelson turned in even lower scores.

Nicklaus vs. Watson was expected. Stenson vs. Mickelson was not.

Stenson, 40, had never won a major. Mickelson, 46, had not won a tournament in three years. The weather at Troon was hardly ideal. The conditions on Sunday did not seem particularly conducive to low scoring. But the duo went low and they went low early. There were six lead changes in the first 11 holes. Stenson ended up making 10 birdies and pulled away late with on the strength of a spectacular putting exhibition. Mickelson’s four round total of 267 equaled the previous record low at the British Open.

But it was not enough. Two became one.

Hacker Receives Serious Jail Timechris-correa

I spent time on this story over the winter. It finally went to court and we have a verdict

A former baseball executive will spend the better part of the next four years in jail for hacking into another team’s personnel database.

Former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa was sentenced Monday to 46 months in federal prison for breaking into the Houston Astros’ files. According to court documents, he also must pay restitution of close to $300,000.

Evidence that came out showed that Correa gained access to the email account of at least one Astros employee. He also obtained the team’s rankings for draft-eligible players, a weekly digest focused on top prospects and proposed signing bonuses for some draft-eligible players.

The Cardinals could still face disciplinary action from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. They very well could be punished as Astros attorney, Giles Kibbe stated that Correa accessed Astros database 60 times on 35 days.
Moral of the story. It is just a game.


Deflategate is finally over.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced that he would not ask the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the four-game suspension he received 18 months ago for his role in deflating footballs before the 2015 AFC Championship game. Brady’s announcement came just two days after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit declined to reconsider an earlier ruling against him.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Brady for four games in May 2015 for his role in the Deflategate scandal, after an NFL-commissioned investigation ruled that it was “more probable than not” that Brady was aware that footballs the Patriots used in their AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts were deflated. The Patriots went on to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.tom-brady

Judge Richard Berman threw out the NFL suspension in September, ruling that Goodell had overstepped the disciplinary bounds outlined in the league’s collective bargaining agreement with players. That decision allowed Brady to play throughout the 2015-2016 season.

The Second Circuit court, however, restored the suspension in April when it overturned Berman’s ruling, ruling 2-1 that Goodell had acted appropriately.

Brady had 90 days to petition the Supreme Court to hear his case. Instead, he will spend the first four weeks of the 2016 season on the bench, while back-up Jimmy Garappolo assumes the starting role in his place

Photos: Henrik Stenson at the British Open, Chris Correa and Tom Brady