JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: July 20, 2014

Rory McIlroy poised to win British Open Championship (Image 1)

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Greg LeMond…

  • Through three rounds, Rory McIlroy has put on a golf clinic in the British Open at Royal Liverpool. Rounds of 66-66-68 puts the Northern Ireland golfer six shots ahead of his nearest competitor, Rickie Fowler.                                         Fowler caught McIlroy on the 12th hole but Fowler floundered on the way home while McIlroy eagled holes 16 and 18 to pull away.                                                                                                                                                                    Nashville’s Brandt Snedeker enters today’s final round at one-over par. He is still searching for that low round he usually produces.
  • Speaking of Liverpool, baby boomers recognize it as the city in which the Beatles got their start in 1960. ESPN is airing Beatlemania promos, but plans to play Beatles songs during the event proved to be too costly to secure rights.

    The sports network did interview the players to see how many golfers could name the Fab Four by name.

    Englishman Lee Westwood, one of the older players in the field, nailed it.

    “Everybody else is uncultured,’’ Westwood told ESPN.

    McIlroy was among the vast majority of players who had wrong answers.

    He thought George Lucas was a Beatle. Sign of the Apocalypse?

  • Former Vanderbilt outfielder Mike Yastrzemski knows his way around the bases. He is the grandson of Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski.

    Mike is now 23 years old and was recently promoted to the Double-A Bowie (Md.)Baysox.

    In his first appearance, he started in centerfield and went 4 for 5 at the plate. It was quite a debut for Yastrzemski, who was taken in the 14th round of the 2013 draft by Baltimore. He is the type player that Orioles manager Buck Showalter likes.

    The promotion caught Yastrzemski by surprise.

    “To be honest, I figured I would try to play for a while in (Class A) Delmarva, try to make my way to (Class A advanced) Frederick by the end of the year and play there for the last month,’’ he told Washington Post writer Scott Allen.

    “I felt pretty good tonight. I always try to show my worth in the first couple of games and try to help the guys win.’’

    He batted .322 in his senior season at Vandy. He has hit for average and power in his first two minor league stops.

    The first Orioles prospect taken in 2013 to reach Double-A this season, Yastrzemski is one of two minor leaguers with double-digit home runs (11), triples (13), doubles (10) and stolen bases (17) this season. That’s according to MiLB’s minor league website.

    In his Double-A debut, Yastrzemski had a triple, scored twice and made a diving catch in the outfield.

  • Hall of Fame sports writer Dan Jenkins missed his first major golf championship this week when he decided to skip the British Open.

    Jenkins’ daughter, Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, poignantly captured his thoughts on his streak being broken.

    He told her the British Open is better in Texas because you can watch it with barbecue.

    She said that not only was her father’s absence at a major in 45 years a historical event, the last time he missed a major, the club heads were made of persimmon and not every Tour wife was blond.

    Dan Jenkins had covered the last 179 majors for either Golf Digest or Sports Illustrated.

    He told more than 41,000 Twitter followers that he would be tweeting from Fort Worth, where he had reliable plumbing, bath towels bigger than a washcloth and food he can identify.

  • Clarksville’s Mariah Smith finished runner-up in the AJGA’s Midwest Junior Player Junior All Star tournament last week.

    Smith shot 229 in three rounds, finishing three shots behind the winner.

  • My old hacking pal Buddy Martin was one of the record 1,267 registered media members at SEC Football Media Days.

    He had a strong suspicion that Alabama would be the choice du jour to win the SEC championship this season, so he decided to do his own survey with the INATW poll. It stands for If Not Alabama Then Who?

    He picked 10 media members who have covered the SEC for years and these balloting results are provided, courtesy of Buddy.

    1. South Carolina (28)

    2. Auburn (21)

    3. Georgia (8)

    4. LSU (6)

    5. Missouri (2)

    Buddy also presented some awards, probably in an effort to liven up what was portrayed as one of the most boring four days in SEC Football Media Days history. A significant lack of star power was missing at the meetings, including Auburn QB Nick Johnson, who was given a citation for possessing a teeny-weeny bit of weed.

    Buddy’s Awards included Steve Spurrier for first reference of a TV show: On seeing his former quarterback Steven Garcia’s shoulder length hair participating as a media member of a media website: “I wasn’t sure if he was working for the media or Duck Dynasty.’’

    Buddy gave Florida coach Will Muschamp the “I Got No Answer for That Award on telling players not to come out for the NFL Draft unless they are a high choice and what he said to Jerraud Powers when trying to convince Powers to come back for his senior season when both were at Auburn. “He said, coach, I already graduated. And I said, ‘great, start working on a master’s degree.’

    “He said, coach. The issue is I’m 5-9 and you know what I’m going to be next year? 5-9? I said, ‘well, you got a point.’ ’’

  • Belmont’s Greg Sage provides these statistics. Over the past 57 games, Belmont is 55-2 at the Curb Center. That ranks No. 1 in the country.

    Duke and Florida are tied for second at 54-3. Six teams are 53-4 at home, including Kentucky. Middle Tennessee is 52-5 and Memphis is 51-6, as is North Carolina.

  • Mark Calcavecchia was going to play in the British Open, a tournament he won. The 54-year-old Calcavecchia never made it to Royal Liverpoole as American Airlines canceled his flight.

    “I am totally depressed I can’t be at my favorite tournament in the world. American Airlines killed us for no reason. Weather was fine,’’ Calcavecchia said. He has an automatic exemption until he turns 60.

    Canadian David Hearn replaced him in the tournament. Hearn not only made the cut, he was 2-under par after three rounds.

  • Anyone who didn’t watch ESPN sportscaster Stuart Smith’s speech during last week’s ESPYs can go to and get the video.

    Stuart received the ESPN Perseverance Award for his courageous battle against cancer.

    Stuart first showed a video depicting some of the multiple treatments he has endured since being diagnosed in 2007. It was a tear-jerker, as was his acceptance speech.

  • Former Nashville Sports Council V-P of Marketing and Development’s Dave Herrell has accepted a job in Jacksonville that will put him in charge of the city’s Office of Sports and Entertainment.

    He previously served as Senior Director of Sales, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for the Arizona Sports Foundation, where he helped lead a successful campaign to secure the Fiesta Bowl’s position into the College Football Playoff and the 2016 College Football National Championship.

    In Jacksonville, Herrell will report directly to Mayor Alvin Brown.

    Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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