July 21, Week in Sports
:: PADRAIG HARRINGTON WINS BRITISH OPEN (Pro. Golf)
:: AMERICAN LEAGUE WINS ALL-STAR GAME (Pro. Baseball)
:: JOSH HAMILTON SETS RECORD IN HOME RUN DERBY (Pro. Baseball)
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE: HARRINGTON DEFENDS OPEN TITLE
On Sunday afternoon, Padraig Harrington won the British Open–one of the four Major Championships in professional golf. Harrington’s win was especially impressive because he also won the Open in 2007; no European player in more than 100 years has produced back-to-back victories at the Open. On top of it all, Harrington won the championship while playing with an injury.
With Tiger Woods out for the season with an injury, everyone knew that there might be some surprising names at the top of the leaderboard at the Open. However, none of those names was more surprising than that of Greg “the Shark” Norman. The 53-year old Norman, once one of the world’s best golfers, is no longer perceived as a real threat in the golfing world. However, Norman was winning the tournament going into Sunday’s final round, before he dropped a number of strokes due to the rough winds and tough playing conditions.
After Harrington’s victory at the Open, there is only one Major Championship remaining–the PGA Championship, which is played in August.
Quote of the Week: “Padraig played brilliantly today, even though he tried to let it get away in the middle of the round. He came back and performed brilliantly, and he finished like a true champion.” — Greg Norman
Further Reading: ”As Norman fades, Harrington cruises to second British title” — Associated Press, via USA Today
WAY PAST BEDTIME: AL DEFEATS NL IN 15 INNING ALL-STAR GAME
The American League won the 2008 All-Star Game, defeating the National League by a score of 4-3 in the 15th inning. The American League has not lost to the National League in more than a decade.
The game was a record five-hour stalemate, with both teams threatening to break the 3-3 tie multiple times before Justin Morneau ultimately scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly. Both teams used every single available player on their rosters, and both teams were running out of pitchers as the clock ticked closer to 2 a.m.
Since the American League won the game, whichever American League team advances to the World Series this year will have home field advantage.
Quote of the Week: “I know I’ve never been so happy to score a run. The Red Bull started to wear off in the 12th.” — Justin Morneau, All-Star player
Further Reading: ”A Starry night to remember in New York” — Bob Nightengale, USA Today
JUST JOSHING AROUND
During the first round of Monday’s Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, Josh Hamilton hit 28 home runs, setting a new record for the event.
Home Run Derby is purely an exhibition event, intended to give the sport’s biggest sluggers the chance to hit some impressive home runs. While it generally draws a decent amount of attention, the event itself typically tends to draw an unenthusiastic response from fans. Suffice to say, fans and players alike were astonished by Hamilton’s record-setting first round, in which three of his 28 home runs were 500 plus-foot monster shots to the furthest depths of Yankee Stadium. Hamilton, who plays for the Texas Rangers, has been one of the most inspirational stories this year. Just years ago, almost everyone had given up on Hamilton when his life collapsed due to his severe drug abuse. He has since cleaned himself up, fought his way to the major leagues, and having a truly outstanding season in Texas.
Ironically, Hamilton did not actually win the Home Run Derby. Since they reset the number of home runs, Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins was able to claim the victory. However, Hamilton’s first round performance will surely be the only thing that people remember about the 2008 Home Run Derby.
Quote of the Week: “It does seem kind of unfair that he didn’t get to win the whole thing. Anyone who was here won’t forget that performance.” — Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins
Further Reading: ”Hamilton hits record 28 HRs in Derby first round” — Associated Press, via ESPN
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: FOOTBALL — The Brett Favre saga will likely continue this week. Brett Favre appeared on national TV last week, defending his desire to return to play football this year. However, Favre and the Packers management are butting heads over the issue and it has not been resolved. In any case, the developments in the Favre situation will immediately become big news as they occur.
MLB (Pro. Baseball): As the second half of the season moves forward, teams will be jockeying for spots in the post-season–either by winning their division, or by taking the Wild Card spot. [Official MLB Website]
MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. The next event is the PGA Championship, which takes place in August. [Official PGA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson
MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): Now that the tournament is over, college basketball news will focus on which players leave their schools for the NBA, and which college teams land the premier high-school players for next season. [CBS Sports]
NFL (Pro. Football): The pre-season begins in August, and the regular season begins in September. [Official NFL Website]
NCAA FOOTBALL (College): Practice sessions for college football begin in summer, and the regular season begins in August. [NCAA Football, ESPN]
NHL (Pro. Hockey): The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, completing the 2007-08 season. [Official NHL Website]
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The Celtics defeated the Lakers to win the NBA Finals, ending the 2008 season. [Official NBA Website]