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Golf Joins World of Major Sports

May 24, 2013 -- 10:41am

Today’s topics: Golf, NFL draft and Montell Owens:

Golf has long wanted to be considered one of the major pro sports, appealing to the masses instead of being a niche sport with an elitist label.

With that goal in mind we can say golf is making great strides these days, going toe-to-toe with the major sports in grabbing the headlines. It really started in ’09 when the world learned Tiger Woods was more than a golf robot. He was exposed as a sex-craved party animal.

But one scandal isn’t enough to keep the attention of the masses. You need consistency, and golf is delivering big time this year. Vijay Singh provided us with a substance-abuse scandal turned into a lawsuit. Tiger came to the rescue at the Masters with his illegal drop that produced accusations ranging from cheating to a lack of honor to special treatment to stupidity. A rules brouhaha involving the belly putter added juice.

Now we have the big one: The Tiger-Sergio Garcia feud has turned really ugly with Sergio being called a racist for his comment about fried chicken.

Pro golf, welcome the world of major sports.

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The NFL draft is moving to May because team owners want to keep their sport in the headlines year-round. They felt too little love in the month of May.

Ah, I caution. Be careful what you wish for. Like even the best marriages and partnerships, a little separation time can be a good thing. You know a kind of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” thing.

Besides, do NFL owner really feel unloved in May? If so, they’re not watching, listening and reading the same media outlets I do. The sports media can’t get enough of the NFL. In fact, we even go to the point of looking ridiculous in our coverage – not that the crazed NFL fan base knows it or even cares about it.

For example, earlier this week ESPN.com ran a headline: “Romo out of action for three weeks”.

Action? What action in May? The Dallas QBs had a minor back operation. He’ll be restricted from physical workouts for three weeks. Is that really news?

Only in the NFL.  

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I’m puzzled why the Jaguars released Montell Owens. He happened to be one of my favorite players, not that that should have factored in the decision. I also realize the Jaguars are rebuilding and are going for youth and speed. I like their approach.

But Owens is only 29 and he is a unique player, a special teams stud who was a capable fill-in at running back and fullback. He also provided the Jaguars with something they definitely lack: locker room leadership.

I don’t pretend to know Owens well, but I can tell you he was one of the brighter and more engaging Jaguar players. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who listed him among their favorite players.

I realize the NFL is a business. I realize General Manager Dave Caldwell and Coach Gus Bradley know more about what the team needs than I do. I also realize releasing Owens probably won’t have a major impact on the team one way or the other.

I just think every team needs a few players like Owens and he’ll be missed.

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