Pat Dooley’s Back Nine May 17th

The Back Nine comes at you after a perfect day for The 26th Bob Dooley Invitational and a nice day for baseball that followed except for the lack of clutch hitting. Sorry there was no Front Nine last week, but the tournament kind of took precedent.

10. I feel like I just won an Oscar because there are so many people to thank and I know I’ll forget some. Over the past few years I have studied the month of May and decided that weather-wise it seemed like the perfect month for our tournament. And then it turned out to be just that. I was not sure what the day itself would be like in terms of participation and people just cutting loose, but they certainly did. Pink Flamingo Diner, Alex Wesly Construction, The Tailgate Guys, Tower Hill Insurance, Wahoo, GCM, Florida Food Services, Big Mill’s,TDC Entertainment, Florida Credit Union, Carr, Riggs and Ingram, Burkhardt Sales and Service, Ballyhoo and, of course, out two title sponsors – Titan MRI and Leonardo’s at Millhopper – and, well, I could go on forever. What a breakfast by Mi Apa and the usual greatness from Adam Brewer at Adam’s Rib Co. for dinner and other special prizes. The dinner with Steve Spurrier for eight went for a record amount for our silent auction and I think we rained more than ever for Stop Children’s Cancer. This community got me through my father’s passing and, Dad, you saw how much they love you on Saturday. Thank you, Gainesville.

11. I thought the best way to decompress after the tournament would be to go to a baseball game on another perfect day and to be honest, I discovered something that I suspected. The place is so nice that even when the Gators stink it up you can have a nice day. Baseball is a sport where it’s impossible to be on every day and the Gator Boys were not on in terms of getting the big hit at the right time. I think heading into last week you would have been really disappointed if I had told you Florida would go 2-2 last week and would only score two total runs in the two losses. Now it’s on to the longest road trip of the year at No. 1 Arkansas and then right over to Hoover, Ala., for the SEC Baseball Tournament. Personally, I don’t think we’ll find out anything the next two weekends that we don’t already know. This team is what it is and it’s just good enough to catch lightning in a bottle in the postseason. It’s also flawed enough to go two-and-barbecue.

12. Man, there was a lot of gnashing of teeth when the bracket came out for the NCAA softball tournament. The SEC for 12 of its 13 teams in and seven of them were national seeds. Meanwhile, the Pac-12 felt disrespected and so did Michigan. Florida was seeded fourth, which is what we expected after the loss Saturday night to Alabama in the SEC title game. And if the seeds hold, they are matched up with Duke in the Supers. I’m just ready for some postseason softball at KSP.

13. Well dine for the lacrosse team which avenged one of its two losses during the season by trouncing Jacksonville. Now, it’s on to Syracuse for the national quarterfinals. Maybe this is the year. I’ll also have my eye on the men’s golf team today in the NCAAs and the men’s tennis team. There is still a lot going on around Gainesville sports-wise.

14. As there is nationally with the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the first ever Florida-Tampa Bay playoff series (Lightning took Game 1) and the NBA playoffs and a play-in game between LeBron and Steph. OK, I think I have this week pretty much covered.

15. And I didn’t even mention the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. Can’t wait. And I know you can’t wait for my prediction since I always give you one for a major and it never comes through. Golf is hard. I’m going with Rory McIlroy so I can root for the guy that I picked. Stay away from betting him though. I have a track record.

16. I had an epiphany over the weekend. I thought I could watch ants play football and love it. Maybe I don’t like football as much as I thought because I found out during the FCS playoffs that I have to have a rooting interest. There has been a lot of discussion about the FCS moving permanently to the spring, but I can’t see that happening because the small schools would lose out on the big paydays from the big schools.

17. The “Florida Four” this week involves the four seasons when Florida has had its best average attendance at the Swamp. Of course, one reasons was the stadium expansion, but another reason was the guy now playing tight end for the Jaguars.

2009 – 90,365
2008 – 90,544
2010 – 90,511 (No Tebow)
2006 – 90,409

In the post-Urban Meyer Era, the largest average attendance was in Jim McElwain’s first season (7th highest). That 2009 attendance might stand forever, especially because of the world we now live in and the fact that Florida will eventually reduce capacity.

18. Boy, did I hear a lot of music this week because every tent and most of the golf carts were fired up during The Bob. Here’s the latest threesome for a playlist:

* “L.A. Freeway” by Jerry Jeff Walker.

* ”Shut Me Out” by Aidan Hawken.

* And for an old one, “Feel Flows” by the Beach Boys.

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