The Back Nine comes at you after a nice weekend that included the rain we needed and the championship fix Gator fans are always craving.
10. It is amazing that Mike Holloway and his deep men’s and women’s track team capped off what has been an exhausting year of competition for Florida fans by winning not one but two national titles in track and field. Once baseball was eliminated, a lot of us kind of said, “Well, that’s it until September.” But track always seems to come through when Gator fans need a closer to the academic sports year. Congrats to all of the men and women because I get this argument all the time that all of the teams should be covered at UF because they all work hard. I would guess track and field athletes probably work harder than any of them. Well done.
11. And shouldn’t we have the discussion that Mike Holloway is the best coach in Florida history for any sport? Now, I will say that it’s a little easier when you coach both and have two shots (actually four shots if you count indoor) to win a national championship. But you still have to go do it. And he has done it 11 times. Nobody else at Florida can come close to that. Steve Spurrier won one, Billy Donovan two.
12. I swore I was done with baseball, but they pulled me back in if only to watch Tennessee lose in the super regional (Notre Dame baseball t-shirt arrives later this week). Look, Tennessee got relevant again by acting like a bunch of drunk frat boys, but mostly by putting up a historic season. But getting beat at home in a super is part of the history of that team forever. It will be what those players and that coaching staff will be remembered for. The bully act fizzled out and they had to play their last game without a suspended pitching coach. We need black hats in sports and the Vols fit the bill. But we are going to enjoy it when they are humiliated. That’s just the way it is.
13. Boy, did golf need that jolt of Rory McIlroy. While all this fuss was fermenting about the LIV Tour, McIlroy and Justin Thomas dueling down the stretch was heavenly. I can’t even tell you who won on the exhibition tour. I’m not blaming anyone for taking more money than I could dream of. But you can’t make us pay attention. And then McIlroy throwing a barb the way of LIV head and Scrooge McDuck impersonator Greg Norman was priceless, saying he now has one more PGA Tour victory than the other guy.
14. But everyone calm down because the U.S. Open is this week and I think it is carrying the same anticipation as the SEC Media Days where we think there could be a steel cage match and then nothing happened. I always pick majors and this week I’m going with Sam Burns. He’s ready. It will be good to see the guys who played exhibition golf last week play some real golf this week although judging by where Phil Mickelson’s game is all fans should require hard hats.
15. Also last week (and I am happy to see Gannett keep it going) Florida came up short in the overall standings for the SEC All-Sports Sward. It has been a while since Florida has won an award that it had dominated and I think it’s been a combination of this league getting better in everything and Florida trying to find the right coaches in several sports. It won’t get any easier when Oklahoma and Texas join the league.
16. But before that, UCF, Houston, Cincinnati and BYU will join the Big 12 next year and that league will be kind of a superconference until the other two bolt for the SEC. That will be an interesting dynamic to watch as the college football landscape continues to evolve. I can’t wait to see how they fill out the schedules for those two years of the Big 12. Hopefully, they aren’t as tedious and fractured as the SEC has been.
17. I made one eagle two in all of my years of playing golf. It happened in college at UF’s Mark Bostick course. Over the last three weeks, I have made two. You want me on your scramble team. You need me on your scramble team. A third hole-in-one is out there just waiting for me to come collect it.
18. Lot of music this weekend because there was some golf, but Sunday rained it out so here are three great rain songs for your listening pleasure:
* “I’m Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage.
* “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” by Bob Dylan.
* “I Wish It Would Rain” by The Temptations.