The kid the 49ers could have picked had a fine game Monday night. Aaron Rodgers made us think of what might have been. The kid the Niners did pick was no less impressive the previous day.
You still can debate whether the Niners in the 2005 draft should have gone for Rodgers, playing across the Bay at Cal. We can no longer debate whether they should have not taken Alex Smith. Read More
The posters of Tiger Woods are everywhere. Why wouldn’t they be? This is his tournament, isn’t it, the Chevron World Challenge, the one which benefits his foundation?
But as we know, Tiger is not here.
He’s “unable to play.” Also, he’s unwilling to speak. Tuesday was the day he normally gives his annual State-of-the-Tiger address. Not this Tuesday.
Not with the world of gossip battering him at every turn, if not quite the literal way he was battered in that car crash. Read More
He didn’t think his pro basketball career would last a day. It’s lasted 50 years. With one team, the Warriors.
There’s a song in “Follies,” the Sondheim musical of aging chorus girls recalling the 1920s and 1930s, titled “I’m still here.” Good times and bum times, the lady has been through them all. So, in his own way, has Al Attles. And always with the Warriors, whether Philadelphia, where he and they started, San Francisco or Oakland. Read More
His phrase was “the enemy within,” an apt description of the opponent the 49ers, as any team where losing has been the norm, must learn to defeat before consistently defeating other teams.
We had a whiff of the idea from Mike Nolan, who perhaps went about it a little too vociferously. Losers think like losers. Winners, to the contrary, believe they will win.
Now we find Mike Singletary, all motivation and emotion, pounding even harder on the theme established by the man he replaced 13 months ago: The culture must change before the record will change. Read More
The Heisman Trophy often seems less a reward than a promotion. To be considered, you have to have talent, but you also have to have publicity, Hollywood-type stuff which catches the public’s imagination and schools hope catches the voters’ attention. Read More
Al Davis is watching. That should be understood. He may be 80 and hurting physically, but nothing gets past him. Including this embarrassing business with his coach, Tom Cable.
We know Al’s philosophy of sport, the idea of just winning. Not that he’s any different from the rest of us. As Red Smith wrote decades ago, you’re not going to field a team of choirboys. Not if you want to be successful.
You use who you can, when you can. Get them out of bed sick, get them out of jail, get them on the field. Read More
Unfinished business. That was Alex Smith’s explanation for returning to the 49ers last spring when logic dictated he take his battered psyche and repaired arm to another franchise.
“It was important,” said Smith. “I felt like I had unfinished business here.”
Business he barely had a chance to start. Business which none of us ever believed he would get the opportunity to complete.
And now business that would make his story enthralling. Read More
It began with more sound than fury, a rumbling as if every fan at Candlestick Park was stomping their feet. Up in the second deck, where tables had been knocked together to serve as an auxiliary press box, the man alongside choked out a question.
“What’s that?” asked Rob Matwick, now an executive with the Texas Rangers.
Twenty years ago, he was the public relations director for the Houston Astros. He had never experienced what he was about to experience. Neither had anyone.
“An earthquake,” I answered flippantly. Read More
He’s seen as the other guy, the accompaniment to the main act, part of a twosome which some might consider a single. Steve Stricker was Tiger Woods’ partner in all four Presidents Cup team matches, an accessory, perhaps, also a necessity.
A man who almost left the game, Stricker, 42, has no ego problems. And of late, after twice winning the Comeback of the Year Award and this year having won three times and moving to third in the world rankings, no golf problems either. Read More
And so the golfing gods depart, the marquees come down and Harding Park, the little muni that could, goes from Tiger and Phil to a lot of neighborhood Joes, which is as it should be on a public golf course.
The weather wasn’t quite what was expected — brrr! — the competition was less than hoped, but The Presidents Cup was four days of memories and birdies. That ain’t bad.
It doesn’t get much better than this. For the world’s best golfers. For a muni called Harding Park. For a sellout crowd which knows this sort of an event may never come along again in San Francisco.
Day 1 of The Presidents Cup on Thursday offered more sunshine than expected, as many close matches as anticipated, not quite as much success from the International team as hoped and, naturally, a brilliant showing from one Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. Read More
Enjoy it, Tiger, and Y.E., and Geoff. This is your week in the city that knows how, the city that takes on recessions and earthquakes and never quits, a city which thinks like a golfer two-down at the 17th tee: How are we going to hang in there?
This is your week and our week, a week to appreciate talent and celebrate sportsmanship.
What a brilliant blending, an “only in San Francisco” mix, millionaire athletes playing their game on a public course, Harding Park, a facility open to all in a city which is never closed to any. Read More
Send us a sign, Al. Give us a word, Al. Tell us “pride and poise” still has meaning, there truly is a commitment to excellence. That the Raiders — your franchise, Al Davis — is more than a punch line from Keith Olbermann.
Tell us you’re still in control, Al, that you’re distressed with the way the Raiders have played, embarrassed by what’s happened with your head coach, frustrated by the performance of your quarterback. Read More
All that nonsense about Phil Mickelson, the rumors, the criticism, is somewhere in the past. This has been his year, even though he didn’t win as many times as that Tiger guy, even though, like Tiger, he didn’t win a major.
But Phil won many hearts and respect that may have been lacking.
We call 39-year-old Phil Mickelson “Lefty,” because he hits the ball left-handed, even though he is right-handed, which goes against the old golfing concepts. Read More
This one will be our World Series since that’s not in the picture at the moment, our fall classic.
This one will be a prize for Sandy Tatum, the 89-year-old attorney who saw beauty in a run-down muni course.
This one will be a chance for us to get a different look at a city often covered by fog and hidden under political rhetoric. Read More