As always, BET will find a way to f*&k it up

Good enough for the President, but not for BET

Warning; this post contains multiple profanities. 

As always, BET will find a way to fuck it up.

Here is the list of artists whom have or will receive the BET Lifetime Achievement Award:

  • 2001: Whitney Houston
  • 2002: Earth Wind & Fire
  • 2003: James Brown
  • 2004: The Isley Brothers
  • 2005: Gladys Knight
  • 2006: Chaka Khan
  • 2007: Diana Ross
  • 2008: Al Green
  • 2009: The O'Jays
  • 2010: Prince
  • 2011: Patti Labelle
  • 2012: Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly
  • 2013: Charlie Wilson
Notice the lack of the gentleman in the picture above.  No, the one with the sunglasses. 

Now, as you would guess, I'm slightly biased about this.  I believe Stevie should be taught in the schools (6th period, between science and PE).  Even with my bias, WHAT THE FUCK IS BET DOING?

BET was doing a decent job choosing recipients through 2009.  I understand why Prince got it in 201o; BET has missed the opportunity to give Michael Jackson(1) the award while he was still alive and didn't want to make the same mistake with Prince(2). But since 2011, the recipients (while talented in their own right) don't stack up to what Stevie has done.  I mean, I like Before I Let Go as much as any other black person, but (to pharaphrase a Chris Rock joke) if Stevie Wonder woke up and had Frankie Beverly's career, he'd kill himself.

(1) Speaking of Michael Jackson and the BET Awards, the most heinous thing I've seen at an award show was BET letting Chris Brown, fresh off banging Rihanna's head off a car window, do his dance/crying jag/career recovery performance in 2010.  The worst thing about it (and I knew it would when I watched it live and saw a female audience member cheer during the 'tears') is it worked.  And, in what appears to be a receipt for the effort, Breezy [barf] has performed in every award show since.  And is coming back this year.  There may be no God.

(2) If you are a fan of Aretha Franklin, you should be as pissed as I am.  She can't have too much time left.

Just for fun, here is an incomplete list of institutions that thought Stevie Wonder would positively contribute to their event in the last 12 months:

Yeah, BET.  Why would you want to be affiliated with that?(3)

(3) Yes, I know he has honored at BET Honors '12.  How about letting him sit at the adults table?  Or would that cut into this years Chris Brown performance?  Or the premiere of Young Jeezy's new banger 'Stick It In Her Ass Without Warning (feat. Plies)'?

I really don't understand.  It isn't that BET is only honoring artists from who were relevant during the tenure of BET; they gave it to James Brown and Gladys Knight.  The only acceptable answer would be if BET keeps offering the award to Stevie and Stevie keeps turning it down.  If this is the case, whoever is running BET (from the basement of Viacom, I'm sure) should make that clear in a tearful (go as Chris Brown, he knows how to turn of the waterworks to save his ass) YouTube video, begging Stevie to take the award. 

I guess they are waiting for Stevie to die.  It will be easier to have Chris Brown sing "Overjoyed' then.


Waggle Room - Major League Expectations

Published June 14, 2011

As the US Open approaches, three recent articles lament the performances of high profile golfers in majors.  Not golfers who never won (like Kenny Perry) or one time winners (Davis Love III) or even two time major winners whose talent took a back seat to excesses (John Daly).  Instead, the articles speak of the ‘failures' of Ernie Els (three majors), Phil Mickelson (four) and Tiger Woods (fourteen).  What these articles forget are facts every one of us knows inherently but has been blurred during the Tiger era (4/10/1997-8/16/2009); golf is hard and winning majors is harder.

For fun, I've looked at the major records of Mickelson and Els and pulled out every time they finished in the top five without winning to determine how many can be ‘blamed' on respective failures.

First, Phil Mickelson:

1994 PGA Championship (3rd)

Nick Price, the #1 golfer in the world at that time, won by 6 shots.  Mickelson was 24.  He shouldn't have won.

1995 US Open (T-4th)

Corey Pavin shot a 68 a Shinnecock, besting Greg Norman by two.  Phil shot a 74, tied for the worst round anyone in contention shot that day with Tom Lehman.  He could have done better, but I don't see this as a tournament he had and then lost.

1996 Masters (3rd)

Mickelson was seven strokes behind Greg Norman after three rounds.  I (and I'm certain Nick Faldo) sure you remember what happened next.  This was the major Norman threw away, not Mickelson.

1999 US Open (2nd)

The year Payne Stewart won his only major.  When you shoot even par on an US Open Sunday and lose because the guy you are paired with in the final round sinks a 15-footer to win the tournament you didn't lose; the other guy won.

2001 Masters (3rd)

The final leg of the Tiger Slam.  I guess Phil had at that time the talent to beat Tiger, but who at that time thought Phil should have beaten Tiger.  Phil shot two under during the final round; Tiger shot four under.

2001 PGA Championship (2nd)

David Toms beats Phil by one stroke to win his only major to date.  Phil was two strokes down to Toms going into the final round and bested his playing partner that day by one stroke (68 to 69).  You can make the argument that a player of Mickelson's talent and pedigree shouldn't be losing to David Toms.  That is if you ignore David Toms won four times on the US PGA Tour between 1999 and the 2001 PGA.  For argument's sake, we will put this in the Phil should have won this category.

2002 Masters (3rd)

Mickelson started four strokes behind eventual winner Tiger Woods going into the final round and finished four strokes behind Woods.  As a fan of the New York Knicks in the 90s, I'm familiar with the ‘your direct competitor is one of the best to ever play the game and you can't quite get buy him' vibe Mickelson is suffering through at this point.

2002 US Open (2nd)

Tiger Woods led wire to wire.  Mickelson went 67-70 over the weekend on a very difficult Bethpage Black just to lose by three strokes.  Once again I say this; was Phil supposed to beat Tiger?

2003 Masters (3rd)

Mike Weir wins his only major to date in a playoff with Len Mattiace.  Phil finished two strokes out of the playoff.  Mickelson's personal boogeyman Tiger Woods was briefly a factor Saturday but a 75 Sunday reduced him to also-ran.  Under the ‘your better than these guys' theory, we will reluctantly put this in the category of majors he should have won.

2004 US Open (2nd)

Hoo-boy.  Phil was leading the whole shooting match by one stroke over defending champion Retief Goosen when he double bogeyed the par three 17th, including 3 putting from 5 feet.  Even with the USGA doing such a poor job maintaining the course they had to hose down greens during play to make them playable, this is a red letter example of Mickelson letting a major slip away.

2004 British Open (3rd)

The only time in his career Mickelson finished in the top five in this tournament.  He was one stroke outside the Todd Hamilton/Ernie Els playoff.  It shouldn't have been that close; Hamilton bogeyed the final hole in regulation and Els had a 12 foot putt for birdie to win.  His lack of success before and after in the British Isles would lead us to believe Phil wasn't supposed to win here.

2006 US Open (T-2nd)

Hoo-boy part 2.  Mickelson has won the previous two majors.  After 71 holes at Winged Foot, Mickelson (who to that point had hit 2 of 13 fairways) needed par to win and bogey to force a playoff.   He did neither, scoring a double bogey that will live in infamy.  While both Colin Montgomerie and Jim Furyk also vomited over themselves on the final hole, Mickelson almost literally had the trophy in his hands and threw it away.

2008 Masters (T-5th)

After a third round 75 put him nine strokes back, Mickelson was never a true contender.

2009 Masters (5th)

Another backdoor top five as Mickelson was never in contention until a final round 67 shot him up the leaderboard.

2009 US Open (T-2nd)

Mickelson was in contention for the breadth of the tournament but was never in a position of strength on the leaderboard where you could say he threw the tournament away.  Lucas Glover wins at Bethpage.

2010 US Open (T-4th)

Another backdoor top five as Mickelson was 7 strokes behind Dustin Johnson going into the final round and four strokes behind eventual winner Graeme McDowell.  In fact, if Johnson doesn't fail spectacularly with an 82 in the final round on a course (Pebble Beach) he has been victorious on in 2009 and 2010, there quite probably wouldn't be a top five to talk about.

So of the 16 times Phil Mickelson posted a top five in a major, only two were obvious choke jobs.  Another two could either be considered Phil not playing to his potential or others playing past theirs.  The other 12 were tournaments he would not be expected to win.

As for Ernie Els:

1992 British Open (T-5th)

The 22 year old future Hall of Famer, in only his second major (he missed the cut in his first British Open in 1989) placed a very respectable 5th.  Consensus #1 Nick Faldo took the title.  Not a major Els was at all expected to win.

1995 PGA Championship (T-3rd)

After leading the tournament by three strokes after round three, Els shot a 72 on a day where the field shot under par (par at Riviera was 71), allowing him to be overtaken by both Colin Montgomerie and eventual winner Steve Elkington.  Els' 72 was the second highest final round score of anyone why finished in the top twenty (Mark O'Meara shot a 73).  While Montgomerie will be a Hall of Famer and Elkington was a very solid pro, Els (who by then had won his first major) let this one slip away.

1996 US Open (T-5th)

Steve Jones.  Steve Jones?  I honestly don't know what to say about this major.  There was nothing particularly outstanding about this tournament, outside it being a major.  It looks like the winner was Oakland Hills, as only three players shot under par.  Under those kinds of conditions, I am loathe to say Els lost it; Jones may have just survived it a little better.

1996 British Open (T-2nd)

Tom Lehman won this tournament with a third round 64.  And he needed almost every one of the six stoke lead (eight over Els) when he limped in with a two over par 73.  Els shot a four under par 67 on Sunday.  Els didn't lose this one.

2000 Masters (2nd)

A poor third round (74) knocked Els four strokes behind eventual winner Vijay Singh, a deficit he was unable to overcome.  This one is is toss-up; shooting 74s when you are in contention for a major isn't what you would call getting it done, but it isn't like the winner just picked up club a couple of years before.

2000 US Open (T-2nd)

Tiger.  Pebble.  You could have taken the DNA of Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus and genetically engineered a golfer; no one was beating Tiger that weekend.  Els gets a pass.

2000 British Open (T-2nd)

That damn Tiger again.  An eight stroke victory in St. Andrews to match the fifteen stroke victory in the previous major.  If Earl Woods was a bowler, Ernie Els could possibly be working on his fourth major.

2001 British Open (T-3rd)

No disasters as Els shot par or better for all rounds, including 67-69 on the weekend.  David Duval just played better on his way to #1 in the world.

2002 Masters (T-5th)

After a 66 in the third round by Tiger Woods (which put him in a tie for the lead with Retief Goosen), Els was four strokes back.  This tournament I remember; Tiger put it in cruise control and told his competitors to come get him.  On a day where the scoring was the hardest of the tournament (none of the players that finished in the top ten shot under 70), no one could.  Once again I content that, while Els has bested Woods, I don't recall a time when Els was supposed to beat Woods.

2004 Masters (2nd)

When Phil Mickelson had to birdie to 72nd hole of the tournament to keep Els out of a potential playoff, when Els shoots a final round 67 to put pressure on the 54 hole co-leader, you tip your hat to the winner and repeat the mantra; winning Majors is hard.

2004 British Open (2nd)

On one hand, Els shot four rounds in the 60s and ran into the career tournament of Todd Hamilton (which included a 30 foot chip in for birdie on the par-3 14th Sunday).  On the other hand, Ernie had a 12 footer to win the tournament on the last hole of regulation (after Hamilton made hash of the hole for bogey) and shot one over during the four hole playoff (allowing Hamilton to win with four pars).   Since I do not have three hands, I'll put this one in the ‘Ernie should have won' group.

NOTE:  Els tore up his knee in July 2005 sailing with his family.

2006 British Open (3rd)

Tiger Woods won at Royal Liverpool in a performance best remembered for his lack of use of driver.  Els was one stroke behind Woods after the second and third rounds, but couldn't match Tiger's final round five under par 67 (although he did shoot under par in the final round).  The fourth time on the list Tiger beat Els.  When writers talk about how the current generation of golfers doesn't have the scar tissue of Tiger beating them the previous generation does, they should just show a picture of Ernie Els.

2007 PGA Championship (3rd)

Stop me if you've heard this one.  Tiger Woods won by two strokes over Woody Austin and three strokes over Ernie Els.  A 63 in the second round gave Tiger a lead he would not relinquish.  Els shot 69-66 on the weekend at Southern Hills, but it wasn't enough to catch Woods.  Only the former Elin Nordegren can say Tiger did her wrong more times than Ernie Els.

Of the 13 times Els contended in majors (not of course counting his three wins), two losses could be considered losing serve, five were at the hands of his personal Cablinasian bogeyman and the remaining six can be labeled ‘that's golf'.

So, besides the fact I should have played with my kids more than Wikipedia the last two days, have we hopefully learned?  That in golf, like life, nothing is guaranteed.  That, in the current world where LeBron James is considered a total failure for only getting to the NBA Finals, we may have lost perspective.  And that those who assume they know what should have happened aren't always looking at what did.

Waggle Room - Golf Digest's Page 3 Girls

 Published February 26, 2010 (still waiting for the Jiyai Shin photos)

Anna Rawson appeared in the pages of Golf Digest's February edition with advice for your game.  The section included pictures:
Rawson2_medium Rawson1_medium
Some in the golf blogosphere commented on the lack of Rawson's professional success in comparison to having a high profile spread in the most popular golf magazine in America.  Insinuations were made that the only reason Rawson made the cut is that she is an attractive woman.
The March edition of Golf Digest is out, and another LPGA member has a section:

Natalie Gulbis has an infinitely more successful LPGA career than Rawson; both on the course (Evian Masters win, multiple Solheim Cup apperances) and off (I don't think any of Rawson's modeling forays were as financially successful as Gulbis' calendars).
Is this a new trend for the folks at Golf Digest, female professionals giving tips to the readers?  I eagerly await the Jiyai Shin tips and pictures in the April edition.

Waggle Room - Robert Allenby Would Like Brian Gay to See the World

Published November 22, 2009

Robert Allenby, on the heels of saying the Korean translation of "John Daly is Anthony Kim,"  has made a minor ripple in the golf world with his "American golfers are spoiled" comments. The comments have only made a ripple because:
  • Other players have made similar laments that American golfers don’t travel
  • Allenby may be right
  • Allenby may be a bit of a jerk
Breaking down his comments shows a lack of understanding of the golf world today.
"You know, Americans play for so much money, and when you've got a purse where $1 million, a million plus, is first prize, not to say that they are spoiled, but it's a little bit that way. It's like, well, why would I want to travel, when I can make a million bucks instead of going to Europe and only making $500,000 or $600,000?"
Doing a job in America for one million instead of doing the same job in Europe for $600K isn’t spoiled.  Greedy, perhaps.  Sensible even.
"The reason why I want to travel and play elsewhere is because I want my game to get better, and always, even at the age of 38, I want to get better. And the only way you can get better is to play different golf courses. If you're playing the same golf course every week, every year that you come back to, it just gets a little boring. For me, that's what I've found. I've got a little bit bored playing in America. I'll still play there full time, but I'm still going to try to play more tournaments in Europe at the same time and combine the two together."
I would argue you get better at golf by playing against better players regularly.  And pretty much every metric shows the fields in the average PGA tournament is stronger than the fields in the average Euro PGA tournament.  Why?  See that $1 Million/$600K difference.
"But I just think, you know, they have got it a little bit too easy. It's just everything is handed to them on a silver plate. And not to be rude or anything like that, because I'm very respectful for the amount of money that we do play for in America. We are very lucky and very fortunate. But I think the money that we play for in America, that's the reason why you don't see a lot of Americans or a lot more international players coming over and playing in Europe. They are in a comfort zone, and I think that's pretty much what it is."
Allow me to compare golf to professional soccer.  It is understood that the best club soccer in the world is in Europe.  Leagues in England, Spain, Italy and Germany have the best players from around the world wearing their kits.  They spend the most money and garnish the most attention.   Outside of playing for their country, the majority of talented players would do almost anything to play for Manchester United, or Real Madrid, or Inter Milan.
If Landon Donovan publically complained that European players were spoiled because they didn’t have to leave their continent to play soccer at the highest level, while North and South Americans had to prove themselves in their home leagues to get a shot at the big time, he would be laughed out of the room. 
That is where Allenby makes his mistake.  He assumes the money makes the tournament, as opposed to the money following the tournament.  The purses on the Fall Series are less than tournaments before the Fed Ex Cup because the world of golf has decided they Fall Series tourneys are less prestigious.  The Scottish Open has more than three times the purse than the SAS Masters in Sweden not because the Scottish are awash with cash and the Swedes are paupers.  It has been decided the Scottish Open is more important than the SAS Masters, so the people running the Scottish Open can demand more money from Barclays, ticket purchasers, etc.  The fine southern gentlemen who run the Masters Invitational Tournament could cut prize money for 2010 in half tomorrow and not one eligible golfer would decide playing wasn’t worth his time.
At this point, playing in America is considered more prestigious than playing in Europe.  Or Australia.  Or anywhere else on the planet.  Just ask Rory McIlroy, who will join the US PGA tour in 2010.  Because…
I just feel I will become a better golfer if I also play in America. I will be playing in world class fields with more world ranking points on offer and the only way for me to get better is to play alongside better players.

Waggle Room - Team Tiger's Sleight of Hand: For What Exactly is Tiger In Therapy?

Published February 28, 2010

WARNING – This FanPost has no facts, only speculation.
It would appear Tiger Woods’ current situation (in a treatment facility, marriage in question, sponsors dropping him left and right, the butt of national jokes) couldn’t be worse.  However it could be worse.  And for all the criticism the Woods’ PR team has received; they may have made a decision early on that has lessened the damage the current #1 golfer’s image received.
I believe Tiger Woods is currently receiving treatment to break addictions to prescription drugs; Ambien and Viacodin if I were to guess specific medications.  And I believe Team Tiger has allowed the sex addiction story to become the running story (if not quietly leaking it themselves) to give the media something to report instead of a possible chemical dependency.
Look at portions of his press conferenc public statement (emphasis mine):
It's hard to admit that I need help, but I do. For 45 days from the end of December to early February, I was in inpatient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing. I have a long way to go. But I've taken my first steps in the right direction.
Some people have made up things that never happened. They said I used performance-enhancing drugs. This is completely and utterly false.
Notice two things; he doesn’t say he is getting guidance for sex addiction, but for the issues he is facing.  He also vociferously denies using performance-enhancing drugs.  People wondered why he would out that in the statement; I now believe it was there to get people off the scent of the non-performance-enhancing drugs he was taking.  This may be dancing on the head of a pin, but if he is in treatment for substance abuse, everything said above is true.
Consider what was reported by Florida Highway Patrol on the night of the accident. According to police reports, Tiger had four collisions the night of November 27th; with bushes outside the driveway, hedges parallel with the road from his house, and the well known hydrant and tree.  Other reports stated that Tiger was shoeless and snoring when medical authorities arrived.  The public has been allowed to run with the collisions and the unconscious Tiger are all due to a crazed Swede chasing the car down with a 9-iron (since it was before January 1, the new groove restrictions did not yet apply), but all the above can be due to someone in no condition to drive getting behind the wheel, turning on the ignition, pulling out of his driveway and falling asleep sometime after turning left from the hedges. 
See why Team Tiger would add this line in Woods' remarks?  Because it is easier to them to recover from ‘Tiger really likes strange’ than ‘Tiger is an addict’.  The current fervor aside, a professional male athlete having a lot of female accompaniment isn’t usually disastrous to their image (for example, Martin Brodeur cheated on his wife with her sister; he is still considered the best hockey goalie of all time and infidelity doesn’t come up immediately when you mention his name).  Contrast that with John Daly, who is more known for his struggles with alcohol abuse then for being a two time major winner.
This is not to say Tiger didn’t try to have a biblical relationship with every blonde in America in her 20s with a flat stomach and a lack of gag reflex.  Nor is it to say Tiger’s marriage wasn’t/isn’t in jeopardy for his actions.  What this says is the public and the media were so taken by the sexual scandal, they allowed Team Tiger to obscure a possible issue that, if it became public knowledge, would even further affect how we look at the 14 time major winner for all time
The National Enquirer, who is on a current hot streak, says the same thing.

Waggle Room

For about two years, I wrote posts on an SB Nation golf blog names Waggle Room.  The blog has been discontinued, so I am copying some of my favorite posts here. 

Waggle Room - The Breakup

Published June 19, 2011

Dear Tiger:
I just wanted to get this off my chest.  I know things haven't been great between us, so this shouldn't be a surprise.  It's over. 
I just can't deal with your moodiness, your inability to share, to really be a part of this relationship.  I've tried and tried to get you to open up, to show you actually cared about me and the things I do for you.  All I get are bland generalities and when I try to find out what is really wrong, you give me than death stare and shut down.
I want to be fair and tell you this before you find out from someone; I've found someone else.  His name is Rory.  I always thought he was cute, but he has opened up to me more in the last few days than you have in the last few years.  I can just ask him stuff without it becoming a big thing.  With you, I get more insight lately following your twitter feed than in person.  And (I apologize if this sounds catty) he gives me what I need like you haven't in a long time.
I hope we can be cordial after this.  Part of me will always love you, but I have to do this for me.
The Golf Media
The combination of Tiger's on-course irrelevance and Rory McIlroy's spectacular performance at Congressional has allowed the golf media to publically break off its love affair with Tiger Woods.  Unfortunately, in some circles, it is being done with all of the maturity of the end of a high school fling.   Examples include John Huggan's swearing he won't miss the three time US Open champion (and there is no better way to show you aren't going to miss someone who isn't competing that week than to spend 800 words proclaiming how much you won't miss him), Michael Bamberger's lament that being Tiger isn't that cool anymore (where he put Tiger's reluctance to be forthcoming to the media as a gateway drug to famous recluse Howard Hughes.  If we have learned anything over the last two years, isolation from people is not Tiger Woods' problem) and Dave Kindred's contrast and compare of the former and current prodigy.  Kindred's article included this illuminating passage:
There was a wonderful stammer to those words, a boyish attempt to say what he felt without saying it brashly. It was another reminder of what we have here and what we're not missing in any way. The first reminder came Friday evening, late in a press conference, when McIlroy told the assembled literati that he planned to go to a movie, "The Hangover Part 2." Of course, veteran movie-goers know that the new "Hangover" is exploitive dreck, a sequel unworthy of its parentage. But McIlroy's taste in film is not the point here. Point is, he shared a small slice of his life with reporters and when's the last time Tiger Woods did as much? Tiger, Tiger, out of sight. The greater point is, if anyone missed Tiger, if maybe millions missed Tiger, if all of freakin' Thailand missed him, I daresay this U.S. Open hasn't missed him a whit, iota, or even a tad.
The Hangover Part 2?  THE HANGOVER PART 2?!?  That is what you are looking for?  So not only are the members of the golf media sixteen year old girls with low self-esteem, they are cheap dates as well.  In all seriousness, this Oprah-ization of professional sports reporting, the idea that every emotion or random thought an athlete has should be laid bare or there is a problem, is not a positive advancement of the reporting profession.  I'd hate to see Huggan or Bamberger reporting on hockey, boxing or football (round ball or American); the amount of rejection regularly received by reporters following those sports might cause mass suicides.
To be fair, Team Tiger isn't without blame for the breakup.  There is a famous saying that you don't get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the gallon.  Someone had to be smart enough to tell Tiger to give the golf media just enough to keep them satiated and in love.  Nothing particularly private, but something, anything to let them believe you love them a little.  About your love of fly fishing for example.  Or your preference for the blandest rock and roll possible (check out some of the performers at various Tiger Jams, Stevie Wonder notwithstanding).  Or how about picking a couple of reporters and feeding them info.  It wouldn't be the first time a newsmaker had a reporter in his pocket.  Or how about this; either actually go ahead with the idea of treating those in the media better (something you included in your tearful comeback press conference public statement), or don't mention it at all.
Finally, a warning to Rory McIlroy (who is showing more maturity at 22 with his play than some reporting on him right now).  Be careful.  The media definitely loves you right now.  But this has the whiff of a rebound relationship.  They wanted to be with Phil Mickelson, but he couldn't come through enough to make it viable.  Westwood, Kaymer and Donald were nice, but not exciting.   You have all the tools right now, young, exciting, winning.  But if you don't make 2011 your version of Tiger's 2000 (or, if Tiger makes a comeback to form), the next letter may be delivered to your doorstep.