Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday....back at it.

Catching up on the weekend.
  • Congrats to Phil Mickelson on winning The Masters on Sunday. He did it in spite of a driver that wanted to put him in Atlanta, rather than Augusta National. He also did it with his wife, Amy, looking on. Her battle with breast cancer is well documented, and it was obvious what that winning putt meant to the Mickelson's personally. It was also the 180 degree opposite story from where the tournament started. All eyes on Tiger Woods, back from his self-imposed hiatus, after his extra-marital affairs came to light. At the end of 72 holes, and brilliant golf shots from the world's best, here stood Phil and Amy. Embracing. Smiling. Crying. Loving each other for the world to see. It was the Anti-Tiger Story.
  • Not dumping on Tiger, got to hand it to him for his finish. His first tournament back, and he was, well, nearly Tiger-esque. No doubt there was rust. He hit some poor shots that he normally doesn't hit. He three-putted from 4 feet at the 17th on Sunday (really). Still, he showed he has the game to contend at the highest level, even after an extended lay-off. Again. He did it after knee surgery, too. I did have a bit of an issue with his post-tournament comment that he was going to take some time off, and evaluate when his next tournament will be. Time off? After 1 week? Doesn't sound like Charlotte will be on his schedule, but one never knows. For the record, he has until 5pm on April 23rd to commit to playing at Quail Hollow.
  • Charlotte 49ers got Alan Major as their next Head Coach for the men's basketball team. The school introduced him Monday, and as the replacement for Bobby Lutz, he looks like a good fit. The long-time assistant coach finally gets his shot to run the show. A 5-year deal, worth $450,000 dollars per season, minimum. At 41 years old, he's not exactly an up-and-coming "young" coach (think Butler's Brad Stevens for that definition), but as Charlotte A.D. Judy Rose told me earlier, he's hungry. He's preaching defense first, boring for players, but a good start, given Charlotte's propensity for allowing points last season. Time will tell how good he will be, but he made a solid first impression.
  • Charlotte Checkers are into the 2nd round of the ECHL playoffs, and will face Cincinnati next. Checkers needed 4 games to dispatch the Toledo Walleye, so their Ohio caravan continues with games in Charlotte Friday and Saturday, before going on the road for games 3, 4 and, if necessary, 5. Games 6 and 7 are in Charlotte, also, if necessary.
  • Charlotte Bobcats appear destined for the #7 seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference playoffs, and if they slot there, they would face Orlando. Certainly a tough opening round opponent, given how tough the Magic are to defend. Big inside, and good shooters on the perimeter. Charlotte is fairly banged up, as Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Nazr Mohammed, and Tyrus Thomas are all dealing with bumps and bruises. A first-round exit isn't out of the question, but a first-round upset is also possible. If they play "Larry-Ball," they have a shot. That means, limiting their own 3-point shot attempts, driving the lane, sharing the ball. That is what got them here.

The NHL Playoffs begin this week. I'll try to drop a prediction in here before they drop the post-season puck!

Mike Solarte


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