Of the Royals, PGA and Tiger

By Steve Sell
July 27, 2016

Wednesday’s ramblings...

• IT CAN’T GET ANY WORSE — The Kansas City Royals enter their 100th game of the season tonight having reached rock bottom.

The two-time defending American League champions and defending World Series champion crashed and burned on Tuesday against the American League West’s worst team, the Los Angeles Angels.

By the time the Angels had peppered 22 hits about Kauffman Stadium, it was time for the Royals’ secret weapon — catcher-turned-emergency-pitcher Drew Butera.

As the Angels raced around the bases seven times in the ninth inning of the 13-0 blowout, it was Butera who came in and secured the final out. It was the second time he had been called on to pitch this year, a sign of the Royals’ pitching woes.

The much-heralded bullpen — the backbone of the last two teams — has been reduced to Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera. Joakim Soria has wobbled all year in the clutch and Luke Hochevar has suddenly become ineffective. The rest of the penners are long men who are asked to eat innings when ineffective starters are lifted early.

The Royals are officially in crises mode. Their offense is the worst in the American League, though you have to give them somewhat of a pass due to injuries to Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain, along with the stunning season-long decline of Alex Gordon. Now that Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez have fallen off their All-Star form, the Royals simply have nobody who can put this team on their back. The team is starving to score runs and if they can’t break out at home, how are they going to do it on the road?

•  GOLF’S CONDENSED SCHEDULE — It seems like only yesterday that Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson were staging their epic showdown at Troon, putting on a final day at the British Open that will be talked about for decades.

It’s because it literally was.

Due to the Olympics, two of golf’s four majors were separated by just two weeks. The PGA, the fourth-and-final major, tees off Thursday at Baltusrol.

The PGA has always been misplaced when it comes to the majors. In fact, some golfers believe The Players Championship carries much more prestige.

The PGA can’t match the pageantry of the Masters. Its course setups pale in comparison to the U.S. Open. It doesn’t have near the history of the British Open, the birthplace of golf.

The PGA Tournament just kind of exists. Nevertheless I’ll still watch because I’m a fan of golf.

• ANYONE MISSING TIGER? — Golf fans have watched this year what life could be without Tiger Woods.

To be honest, you hear very little talk about Tiger, who is now out for the year with lingering injury issues.

Stepping to the front have been players like Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. The Masters featured the drama of Spieth’s shocking collapse, the U.S. Open a coronation for Johnson’s much-anticipated breakthrough. Mickelson and Stenson gave us high quality in the British. The game has a lot of depth and it’s been proven that Tiger isn’t bigger than the game itself. When Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus left, golf moved on. It’s the same with Tiger.

Tiger, after all, is now 40 and even when healthy he played a limited schedule with his focus on the majors. Even if he does come back next year, he’s never going to dominate the game as he once did. Father Time has seen to that.