Author: seanrmelia

#tbt: The worst three putt in golf history (not Dustin Johnson’s)

This past Sunday Dustin Johnson had one putt to win the US Open. He had two putts to force an 18 hole playoff. He had three putts to feel nauseous and hope Paulina Gretzky could make him feel better.


In 2001, Retief Goosen, had two putts from about 10 feet away to walk off the 18th hole a US Open champion. Two putts. Not one putt. Two.

It’s a pretty painful few minutes. Add in the fact that Stewart Cink also three putted on the hole to miss the playoff, and it makes it even worse.

Oh, and those greens at Southern Hills looked pretty smooth. Perfect actually, that obvious even on the crappy SD recording YouTube has of it.

My Tiger Woods conundrum

My golf fandom began at the age of 13. A little later than my basketball, football, and baseball fandom, but way ahead of my hockey appreciation. I’m not sure if it’s because golf is an inherently difficult sport to watch as a child or if it was because there was no one in the sport that grabbed my attention. Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Ernie Els, Fred Couples were the cream of the crop in the early 1990’s. Sure, John Daly was there for a bit, but I was never hooked.


Then I watched Tiger Woods win the 1996 US Amateur at Pumpkin Ridge. He came back from 2 down late in the round, hit a 40 foot putt that emitted the ever-famous fist pump, and won the match on the second extra hole.

I was hooked.

Seven months later, Tiger Woods was the Masters champion and his career was off and running.

I’ll spare you the superlatives.

However, watching the US Open this week at Chambers Bay left me with a funny feeling and a revelation as a golf fan. Tiger Woods is the center of my golf fandom universe. It all started with him and now I’m left watching him fight off the twilight of his career.

I watched him dominate the tour. I watched him win 14 majors. I watched his life come tumbling down. I watched him try to get his game back in shape. I watched him shoot 80 at the US Open.

I know I am not the only one in this boat. Tiger has been around for too long for others not to realize how Tiger-centric their golfing lives have been. If you’re around my age, play golf, and care about the sport beyond just one person (read: you aren’t/weren’t just a Tiger Woods fan), then we’re in the same boat.

The funny part about all of this is that the younger guys at Chambers Bay this weekend were inspired by Tiger Woods. Jason Day (age 26), Dustin Johnson (30), Cameron Smith (21), Rory McIlroy (26), Patrick Reed (24), and Jordan Spieth are all in the Tiger Generation wheelhouse.

Is the game in good hands? Yes, it is. It’s in very good hands. Watching and then reflecting on Sunday’s final round made me realize how incredibly lucky I was to get to watch Tiger from the beginning without any prior golf fandom.

Tiger Woods was the guy that could bomb shots like Dustin Justin did on the 18th.

He was also the guy that could hit a 3-wood into a par five green for eagle down the stretch in a major.

Tiger was also the guy that could hit a 25-foot birdie putt on 16 to build a three shot lead as his partner made double bogey. However, Tiger would have kept his foot on his opponent’s throat (read: he wouldn’t have followed it up with a double bogey).

Tiger was the guy who could shoot three incredible rounds and leave himself a chance on Sunday if the leaders faltered.

Tiger Woods was the guy that made you consider ridiculous things like, “if Tiger shoots a 61 today and a 62 tomorrow he can win this tournament.”

Tiger Woods was the one that left everyone speechless.

Tiger Woods was all the good things that we saw this weekend. Now, all the drama and greatness that used to live inside of Tiger is spread out among this crop of young players.

I’m left watching golf in a whole new way. I am no longer rooting for Tiger Woods, but instead I’m watching a collection of young players and hoping that each week we get some fun golf to watch and a worthy champion. It will take a while to get used to, and I’m sure Tiger will come back one last time and remind me of the good old days.

#tbt: The time FIFA bought off a small island nation after France cheated


This #TBT is very close to my heart. Let me set the scene:

It’s 2009 and Ireland is playing France in a play-in game to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. France was the 2006 runner-up and Ireland’s last World Cup appearance was in 2002 in Japan/South Korea when Roy Keane had a meltdown (nothing new) and left the team.

Ireland is one of those countries that loves soccer, every World Cup deserves the Irish fans (note: I am the son of two Irish immigrants, but it’s true. Irish fans are the greatest in the world. Even when they’re losing they manage to have fun.)

Anyway, Ireland lost the first game 1-0 in Dublin and went into Paris needing to win by more than 2 goals to go through to the World Cup (note: they play two games and add up the goals). They miraculously managed to score a goal and hold off the French for 90 minutes. In order to decide who gets the World Cup birth they played extra time.

In extra time this happened…

This was a low point as a sports fan for me. I have loved the Irish National Team to the detriment of my love for the United States Team, who I never really liked in the early 1990’s. Alexei Lalas is the worst…

Anyway, today I got a text from my friend Scott that read: I’m glad I’m not in the same room as Sean when he reads this.

He included a link to a story saying that the Football Association of Ireland was paid off by FIFA after John Delaney went in and gave Sepp Blatter a piece of his mind. FIFA didn’t want Ireland to take legal action against them. So they did what they know how to do, they threw money at a problem.

Here is the Deadspin article 

The annoying thing about this debacle is it makes Ireland look bad, too. They just took the money and went quietly into the good night.

God damn it.