Puig-mania stings the Reds after 20 Dodger K’s

Puig sends us all home with one swing

Puig sends us all home with one swing

It was just another Dodger victory over the Zinzinnati Reds (as Mr. Scully calls ’em). They suffered a new team record with 20 strikeouts against three Reds pitchers. But Yasiel Puig who had earlier struck out 3 times and is obviously dealing with some major league adjustments to remain a super-rookie homered with two outs in the 11th inning for a 1-0 Dodgers win. Puig circled the bases and slid into home plate, where teammates were waiting for him after his first career walk-off homer.

Homeplate celebration for Puig

Homeplate celebration for Puig

The following are my postgame clubhouse interview including some preview thoughts on the Yankees invading Dodger Stadium for 2 nights starting on Tuesday.

Manager Don Mattingly:

Dodger starter Chris Capuano who threw an impressive 3-hitter thru 6 2/3 innings:

Dodgers starting LF Jerry Hairston, Jr. who was the only starter to not strikeout in the game:

Dodgers utility specialist Nick Punto:

Dodgers reliever Brandon League who’s awakened with 3 wins in a week:

Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt on his guys’ strong outing and how this sets up the Yankees series:

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Baseball’s been great but it’s time for FOOTBALL again!

Pac 12 football media at Sony Studios

Right in the middle of a nice Dodgers surge, Pac 12 football media day called at Sony Studios in my old neighborhood of Culver City where as a kid I tried sneaking into what was then the MGM studio lot. So at least this time as I was legally on their invite list…if Clark Gable only knew!

My main reason for attending was to get preview thoughts from UCLA and USC’s head coaches and invited players. But I was also interested in chatting with Stanford head coach David Shaw who I’ve greatly admired since he took over for Jim Harbaugh. The last time I dealt with Coach Shaw was after his impressive win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and I wanted to catch up and get the latest from him.

Shooting the bull with Coach Mora

Shooting the bull with Coach Mora

UCLA coach Jim Mora:

Towering under Anthony Barr

Towering under Anthony Barr

UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr:

UCLA OL Xavier Sua-Filo:

Coach Kiffin wasn't in the mood to give me much real insight

Coach Kiffin wasn’t in the mood to give me much real insight

USC coach Lane Kiffin:

chatting with Marqise Lee

chatting with Marqise Lee

USC WR Marqise Lee:

USC LB Hayes Pullard:

Stanford Coach David Shaw roundtable discussion:

Somewhere under the rainbow at Sony Studios

Somewhere under the rainbow at Sony Studios

MORE TO COME SHORTLY INCLUDING MY 1 on 1 with ex-Oregon QB Joey Harrington

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Lefty finally lifts his first Claret Jug after blowing away the Muir-field

I reminded Phil that he never let go of that Claret Jug during the entire championship newser

I reminded Phil that he never let go of that Claret Jug during the entire championship newser

On a day in which all attention was focused on whether Lee Westwood could win his first major in his own backyard, whether Adam Scott could double up his 2013 major total, or whether Tiger Woods could finally get his first in over 5 years, it was Phil Mickelson who stepped in and turned in the round of the day and one of the classics of all-time.

He began the day five strokes behind Westwood before turning in a -5 round, paced by six birdies, and ended up tying the low round of the entire tournament, to finish at -3 for the week and earn his first Claret Jug.

Phil not only shot a 32 on the more difficult back 9 at Muirfield but fired birdies on four of his final six holes to run away with his 5th major from out of the blue.

The following are most of the key figures’ post-tournament thoughts on what turned into one of the great finishes in Open Championship history and as Phil called it, the best round of his life. And it truly capped off my special trip to Europe after watching Andy Murray become the first Brit in 77 years to win Wimbledon.

Phil Mickelson:
Phil Mickelson Open Championship newser with Sobel et al

Adam Scott who finished T-3 and 4 shots back after letting another Open Championship get away when he had the lead on the back 9:
Adam Scott with Sobel et al after final round at Muirfield

Lee Westwood had the lead for much of the front 9 but let it slip away as he could never put his game in championship form and disappointing his local U.K. fans to leave still without his first major:
Lee Westwood with Sobel et al after final round at Muirfield

Ian Poulter who had the earlier round of the day at 4 under par for finished T-3 alongside fellow Brit Westwood:
Ian Poulter with Sobel et al after the round of the day so far 4 under

Tiger Woods never gave himself a realistic chance to win with a below Tiger-like 3 over 74 and T-6 and 5 shots back of Phil:
Tiger Woods with Sobel et al post final round at Muirfield

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Tiger trails the Muirfield wizard of Westwood by two with 18 to play

You have found the ONLY place on the web that gives you complete un-edited post round interviews at The Open Championship…Please enjoy this MAJOR experience!

The 18th green being watered for a very big Sunday!

The 18th green being watered for a very big Sunday!

Britain’s Lee Westwood is your Open Championship 54-hole leader as he attempts to win his first major title. Many consider him to be the best active player without a major victory, a list Hunter Mahan is quickly rising up on and Mahan will join Westwood in the final group on Sunday. Hunter also played in the final pairing on Sunday at the U.S. Open, but struggled.

But the most interesting pairing (maybe EVER in a major?) will be Tiger Woods and Adam Scott who’s caddie Steve Williams used to carry the bag for Tiger until their bitter breakup a few years back.

This won’t be the first time Woods has been paired with his former caddie and Scott. They were in a group together for the first two rounds of the U.S. Open. Tiger will begin the day in a tie for second place at 1-under, two strokes behind Westwood. And one very intriguing stat to watch is Tiger being 14-1 in his career when opening the final round of a major with at least a share of the lead, but is 0-47 when he doesn’t.

The following are your post round interviews to listen to…and thanks for checking in here…

Lee Westwood:
Lee Westwood with Sobel et al as the 3rd round leader at The Open

Tiger's fans Scottish style

Tiger’s fans Scottish style

Tiger who’s biggest distraction could be some of his fans wearing those gaudy Tiger suits and not his old caddie hanging around!:
Tiger Woods with Sobel et al after round 3 at Muirfield

Hunter Mahan:
Mahan 3rd round.mp3

Adam Scott:
Adam Scott with Sobel et al after round 3 at Muirfield

Henrik Stenson who is 4 shots back and feeling like he hasn’t played his best yet:
Henrik Stenson with Sobel after round 3 at Muirfield

Phil Mickelson is 5 behind although he told us the he expected to be only a couple of shots back:
Phil Mickelson with Sobel et al after 3rd round at Muirfield

Ian Poulter starts championship Sunday 8 behind his fellow Brit Westwood, but says he’s playing very well:
Ian Poulter with Sobel et al after 3rd round at Muirfield

Love Sunday at The Open…so let’s have fun with another classic ahead of us!

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We’re midway through the ‘ULTIMATE GRIND’ at The Open!

Welcome to the only place in the world to hear the ‘totally un-edited’ post round interviews from the top names playing at Muirfield.

Muirfield welcome sign

Several players told me after round 2 that this was the toughest grinding round of their careers as day 2 finished at The Open Championship with 49 year old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez enjoying a one shot lead at 3 under par over Americanos Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson, the U.K.’s own Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson of Sweden.

With no time to write much here today…just thought I’d post all of my after-round interviews and let you listen to whomever suits your fancy. Enjoy!

Miguel Angel Jimenez a fun and fancy-free character who enjoys his big cigar and red Ferrari, and as he told me of course also having the midway lead at The Open (and sorry for the few seconds at the start of annoying audio system problems):
Miguel Angel Jimenez with Sobel et al after 2 under 69 in 2nd round at Muirfield

Tiger Woods who’s putting and iron play make him the prohibitive favorite as always even though he hasn’t won a major in 5 years (something I asked him about again-what else is new?):
Tiger Woods with Sobel et al after round 2 at Muirfield

Dustin Johnson who’s in a great spot to win his first major:
Dustin Johnson with Sobel et al after 2nd round and in contention at Muirfield

Lee Westwood who’s also looking for his first major and he smiled when I asked him if he believed in karma after Scotsman Andy Murray finally broke the long U.K. drought at Wimbledon so why not him this week here?:
Lee Westwood with Sobel et al after 3 under 68 round 2 at Muirfield

Henrik Stenson who might be the most unlikely of the names near the top but he could care less about that:
Henrik Stenson after round 2 at Muirfield

Zach Johnson the former Masters champ and first round leader who told me he was thrilled with his 2nd round 75 with the much tougher afternoon tee time and still just 2 shots back:
first round leader Zack Johnson with Sobel et al at midway point at Muirfield

These next 3 are all at 1 over par but still very much in contention as part of a group of 9 guys who are tied for 13th…

Phil Mickelson who’s still looking for his first Claret Jug and battling like he’s never had to battle before:
Phil Mickelson round 2 with Sobel et al

Adam Scott the reigning Masters champ who’s quietly only 4 shots behind and then told me how that green jacket fits his life perfectly but it’s also very old news now:
Masters champ Adam Scott with Sobel after 2nd round 1 over 72 at Muirfield

Ian Poulter the outspoken Brit who’s never won a major but is feeling pretty good about his chances this weekend:
Ian Poulter (UK) with Sobel et al after 2nd round at Muirfield

Brandt Snedeker the likable American who was right there until blowing up on the back 9 with a 43 and his 8 over par day puts him 8 shots behind the leader and T-39:
Brandt Snedeker with Sobel et al after disappointing 2nd round at Muirfield

Congratulating Ernie last year at Royal Lytham

Congratulating Ernie last year at Royal Lytham

Defending champ Ernie Els who last year was all smiles with me while holding his beloved Claret Jug for a second time, but today he walked up to the mic and asked me what did we want him for after a very disappointing bogey-bogey finish and at 6 over par overall:
Ernie Els defending Open champ with Sobel et al after 2nd round at Muirfield and he wasn’t in the mood to talk after finishing with back to back bogies

Sergio Garcia the still major-less Spaniard who made the cut by 2 shots and starts here by praising his playing partner Lee Westwood:
Sergio Garcia with Sobel et al after fortunately making the cut

Justin Rose the Brit and current U.S. Open champ who’s ranked #3 in the world but missed the cut here by 2 shots:
Justin Rose with Sobel et al after missing the cut at Muirfield

Rory McIlroy who’s the most mentally messed up (golf-wise of course) 2nd ranked player in the world I’ve ever dealt with after finishing 12 over par and trying to figure out how to find his incredible game again:
Rory McIlroy with Sobel et al after finishing 12 over par and missing the cut at Muirfield

And finally Sir Nick Faldo the 2-time Open champ who’s the perfect guy (as a TV analyst) to ask about how this tournament sets up for the weekend? He also told us that this is likely his last British Open as a player:
2 time Open champ Nick Faldo with Sobel et al analyzes why he played maybe his final Open and more

Winds are supposed to come out of the east in round 3 which Ian Poulter told me means that the guys will be aiming towards many bunkers and hoping the ball will land in a safe spot. Good luck with that! And thanks for joining me again at another wild and wide open Open Championship!

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The Open Championship is wide open from the start!

Off the 18th at Muirfield

Off the 18th at Muirfield

I arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland immediately following a few days in Marbella, Spain on Wednesday and the first thing I did after checking into my hotel was to turn on the BBC’s pre-Open Championship coverage and like they do for Wimbledon, it’s the best I’ve ever seen.

Back in historic old Scotland

Back in historic old Scotland

After 10 days of traveling through Italy with stops in Tuscany and the amazing Amalfi Coast, it was back to doing the sports thing and the BBC got me up to date in a hurry! The weather here is ridiculously unseasonably warm (reaching a high over 80 degrees during Thursday’s opening round) along with humidity that the usual tournament favorite Tiger Woods admitted to me was closer to what he’s used to at his Florida home than what he could’ve ever expected here.

Bussing to the course

Bussing to the course

After a long first day it was former Masters Champ Zack Johnson atop the leaderboard by one over a pair including 2-time major winner Mark O’Meara (my previous one-time hockey color commentator in 1997 the year of his Masters and British Open titles). A brief recall of that fun time was my old Long Beach Ice Dogs play by play days when I recall us ending a long trip in Florida to face the Orlando Solar Bears of the now defunct IHL. I notice O’Meara and his good buddy (and local neighbor) Tiger Woods enjoying their rink-side on the glass season seats. Since O’Meara was a Long Beach State grad and biggest story of that golf year, I requested to get him on the air for a few minutes. He not only came upstairs to be on with me (I was doing that broadcast alone) but O’Meara enjoyed his time so much that he stayed for the entire first period doing color analysis with me leaving Tiger to watch the first 20 minutes all by his lonesome. That was a special road trip broadcast with a local flavor from afar!

After today’s opening round I asked many questions during interviews with many of the tournament’s principles which include 9 of the top 14 players being Americans (for whatever reason?). The following are some of those as you’ll get a flavor of the mood at Muirfield which is one of the great historic courses on the planet.

Zack Johnson first round leader newser:
Zack Johnson with Sobel et al after round 1 at Muirfield

56 year old Mark O’Meara a surprising contender at The Open:
Mark O’Meara with Sobel et al after great first round at Muirfield

18th fairway rough at Muirfield

18th fairway rough at Muirfield

So far so good for Tiger Woods who’s rehabbed elbow is holding up just fine but he better stay out of the ‘corn fields type’ rough or else he could hack his way onto a surgeon’s table. Tiger began his day by hitting his opening tee shot into some ugly hay and then finished with a ‘ROUGH’ getting out of. But he’s in a great spot to win his first major since his ‘one for the ages’ U.S. Open title with a broken leg 5 years ago at Torrey Pines which was truly one of my all-time favorites to cover.

Tiger Woods newser after an impressive 2 under par round with an afternoon start that averaged out to be an almost two shot higher score for the day:
Tiger Woods post round one at Muirfield

Dustin Johnson newser after his 3 under 68 and T-4 start:
Dustin Johnson with Sobel et al after opening round 3 under 68 at Muirfield and a T4

Phil Mickelson newser after a very solid 2 under 69:
Phil Mickelson post first round at Muirfield from Sobel

Rory McIlroy who admitted to me and several other media types after an awful 8 over par round that he might need to see a shrink to get his world class game back…it’s TOTALLY a mental thing with him now:
Rory McIlroy with Sobel et al post round one 8 over par at Muirfield

Some other notables who I had some post-round contact with were Spainard and European tour multi-winner was Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano who I had the pleasure to meet for a first time and we interacted about my trip to his local Spain and how he assess his play today:
Gonzalo Fernandez Castano with sobel after his 1 under 70 after I just left his hometown on Wed to come here<

Tiger and several others who are in contention will get the more desireable earlier tee times on Friday, but will they be able to take advantage of the expected easier conditions? The fun continues at this great historic major!

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