Matthews: Tiger and Koepka: What A Difference!

posted by Bob Matthews - 

TIGER AND KOEPKA: WHAT A DIFFERENCE FIVE YEARS HAVE MADE

Brooks Koepka’s first major exposure on the PGA Tour was in the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester.

Koepka, then 23 and winless on Tour and relatively obscure when he played well enough in the first two rounds to be paired with Tiger Woods on Saturday and Sunday.

Woods shot 71-70-73-70 – 284, finished tied for 70th. Koepka shot 71-72-71-77 – 292 and tied for 72nd.

What a difference five years have made for the two golfers. Koepka on Sunday became the seventh player to win two consecutive U.S. Opens: He joined Willie Anderson (3 straight) in 1903-04-05...John McDermott in 1911-1912...Bobby Jones 1929-30...Ralph Guldahl 1937-38...Ben Hogan 1950-51...Curtis Strange 1988-89.

Koepka fired 68 Sunday to beat Tommy Fleetwood by one stroke and win $2,160,000. Woods missed the cut with 78-72—150. He made $10,000.

Can Koepka join Anderson by winning his third consecutive U.S. Open next year? I wouldn’t bet against him – or on Tiger Woods. Koepka was my predicted winner in this space last week at odds of 20-to-1.  I was overdue due for a long shot winner.

Inflation note:

Here’s how much the U.S. Open repeaters earned for those victories:

Willie Anderson (3 straight wins) -- $600 (total) in 1903-04-05

John McDermott – The first American to win the U.S. Open in 1911 won $600 total in 1911-12

Bobby Jones – He was an amateur and accepted no prize money for participating in professional events.

Ralph Guldahl -- $2,000 total in 1937-38.

Ben Hogan -- $8,000 total in 1950-51.

Curtis Strange -- $380,000 in 1988-89.

Of course, a dollar went much farther in those days...but

Brooks Koepka -- $4,320,000 total.

BUXTON IS WORTH CHECKING OUT

Byron Buxton, still one of baseball’s best prospects at age 24, is scheduled to begin his latest rehab stint with Rochester Tuesday night as the Red Wings (31-35 record, including a disappointing 10-21 at Frontier Field) begin a six-game homestand against Syracuse (3 games) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (3).

Buxton’s outstanding speed and defense is worth checking out. Few if any active players can run from first to third as swiftly or cover as much ground in center field as Buxton. He’s been a productive offensive player in his previous three stints with Rochester: 65 games; .331 batting average (85-for-257); 55 runs; 14 doubles; 4 triples; 14 HRs; 35 RBI; 19 walks; 73 strikeouts; 9-for-10 stolen bases.

He’s been bothered by migraine headaches and a broken toe this season. He has appeared in only 28 games for Minnesota this season: .156 (14-for-90); 8 runs; 4 doubles; 4 RBI; 3 walks; 28 strikeouts; 5-for-5 stolen bases.

UPDATE ON THE STATE OF THE KNIGHTHAWKS

Rochester Knighthawks owner Curt Styres wants to own a National Lacrosse League franchise in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the league hopes to satisfy his desire. NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz wants the Pegulas to purchase the K-hawks for the 2019-20 season but Styes prefers to make the move immediately.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment would purchase the K-hawks and keep the team in Rochester.

That’s the latest update from insidelacrosse.com.

The NLL will expand to 11 teams this coming season with the additions of the Philadelphia Wings and San Diego Gulls. Sakiewicz hopes to have a 20-team NLL within five years.

One would think the Halifax-Rochester situation will be resolved by July 16, the date of the expansion draft to stock Philadelphia and San Diego. If Halifax joins the league for this season, would Halifax or Rochester enter the expansion draft? How many current K-hawks would Styres be allowed to take to Halifax. I assume these details are or have been discussed within the league.

Styres would prefer to take the K-hawks to Halifax and reportedly has the backing of the league’s other owners.  Sakiewicz wants to keep Rochester intact and make Halifax an expansion team.

COULD A NEW-LOOK LAKERS WITH THREE STARS BEAT GOLDEN STATE?

Who knows where NBA superduperstar LeBron James will be playing this coming season? We’ll know fairly soon, but for now, he likes to keep everyone guessing. It keeps him in the limelight. Why not? He sort of determines which – if any – team has the goods to knock off Golden State any time soon.

The hot speculation – and it sounds logical to me – that King James will be a Los Angeles Laker and that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would join him.

I’d still prefer Golden State’s quartet of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Golden State versus the Lakers with James, Leonard and George would be can’t-miss TV. Live tickets would cost fortunes. It wouldn’t do anything for the NBA’s lack of parity, but it sure would be prime entertainment for a handful of regular-season games and a showdown in the Western Conference Finals.

SOME BASEBALL HITS AND MISSES

The New York Mets plunge from 10 games above .500 (11-1 start) to 10 games below .500 (17-37) was the quickest such plunge in Major League Baseball history (66 games).

The New York Yankees continue to lead MLB with 113 home runs (Boston is second with 104) and at bats per HR (20.5; Boston is second at 24.4). The Yankees are on pace for 269 HRs. The MLB record is 264 by Seattle in 1997.

This season’s Yankees won 45 of their first 65 games this season. It was the second time they won at least 45 of their first 65 games. The 1998 Yankees started 49-16 on the way to a franchise-record 114 wins.

This season’s Baltimore Orioles joined the 2003 Tigers and the 2010 Orioles as the only MLB teams in the 2000s to reach 50 losses before they won 20 games.  They won 10-4 over Tampa Bay Sunday to boost their record to 20-50.

The Kansas City Royals are in the midst of a season they’d like to forget. They’re 1-12 in their last 13 games and 10-26 at home. Home attendance is down 212,572 from last year at this time.

Bartolo Colon is expected to start Monday night against Kanas City’s Ian Kennedy, who has won 1 of his last 27 home starts.

The Houston Astros must not like so many fans saying the Yankees and Red Sox are the two-best teams in the American. They’ve won 11 straight games by a combined 81-40 and are 48-25. Evan Gattis batted .366 with 5 HRs and 19 RBI on a 10-0 road trip.

SHORT SHOTS

Palmyra Macedon product Ben Reeves, captain of NCAA champion Yale and winner of the Tawaaraton Award as college lacrosse’s top player, played in his first Major League Lacrosse game Sunday night for the Dallas (formerly Rochester) Rattlers. The fourth overall pick in the recent MLL entry draft scored two goals in his MLL debut, including the game-tying goal in a 17-16 come-from-behind home victory over the Ohio Machine in Frisco, Tex. The Rattlers lead the MLL with a 7-2 record, including 4-0 at home.

World Cup update through Sunday: 11 matches...25 goals...7 teams shut out (but no nil-nil draws)...6 games decided by one goal...3 draws...upsets include Mexico 1-0 over defending champion Germany; Iceland’s 1-1 draw with Argentina; Switzerland’s 1-1 draw with Brazil; and Portugal’s 3-3 draw with Spain.

Rochester Rhinos legend Doug Miller, coach of the much-improved Rochester Lancers (3-2-2), will come out of retirement for the game June 30 against Binghamton FC at Marina Auto Stadium. He’s never played a game at the downtown soccer stadium. He’s 49 years old and in terrific shape.

Former Rochester Rhinos fixture Tommy Tanner’s Major Arena Soccer League Syracuse Golden Knights last week became Utica City FC. The Golden Knights were having financial difficulties and got a better deal from Utica’s arena and help in marketing and sales from the AHL Utica Comets.

The NWSL North Carolina Courage (formerly the WNY Flash) finally lost a game last Saturday, 1-0 to Utah Royals FC. The Courage are 9-1-3 and remain No. 1 in the nine-team league’s power rankings. Their average home crowd is 4,336.

Former Rhinos coach Bob Lilley, with a roster including seven of his former Rochester players, continued to roll last Saturday night as the Pittsburgh Riverhounds scored a 3-0 United Soccer League home victory over the New York Red Bulls III before 3,652 fans at Highmark Stadium.  The Riverhounds are 6-1-6 and have shut out opponents in seven of their eight home games. Penfield product Dan Lynd had his fifth clean sheet of the season.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Monday, June 18

Amari Cooper (24)...Luke Adam (28)...Matt Moore (29)...Antonio Gates (38)...Martin St. Louis (43)...Jeff Saturday (53)...Doug Bodger (52)...Kurt Browning (52)...Bruce Smith (55)...Andres Galarraga (57)...Blake Shelton (42) and Paul McCartney (76) can sing Happy Birthday at the party.

Tuesday, June 19

Xavier Rhodes (28)...Jacob deGrom (30)...Marvin Williams (32)...Quentin Jammer (39)...Dirk Nowitzki (40)...Doug Mientkiewicz (44)...LPGA’s Patti Rizzo (58)...former Red Wings player/coach Butch Davis. Zoe Saldana (40), Paula Abdul (56) and Kathleen Turner (64) are invited to the birthday party.

ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...

June 18

120 years ago (1898), Fred Hurd won the fourth U.S. Open with a 328 at Myopia Hunt Club in Massachusetts...77 years ago (1941), Joe Louis KOd Bill Conn in 13 for the heavyweight boxing title...58 years ago (1960), Arnold Palmer won the 60th U.S. Open...42 years ago (1976), Commissioner Bowie Kuhn voided the Oakland A’s sale of Joe Rudi and Rollie Finger ro Boston and Vida Blue to the Yankees...40 years ago (1978), Nancy Lopez won the LPGA Bankers Trust Classic...29 years ago (1989), Curtis Strange won the 89th U.S. Open at Oak Hill. It was his second consecutive U.S. Open victory and his last of 17 PGA Tour wins...25 years ago (1993), former Red Wings star Dennis Martinez of the Montreal Expos became the 92nd MLB 200-game winner...23 years ago (1995), Patty Sheehan won the LPGA Rochester International...18 years ago (2000), Tigers Woods won the 100th U.S. Open with a 272 aty Pebble Beach.

June 19

151 years ago (1867), Ruthless won the first Belmont Stakes...82 years ago (1936), German boxcer Max Schmeling KOd Joe Louis for the heavyweight boxing championship...63 years ago (1955), Mickey Mantle hit his 100th career HR...26 years ago (1992), Evander Holyfield beat Larry Holmes in 12 for the heavyweight boxing title...24 years ago (1994), Lisa Kiggens won the Rochester International. It was the first and only win of her PPGA career...19 years ago (1999), the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup in Game 6 over the Buffalo Sabres on Brett Hull’s infamous “No Goal”...18 years ago (2000), Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open by 15 strokes, the record for a golf major.

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