Molinari Wins The Open Championship

In case you missed it, Francesco Molinari became the first Italian to win a major golf championship on Sunday. And he did it in relatively dominant fashion, with his last 37 holes at or below par. His victory was sealed when Xander Schauffele bogeyed the 17th hole on Sunday, placing him two back and needing an eagle on the Par-4 18th to force a playoff. It was compelling golf for that reason alone, but a return of sorts for Tiger Woods may have been the story of the weekend.
I don’t mean to discount Molinari’s performance, and writing about Tiger seems to be the angle that a lot of coverage took this morning. But Tiger Woods was one of the reasons that I really started caring about gold 20 years ago, and his absence from the top of the golf leader board over the past few years has led me away from the game, so I was pleased to wake up to tweets that he was leading the tournament early Sunday.

To say that Tiger has had some issues would be an understatement. Once thought destined to challenge Jack Nicklaus for career major championships, it has now been a long ten years since his last victory in one of golf’s four majors, his 2008 victory in the U.S. Open. He has been less than dominant in that decade, with large stretches away from the game to deal with both personal issues and injuries, including multiple back surgeries.

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Picking a Football Club – Semifinals

I am days away from figuring out who I am going to dedicate my Premier League fandom. It’s been quite a journey, and as way of review, here’s how we reached this point:

This semifinal post is going to be much shorter, as I won’t have to go as far in depth with the clubs as I have before. Feel free to refer back to the quarterfinal posts if you want more than I provide here in these matchups.

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Huddersfield Town 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate.
Good news Terriers fans! I think that Huddersfield Town (HTAFC) has a good shot of staying up this year, their two big problems from last year (kind of major ones… ) goals scored and goals allowed. But the management seems to be ready to do business to get these fixed, they’ve been free-spending on some key cogs from last year, and have brought into some great youth prospects.
While they haven’t added any out and out strikers,  Right after I finished this article, they did add a striker in 22-year old Adama Diakhaby from AS Monaco (formerly also from Stade Rennais). I think that the moves they’ve made will improve the service to their current forwards, which should be able to bag more goals between them than the team did last year. The Terriers have got to figure out how to get the ball in the goal, 28 goals scored (tied for 2nd lowest) is not going to cut it. The goals allowed is much more respectable and would put them about middle of the field, but allowing this many goals while scoring so few means that you have a horrendous goal difference and that will kill anyone’s chances.
I’m interested to see if there are any changes in the tactical formation of this team for the new year, they’ve brought in good right and left backs to complement the defense. I expect this team to play with a little more freedom (at least in the attacking-third) based on their addition of multiple attacking (central) midfielders. While they could stretch the field by adding some width, I wouldn’t be surprised if this team fluctuates between a very narrow attack (almost exclusively through the middle) and a very wide attack with most of the action coming from the left/right backs whipping crosses in. I think either one could be successful (depending on the opponent), but I definitely still think there will be games that the Terriers need to pack it in and play for a draw. I’m anticipating a low-middle table finish, but I think they have enough to stave off relegation again and then the real fun will begin with another season of Premier League money and some more transfer magic.

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Brighton & Hove Albion 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate.
I think that Brighton & Hove Albion has a real chance to make some waves in this season of the Premier League (as I noted here). I spoke about their need to fill some key positions, and I think they’ve done that very well. I am also astonished by the manager speaking about this BHAFC club. I have never heard a coach/manager say they are “happy with their squad.” They are always seemingly the first to point out concerns or to allude to potential additions that could make their squad better. Maybe that says more to do with the eight acquisitions they’ve already made than faith in the squad, but regardless of the reason, Manager Chris Houghton has sent a statement to his team loud and clear.
Hopefully this translates to a bumper season for Gull’s fans, they definitely have made some shrewd signings — I think the mid-table finish I suggested in my Primer is a very realistic possibility. I expect this side to bring a lot more goals in, and probably keep the back line a little tighter for an even better goal differential. I also think that their transfer business, while around $45M, is still realistic for this side — they aren’t spending outside their income and could still achieve a pretty hefty profit margin. (Update: as the window continued — they made their way closer to the $75M mark, excluding undisclosed transfers — but I still think the outlays can be covered by a decent performance in the league. For this side, I think that means, don’t get relegated because if they can stay up I think all of their improvements will be reimbursed by league revenues).

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Picking a Football Club – Quarterfinal 4

In this final matchup, 4-seed Crystal Palace is going against 5-seed Everton. First, a tale of the tape (most information from this wonderful post):
Crystal Palace
Nickname: The Eagles
Founded: 1905
Location: London
Team Colors: Red / Blue
Kit Manufacturer: Puma (since 2018)
Primary Kit Sponsor: ManBetX
Ground: Selhurst Park (capacity 26,309)
Manager: Roy Hodgson (since 2017)
Nickname: The Toffees
Founded: 1878 (as St. Domingo Football Club)
Location: Liverpool
Team Colors: Royal Blue / White
Kit Manufacturer: Umbro (since 2018)
Primary Kit Sponsor: SportPesa
Ground: Goodison Park (capacity 39,572)
Manager: Marco Silva (since 2018)

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Picking a Football Club – Quarterfinal 3

Today’s matchup is between the 3-seed Leicester City and the 6-seed Newcastle United. First, a tale of the tape (most information from this wonderful post):
Leicester City
Nickname: The Foxes
Founded: 1884 (as Leicester Fosse FC)
Location: Leicester
Team Colors: White / Royal Blue
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas (since 2018)
Primary Kit Sponsor: King Power
Ground: King Power Stadium (capacity 32,315)
Manager: Claude Puel (since 2017)
Newcastle United
Nickname: The Magpies
Founded: 1892
Location: Newcastle
Team Colors: Black / White
Kit Manufacturer: Puma (since 2010)
Primary Kit Sponsor: Fun88
Ground: St. James’ Park (capacity 52,354)
Manager: Rafael “Rafa” Benitez (since 2016)

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