The Count never was much into golf as a youth. Didn’t like the clothes or the country club atmosphere and one time after spending all day at the driving range when he showed up on a young lass’s doorstep on the night of a full moon, he tried to hypnotize his victim with his mesmerizing gaze, just like his great uncle Count Dracula taught him, and the girl just started laughing and said, “You’re going to bite me in an Ashworth polo? Seriously?” Then she slammed the door and he slinked away.
But The Count was ready to come to the aid of former Braves pitcher John Smoltz, who played in last week’s Nationwide event in Valdosta. Smoltz needed a caddy. He opted to hire some young, punk kid who, like, you know, golfs. Big mistake. We count down . . .
10. When you’re at 27-over-171, you can’t go to bullpen
Smoltz somehow devalued the South Georgia Classic. He was 1-under par after the first three holes and 28-over over the next 33. His round scores of 84 and 87 missed the cut by, oh, 27 strokes. Some fans took up a collection to have him golf any way over the weekend, just for comedic value, but he passed. Yes, I kid. Because that’s what Smoltz would expect, especially from the Count. Sent him a text message taunting him for not picking me as caddy. He phoned later. “You’re so right. I should’ve picked you. You would’ve made a huge difference.” Grovel, grovel. See, Smoltz admits his problem was he had too much time to think between shots. He likes to play golf at 78-speed. That’s just not possible in tournament play. Rather than chit-chat with him about wind direction, club selection and stupid stuff like that, The Count would’ve told him, “Wow. You really suck. You want to just go get a beer or something?” I mean, seriously. Would he have done worse?
9. One day, this will all seem funny. Naw …
OK, Smoltz is a great golfer. He’ll probably adjust to the pace eventually and could make it on the PGA Champions Old Fogey Tour, which is his goal. But this isn’t going to be as easy as he hoped. Quoting: “I was supposed to tee off at 9:15. I didn’t tee off until 2-something. I got off to a good start, then they blew the horn [for thunderstorms]. Not only was I not prepared for that but nobody could’ve given me advice on how to deal with it. Five hours later, I went back out trying to finish that round. I know these guys have done it for a living. But after one hour of a rain delay as a pitcher, I’m not going back in.” As for all the time he had between shots, he said, “It was sort of like pitching to Albert Pujols, and for five minutes between each pitch all I could think of was all the things he can do to me.” Hey, I tried to help. Now it’s going to cost a little extra if he comes crawling back.
8. Osama Bin Laden dead! NFL can settle now! (?)
Let me start by saying ProFootballTalk.com is one of The Count’s daily stops on the Internet, along with, “PlasmaSmoothieRecipes.net.” But what to make of two blogs by PFT’s Mike Florio that tried to tie Osama Bin Laden’s death to the possible end of the NFL lockout? There’s one angle that Fox, CNN and the New York Times missed: “Will bin Laden’s death impact labor talks?” Coming next week: Will Charlie Sheen taking batting practice with Georgia Tech open the door to Albert Pujols signing with the Braves? Wait. Huh? The convoluted premise here is that the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will be such great theater for NFL Sundays that the owners will just HAVE to settle with the players now! Right. Because that’s just what Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft and Arthur Blank were waiting for — a greater promotional hook for the season opener, not their share of a $9 billion pie. What a yutz. Now, if you’re telling me that Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are going to be locked into a room with a Navy Seal in a binding arbitration, I can get behind that.
7. Dude, the Gators are, like, so wasted.
Is there a problem with Wacky Tobacco at Florida? New coach Will Muschamp just threw all-SEC cornerback Janoris Jenkins off the team following his third overall arrest and his second in three months for marijuana. I know. College kids get high. Back in school days, The Count bought a bag of some bad herb once. Messed with his head. Went to a Quik Trip at midnight. Pounded three microwave burritos, seven bags of Doritos and three Reese’s. Then at midnight, he tried to suck the blood out of an oak tree. Major dental work. Any way, back to Florida. Those media vultures at the Gainesville Sun did some of that there aggregating of Gator arrests and look what they came up with: offensive lineman Maurice Hurt was the second Gator in three years to test positive at the NFL combine; wide receiver Percy Harvin tested positive in 2009; tight end Aaron Hernandez admitted at last year’s combine that he’d failed a drug test while a Gator; two current players, linebacker Chris Martin and defensive end Kedric Johnson, were arrested in January for possession of marijuana in separate incidents. Both remain on the team. They brought brownies to spring practice. (I might’ve made that up.) One revelation that has come out of this: Florida has the most lax drug policy of any SEC school. Rules mandate that a player be thrown off the team after the FIFTH incident. At most schools, it’s three or four. (Fairness qualifier: Muschamp, like Urban Meyer, acted after the third strike with Jenkins.) I’m just imagining that when some Florida players meet with school counselors, the conversation goes something like the one between Jeff Spicoli and Brad Hamilton in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Brad Hamilton: “Why don’t you get a job, Spicoli?”Jeff Spicoli: “What for?” Brad Hamilton: “You need money.” Jeff Spicoli: “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.”
6. While we wait for the piano to fall on Tressel’s head . . .
Jim Tressel probably could use a good buzz about now. At some point, the NCAA figures to come down on him and Ohio State, although investigators must be riding on that same slow train they took to USC — the one that didn’t arrive until after Reggie Bush and Pete Carroll left town (what a coincidence!). But Michigan fans aren’t waiting. A bunch of them got together to lease a billboard on I-94 with the message, “Liar, Liar, Vest on Fire!” I’m not sure if this will show up on the PDF outlining Ohio State’s major NCAA violations but at least it fills the dead time while investigators twiddle their thumbs.
5. Catch you on your couch, Sunshine
Surely you remember a few weeks back when Orlando guard Jameer Nelson was caught by television cameras telling Chicago’s Derrick Rose, “Catch you in the second round,” showing no worry about the Hawks in the first round. It turned out to be one of the great foot-in-mouth sports moments moments of all time. Well, long-time Hawks vice president of public relations Arthur Triche decided to pok>e at Nelson a bit Monday night. He left two tickets for him at the box office. He sent out the following message on his Twitter feed (and attached the picture to the left): “Things that make me happy about this job. Taking a page out of Jerry Glanville’s book, I think I’ll follow through.”
4. Meanwhile. two tickets to oblivion . . .
I’m not going to go on another rant about how Evander Holyfield needs to retire. I need a challenge. But at least Holyfield may have discovered a winning formula for the rest of his career: find opponents who are as lost, desperate and irrelevant as he is. Barring cancellation, Holyfield (48 years old) will fight Brian Nielsen (46) in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Saturday. Holyfield hasn’t had a good fight in 12 years. Neilsen hasn’t had a fight at all in nine. That’s right: nine years. Said Holyfield, “If I win, I am moving on to the next level.” Sorry. I used to speak fluent Holyfield, but it’s been a while. Now I have no idea what that means.
3. Your new ESPN moment, Braves fans
We bang on ESPN a lot, and for good reason. But they do commercials well, and I figured you’d like this one, since it stars Jason Heyward of the Braves and the Stanford Tree (which, having covered Stanford earlier in my career, I can attest is possibly the worst mascot in college athletics).
2. The football league that’s not even worth 140 characters
While the NFL spread its draft out over three days on ESPN, the U[nfortunate]FL conducted its draft by Twitter Monday night. Maybe that’s what drove Rashard Mendenhall crazy. This put coaches like Marty Schottenheimer at a disadvantage, because the poor, old 67-year-old coach of the “Virginia Destroyers” was just introduced to “Pong” last week. He thought aliens had taken over his Philco. Jerry Glanville of the Hartford Colonials exclaimed on his Twitter feed: “My first social media draft, won’t be my last!” I’m not sure but I think that qualifies as a retirement announcement.
The five-team draft was uneventful but there was one name you will recognize . . .
1. In the third round, the Hartford Colonials select . . .
. . . Cecil Newton Jr.! Yes, that Newton family. Cecil Jr. is Cam Newton’s brother and the son of the Atlanta preacherman, “Huggy Bear” Cecil Newton.
Junior was a center at Tennessee State, wasn’t drafted, spent most of 2009 on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad and was released. I’m not sure what the Colonials’ payroll budget is but I’m going to assume his little brother will be getting a slightly larger signing bonus. Nobody was certain if Cecil Jr. would play in the UFL.
In the end, it came down to Hartford or Mississippi State.
By Jeff Schultz