Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Presidents Cup offers great golf, but not much of a competition


rtxpjomIf the “group hug” that is the Presidents Cup ever hopes to be taken seriously as an important sporting competition it needs to develop a sharper edge.

The Presidents Cup lost more than a little bit of respect as a legitimate athletic event on Saturday when smiling International captain Greg Norman raced on to the green to embrace not one of his own men but American Steve Stricker, who had just drained a 26-foot birdie putt to put a stake through his team’s heart (click here for our report).

Welcome to the Presidents Cup, the friendly and fun competition where the biggest bit of controversy at a chilly and subdued Harding Park was the sight of U.S. team special assistant and cigar-chomping basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan lighting it up on the no-smoking municipal golf course.

The only hint of an argument the entire week was over who could lavish more praise on the other team. “You’re the greatest. No, no, you’re the greatest and your wives are the greatest too,” was as ugly as the trash talking got around the Harding Park clubhouse.

Tiger still tops … in pay


tiger1 Tiger Woods not only remains the highest-paid athlete according to Forbes magazine for the eighth straight year, his total compensation is more than double the next highest total. Talk about lapping the field!

Despite eight months on the shelf due to knee surgery and the end of his sponsor deal with General Motors, Woods still made $110 million over the past 12 months, Forbes said.

Is Phil Jackson the best coach in NBA history or just lucky?


jacksonThe man who’s become known as the “Zen Master” for tapping Buddhist teachings has been fortunate enough to coach the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant as they grew into dominant superstars, but rounding their games into championship form was a never-ending battle of wills.

In his 2006 memoir, Jackson refers to Kobe as “uncoachable” for his tendency to try to win games as a solo artist. After breaking the late Red Auerbach’s record to stand alone as the first coach to win 10 NBA championships, Jackson paid tribute to Bryant for his maturity as he accepted his very first MVP award.