Obama's Not That Great at Golf

Also, the NCAA's all-time wins leading coach says she'll continue, despite dementia diagnosis

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Today in sports: shocking news from a basketball legend, the president's short game struggles are described in painstaking detail, and the state of Iowa sends back it's new rivalry game trophy.

  • University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball coach Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, male or female, announced today she's been diagnosed with early onset dementia, which is "Alzheimer's type," according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Summit, 59, says she still plans to coach this coming season, her 39th at Tennessee. Tennessee interim athletic director Joan Cronan has already signed off on the move. “I’m comfortable because I know her as a person and I know her as a coach,’’ Cronan explained. “And I feel like if it wasn’t the right thing for her or us she wouldn’t be going forward.”In addition to the News Sentinel interview conducted Monday night, Summitt also gave a video interview to The Washington Post's Sally Jenkins, who collaborated with the coach on a leadership book back in 1998. Summitt told her players the news at a team meeting Tuesday afternoon. [Knoxville News Sentinel and The Washington Post]

  • The thought of President Obama golfing, rather than fixing the economy with some thumbnails and shellac, never fails to rile up his most partisan political opponents. Just wait until they find out he's not even good at it. Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown provided the pool report for the president's round at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard today. Her merciless description of Obama trying to sink a putt on the first hole conjures up memories of Caddyshack's Spalding Smalls. Writes Brown:

From our vantage point, this is the play by play: He stepped up to his ball, which was several feet from the hole, and made two practice strokes. He missed the hole on his first putt, but got it close. He then tried to tap it in, but missed again. He appeared to pick up the ball to let the others in his party play through as he watched.

The pool was promptly moved off the course while the president walked towards a knot of golf carts, which were presumably headed to the second hole.

  • The University of Iowa and Iowa State University play each other in football every year, with the winning team being awarded custody of the Cy-Hawk Trophy. (Cy because Iowa State's cardinal mascot is named Cy, Hawk because Iowa's nickname is the Hawkeyes.) For nearly 35 seasons, the trophy was small and unassuming, but as you can see, actually resembled a trophy.

Seems perfectly acceptable, but not to the tastemakers at the Iowa Corn Growers Association, who ESPN reports were "largely responsible" for putting the old trophy in mothballs and unveiling this new monstrosity at the Iowa State Fair last Friday. Iowa Corn CEO Craig Floss said it was meant to reflect "[the] honest, hard-working, family and community orientated people." Which it does, but at the expense of Cy, Hawk, and the game of football.

The response hasn't been positive. The Associated Press reports Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said, “I think they can do better.I’m sure they’re going to take another look at that” when asked about the design yesterday. Spencer Hall at the college football blog Everyday Should Be Saturday had already taken to calling it the "kneeling corn hobo trophy." Cedar Rapids Gazette sports columnist Marc Morehouse groused, "We’re celebrating a football game here, not a social construct of what we think the universal image of Iowa might be." This afternoon, according to the Des Moines Register, the higher-ups at Iowa Corn have come to their senses and are scrapping the trophy. The first trophy missed the mark,” Floss admitted at a press conference today. “We appreciate all who spouted off. We want this to be people’s trophy but it wasn’t all that pleasant.”Also not pleasant: the fact the two teams will have to play for an "interim trophy" when they meet Sept. 10 in Ames.

  • University of Miami president Donna Shalala released a nearly six-minute long YouTube video updating the "university community" on the ongoing NCAA investigation into allegations of rampant corruption in the school's athletic department made by a former booster. When the former Secretary of Health and Human Services started discussing all the "eager young students ready to embrace the opportunities for learning and growing at our university," it started to sound like Shalala's Checkers speech. Then she vowed that the school "will not let others define us," which seem like fighting words. [Miami Herald]
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