As opposed to a couple of months ago when it seemed like everything was going on in the sports world, it's a down time unless you're a fan of the Indianapolis 500. With sports kind of in a lull now that the Jazz season has ended, the high school playoffs have finally wrapped up and college sports are finished for the most part, we're looking for some sports news. So in the spirit of the former Deseret News national columnist Sydney Harris, here are a few things I learned en route to looking up other things.
Tiger Woods, who has always been known for his prodigious length off the tee, ranks just 59th on the PGA Tour's driving distance category with an average of 287.7 yards per drive. However, he still leads the money list and FedEx points list, despite being out more than a month after knee surgery.
Of the top 25 golfers on the LPGA Tour, only six hail from the United States. Of the others, seven are from South Korea, four are from Sweden, two are from England, two are from Taiwan and there is one each from Finland, Norway, Australia and Mexico.
Scott Dixon, who won the Indianapolis 500 Sunday, became the first driver from New Zealand to win the big race. Danica Patrick was 22nd.
Johns Hopkins University, which is known as one of the world's leaders in medical research, will play for the national lacrosse title tonight. That's nothing new as Johns Hopkins is the defending NCAA champion and has won nine overall titles. By the way, the Baltimore university was named for a 19th-century philanthropist who was named after his grandfather, whose first name came from his mother's maiden name.
Since the French Open tennis tournament, which began Sunday, became open to amateurs and professionals 40 years ago, only four American men have won the title Michael Chang in 1989, Jim Courier in 1991 and 1992 and Andre Agassi in 1999. The only Frenchman to win during that time was Yannick Noah in 1983.
The NCAA tennis tournament, which was played at the University of Utah in 1970, used to be a big deal, but nobody notices anymore. For the record, the UCLA women and Georgia men won NCAA tennis titles last week. For UCLA, it marks the 102nd title for the school, the most of any school in NCAA history.
A Web site called Ball Hype has an interesting feature called Mapping the NBA, which charts teams according to their wins and age over the past several years. While Portland's '07-08 team was the best young team of the past four seasons, the Utah Jazz are in the quadrant called "land of hope" along with the Lakers, Orlando, Toronto, Cleveland, Golden State and Portland. Teams in the Gates of Hell quadrant (old, with poor records), include Miami, Indiana, New Jersey and the Clippers. San Antonio has the oldest team and Portland is the youngest.
A Philadelphia writer notes that the city has gone 100 seasons without a title for its four major teams, which is by far the biggest drought for a city with four major teams (the San Francisco Bay Area is next at 54). That's 100 seasons, not 100 years, meaning none of Philadelphia's baseball, football, basketball or hockey teams have won a title since 1983. A lot of Utah players have gone through Philly during that time, including Shawn Bradley, Keith Van Horn, Ty Detmer, Chad Lewis, Vai Sikahema and Reno Mahe.
Since starting the season 23-2 in April, the Salt Lake Bees are just 10-13 in May. Still, their 33-15 record leads their PCL Pacific Conference Northern Division by 8 games.
Remember the uplifting story last month about the Central Washington softball players, who carried an opponent around the bases after she injured her knee after hitting a home run? It turns out, according to the rules, that Western Oregon could have put in a substitute runner after all to run for their fallen teammate. Still, it made for a heart-warming story about sportsmanship. In another story involving women athletes and sportsmanship a prep runner in Washington who was disqualified after winning a 3,200-meter race by more than four seconds because she took three steps outside the official line during the race, was handed the first-place medal after the awards ceremony by the second-place finisher, who told her, "It's your medal. You're the state champion."
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