Notes on a golf scorecard that’s actually too soaked from the constant rain to write on, so let’s just wing it off…
…attended the debut of new LSU football coach Brian Kelly on his weekly radio show Thursday night at TJ Ribs at the Acadian Thruway.
It was expected to be a full house of curious and engaged Tiger fans as Kelly chatted with “Voice of the Tigers” LSU’s Chris Blair, but with some significant changes. First off, the show now airs Thursday nights at 7 p.m. on the LSU Sports Radio Network, instead of Wednesdays as it has for years. And second, Kelly didn’t take live questions from the audience, only written and online submitted questions. It was informative, but if you were looking for a monologue from one of the evil twins, well, that’s past tense now.
Kelly didn’t spend much time signing autographs or posing for selfies. His show created the same vibe as his coaching regime has done so far. That sentiment is that LSU football is big business, LSU football business wins, and not much time is wasted on anything that doesn’t get the Tigers closer to that goal.
… That doesn’t mean there weren’t some interesting moments. Kelly seemed to enjoy dragging out the drama when Blair asked him about the quarterback race. Any hopes that Kelly could drop a bombshell between the baby back ribs and the spinach dip were quickly dashed, so we’re all still waiting to find out if LSU will start next Sunday against Florida State’s Jayden Daniels or Garrett Nussmeier. Speaking about the QBs, Kelly also praised freshman Walker Howard but mentioned Nussmeier’s name first. Couldn’t mean anything Could be a tell. We’ll see soon.
Kelly was also super high on freshman tight end Mason Taylor and said he hit like Georgia’s star freshman tight end from last season, Brock Bowers. Taylor is the son of Jason Taylor of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So if he was half the game dad, LSU could really have something. And the Taylor family’s pipeline to LSU didn’t stop there. The beach volleyball program recently got a commitment from Zoe Taylor, Jason’s daughter and Mason’s sister.
… Speaking of his huge involvement in Olympic sports, future LSU gymnast Konnor McClain dazzled on Sunday, winning the US Championship all-around title in Tampa, Fla.
At just 17, McClain is a long way from competing for LSU, a wait made even longer by her enormous potential and chances of making the US team for the Paris 2024 Olympics. McClain, who can sign with LSU in 2023 and compete in January 2024, plans to delay her arrival at Baton Rouge until Fall 24 so that she will make her first appearance for the Tigers in January 2025.
McClain is the first LSU gymnastics recruit to win the US senior title, and according to NBC Sports, it is only the sixth gymnast since 2000 to win her first try at Nationals. The last five were later considered to be the best gymnasts in the world, most recently Simone Biles.
There is much to expect for McClain to become the next Biles, but she has long been predicted to be the next star in American women’s gymnastics. And while much can happen in the next 23 months leading up to the start of the 2024 Games, McClain has taken her first step towards the goal she announced to the world as an 11-year-old on The Steve Harvey Show: to be the 2024 Olympic champion-um gold medalist.
… The PGA Tour announced sweeping changes to its structure this week, largely in response to the threat posed by the nascent LIV Golf League. These include a series of “Exalted” events with greatly increased purses in addition to the Majors designed to bring the game’s top players together more often.
The announcement comes after a behind-closed-doors gathering of the top players at last week’s BMW Championship in Wilimgton, Delaware. The meeting was chaired by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy but reportedly included 21 other players, including former LSU All-American Sam Burns.
LIV Golf will reportedly poach seven more top players including likely British Open and former Zurich Classic co-champion Cameron Smith after the conclusion of the Tour championship on Sunday in Atlanta. This is bad news for the PGA Tour. But it’s good news for the Tour that the Delaware players’ meetup included rising stars like Burns (world No. 12), Collin Morikawa and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, the current world No. 1.
The PGA Tour desperately needs to keep players like Burns. Maybe the Tour’s new schedule will help with that, although I’m concerned about base tournaments like the Zurich Classic, which aren’t among the events that get elevated status. Still, the PGA Tour has to fight LIV Golf somehow, and action is better than inaction.