About Travis Duncan

Travis Duncan is a native of Central Indiana and currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. He studies sports media and marketing at Indiana University. He has been writing on the internet in one form or another since 2005. He is the founder of Digital Sports Daily.com, a sports news website he created in 2009. His work has been linked by the Wall Street Journal (http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2010/01/27/tebows-pro-life-super-bowl-ad-stirs-debate/) and ESPN Insider among other online publications. His interests include sports history and the study of sports and society You can follow him on Twitter at @DSD. E-mail editor@digitalsportsdaily.com

Tiger and Phil have something to prove at THE PLAYERS

Tiger Woods has struggled at the TPC Sawgrass, home of the PLAYERS Championship. That is not secret to anyone who really digs deep and pulls up the scorecards from recent years, even pre-scandal.

His pre-scandal his domination was so profound, his lack of success at TPC Sawgrass was really hidden to the average golf fan.

At THE PLAYERS his record is as follows: 14 starts and just one victory, two withdraws and four top-10 finishes.

Struggles from years gone by at particular courses here or there, including THE PLAYERS, pale in comparison to the overarching struggle with his game at this point in his career.

Last week at a golf course with a little less fame-Quail Hollow at the Wells Fargo Championship-he missed a cut for just the eighth time in his professional career.

So what’s Tiger got to do to contend for THE PLAYERS, (unofficially the fifth major in Pro Golf).

Basically he’s got to feel it. If he’s on we should know soon enough, and if he’s not we’ll know it also( watchout for the flying clubs.)

“I’ve done really well or I haven’t (at this course),” Woods said this week in preparation for THE PLAYERS Championship.

“The years‑‑ either I’ve been right there in contention with a chance or I haven’t,” he added. “I think that’s the nature of this golf course, though. When you’re off on this golf course you’re going to get penalized pretty severely, but when you’re on, this golf course seems pretty easy because all the balls tend to funnel towards flags. ”

Phil Mickelson, like Tiger has not excelled at THE PLAYERS. He does have one win, the 2007 tournament, but only has two other top 10 finishes (3rd in ’04 and and 8th in ’98)  in 18 total career starts.

Combined Mickelson and Woods have 32 career starts, with just a victory a piece and a combined six Top 10s. Tiger has two withdraws in the last two years.

This year Mickleson is not having a bad season, he’s ranked 4th in FedEx Cup points and has a win at Pebble Beach and a T3 at The Masters. Last week he finished T26 at Quail Hallow.  The bar has been set at winning or else for Mickelson who is freshly minted as a the newest inductee to the World Golf Hall of Fame this week.

Mickleson will want to to take advantage of the Par 5s this week, but that’s easier said than done. No doubt he has wanted to do that every year.

“The course really hasn’t changed much over the years,” Mickleson said.  ”My strategy hasn’t really changed, and even though I have won, my record is not what I would have liked.  I believe I can perform a little bit better on this golf course than I have.”

It’s fun to watch Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson, young guys, who will someday possibly be legends of the game, but for my money it’s all about the two giant legends that are currently still in the prime of their careers with majors (unofficial majors included) left to win.

That’s why I’ll be pulling for Tiger and Phil this weekend at THE PLAYERS.

THE PLAYER Championship tees off Thursday morning from the TPC Sawgrass. Be sure to compare tickets at Seathound.com to find the very best passes for this week’s event.

RGIII and Luck waste no time picking up major endorsements

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE1fvzrJp88

—Move over Jared, (and Blake Griffin) Subway has a new spokesperson: Robert Griffin III, who this time last year I distinctly remember hearing nothing about save for a few Big 12 early season previews.

Griffin was the most mentioned name on ESPN during the NFL draft by a long shot, and major corporations are buying into his marketability.

Subway has made no secret that it wants to target to the sports fan demo.  In the NFL alone they have claim on Drew Brees and Tim Tebow as top sandwich promoters, along with Blake Griffin of Los Angeles Clippers and NBA fame.

Griffin will appear on NBC’s The Biggest Loser on Oct. 4 in conjunction with his Subway deal.

RG3 with his 50lb likeness, designed by sculptor James Victor. Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage

Adding to the hype was the 50-lb. RG3 sculpture made entirely out of Subway ingredients on display at a Manhattan Subway just before the NFL Draft..

Griffin also has a deal with Adidas (you can see his TV spot below), EA Sports (He’s the cover athlete for NCAA Football ’13), and Castro Oil, yes motor oil of all products.

He has also signed an autograph deal with Panini, which will sell officially licensed Griffin III trading cards.

Andrew Luck, the guy who has been touted as the next big thing for about two years now, signed with Nike. Nike wasn’t going to lose out on Luck, having lost Peyton Manning to Reebok.  Luck will also promote Pepsi and a bevy of other groceries for the food and drink giant.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQbQv8NLjaw

Texas A&M Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who climbed up draft boards just as Griffin did, was drafted by the Dolphins at No. 8 overall. Tannehill, like Griffin, will be an Adidas promoter.

You can catch Luck with the Colts, RGIII with the ‘Skins and Tannehill with the Dolphins in person by finding an  incredible deal on tickets when you search here on Seathound.com Don’t waste another moment, find your ticket today!

Derrick Rose and other NBA careers hampered by injury

Derrick Rose might go down as one of the best NBA players who we will never know just what he could have been or how many rings he could have one. Then again he might come back from the season-ending knee injury he suffered Saturday and go on to win five rings. We simply don’t know.

But we can speculate.

We can speculate that Rose’s game is built on agility, changing directions and driving to the basket, all of which require healthy knee joints.

Rose has won an NBA MVP award by the age of 22, so even if he never regains form, he’s accomplished more than most players could dream about. But the direction, the goal, the energy, the task for Rose was to get the Bulls back to the NBA Finals for the first time since his Airness graced the United Center.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duVzNZaGvLA

Hopefully for Rose and basketball fans in Chicago and the world over, he’ll be ready to go full force by next November. But if not, with tears to his MCL and ACL joints in his knee, it’s quite possible we’ve seen the peak of Rose’s career.

Here are some of the players in NBA history who had the unfortunate circumstance of injury and have we have to ask “What could have been?”

Benard King

King was a scoring machine from the time he came out of Tennessee. Then on March 23, 1985 he torn his ACL in his right knee in a game against the Kansas City Kings in Kansas City, Mo.

King would go on to play 14 total seasons in the NBA, but King was never the prolific scorer he was before the injury.

Grant Hill

The irony is that at age 39, Grant Hill is one of the most durable players to ever play the game, but there’s still a wonder about what he could have been without nagging ankle problems. The injuries first crept up on Hill in 2000, prior to the injuries. Hill was consistently among the Top 5 leaders in scoring and finished third in MVP voting in the ’96-’97 seasons.

Penny Hardaway

Lil Penny was not only a basketball sensation, the next Magic Johnson a 6-foot-7 point guard who wan an All-First Team selection in 1994-95. Penny might though be remembered more as a marketing sensation for his ‘Lil Penny Nike Spot featuring a puppet which have now becomes classics, immortalized by youtube.

Hardaway’s career faded away after he left Orlando and his career was hampered by arthritic knees.

Yao Ming

Ming’s career is nothing to laugh at, he was a force inside for several years with the Rockets, but most importantly he is one of the key figures in globalizing the sports of basketball and specifically in China and the Far East.

Ming retired after nine seasons in 2011.

Greg Oden

Oden accomplished the least of all the players mentioned her, but the potential was always there. It seemed if something could go wrong with Oden’s knees and feet it has. Oden vows he will comeback and not retired, but the odds are not on his side.

Again Rose doesn’t necessarily belong on this list now, only time will tell.

You won’t soon forget the name Philip Humber

Seattle, WA, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Philip Humber celebrates after recording the final out in a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. The White Sox won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

 

This is a man who the New York Yankees drafted in the 29th round of the 2001 draft who elected for the lecture halls at Rice University in lieu of the pinstripes.

This is the pitcher who the New York Mets were sure about in the 2004 draft. So sure they used the third-overall pick on the big strong pitcher from Buncombe, Texas.

And this is the same pitcher who bounced around the majors since his debut in 2006, desperately trying to keep his career going.  A pitcher who was a long shot to join his fourth major league team, the Chicago White Sox, in 2011 but did in fact, putting up decent numbers, nine wins and nine losses.

And this is the pitcher who just threw a perfect game Saturday afternoon in Seattle.

Even though Saturday was just his 12th big league win, after joining an elite group of 21st big league throwers to ever achieve perfection, Philip Humber simply can’t be labeled a bust anymore.

He recently told the Chicago Tribune, “I’ve been through everything you can go through in baseball so far. “I’ve had Tommy John surgery, been the hot prospect, been a bust, been given a lot of opportunities and been given up on. You get to the point where you say, you know what, baseball’s not my whole life and if I’m going to play it I’m going to play because I enjoy it. That’s where I’m at.’”

He actually pitched brilliantly in his season debut April 16th in a no-decision loss against Baltimore, a game which has received less fan fare for obvious reasons. Humber struck out seven with one earned run.

Saturday night he faced 27 batters and retired 27 batters against the Mariners in Seattle. According to MLB.com Humber needed only 96 pitches to accomplish the feat, the fewest in a perfect game since David Cone’s 88 vs. the Expos on July 18, 1999.

He may be one of the lowest paid (*adjusted for inflation of course) ever to throw a perfect game. He is set to make $500,000 in 2012 for the White Sox and the gamble to sign him in 2011, is paying off nicely. His ERA through two games is 0.63.

The Mets, not so nice, they used the third overall pick on Humber in 2004, passing up on Jared Weaver and missing out on Justin Verlander who went No. 2 overall the Tigers.

The Mets sent Humber to the Twins in 2008 as part of the Johan Santana trade. Time will tell, but it looks like the Mets may have missed again. Because out of no where, a legitimate ace appears to be on the White Sox roster, even though no one seems to have anticipated this, not even the pitcher himself.

Upon reflecting upon the 20 other men who had thrown a perfect game, Humber humbly concluded after the game (Via the Chicago Tribune): “I don’t know what Philip Humber is doing in this list. I have no idea what my name is doing there. But I’m thankful it’s there.”

See Philip Humber for yourself, when you shop for the best prices for White Sox tickets on Seathound.com

 

NFL Schedule Release: It’s all about primetime

This familiar NFL icon has vaulted the Broncos into must see territory for the 2012 season

The third Tuesday in April should be a national holiday-at least from the responsibilities of evening life…

Clear out the calendar for that night, have friends over and turn on the TV: it’s the NFL Schedule release.

Tuesday the NFL announced  its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2012, which kicks off on Wednesday night, September 5 and concludes on Sunday, December 30 with 16 division games.

A true measure of team’s popularity as a whole, as measured by the NFL’s schedule makers and TV networks is the number of times a team appears on primetime schedule. It has become a true off-season measuring stick.

The league caps the number of times a team can be scheduled for a primetime game at five. This  season eight teams received the honor of five PT games:  The Chargers, Bears, Broncos, Eagles, Giants, 49ers, Packers and Steelers.  You can guess why the Broncos appear on this list, we’ll get to that in a moment.

As announced several weeks ago the opening game of the season will be Wednesday Sept. 5 (8:30 p.m. ET) on NBC with the New York Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys.

RG3 and the Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day 

The league has growing confidence in a young man by the name of Robert Griffin III. A year ago this time you could not have convinced me the marketing machinery of the most power pro sports league in the world would not be 100 percent behind Andrew Luck. As things turned out, Peyton Manning’s neck gave out, and the Indianapolis Colts went in a full rebuilding-mode. Luck had a good not great season at Stanford while RG III went lights out at Baylor. The Redskins gave a way the farm to the Rams for the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft and will select RG3 next week. In a year’s time, RG3 went from a late first rounder to a can’t miss prospect with GM’s, coaches and scouts gushing over him. The NFL also buys in and will showcase him on Turkey day. The Redskins aren’t on primetime a ton, but still thanksgiving is a huge spotlight. And turn on any NFL TV show now, such as ESPN’s NFL Live and the talk is all about RG3.

The early Thanksgiving game will in Detroit as it has been on 72 occasions previously. The Lions will host the Houston Texans. The late game will be on NBC with the Jets hosting the Patriots.

Manning and the Broncos on Primetime National TV 5 times

The network’s are going with old faithful, Mr. Peyton Manning one last time. Whether he fails or proves the Colts made a huge mistake, it should be what the suits call “compelling drama” and deliver eyeballs.

But the league and the network people are  risking that Manning will actually be on the field healthy and ready to go next September. Maybe that’s why the Broncos get primetime coverage in the first two weeks of the seasons, as the networks are hedging their bet against Manning’s longevity over a 16-game seasons. At the very least fans will want to witness the rapid decline of his career. And in the worst-case scenario, we’re looking at Caleb Hanie, Manning’s current backup.

The Broncos will open the season by hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football Week 1.

In Week 2 the Broncos play at Atlanta for Monday Night Football.

Week 6 the Broncos visit the Chargers for Monday Night Football.

Week 8 the Broncos host the Saints on Sunday Night Football.

And if that wasn’t enough Manning will be showcased Thursday Dec. 6 against Oakland on the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football.

The league limits teams to five primetime appearances, or likely we would see more.

Andrew Luck and the Colts disappear from primetime

As mentioned above it’s really interesting to see how much attention has been taken away from Andrew Luck, a rare media phenomenon.

The people in the know still say he’s the best quarterback prospect coming out of college since Peyton Manning, but the story has been about RG3.

The Colts are in full rebuilding mode and are not expected to be that great. The NFL doesn’t either the Colts have just one primetime game, a Thursday Nighter against the Jags of all teams Nov. 8

An average NFL game is watched by 17.5 million people.

NFL games were the highest rated program locally across the nation 91-percent of the time.

In 2011, the NFL reached 20o million unique viewers. No not unique personalities, but actually 200 million different people watched at least some part of an NFL game.

NFL TV ratings have never been higher. TV drives everything about the NFL, that will continue in 2012.