JJ's profile

Name: John McClure
Location: UK
Member since: October 15, 2003
Last visit: April 01, 2015

JJ has posted 152 links and 2384 comments to SportsFilter and 22 links and 231 comments to the Locker Room and 5 columns.

Sports Bio

To avoid future confusion in golf threads, yes I was once a pro, but no I wasn't very good, and after less than a year of playing in South Africa (and a mere two proper tournament starts, from which I managed to make the cut - and therefore a cheque - precisely no times), I severed a tendon in my hand (in 1999) and now I just play for (mentally agonising) fun.

Recent Links

Death in the London Marathon: Claire Squires, 30, from Leicestershire, collapsed on the final stretch of the 26.2-mile course on Sunday. She was running to raise money for the Samaritans, for whom her mother has been a volunteer for 24 years, and in memory of her brother who died of an overdose. She hoped to raise a few quid. As of this post, her Justgiving account had raised almost 450,000 from more than 40,000 donations.

posted by JJ to other at 12:30 PM on April 24 - 1 comment

The second weekend in April: means only one thing to a golf fan - it's Masters time. Tiger Woods won two weeks ago at Bay Hill and is the 5/1 favourite. Mark O'Meara likes what he has seen of him in practice. Rory McIlroy threw it away last year, but is second favourite this time out. Faldo thinks Donald has got what it takes. Hunter Mahan cursed himself by wining last week. Big Phil's playing well, and even Harrington thinks he might have something to show. Martin Kaymer has yet to make the cut in four starts, but skipped one over the water into the hole at 16 in the practice round, so maybe this is his year! Let the jacket fight commence!

posted by JJ to golf at 09:02 AM on April 03 - 10 comments

Tiger Seal: Tiger Woods was considering abandoning golf and joining the Navy SEALS, former coach Hank Haney has claimed.

posted by JJ to golf at 11:45 AM on February 29 - 17 comments

Tiger back on top: ... of the second page of golf's World Rankings. After 780 weeks in the top 50, Woods drops to number 51 in the world. He will play this week in a 2nd tier event in California, fulfilling one of his recently added "goals for 2011" of playing in a tournament he hadn't played in before.

posted by JJ to golf at 09:26 AM on October 04 - 1 comment

Juventus have a new stadium.: In 1903, Notts County answered the call of a Juventus member to send a set of the club's black and white striped shirts to replace the pink ones worn by the players of the Italian club since their founding. So to return the favour, Juve invited Notts County - currently 12th in the third tier of English football - to come and play in the stadium's inaugural game.

posted by JJ to soccer at 08:06 AM on September 09 - 6 comments

Recent Comments

Tiger Woods Falls Out of Top 100 in Golf

As a side note - or, more accurately, to directly comment on the FPP - in the 18.5 years between entering the top 100 and dropping out of it, he spent more than 13 years in total as world number one. That's just stupendous.

That said, I still reckon he's the closest thing real sport has to a Roy Munson.

posted by JJ at 09:30 AM on March 31

Tiger Woods Falls Out of Top 100 in Golf

He's got more insidious problems at the moment than not being able to hit towering iron shots or long drives (he can still do both at least as well as the "average" guys out there); what he's spent the last couple of months battling (wisely, behind closed doors) is a form of the yips more dreaded than the putting version - the chipping yips.

His back is allegedly fine again (according to Notah Begay), and his knees aren't giving him trouble. Ironically, tinkering with his swing so much for so many years in an attempt to avoid long term injury may actually have caused a lot of his physical problems. He switched back to an older version over the winter and suddenly was hitting very big drives again, not all of them headed to the carpark either.

I don't doubt that he had an injury at the Farmers event, but it was evident in the run-up to that incident that he was really struggling with the chipping yips. In isolation, they're tough to deal with and will cost you several shots a round before you know it; but far worse is how they put pressure on other areas of your game, both forwards and backwards.

Going forwards, you're leaving yourself longer par putts, which, even if you hole them, take it out of you emotionally if you keep having to hole them instead of leaving yourself a nice three inch tap in. Going backwards, your approach shots come under more pressure because you know you're in trouble if you miss the green. You start to steer it away from flags to avoid short-siding yourself, and pretty soon, even if you hit all the greens, you're dropping shots. They even cause problems back at the tee; you start trying to drive it further to give yourself shorter approach shots to reduce the odds on you missing the green and having to chip.

Rumour has it today that Tiger's going to Augusta tomorrow to play a practice round. Like most golf fans (and players) I'd love to see him play and compete again, but even if he's found something he can use around the greens (in terms of a technique or a thought) that has "cured" his yips, it will only take one knifed flop shot to cut the legs out from under him if he plays next week.

posted by JJ at 09:22 AM on March 31

How Good Are the Americans, Really?

From the outside looking in, the big difference between this US team and the previous ones I've seen is that this one looks, with very few minor exceptions, like a team of footballers, whereas the previous ones all looked like teams of athletes playing football. I'd be amazed if some of the world's top clubs are not currently coveting the hell out of some of them, and I think Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Brad Friedel all disprove the notion that the US has never had a player coveted by a top team.

posted by JJ at 09:56 AM on July 03

Michael Bradley Covered Most Ground in World Cup

It's a bit of a depressing thing. Part of me wants to say that what the US team should do is get a bit more cynical. They should go down more often when someone swipes a leg or an arm at them. They should roll around on the floor a bit to try and entice the referee into booking their assailant and to give their team mates a breather for a few seconds. They should learn how to hold onto the ball in the middle of the park and slow everything down a bit when they have a lead.

But most of me wants to stand up, applaud and yell at all the other teams that this is how they should all play; this is how they DID play when they were children and before it became a job. And that for a neutral watching a game, it makes for a much more entertaining spectacle. That 0-0 with Belgium is one of the most entertaining games (never mind being THE most entertaining 0-0) I've ever seen. I saw in that the bones of the meaningless weekly games I play with my friends, but with lots of very talented flesh on top. I hardly ever see that when Spain play, or when Barca play, or when Bayern play (since Pep ruined them).

If the US want to win things, they will have to subdue some of that natural ebullience; but it would be a much better footballing world to live in if they just kept it up and everyone else followed suit.

posted by JJ at 09:42 AM on July 03

Michael Bradley Covered Most Ground in World Cup

Without wishing to denigrate Bradley, who I think played about as well as anyone could have with the limited support the system in which he was playing afforded him, is there a chance that he ran further than anyone else because he was constantly out of position? Messi, for example, spends a lot of the game walking rather than running, but is so acutely aware of where the space is, that he "pops up" in the right place at the right time a lot. Zidane was similar in his day.

I'm reminded of the answer former Liverpool player Michael Robinson gave when asked by the Guardian who was better, Hansen or Lawrenson?

Mark used to fly into slide tackles, everyone would applaud and he'd be a hero. But Hansen would have seen it long before. Lawrensen was never on his feet; Hansen never needed to be on his bum. Lawrensen was brilliant but Hansen was a genius.

Bradley is being (rightly) lauded for his work rate, but there's part of me wants to point out that if he were a little better at football, he wouldn't need to do so much running.

posted by JJ at 05:31 AM on July 03

Luis Suarez Banned 9 Games for Biting Opponent

We did. By the skin of our teeth, one might say.

posted by JJ at 10:06 AM on June 27

Luis Suarez Banned 9 Games for Biting Opponent

I wonder if Liverpool have to continue paying his wages during that time. That would be close to 4 million for him to not even come to the stadium. If they do and that's how the world works, I'm not letting this week end without biting my boss and demanding four months of paid leave.

Chiellini says he thinks the ban is excessive.

posted by JJ at 08:24 AM on June 27

Luis Suarez Bites Opponent at World Cup

Suarez and chicken Chiellini had previous, according to the Independent.

posted by JJ at 11:44 AM on June 25

Luis Suarez Pushes England to Brink of World Cup Elimination

Sport's like life. You don't get what you deserve, or often even what's fair, you get what you get and you carry on the best you can. And many south american footballers have a similar attitude to "cheating", not least Maradonna, who was arguably lauded more in 1986 when they beat England because he scored with his hand than he would have been had he scored "fairly".

posted by JJ at 11:17 AM on June 20

Keeper Guillermo Ochoa Saves Mexico's Tocino

Last time Brazil failed to win their group: 1978 (when Austria beat them into second place on goals scored). I suspect they'll be OK to get out of the group, but on current form, I'd back England to beat them, Italy to thump them, and Germany to destroy them.

posted by JJ at 05:44 AM on June 18

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

@grum Nice. Johnny notoriously can't see where the flag is unless he draws it onto the screen.

posted by JJ at 11:36 AM on May 20

Manchester United Fires David Moyes

Certain skills don't scale. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did. A decent man, a good football manager, an honest broker - in other words, completely the wrong choice to manage one of the world's uber clubs. I'm sure he's gutted and not a little embarrassed, but in time he'll probably realise he's also a little relieved.

posted by JJ at 11:14 AM on April 22

LPGA players frustrated by Golf Digest cover of Gretzky

"Though if you're a male golfer, you don't have to look hot to be on the cover. Just successful."

His name's Randy. It's still sex being used to sell the magazine.

posted by JJ at 08:51 AM on April 07

Tiger Woods out of Masters after back surgery

Rory has been installed as the pre-tournament favourite with the bookmakers in Europe. This may have something (or indeed, nothing) to do with the fact that the winners of the four previous majors Tiger has missed through injury were all from the island of Ireland:

2008 Open - Harrington,
2008 PGA - Harrington,
2011 US Open - Graeme McDowell,
2011 Open - Darren Clarke.

As Tiger closed out his processional win at Augusta in 1997, there was a lot of "dead air" on the BBC. There was nothing much to say as he hammered the final nails into the coffin of the tournament. I still remember Peter Alliss getting abuse in the British media afterwards for filling time then by saying (I paraphrase): "He'll win a lot of these you know, provided his body holds up. I just don't see how if he continues to swing like that he can have a career that lasts as long as we've come to expect golfers' careers to last for. I'm not trying to be a prophet of doom, what he's doing out there to the golf course is phenomenal, but I've seen a thing or two in my time and I think at some point he'll have to change his swing or spend long periods on the sidelines with injuries."

posted by JJ at 10:43 AM on April 02

Red Sox Write Love Letter to Cardinals

A seriously intense rivalry between teams from the same city? Mets vs Yankees? ManU vs ManCity?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha... good one. That wouldn't happen.

What might be OK is the mayor of said city applauding the spirit in which both teams had contested something, but not the winner saying it about both teams.

posted by JJ at 12:12 PM on November 06