JJ's profile

Name: John McClure
Location: UK
Member since: October 15, 2003
Last visit: April 07, 2014

JJ has posted 152 links and 2372 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

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

Red Sox Write Love Letter to Cardinals

What a lot of condescending pish. Disregarding the semantically null use of "both" and "most" in the same sentence (he said doing no such thing), this is just cringemakingly horrific. I'm trying to work out if it would have been OK for the losing team to do this, but I'm coming down on the side of it being crass no matter who does it. Winning team does it, sounds condescending; losing team does it, sounds like they don't care. Either way, it's dreadful.

I'm trying to imagine another sport where it might possibly work. In golf, you get people who didn't win saying nice things about people who did all the time; and you get winners saying nice things about guys who nearly won but didn't. But even there, in the one part of the game when it is a real head-to-head like the World Series (i.e., the Ryder Cup), this would not fly.

posted by JJ at 12:56 PM on November 05

Northwestern Football Game Sacks Peanuts

I'm reminded of Loius CK's bit: "Of course!... but maybe."

posted by JJ at 07:33 AM on October 17

The most valuable "brands" in sports

Surprised to see Woods still at the top of that - thought he'd have taken more of hit.

posted by JJ at 10:18 AM on October 16

Ronaldo Speaks Up for Field-Crashing Fan Who Hugged Him

Interesting and unexpected. Looking at the video, Ronaldo looked almost moved by whatever the chap had to say to him. Fair play to him for trying to help. What are the odds his request will have an impact on proceedings?

posted by JJ at 07:26 AM on October 16

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Sorry if this is a bit old, but it's new to me: Mike Tyson singing the Girl from Ipanema. [spotted in this thread on MetaFilter]

posted by JJ at 08:29 AM on October 15

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

JJ forgot to add that his first time surfing involved a shark...

Of course! I'm also a tennis jinx. I've seen Federer play twice in the flesh, and he lost both times. The first time was at Wimbledon in 2002 when Ancic beat him in straight sets. That was the only game he lost there for the next six years until Safin beat him in 2008, so it was one of only two he lost in an eight year stretch. The second time I saw him was at the season closing thing at the O2 in London, when he got beaten by Davydenko, who went on to win it.

The jumbotron thing at the (University of Michigan) game was very amusing anyway, but added to by the commentary from six drunk guys behind us. At one point, a small but intense pocket of focusing, bespectacled enthusiasts was shown, inspiring a cry of "Check out THOSE mathletes!"

posted by JJ at 09:24 AM on October 08

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

I don't doubt that, yerfatma. I don't think the Giants pay so well.

posted by JJ at 02:16 PM on October 07

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

The guy from the DHS said to me this time:

"You've been here recently." "Yeah, I was here three weeks ago." "Was that business or pleasure?" "That was pleasure. I was playing golf at Bethpage." "Nice. And this time?" "Business. I'm playing golf at Merion." "Where do I get a job like yours?"

Joking aside, he then told me I'd probably be better to leave it a little longer between visits or someone less enlightened than him might start asking the wrong kind of questions and "get the rubber gloves out".

posted by JJ at 02:16 PM on October 07

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

The guy I was with told me a good story about meeting Jack Nicklaus at the Bridgestone one year at a corporate thing. He didn't tell him at first that his dad had been the coach of the Michigan golf team (presumably Nicklaus's big Ohio rival). Instead, he asked him about a story he'd heard a lot growing up about Jack driving a green at a par four in a varsity match... "Well, I did and I didn't. It was late in the season, the ground was forzen solid, we were off a forward tee, so... you know. It wasn't that big a deal. Who'd you hear that story from?"

"Well, my dad was the coach of the University of Michigan golf team for years."

"Oh really? Well, in that case, I drove that green twice that day, from the tips... AND it was into the wind!"

As my pal said: "He was kidding around, but at the same time, there was a glint in his eye that wasn't."

posted by JJ at 12:07 PM on October 07

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Oh shit - I've made a massive cock of that, have I? I'm fairly sure the guy who took me to the game (a colleague from our US office whose old man used to be the golf coach for the University of Michigan) doesn't read SpoFi. Guess I won't get invited back if he does.

The game, rcade, was tremendous. Ever since the NFL started getting beamed to the UK (in 1984 on the newly created Channel 4) I loved me some "American Football". Glory hunter that I am, I became a Dolphins fan. I had a number 13 shirt and everything. I swore some day I'd go to a game, but as fate would have it, until Saturday, football was the last of the American "big four" that I'd not been to a live game for.

It had something to live up to: my first basketball game saw LeBron ht a 3-pointer at the final buzzer to force overtime for the Cavs against an unbeaten Celtics team featuring Kevin Garnett. LeBron then proceeded to just wipe the floor with everyone in overtime. My first baseball game was a Jonathon Sanchez no-hitter at AT&T Park. And my first hockey game saw the Belfast Giants force an abandonment of a home game when some on-ice monkey business turned into a full scale riot in the crowd that "threatened the fragile peace process" of the entire country.

The football game itself wasn't overly close. Michigan looked comfortable to me throughout, but not so comfortable that they'll be able to do anything more than roll over and get their tummies tickled by Ohio later in the season. My big take away was that even though football seems to take a long time to play, it actually felt like it was all moving quite quickly. It had more ebb and flow to it than I expected. Not having to endure adverts during the advert breaks probably helped! I also love American sports' addiction to "noise" and the making thereof.

posted by JJ at 11:58 AM on October 07

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

In other Michigan State related news, I went to my first ever football game at the weekend, at the Big House. I bought a hat and everything: https://twitter.com/JohnMcClureGolf/media. Apologies for the self-link, but hey, it was exciting to be in a crowd of more than 110,000 people.

posted by JJ at 11:01 AM on October 07

Football as Religion?

Good read, Owly. Thanks for the link. I think in a broader sense most sports are the same. I certainly get from golf what other people seem to get from religion - peace, time to think, inspiration, hope, morality, universality. I imagine that if you're into anything enough it fills that curious vacuum in a human mind.

posted by JJ at 09:23 AM on September 23