FIFA announced today that the 2026 World Cup Finals (and please note that is the appropriate name for what begins tomorrow in Russia) will be played in the USA, Mexico and Canada. All three countries will receive automatic qualification for the Finals. The field will be expanded to 48 teams with additional slots likely awarded to COMEBOL, UEFA and CONCACAF. The USA will host 60 of the 80 games and Mexico and Canada 10 apiece. All games after the Round of 16 will be played in the USA with the Championship Game in New Jersey. Here’s hoping that Houston and Arlington will get games. Red’s goal – assuming he makes it that long – will be to attend at least one game in the USA, Mexico and Canada.
Several current PGA tour members have questioned the manhood of NCAA golfers who use push carts instead of carrying their own bag. Golf Digest has the full scoop. Harris English, Billy Horschel and others seem overly offended by the amateurs employing modern push carts (Red remembers the days of pull carts). Not all pros have fallen in line. Bob Estes for one indicates that he wishes he had used one as he now suffers from some medical conditions possibly caused by years of carrying a hefty bag.
Red himself forswore the use of a pull/push cart for many years and insisted on walking and carrying. But in order to still walk as much as possible, Red has moved into the pro-push cart camp. For those who think golf is no exercise at all – Red challenges them to walk 18 holes in the Texas summer heat sometime. Walking an average 18 hole course is typically the equivalent of about 16-20,000 steps. That’s anywhere from 4 to 6 miles. Red you ask, how can that be when a course is only about 7000 yards? That leaves out the green to next tee box stroll of up to 100 yards or more, the walk around the green while putting, the searching for your and your fellow players’ balls, measuring distance, and general meandering, etc. Lugging a 20-30 lb bag for 6 miles is really not that much fun. Even the younger Red would usually be wondering about the sanity of same after the 14th hole. So the pampered elites of the PGA tour who haven’t lifted a bag in years and have a caddy to cater to their every whim on the course need to layoff the amateurs – most of whom are playing for the love of the game and will never play for the big money.
The finest non-major golf tournament held in the United States takes place in Fort Worth this weekend at Colonial Country Club. The event – dubbed the Fort Worth Invitational this year – has been held at the same site longer than any other tournament. As a result, CCC and the PGA have this tournament working like a finely-tuned, well-oiled machine. The facilities for the spectators are fabulous, there is ample room at most holes for up close viewing of the action and the overall layout is spectacular and compact. You can catch action on every hole without having to walk miles in the process. The venerable course holds up as well and while scores can be low only once has more than 20 under been the winning score.
The only downside has been the inability of to attract a better field in recent years – and the sometimes brutally hot weather in late May. The list of past champions, however, is impressive and includes such all-time greats as Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Cary Middlecoff, Billy Caspar, Ben Crenshaw, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth.
Look for Red on Sunday relaxing in a luxury skybox by the 13th green with cool beverage in hand.
Unlike in past couple of years, Texas has an undeniably strong presence in this year’s NCAA Basketball tournament with a record-tying 7 teams in the 68 team field vying for the Final Four in San Antonio. In no particular order, Texas Tech, Stephen F. Austin, Houston, Texas A&M, Texas Southern, TCU and UT have made the field. Red thinks Tech and TCU have the best shot at a Final Four appearance, but he is almost always wrong about such things.
In fact, a Texas school has not been in the Final Four since 2003 when the University of Texas came on strong for its third Final Four shot. But, UTEP is the only other Texas team to have made a Final Four and won the only NCAA Championship for a Texas team with its upset of Kentucky in 1966. Maybe this is the year.
Tony Spagnola writes about the sometimes tortured and heartbreaking history of the Dallas (Arlington) Cowboys franchise attempting to argue that but for a few bounces of the ovoid ball, the Cowboys could be the greatest team in NFL history. This is absolute must-reading for all haters of the Evil North Texas Football Empire.
They are remembered for such plays as The Hail Mary and Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard run. For Tom Landry and Tex Schramm and Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones. For Staubach and Aikman and Lilly and White, and of course for Emmitt becoming the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.
But funny, this occurred to me, oh, sometime after the Vikings’ seemingly cleansed the memory of the Hail Mary from that 1975 season with their Minneapolis Miracle to break the New Orleans Saints hearts three weeks ago:
These Cowboys, for all their greatness over all these years, sure can make a claim for simultaneously being known as The Heartbreak Kids. No, seriously. Do you realize the penance the Cowboys have paid over the years, the close call and seemingly cruel and unusual punishment at the end of games that has prevented them from becoming the greatest franchise in NFL history?
And Red’s personal favorite –
Remember 2006, Bill Parcells’ final season as head coach. Seattle. NFC Wild Card Game. Tony Romo’s first season to start. Cowboys trail 21-20, 3:10 remaining. Romo drives the Cowboys 70 yards to the Seattle 8. Only 1:53 left. Romo hits Witten at the 1, first down, right?
Oh, wait, there is a booth video review of the spot. And somehow referee Walt Anderson, after looking at video that was not shooting straight down the 1-yard line, announces he’s re-spotting the ball “at the 1½-yard line,” fourth down and one with 1:19 left.
And you know the rest of that story, Romo dropping the snap on what was going to be Martin Gramatica’s game-winning 19-yard field-goal attempt, and then is pulled down running for his life at the 2 by Seattle’s Justin Babineaux. Ball game. Season. End of Bill’s coaching career,
NFL Hall of Famer and former 49er’s and Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle passed away on Sunday. Tittle was born and raised in Marshall. Tittle idolized his neighbor Sammy Baugh and practiced relentlessly to become a quarterback. He starred for Marshall High leading them to an undefeated season his senior year. He chose LSU over Texas for his college where he set career records that were not broken until the 1970’s. As a junior in 1946, Tittle led his team to the Cotton Bowl. The notorious game against Arkansas was played in freezing conditions on an icy field and became known as the Ice Bowl after ending in a 0-0 tie.
Tittle began his pro career for the Baltimore Colts in the All-American Football Conference in 1948. When that club folded, he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers where he was named All-Pro and played in four Pro Bowl games.
In 1961, the 34-year old Tittle was traded to the New York Giants whom he led to three consecutive NFL Championship games. The Giants lost all three, but by then Tittle was a folk hero to Giants fans.
In 17 seasons, YAT completed 2,427 out of 4,395 passes for 33,070 yards and 242 touchdowns and another 39 rushing TDs. The only blemish on his statistical record are his 248 career interceptions.
Photo of Y.A. Tittle the first professional football player to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. November 22, 1954