Beyond Golf — 21 April 2014 by Bob Sherwin
Foursome Forecast: Geography wins

One: The Zurich Classic in New Orleans is a victim of geography. The poor folks running the tournament might be a little disappointed in the quality of the field. It’s already without the usual front-line stars such as Tiger, Phil and Rory but most of the second-line stars also are skipping out. The primary reason is because the PGA Tour just finished a stop in South Carolina. Players who want to play the Zurich will need to fly or drive a considerable way to get to New Orleans. Then next week is the Wells Fargo Tournament in North Carolina. So the thinking is, why not just stay in the Carolinas, work on your game and take a quick drive next week to Charlotte. It seems that if you are a struggling professional trying to reach some season prize-money goals, this is the tournament you enter. Among the players entered are Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler and defending champion Billy Horschel.

Two: It’s going to take longer than a year to ease the tragic memories of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Four people were killed and hundreds injured, many severely, in a terrorist bombing at the finish line a year ago. It will be held again Monday morning and this year it doesn’t really matter who’s favored or even who wins. The headliners are the survivors who will be honored, some who may even run, in the event.

Three: Indiana, with the best record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, draws some unwanted attention in the first round of the league’s playoffs. The No. 1-seeded Pacers lost to the No. 8-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the opening game last week. Game 2 will be Tuesday, again in Indianapolis. The Pacers can’t afford a second home lost in the best-of-seven series. Chicago also will be scrutinized as the Bulls also lost their opening game at home, to lowly Washington. Game 2 is also Tuesday in Chicago.

Four: It took two overtimes but Columbus pulled off the upset win of the NHL’s first round, beating Pittsburgh on the road, 3-2 Saturday. That tied the series at 1-1 with Game 3 Monday in Columbus. Pittsburgh is the second seed in the Eastern Conference and is expected to challenge for the Stanley Cup. The Penguins have work to do. The best early series, however, is Boston, considered the favorite by many, against Detroit. That series is tied at 1-1 with Game 3 Tuesday in Detroit.

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 41st year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past seven years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. He won't win the club championship any time soon with his 15 handicap and default-swing slice but he does have a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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