To my golf buddies: Are you going to pay $20-$30 to watch Tiger Woods go one-on-one against Phil Mickelson the day after Thanksgiving on pay-per-view TV?
Let me rephrase that. Do you have any interest in watching the world’s No. 13 golfer (Woods), who hasn’t won a major tournament in more than a decade, play the No. 26 golfer (Mickelson), who hasn’t won in five years and whose golf career is clearly in decline?
The winner-take-all prize is $9 million, not counting side challenges like longest drive, closest to the pin and other bets. So stupid. I wonder how Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka, the actual No. 1 and No. 2 golfers in the world, feel about Tiger and Phil pushing them aside for the big money?
Let’s contrast this with tennis, where the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 stars — Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer — are playing at peak performance and each won a Grand Slam event in 2018. If the No. 13 tennis player went against the No. 26 player on pay-per-view TV, it would pit Fabio Fognini of Italy vs. Richard Gasquet of France. How many people would pay to watch? In the words of a celibate George Costanza: absolute zero!
I understand it makes sense to have American golfers on the pay TV special. But there are six Americans ahead of Woods in the world rankings, and 13 players ahead of Mickelson. That’s not a good sign for golf, when its two most (only) marketable stars are past their prime and don’t win the biggest tournaments.
Dog-gone election result
Here’s an out-of-state election result that surprised me. Florida, where craziness lives, voted 69-31 percent to approve Amendment 13, banning greyhound racing by 2020. The Sunshine State currently has 11 dog tracks. Florida becomes the 41st state to abolish the so-called “Queen of Sports.” Stop guessing, horse racing is the “King of Sports.”
One by-product of the ban, between 5,000 and 7,000 racing dogs will have to find new dog tracks or go up for adoption. Since only six tracks will be in business in the U.S. after 2020, most of Florida’s greyhounds will be available for adoption. That’s not counting all the greyhound pups who haven’t qualified for racing yet.
Texas hasn’t banned dog racing at the voting booth, but the industry is in such free fall that it’s going away all by itself. Live racing is rarely held anymore at our three dog tracks, in La Marque, Harlingen and Corpus Christi. Gulf Greyhound Park on I-45 in La Marque effectively closed as fulltime facility in 2016. Now it offers live simulcast betting on dog and horse racing from around the country seven days a week, doors open at 11 a.m.
Most blame (or credit) the decline in Texas dog racing to cruelty concerns and more popular casino gambling in surrounding states. Of course we can’t have casino gambling in Texas because our courageous, righteous leaders in Austin are more concerned about who goes potty in which public restrooms. Funny, they sure don’t mind accepting donations from casino operations in other states, though. Okay, not so funny. Put casino gambling on the ballot, I dare you.
A serious Hoffman warning
You know me, always adventurous, always health-minded when it comes to food. I’ve been hearing a lot about new ways that cauliflower is being used to create healthier options. For example, you can get a pizza on crust made from cauliflower. That sounds criminal.
The most popular cauliflower product seems to be mashed cauliflower — as a substitute for mashed potatoes. Okay, I’ll give it a shot. I bought a package of frozen Green Giant Mashed Cauliflower (with "no potato") for $4.99.
The deal is, mashed cauliflower is supposed to taste just like mashed potatoes (one of my favorite foods) and nobody can tell the difference. Really?
Mashed cauliflower is horrible. You know why? Because it tastes like cauliflower, one of nature’s most hideous creations. Not only does it taste awful, it filled my house with a foul odor that had me opening windows and spraying Glade. I thought the smoke detector would go off in protest.
True, mashed cauliflower has fewer calories and carbs than mashed potatoes. But it’s the ultimate pyrrhic victory: not worth it. You can control mashed potatoes’ health hazard by going easy on the butter and milk and sour cream. I use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and 2-percent milk and everybody loves my mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving.
The verdict on mashed cauliflower – the worst, Jerry. Hard pass. And if Green Giant is thinking of mashed broccoli or mashed Brussels sprouts, it can stop now. As my favorite state rep Sarah Davis says, that’s baby food.
Astros win World Series — book it
Ben Reiter, the Sports Illustrated writer whose June 2014 cover story famously predicted that the Houston Astros would win the 2017 World Series, will be here Sunday, November 11 to sign his book Astroball: The New Way to Win it All at the Jewish Book & Arts Festival.
He should start working on a Sports Illustrated story about the Astros winning the World Series in 2019, because I’m telling you …
The book fair will be held at the Evelyn Rubinstein Jewish Community Center, 5601 S. Braeswood Blvd. Other authors appearing this weekend include Jeff Oliver (The Two-Plate Solution: A Novel of Culinary Mayhem in the Middle East), Jenn Abelson (I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice and Hope), John Schwartz (This is the Year I Put My Financial Life in Order), Keith Gessen (A Terrible Country), Deborah Karchmer (The Accidental Bookbinder – Stories Bound to Last), and Stephanie Wittels Wachs (Everything is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss).
Visit the site for a full schedule of author appearances and more information.