Ryder Cup Team Better Off Without Tiger Woods

by Noiz 15. June 2014 20:51

Ryder Cup Team Better Off Without Tiger Woods

Derek Jeter, Steve Nash, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. aren’t the only sports icons turning 40 in 2014.  Golf’s Ryder Cup is also turning the big four-o.

The 40th Ryder Cup is set to begin Sept. 26 in Scotland.  The three-day event is actually much older than “40.”  The first official Ryder Cup occurred in 1927.

Origins
You’re probably wondering how an event that’s 87 years old has only occurred just 39 times and is now played in an even year.

The Ryder Cup was cancelled from 1939 to 1945 due to World War II.  The 2001 Ryder Cup was postponed to 2002 because of the terror attacks of 9/11.  Instead of holding the next one in 2003, they decided to hold it in 2004 and then continue to schedule it every two years.

This year’s event is being held in Gleneagles, Scotland.  The course is also named Gleneagles and it’s a PGA Centenary Course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

Notable Golf Events Held At Gleneagles
Curtis Cup (1936)
Women's British Open (1957)
Scottish Open (1987 to 1994)
McDonald's WPGA Championship of Europe (1996 to 1999)
Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles (Since 1999)

Captains
Team Europe is the reigning two-time Ryder Cup champs and winners of five out of the last six competitions.  In the 21st century, the only time Team USA has walked away victorious was 2008.

This year the captain for Team USA is Tom Watson.  He was previously a captain in 1993 and led the Americans to a 15-13 victory.  Paul McGinley is captain of the European squad.

McGinley will have the pressure of continuing European’s winning ways but Watson has a big personnel decision to make.  He must decide on whether or not to pick Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods
In March, Tiger Woods underwent microdiscectomy surgery for a pinched nerve.  He’s been out ever since.  In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Watson said Woods is an “automatic pick” for the Ryder Cup. 

Watson later backed off that comment and added that Woods needs to be “playing well” too.  The legend did not say how many tournaments Woods needs to play and didn’t answer the question if it needs to be just one tournament.

“Tiger I hope just basically gets well and starts playing well again. If he gets well and is playing well, I'll pick him. But one more tournament, I don't know. I can't answer that." – Tom Watson

Moot Point
Ultimately, I think Watson’s criteria for whether or not Woods gets on the team is meaningless.  It’s more politics than anything else.

If Woods wants to play no one will tell him no.  If he doesn’t, he’ll have several excuses to choose from other than “I don’t want to compete in the Ryder Cup.”  He can say he’s unfit or he can take the high road and say the spot should go to someone more deserving. 

Meanwhile, Watson is leaving the door open for Woods.  In doing so, he’s appeasing the 14-time major winner as well as sponsors and television executives who think they need Woods to sell Ryder Cup tickets and attract eyeballs.

Don’t Hold Your Breath
Healthy or not, I don’t think Woods wants to or will play in the Ryder Cup.  Remember, he doesn’t get paid for hopping on a plane, flying all the way to Scotland, and playing three days of high intensity golf. 

During this stage of his career, Woods has but one goal and that’s to win a 19th major and surpass Jack Nicklaus for most all time.  I doubt he’d want to waste one healthy stroke on any tournament that doesn’t help him achieve that historic goal.

Woods & The Ryder Cup
Woods is arguably the best golfer the planet has ever seen, and he’s done a lot of good things at the Ryder Cup, but it’s not like he’s leading the Americans to one victory after another.  He’s competed in seven Ryder Cups or every competition since 1997 except for 2008.  The only year a Ryder Cup team with Woods on the roster won is 1999.

Oddly enough, the last time the United States won the Ryder Cup was 2008, a year Tiger Woods was not on the team.  It’s interesting to note that in 2008 there were six Ryder Cup rookies on Team USA.

Saving Face
Woods is one of, if not, the greatest golfer in the history of the game.  He definitely makes any team better, but as I previously enumerated, his presence doesn’t guarantee a Ryder Cup victory.

What all the talk amounts to is Woods has political cover to play or not to play and Watson has political cover if Woods returns and doesn’t appear to be playing well.  Basically, the rhetoric is a way for both men to save face regardless of what happens.

When it’s all said and done, I don’t think Woods will be on the team and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.  In the 2012 Ryder Cup, Woods only scored half a point for his team.  He halved his singles match against that European powerhouse Francesco Molinari who has five professional wins to his name.

Selection Process
For the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team, nine of the 12 golfers will be selected by their performance on the tour.  The other three will be picked by Captain Tom Watson.  Woods will need a captain’s invitation as he currently sits in 64th position in Ryder Cup points.

At the time of publishing this article, the leader in Ryder Cup points for team U.S. is Bubba Watson. 

Current Points Leaders (as of 6/9/14)
Bubba Watson 
Jimmy Walker   
Matt Kuchar
Jordan Spieth
Dustin Johnson
Jim Furyk
Jason Dufner
Patrick Reed
Phil Mickelson

NBC
If you can’t make it to Scotland this year, Minnesota in two years, France in 2018, or Wisconsin in 2020 you’ll still be able to watch all the Ryder Cup action from the comfort of your couch. 

NBC recently announced that it will broadcast the Ryder Cup through 2030.  The peacock network has carried the popular golf event since 1991.

This new agreement will also produce a variety of Ryder Cup related programing including preview shows, a documentary series, a Captain’s pick selection show, and live coverage of practice rounds.  The programs will air on NBC and the Golf Channel.

Television though takes a back seat to actually being there.  The Ryder Cup provides some of the most exciting and dramatic golf of the biennial.  In addition to all the great drives and putts, when you’re there you’ll get to watch 24 of the world’s best golfers tee it off and compete for the love of the game.

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John Legend Does Bad And John Legend Does Good

by Noiz 11. June 2014 15:57

John Legend Does Bad And John Legend Does Good

John Legend broke even this spring.

He did something to forever ruin himself in the eyes of god-fearing music fans.  Then he did something to warm the cockles of even the most harden among us. 

Optimists will say his good deed avoided disaster.  Pessimists will charge that he missed a golden opportunity to sell even more records and attract even move fans to John Legend concerts.

Let’s start with the bad…

The Bad
John Legend sang at the wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West!  Oh the horror.  Legend crooned his number one smash hit “All of Me.”

The couple in question tied the knot on May 24 at Forte di Belvedere in Florence, Italy.

West is a musical genius, albeit one that’s difficult to root for, but Kim Kardashian is the apparent epitome of everything that is wrong with today’s celebrity worshiping culture.

The fact that her wedding was news, the fact that we all know she got hitched, might be one of the signs of the apocalypse. 

"The wedding was beautiful. I was happy to be there and happy to perform." – John Legend.

You can’t really fault Legend for being there and performing.   He and West go all the way back to 2001.  West helped Legend get his career going.  Furthermore, West has been involved in the making of every one of Legend’s albums (minus the one Legend made with The Roots). 

Yes, they’re boys but you know Legend made a lot of statements to the bride and groom that he didn’t really mean but said anyway because he didn’t want to hurt their feelings.  You know, he forced himself to say stuff like “You two were made for each other,” “You’re a lucky man, Kanye,” and “Congratulations.”

In a hundred years, when anthropologist, archeologists, and historians document what caused the fall of Western Civilization, and it leads them back to the wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, those academics are bound to exclaim: “What in the heck was John Legend doing there?”

Yes, I know Legend is also a musician who married a woman primarily known for her looks.  However, Legend’s wife, Chrissy Teigen, is an actual working model.  She was even one of those suitcase-holding models on the television show Deal or No Deal.

Being a model is pretty vapid (although it’s nice work if you can get it), but nothing’s more shallow than being famous for no reason.  As we all know, Kim Kardashian is the poster woman for being famous for no reason.

That’s why appearing at anything related to Kim Kardashian is not good.  Legend’s Kardashian carousing has got to cost him at least a few hundred fans and a few thousands in album sales.  Once you get the stench of a Kardashian on you, it’s hard to get it off (just ask Lamar Odom).

The Good
Fortunately, John Legend has done something to redeem himself.  At the very least, he has erased the bad mojo earned from singing for a Kardashian. 

On June 8, Legend and Teigen adopted a dog.  Not just any dog, they adopted a three-legged dog, which means the pooch still has more original parts than Kris Jenner.

In a tweet, Teigen called the French Bulldog their new “little tripod love bug” (I call dibs on “Little Tripod Love Bug” for a band name).  The dog’s official name is “Penny.”

Why the three legs?  Well, Teigen didn’t explain.  All she said was the canine’s previous owners were “buttheads” (grown women who use the word “butthead” is a subject for another article).

Penny is the third addition to the Teigen/Legend menagerie.  The couple also owns a bulldog named Puddy and French bulldog named Pippa.

Adopting a dog, much less one with three legs, is a great way to earn some serious goodwill.  Americans love dogs.  Sometimes, I think we love dogs more than we love people. 

Don’t believe me?  Let’s take a look at Chris Brown and Michael Vick.  Who has done better after their respective transgressions, the former against a two-legged creature or the latter against four-legged ones? 

Well, Brown has since charted two number one albums.  You don’t see many people walking around wearing Michael Vick jerseys.

So all the goodwill Legend receives for saving a puppy is countered by singing at Kim Kardashian’s wedding.  Or, the backlash Legend received from his brush with a Kardashian is erased by his adoption of a three-legged hound.

It all depends on how you look at it.  The piano man either made amends or blew an opportunity.

CMT Awards
Even after all that, Legend does come out of spring a little bit ahead at least in the PR department.  The R&B superstar recently teamed with Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland) and Hunter Hayes for a performance of “All of Me” at the 2014 CMT Awards.

Hayes was the brains behind the performance.  He arranged the song and produced the version Legend and Nettles recorded in the studio.  You can download that rendition of “All of Me” from iTunes.

While not as endearing as taking home a dog that’s missing an appendage, performing on a country music award show when you’re a R&B artist will certainly help expand the old fan base.

Not that John Legend is hurting for fans.  After all, he’s performing all over North America this summer and then Europe this fall—much like Legend has done in previous summers.

Legend On Tour
Earlier in the year, John Legend tickets were collected at small, intimate venues.  These shows featured Legend really letting go and performing unplugged.  

Beginning in mid-July, Legend will ramp things up and rock bigger spots like amphitheaters and arenas.

He kicks things off July 17 in Highland, California.  After that he has two concerts in Texas including a July 23 performance at the famed Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston.    

On Aug. 6 Brooklyn welcomes John Legend to the Barclays Center.  On Aug. 9, following a show in Toronto, John Legend will visit Boston and the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. 

Legend saves the best venue for last (at least in my opinion).  He ends the North American leg of his “#All of Me Tour” on Aug. 26 at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado.

The first of nine shows in Europe begin Oct. 6 in Manchester, England.  He’s scheduled to perform in London on Oc. 16 and then he ends his overseas run in Paris on Nov. 3.

Whether you see Legend perform in Atlanta or you’re there when he takes the stage in The City of Lights, try to think of the positive things he’s done in 2014 and not the negative.  Don’t let Kim Kardashian ruin John Legend for you.

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Zac Brown Band Is Not A Country Music Group

by Noiz 6. June 2014 11:13

Zac Brown Band Is Not A Country Music Group

Someone needs to create a new genre of music.

This new genre of music should simply be called “good.”  Okay, that doesn’t really zing.  We might need to workshop a new name, but you get what I mean.

Regardless of what we call this new genre one of its current progenitors is Zac Brown Band.

Zac Brown Band is technically a country music artist but that classification is far too limiting.  They are so much more than twang, cowboy hats, and long necks.

Worse yet, those with an aversion to country music might dismiss them.  That’s a huge mistake because when it comes to making live music there’s no one better, in any genre, than Zac Brown Band.

“It’s Fun”
Don’t just take my word for it.  Take it from the source, as in the band’s bassist.

“I kind of put Zac’s music out of the genre of country and into the genre of good.  We go from a country song to a hard-rocking song to a reggae-ish song to a bluegrass-y song.  It’s fun.” — Matt Mangano

The band has won three Grammy Awards and released four studio albums.  While two of them reached the top of the Billboard 200, ZBB isn’t really about the studio (although they’re really good at it).  What they excel at is blowing the roof off of whatever building they’re playing in.

Tour Schedule
This summer you can see for yourself just how great it is to witness Zac Brown Band in concert.

“The Great American Road Trip Tour” launched May 24 in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The road ends Aug. 15 in Endicott, New York.

The highlights of their summer itinerary are two Zac Brown Band concerts in Camden, New Jersey on June 19 and June 20.  That’s followed by a show in Forest Hills, New York and one in Bristow, Virginia. 

On June 27 and June 28, Zac Brown Band will be in Boston for a pair of gigs at legendary Fenway Park.

Beantown
Those shows at the home of the Boston Red Sox are sell outs.  That’s an impressive and rare accomplishment.  There have been only four other acts that have sold out a two-night stand at Fenway Park without an opening act.  Those four acts are The Rolling Stones, The Police, Jimmy Buffett, and Bruce Springsteen.

Comfortably Numb
If you’ve never been to a Zac Brown Band show, heck, even if you have been to a ZBB concert, you should expect the unexpected.

At the band’s May 29 concert at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, the entire band donned skeleton costumes and performed Pink Floyd’s classic “Comfortably Numb.” 

I doubt you’d see that at a Rascal Flatts or Lady Antebellum show.

At that concert, ZBB also played Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” the Eagles’ “Seven Bridges Road,” John Mayer’s “Neon,” and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely.”

According to the reviewers, Zac ran all over the venue slapping and bumping as many hands and fists as possible.  It’s that kind of stuff that charms the socks off of new fans and endears him to his hardcore base.  It also helps that Zac Brown Band supports our troops too.

The Hits
The other great thing about a Zac Brown Band show is they play their hits.  So if you only know them through their ten number one singles, or if you only know them through “Chicken Fried,” you’ll leave the concert satisfied.

Number One Singles
"Chicken Fried"
"Toes"
"Highway 20 Ride"
"Free"
"As She's Walking Away"
"Colder Weather"
"Knee Deep"
"Keep Me In Mind"
"Goodbye in Her Eyes"
"Sweet Annie"

Kabuki Thing
Fans with Zac Brown tickets should also expect a big stage with a huge video screen.  On the band’s Web site, there’s a video of Coy Bowles talking about the stage and the upcoming tour.

He’s standing in front of the stage and it’s absolutely huge.  He mentions that the band has a “kabuki thing that drops down from the ceiling that we can cast images on.”  Coy goes on to describe their show as “big” and “rock and roll,” but he also says parts of it are intimate.  Don’t know how they’re going to pull that off, but if anyone can do big and intimate in the same show it’s ZBB.

Double M
Earlier in the article, we quoted Matt Mangano, the newest member of the band.  This will be Mangano’s first tour with ZBB but he’s far from a stranger.  Mangano directed Brown’s Southern Ground Studios and played with the group before they had adopted the “Zac Brown Band” moniker.

Mangano’s arrival frees bassist John Driskell Hopkins to play other instruments.  Hopkins is quite talented and proficient on the banjo, upright bass, and the ukulele.

New Album
The last Zac Brown Band album, Uncaged, dropped in July of 2012.  They did however release an EP in December called The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1.  Yes, the “Grohl” in the title refers to Dave Grohl from Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Them Crooked Vultures.  He produced the 4-track EP.

A physical copy of the work, as well as a 45-minute DVD about the making of the record, dropped on May 19.  Oddly enough, the DVD is nearly three times as long as the EP.

The album came about after Zac ran into Dave in Hollywood.  Zac explained that he wanted to record some aggressive songs and Grohl immediately agreed to produce them.  Funny thing, at the time, Grohl had never heard any of Zac Brown Band’s music.

As for subsequent volumes, the band says there might be none or several and they might come next month or years from now.

Southern Ground
After the tour is over, Zac Brown Band will host a very unique food and music festival.  The fourth annual Southern Ground Music and Food Festival goes down Oct. 11 and Oct. 12 in Charleston, South Carolina.

They’re bias, but the Charleston City Paper voted the festival as the Best Music Concert.

Looking at the lineup you can see why.  Scheduled to appear are Blues Traveler, Gov’t Mule, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, The Wailers, Old 97’s, and Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn.

Also on hand, will be ZBB members’ side projects.  Attendees will be able to enjoy Coy Bowles and the Fellowship and John Hopkins & Brighter Shade.  Guitarist Clay Cook is also scheduled to perform. 

The Zac Brown Band will anchor the marquee each night with what they call a “super set.”  This super set will feature appearances by some of the aforementioned performers.

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Ten Reasons To Attend The Disney On Ice Show Frozen

by Noiz 3. June 2014 08:28

Ten Reasons To Attend The Disney On Ice Show Frozen

Good news parents!  You’ve seen the Academy Award winning movie Frozen a bazillion times at home.  Your children obsessively sing the soundtrack and constantly demand that you buy them Frozen-related merchandize.  Now, thanks to Disney and Feld Entertainment you get to see Frozen live and on ice!

That’s right!  Disney on Ice now has a show dedicated to the highest grossing animated film of all-time, Frozen.  The best part about Frozen on ice (excuse the pun), is no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try to hide this news, your kids will find out, and you will have to take them to see it. 

Rehearsals start in July, then the Disney on Ice Frozen tour begins in Orlando on Sept. 5.  If you’re hoping the production won’t visit your neck of the woods you’re out of luck.  Disney on Ice shows perform everywhere children live.  They may not visit your town soon but they will eventually.  This show is like taxes.  Nothing will get you out of it.

In October, look for Disney on Ice Frozen in Atlanta.  In November, Disney on Ice Frozen skates into Brooklyn for a run at the Barclays Center.  In late December and early January, Disney on Ice Frozen plays in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center. 

I’m kidding of course.  Some parents are indeed sick and tired of the phenomenon known as Frozen while others like the movie as much as their offspring.  Regardless of where you stand, this ice show will breathe new life into a franchise that goes all the way back to 2013. 

Below, are ten reasons why you should see the new Disney on Ice show, Frozen.  Read all ten but after five or six you’ll be more than ready to acquire Frozen tickets.

Reason #1:  Frozen will be presented like a Broadway musical.
Typically, a Disney on Ice show is a series of scenes featuring different Disney characters from different Disney movies or franchises.  Frozen, however, will be produced like a Broadway musical (only it’s on ice) and it will follow the story used in the movie (the speed at which they are producing this show they pretty much have to—there’s no time to write a new script).  The production will star 39 performers.  All the accoutrements needed to produce Frozen will be hauled around in nine tractor trailers.

Reason #2: Frozen will star the characters from the movie.
Frozen the ice show isn’t inspired by nor is it a tribute to the movie.  It’s will star the actual characters from the actual movie.  That means you’ll see sisters Elsa and Anna as well as Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, and the trolls.  Another interesting aspect of the Disney on Ice shows is the characters are the stars not the skaters.  It’s likely you’ll leave the arena without ever learning the performers’ names.

It should be noted that the skaters portraying Elsa and Anna will be dressed up like princesses.  While the snowman, reindeer, and trolls will be skaters in mascot-like costumes.  This is similar to when you go to a Disney theme park and the princesses are actresses in gowns while Goofy and Donald look like sports team mascots.

Reason #3: Frozen is being produced with help from the creators of the movie.
The producers of Frozen the ice show have been getting help from the producers and directors of Frozen the movie.  For example, filmmakers have helped nail down the style of movement for the sisters.  The goal of this collaboration is to give the ice show all the heart, humor, and grace of the movie.

“[The filmmakers’] input has been extraordinarily helpful as we try to exceed the very high fan expectations.” – Patty Vincent, director of Frozen the ice show.

Reason #4: The ice show will use songs from the movie.
There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel.  The movie’s soundtrack sold more than 2.7 million copies.  Frozen the ice show will use songs from the film which were written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.  That means you’ll get to hear the Academy Award winning song “Let It Go” (again).  Funny, the brass at Disney down played the fact that Frozen was a musical because they thought your kids were too sophisticated for such a thing.  Apparently, your kids proved them wrong.

Reason #5: Frozen will utilize state of the art stage effects.
What’s the production going to be like?  Hard to say because they haven’t even started rehearsals but creators of the show are promising snow and lots of it.  There will be a blizzard on stage and it will be created by 20 snow machines—now you know why they need all those trucks.

Reason #6: Frozen will use amazing sets and beautiful costumes.
The skaters in the Frozen ice show will look like the characters from the movies.  Costume designers are drawing inspiration directly from their celluloid predecessor.  Meanwhile, the stage is inspired by a snowflake, to be exact, a six-sided one.  Also adding to mise-en-scene will be giant video projection panels.  These panels will help create the frigid North Mountains. 

Reason #7: Frozen is appropriate for the entire family.
If the film was appropriate for your family, then the ice show will be too.  The only question you’ll have to answer is will the youngest members of your family be scared by what are basically skating mascots?  The creators of Frozen on ice aren’t purposely trying to terrify your children but when you’re really young skating reindeer can be frightening. 

Reason #8: Mickey and Minnie will make an appearance.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse will appear in Frozen albeit briefly.  The mice will act as hosts.  You’ll see them in the beginning and at the end of the show.  It’s likely that Mickey and Minnie will be joined by other popular Disney characters.  Unless you dramatically change Frozen, this is the only way to bring other characters into the mix.

Reason #9: Feld Entertainment puts on top notch productions.
The mouse ears licenses its ice shows to Feld Entertainment.  That company has been producing Disney on Ice shows since 1981.  They know what they’re doing.  In 2014-2015, they will have six shows touring North America and that includes Frozen.  In 2013, more than nine million people bought Disney on Ice tickets. 

Reason #10: Frozen is told by ice skaters.
Ice skating is one the most underappreciated sports.  Zooming around on tiny blades takes athleticism, grace, speed, and power.  Granted, this is an ice show, and not an Olympic competition, but the skaters will still employ many of the aforementioned characteristics during the performance.   Furthermore, ice skating is much more impressive in person then it is on television.  Don’t think this is a bunch of people just standing on the ice flapping their arms because it’s too hard to skate when you’re wearing a mascot costume.  The skaters in Disney on Ice shows are amazing and can do just about anything while wearing just about anything.

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