HOFFMAN SOUNDS OFF

Ken Hoffman rips Tiger Woods and the latest food trend

Mickelson and Woods are all smiles after landing this showdown's payout. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

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.

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Houston's bats have a hot night

Astros clobber Rangers to win series opener

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After dropping two of three in Seattle, the Astros entered the regular season's final series still waiting to clinch their playoff berth. Luckily their matchup favored them, with four games against the 19-37 Rangers, which they have done well against in recent years. Here are highlights from the opener:

Final Score: Astros 12, Rangers 4.

Record: 29-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (5-2, 3.48 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32 ERA).

Astros put up 10 on Lynn 

Houston had no trouble getting acquainted with the Rangers' new stadium, jumping out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. After a lengthy at-bat against Lance Lynn, Jose Altuve reached on a one-out single, then scored from first on a two-out RBI-triple by Alex Bregman. They'd double their lead in the next at-bat on an error, making it 2-0.

They extended that lead even more in the next inning, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning to set up a big three-run dinger by George Springer to straightaway center-field to make it 5-0. Bregman added two more RBI to his night in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a leadoff single by Michael Brantley by hitting a two-run homer to make it a 7-0 lead. Altuve would push the total to double-digits in the top of the sixth, lifting a three-run home run of his own to make it a 10- lead.

Javier with a decent start, bullpen closes out the win

Meanwhile, Cristian Javier was doing well on the mound against the Rangers. He allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings, a double in the first, a hit batter in the second, and a single in the fifth. He would falter a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff single then a two-run homer, then later in the inning a sac fly, making it 10-3 before Houston would turn to their bullpen. Javier's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 95 TP.

Luis Garcia would get the final out of the sixth then returned for the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff double that would score on a two-out RBI-double, making it a six-run game before Garcia finished the frame. Brooks Raley was the next reliever and notched two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

Josh Reddick gave Houston two more insurance runs, joining the home run barrage with a two-run homer in the top of the inning to make it 12-4 going to the bottom half. Brandon Bielak was given a low-leverage opportunity to throw in the bottom of the ninth. He erased a two-out double for a scoreless inning to wrap up the lopsided win, lowering Houston's magic number to 1.

Up Next: The second game of this four-game set between Houston and Texas will start Friday at 7:05 PM Central at Globe Life Field. The pitching battle will be Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53 ERA) for the Rangers and Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78 ERA) for the Astros.

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