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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40 years later the amazing moment in sports history still holds its place

Do you (Still) believe in miracles?

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It's hard to believe, but this week marks the 40th anniversary of "The Miracle On Ice" A result and event where "if scripted", Hollywood would immediately reject on general premise, due to it's improbability. For a younger generation who is unfamiliar with the story (or the odds), visualize a bunch of nobodies and college kids two weeks ago trying to defeat Patrick Mahomes and the KC Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Then, magnify that by about 50 times, and you'll have the general scope and idea. You see, this is exactly what TEAM USA was comprised of, a bunch of college kids, and nobodies going up against the mighty Soviets.

The average age on the American team was 21. They lacked speed, fire power and the tenure of their opponents. The Soviets hadn't lost an Olympic Hockey game since 1968. They had won 4 straight Gold Medals with their core players intact for entire stretches of their Olympic and Global dominance. By contrast, the only American returning from the 76' games was Buzz Schneider. Schneider would actually score the first goal vs. the Soviets. If you ask most American's today, they probably think Buzz was one of the astronauts. The Soviets were so dominating in this era, they had even defeated the NHL All-Stars 6-0 in 1979 to easily win The Challenge Cup.

Lake Placid, New York served as the backdrop for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Lake Placid is a small village in Essex County, NY with a population today of around 2,500 people. If you visit, it's amazing because everyone in that town claims that "they" were in attendance or had their elders in the tiny 8500 seat arena with their families. What makes the story even more remarkable, is that the matchup wasn't even supposed to happen. The U.S. were heavy underdogs even their opening contests with Sweden & Czechoslovakia. Not to mention, that no one really anticipated a contest vs the Soviets as a mere two weeks prior, the Soviets had easily defeated Team USA in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden by a score of 10-3. Adding insult to injury in that loss, was defenseman Jack O'Callahan pulling ligaments in his knee. Jack remained on the Olympic roster, but played sparingly throughout the tournament.

The Soviets steamrolled through their tier of countries, defeating Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Finland & Canada by a combined margin of 51-10. The American's railed for a 2-2 draw in their opening game vs. Sweden, then stunned the Czechs, and then handled, Norway, Romania & West Germany. Thus the stage was set. There are edited versions of the historic matchup available for viewing on YouTube. Unlike the late Jim Mckay who refused to reveal the result on ABC's coverage (the game had been played several hours earlier) would never have had the impact in today's age of social media, and technology. Most American's had no idea the result prior to the game's airing on that tape delay. As a 9 year old kid at the time, this was certainly the case for me! This improbable upset didn't actually secure the Gold Medal. Team USA had to play Finland (trailed 2-1) before rallying 4-2 for the victory.

The "Miracle On Ice" launched some amazing sports moments in the decade to come. The Flutie Hail Mary, Lorenzo Charles stunning the Cougars, Nova shocking the Mighty Hoyas, but nothing could ever match American Pride on February 22nd, 1980 after the Soviets went down 4-3.

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