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 dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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