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Friday, June 22, 2012

This Week in Sports: June 22, 2012

I try to get this column posted on Thursday nights, but it seemed silly to post a weekly recap just minutes before Game 5 of the NBA Finals was set to tip off.  So, now that it's Friday ... here it is.

The Week That Was:  The third week of June brought us one last big hurrah for sports before we head into the dog days of summer.

U.S. Open:  Last weekend, the world's best golfers gathered at the Olympic Club in San Francisco to compete in the U.S. Open.  The USGA prides itself on putting the golfers through the sternest test the game can offer.  At the end of four days of competition, not one single player was under par.  Webb Simpson won the championship with a score of +1 for the tournament.  Webb Simpson may not be a household name, but it should not be too shocking that the Wake Forest grad made a strong showing.  Simpson came into the tournament ranked #14 in the World Golf Rankings and finished last season ranked at #10.  Simpson joined Bubba Watson as the second major winner in 2012.  That is not the only bond the two men share.  Simpson and Watson have been friends for several years.  They have previously played as partners in the President's Cup, and they attend the same Bible study on the tour.

NBA:  On Thursday night, the King finally got his ring.  Okay, "finally" might not really be fair to say about a man who is only 27 years-old.  When the world first watched LeBron James play ball as a high school kid, it seemed inevitable that he would win multiple NBA championships.  But it took a while for King James to win his first title.  Despite what Wild Banshee predicted about the series, the Miami Heat showed the world that in 2012, they were the best team in the NBA.  And, despite immense pressure and intense scrutiny, LeBron James was the primary reason for their success.  The Heat stole home court advantage away from the Oklahoma City Thunder when they split the first two games in OKC.  The Heat then won three consecutive games on their home floor to wrap up the series in just five games.

NASCAR:  The June race in Michigan would not normally make it into a weekly highlight column.  But this race was different because Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the winner.  It had been four years since NASCAR's most popular driver had last been to victory lane.  I am not going to pretend to be impartial about this.  There was much rejoicing in the Banshee Lair when Junior took the checkered flag.  And there was much rejoicing throughout NASCAR because no name moves the needle for the sport more than Earnhardt.

The Week Ahead:  NASCAR heads west to the road course in Sonoma, CA.  The NHL and the NBA will both hold their drafts this week.  The fortnight at Wimbledon begins on June 25.  And Olympic qualifying will be going on all week.  I'm not going to lie.  I do not have any of these events circled on my calendar as must-see TV.  But, the beauty of sports is that you just never know when something special will happen, so there will certainly be events worthy of a recap by the time I post this column next week.

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