The Times West Virginian

Sports

July 8, 2014

COLUMN: Cabrera’s win a good one for golf fans

FAIRMONT — Don’t know what you may think about it, but we thought that the victory by Angel Cabrera was a mighty good one for The Greenbrier Classic Golf Tournament since the Argentinian golfer has posted past victories in the Masters and the U.S. Open. We realize the young golfers on the tour need to pick up their first victories somewhere and The Greenbrier course has been there for them in the past. It’s still there, but Cabrera played an excellent round to come on out on top. Maybe his victory will bring some better golfers into the field in 2015.

Would you believe there was a $368,000 difference between the 264 score that Cabrera checked in with and the 266 score that George McNeill posted for second place? You may have heard on television that McNeill, who posted an amazing round of 61 on Sunday, would be going home after the match to spend the month with his critically ill sister. Unfortunately, his sister died on Sunday and he was informed of her death after the match. Cabrera put together four superb rounds — two rounds of 68 and two of 64. Former Masters winner Bubba Watson finished 22nd in the Greenbrier with a 273. He had four scores in the 60s — a 67, 68 and a pair of 69s.

News around Pittsburgh is that pitcher Jeff Locke, who has made six straight quality starts since being called up from Indianapolis, might be sent back to the minors when Francisco Liriano gets off the disabled list. The last time we looked, Liriano had a 1-6 record while Locke, with some luck, should be 5-1 now. But Locke has some options left to be sent out, and Liriano and the other top pitchers do not. No one has pitched any better than Locke since his last call-up a month ago. Liriano was an excellent pitcher last year but this year, well, not so good.

Several former Pirates made the All-Star teams with other ballclubs this year, including Jose Batista of the Blue Jays, Brandon Moss of the Athletics, Aramis Ramirez of the Brewers and Casey McGehee, who is among the five players the fans will select. Moss had a .228 average with the Pirates in parts of three seasons. McGehee batted .230 in 2012. They are both doing much better this year. Pirate fans have to be happy that Josh Harrison made the National League All-Star team. He may be the first utility player ever to be accorded such an honor. Andrew McCutchen was an automatic and those that selected pitcher Tony Watson made an excellent choice as well.

Remember Freddie Smalls, who wore the No. 30 jersey for the Mountaineers as a linebacker in the early 1980s? John Antonik, director of new media for West Virginia University, did a piece on him that makes for good reading. He wrote that Smalls was the first Mountaineer player to “flatten Doug Flutie.” The one thing Flutie did not do during his All-American career at Boston College was defeat the Mountaineers.

Smalls served for several years as a bod guard for entertainers but more recently he has gone into the Army. He has become an Army counselor with a tremendous impact on young people’s lives. And Antonik write that coach Don Nehlen still ranked very high among the people who have had a great influence in his life. “A lot of my life is based on the teachings of Don Nehlen,” Smalls said of his former coach. “Coach Nehlen is always on my mind and the things I learned at WVU are the way I live. ...I pray that a lot of these coaches today are like him.”

Email John Veasey at jcveasey@timeswv.com.

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