Mark Madden: John Daly riding a cart at PGA Championship a legal obligation
Refreshing sports notes? You want some, come get some! But they’re not all elite, and I’m certainly no young buck.
• John Daly riding a cart in the PGA Championship isn’t debatable. It’s the law. Daly has osteoarthritis in his right knee, which makes him eligible to use a cart per the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Golf’s country-club snottiness does not supersede the ADA, not even when packaged as preserving the game’s purity. The resistance of golf (and golfers such as Tiger Woods) is a bad look, one that dates back to Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer campaigning against Casey Martin’s use of a cart. Martin, born with a circulatory disorder in his right leg, successfully sued the PGA Tour in 2001 for the right to use a cart.
Daly riding a cart isn’t finagling a competitive edge. It’s a legal obligation. Daly was never a threat to win, or even contend. He missed the cut. Golf needs to get over itself.
• The NBA Draft lottery placed Duke one-and-done Zion Williamson in New Orleans, the NBA’s second-smallest market. There’s a groundswell that Williamson should avoid New Orleans by returning to Duke, or force a trade like John Elway did.
As promising as Williamson is, he’s an entry-level employee and should work where assigned. He’s not a member of the NBA players’ union until he signs. The system eventually will work for Williamson. Just not yet. (But in nonsports professions, 18-year-olds can work where they want without the filter of a draft or the charade of having to attend college for a year.)
Memo to the national sports media: Sports exist outside of New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. If it’s not big-market, it still counts.
• The New York Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan after he lost a power struggle with new coach Adam Gase. Their primary disagreement was giving ex-Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell $52.5 million over four years. Maccagnan wanted to (and did). Gase didn’t want to.
Bell didn’t help matters when he ditched optional workouts. Not a good look when you’re joining a new team and haven’t played football for 16 months. But that’s what Bell does. He no-shows.
The Maccagnan-Gase battle isn’t Bell’s fault, not exactly. But it’s a further reminder the Steelers are well rid of him. Controversy and distraction follow Bell. He’s a carrier. He’s Patient Zero.
The Jets haven’t been in the playoffs since 2010, won a division since 2002, or won a Super Bowl since 1969. Does it matter who the GM is?
• Ben Roethlisberger hosted the Steelers’ skill position players at his lake house in Georgia for some team bonding.
This is nothing new. It’s a regular offseason occurrence. But Roethlisberger’s leadership skills will shine all the brighter in the absence of Bell and Antonio Brown. Leaders need followers, not freeloaders. (Bell and Brown didn’t always show for practices, games or entire seasons. But they turned up at Roethlisberger’s lake house, later paying back his hospitality with venom. #ToxicTwins)
• The Pirates’ season ended when Jameson Taillon went from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL. What happened to Trevor Williams on Thursday also was a hammer blow.
Taillon isn’t an ace, but he is their best pitcher. Williams is reliable, occasionally flashing brilliance. There’s no semblance of a ready replacement on the roster or any remote willingness on ownership’s part to sign or trade for a pricey stand-in.
The Pirates are lucky (so far) Jordan Lyles has performed beyond reasonable expectations, but that doesn’t figure to last. Now, with Taillon and Williams out, the Pirates have to get luckier still with Nick Kingham, Steven Brault, Chris Stratton, Clay Holmes and/or Francisco Liriano. The probable answer is none of the above.
The Pirates should have never been considered a legit playoff contender. They were borderline when everyone was healthy, and how often is everyone healthy? It’s an illusion, as usual. Zero depth.
Summoning top pitching prospect Mitch Keller from Triple-A is a good PR option at the very least. But rookie shortstop Cole Tucker is proving you need more than hair and charisma.
The Pirates have had 20 players on the IL this season. That’s not all bad. It’s good to have excuses.
• St. Louis lost Game 3 of the NHL’s Western Conference final when San Jose scored directly off a hand pass in overtime. The blown call lifts the lid of replay’s Pandora’s Box that much higher. We move closer to a day when every call in every sport is subject to review and games take that much longer. Replay was never going to be used in small doses.
The whining in cases like this is intolerable, even if it’s totally justified. Prior to replay, rotten officiating was no less damaging. Perhaps it was easier to move past.
The NHL can’t fix what happened. The NHL removed all four of Wednesday’s officials from these playoffs and rightly so. For that blatant hand pass to be missed by both referees and both linesmen is absolutely inexcusable.
You could actually make an argument for replaying the game. That’s how obvious and costly that mistake was.
• Boston is poised to win its first Stanley Cup since 2011. The Penguins’ run, which began in 2008 with a trip to the final, could be over. Why are the Bruins sustaining theirs?
Perhaps because the Bruins didn’t trade first-round picks to try and win immediately. They have made nine first-round choices since last winning the Cup and have been without a first-round selection just twice. First-rounders such as David Pastnak (‘14), Jake Debrusk (‘15) and Charlie McAvoy (‘16) play significant roles.
The Penguins, meanwhile, have made just one first-round pick in the last six years: Kasperi Kapanen in 2014. He went to Toronto as part of the trade for winger Phil Kessel.
That’s not to say the Penguins did it wrong and Boston did it right. The Penguins have three Cups since ‘09, the Bruins one. But it might explain the timetable.• There’s plenty of grandiose trade speculation regarding the Penguins.
But the strong likelihood is the Penguins won’t do much. They will trade Kessel just to get rid of him, absorbing a bit of his future salary and getting little return. Kessel has hit his expiration date, and his production (with 44 percent coming on the power play) no longer cancels out his shortcomings and quirkiness.
The Penguins also will trade Olli Maatta. Dealing a 24-year-old defenseman when your team needs to get younger seems odd. But Maatta will fetch a few assets, and the Penguins have a glut on the left side of defense. Jack Johnson’s age and contract mean he can’t be swapped. Marcus Pettersson had a solid rookie season and works cheap. Brian Dumoulin isn’t untouchable, but he’s close. So Maatta goes.
Beyond that, everybody else stays. That might not be the current intent. But that’s what’s going to happen.