Boras on Weaver: ‘He clearly knew what he was doing’


Agent Scott Boras explained his side of the Jered Weaver negotiations with columnist Joe McDonnell in a column updated early this morning (linked here).

Bottom line: “It’s not my job to make decisions for them,” Boras said. “My job is making sure they’ve thought about all the emotions involved, what prospects are available and every possible financial scenario they might face on their way to making a decision. They are told about what’s potentially available with other organizations and in other markets. In the end, I just want them to have the best information possible, so they can make a good decision. Not to try to force them to make a decision, because I don’t do that. And I don’t want to.

“Jered will tell you that (what) we put him through to prepare for this was something that was difficult for him. (Surprisingly) the Angels still wanted to do this during the season, despite all the work we all had to put into getting him ready to make this decision. It takes a lot of time. Jered was up to it, though, because he really wanted to stay home.

“Obviously, monetarily, (free agency) was something that would have benefitted him more. He knew exactly what he was worth as a (potential) free agent, and he knew exactly what he was worth as a five-year player and what it cost him to sign early. He also knew what the benefits were that are important to him.

“He clearly knew what he was doing when he made this decision.”

Did Weaver make the right decision to sign without taking a shot at free agency?

“He knew what he was giving away. He knew it was substantial. And for him there was a gain from that. For other players that may not have been the case, but for him, it was.”

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Jered Weaver and Scott Boras in a win-win situation? That’s how they roll


(AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Paul Bersebach)
Angels pitcher Jared Weaver smiles at the start of a news conference to announce his new five-year, $85 million contract Tuesday.

Jered Weaver has a soul.

“I don’t need the biggest contract on the planet,” he said.


Scott Boras probably had a different goal.

But the bottom line Tuesday afternoon when the Angels officially gave the former Simi Valley High and Long Beach State star pitcher a spankin’ new five-year, $85 million, no-trade contract extension, super-agent Boras wasn’t there for the press conference just outside Angel Stadium.

Fox Sports West arrived to televise the event live. About a hundred Angels fans magically appeared to chant Weaver’s name. Former Angels Bobby Grich and Chuck Finley sat in the front row with Weaver’s parents and fiance.

Don’t bore us with why Boras was a no-show. Officially, he was “traveling” and unavailable.

All that did was give the impression that Boras, so frustrated with his client stealing his thunder, bolted out of town.

And the reason should be pretty obvious — Weaver sold himself short.

If the 28-year-old two-time All Star could have just been patient and waited until the end of the 2012 season when his free agent status kicked in.

Boras would not have jinxed it. Fact is, he could have Brinks’d it. Meaning, there’d be an armored truck backing into the driveway of Weaver’s new home in Newport Beach and dropping gold bricks onto his cement pond.

Dang it, Boras could have even yanked a deal for Weaver that was even more fantabulous than the seven-year, $152 million heist he pulled from from the Yankees just two years ago for CC Sabathia.

Not this time. Not with Weaver’s comfort zone as risk of being compromised.

“How much money do you possibly need?” Weaver exclaimed Thursday when asked point blank why he seemed perfectly content with the Angels’ deal today rather than something even more ridiculous that could materialize down the road.


(AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Paul Bersebach)
Kristin Travis, left, fiancee of Angels pitcher Jared Weaver, and Weaver’s parents, Gail and Dave Weaver, listen during a news conference to announce Weaver’s new five-year, $85 million contract on Tuesday.

Jered’s father, Dave, was just as mind boggled.

“That’s a ‘home-team discount’?” Dave asked about his son’s guaranteed future earnings. “Eighty-five million? I can’t relate to those numbers.”

These dreaming Weavers think alike.

A month ago, when the Angels approached Boras and Weaver to ask if they’d be interested in expanding a deal that would bring an average of $17 million a season through 2016, rather than go through that dance of trying to see how much any of the other 28 teams (Dodgers excluded) would be willing to cough up for his services, the decision was made.

This is the greener side of the fence, Weaver decided. So do the deal now.

And Boras did.

What else do you need to know?

“I’ve never liked the business side of all this,” said Weaver, harkening back to May of 2005 when Boras’ negotiation tactics nearly led to the Angels balking at signing him after they used a first-round pick for him in June, 2004.

“When I knew the Angels wanted to get this done, I told Scott that I wanted to be in Southern California. There wasn’t any conflict between me and him. He just wants what’s best for his clients. You can’t hate him for that.”

You could, on the other hand, be miffed that Boras couldn’t make this event a priority.
Plenty of other things had to factor into Weaver’s decision.

He probably knows that his lifetime ERA in Anaheim is 2.69, more than a run less than it is on the road.

His friend, John Lackey, has had a rough go of after taking the money and running to Boston with a five-year, $82.5 million deal through 2014.


And then there’s older brother, Jeff, who toured the rosters of the Tigers, Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Cardinals, Mariners, Brewers, Indians and back to the Dodgers from 1999 to 2010.

“I know (Jeff) got the brunt of it and the media ripped him up (during his Yankee days),” said Jered. ” I’d rather face seven reporters in a locker room instead of 750. I like to be more under the radar.”

Jeff, semi-retired having just turned 35 on Monday and now living in North Ranch, pulled down some $40 million total in his career. But he says you can’t put a price on spending time with a team that’s in your neighborhood.

“Jered is much more equipped than I am to deal with those kind of issues,” Jeff said Tuesday from his home. “He’s got a great mental approach to go with his physical approach to get it done anywhere. As someone who played with a bunch of different teams, I know when you’re feeling comfortable in one place, and then you switch, it has an effect.”

The bottom line: Jered Weaver wanted to stay put. And Scott Boras heard the message.

“He’s a grown man and can make his own choices,” Jeff Weaver said. “I think he’s done enough to prove he’s in the driver’s seat.”

Hear that, Boras?

The fact one his clients appears to have the guts to push back and make his priorities more important than Boras’ residual checks goes against all natural order in the agent universe.

Boras is the hired gun to give a player the ultimate chance to seek out his maximum value, if not way more. Right?

“Is that wrong?” asked Jeff, then answered quickly: “I don’t think that’s wrong at all.”

But Jeff adds that one of the reasons Boras is “the best in the business” is that this time, “Scott understood Jered’s prerogatives and he worked with that. I think he gets a bad rep a little bit for everyone thinking he does things on his own terms.”


In terms of this scenario, then, we’re led to believe that Scott Boras should be congratulated as much as Jered Weaver.

Because when Weaver goes to the mound Wednedsay against the White Sox, he’ll be looking for his team-best 15th victory, trying to lower his league-best ERA to under 2.00, and his team closer to the AL West lead. He hasn’t changed the number on his back to 85.

Boras and Weaver achieved their goal. And neither sold their soul.

And that, apparently, is now how they roll.

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Federowicz: ‘Yeah, they gave up Trayvon’


No way to know if that’s out of context or anything. But on the Internet machine, stuff like that, offhanded or not, is blogger’s gold for whatever reason.

Since we weren’t there to hear the interview that’s Chris Jackson did with Dodgers’ Triple-A catcher Tim Federowicz — or know if he collected the quote from another source — we’ll have to assume this isn’t really headline material pinned onto the kid who essentially was so worthy of Ned Colletti’s attention that he did trade highly-touted local prospect Trayvon Robinson to Seattle, via Boston.

Surely, Federowicz will be asked about it again when he’s called up to the Dodgers late next week.

Meanwhile, check out the cheezy ‘stache, and judge for yourself for those who love to read between the lines and jump to conclusions:

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Play It Forward: Aug. 22-28 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:



Beach volleyball: Manhattan Beach Open, 4 p.m., Versus:


How do you beat an NBA lockout? With a beach party. We can’t find a proper conversion table to measure a double-double on the basketball court versus one on the beach volleyball court, but Kevin Love, the one-and-done UCLA center and current Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star, would be doing it with enough blocks and spikes as he plays in the “Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball.” Consider it a minor victory if he makes it out of Thursday’s prelims and into the field of 48. “This sport is not as easy as it looks,” said Love, who teamed with Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar in the recent Manhattan Beach 6-man event. “You don’t realize how tough this sport is until you’re out there on the sand and the ball comes screaming at you. You have to have great timing, agility and athleticism to be good in this sport. These guys are some amazing athletes.” The Houston Rockets’ Chase Budinger, who lost in the second round of last week’s Coronoa Light Wide Open tournament in Hermosa Beach, is also trying to worm into this event. Why not? There’s a share of a $200,000 purse awaiting if anyone can do some damage (like John Hyden and Sean Scott, who, like many top two-man teams, aren’t overseas playing in FIVB events leading up to the 2012 Olympics). Meanwhile, it’s back to international rules for this event, played with “old school” sideout rules a year ago for its 50th anniversary after the AVP shut down in the middle of last summer and left everyone hanging. “Through all the ups and downs of our game, the Manhattan Open has stood the test of time,” said six-time winner Mike Dodd, the last AVP commissioner. “Hopefully it will again help usher in a new era of prosperity for the players, sponsors and fans.” By the way, if Love is ousted early, he has time to enter the 32-mile Catalina Paddleboard race that finishes up at the Manhattan Beach pier on Sunday as well.


MLB: Dodgers at St. Louis, 5:15 p.m., Prime:

Rafael Furcal is raking at just .216 as a member of the Cardinals after 18 games, and he suffered a sprained thumb after tripping on a rope near the batting cage at Wrigley Field over the weekend. The series continues Tuesday (5:15 p.m., Channel 9) as Clayton Kershaw (15-5, and a league-best 199 Ks) draws the start, and it ends with a Wednesday matinee (11:15 a.m., Prime). By the way: The Dodgers are 3-15 at the versio of this Busch Stadium that opened in 2006 and have dropped seven consecutive series at St. Louis.

NFL exhibition; Chicago Bears at New York Giants, 5 p.m., ESPN:

When the Green Bay Packers made a trip to the White House recently, the team gave him an owners’ share certificate. He then jokingly tried to work a deal for his hometown Bears to trade for Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers. Surely, Jay Cutler got a good laugh out of that one. The Bears apparently did try to make a deal with San Francisco for former USC star defensive back Taylor Mays, hoping to convert him into a linebacker, but that apparently fell through.


MLB: Angels vs. Chicago White Sox, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:


Ozzie Guillen’s team comes off a 10-0 win over the Rangers and is still deeply invested in the AL Central race. The two-game set ends Wednesday (7:05 p.m., FSW).

WNBA: Sparks at Washington, 4 p.m.:

Maybe a side trip to the White House — a Candace Parker meets Michelle Obama moment? — but not as the reigning champs. The three-game road trip ends with this one, then it’s back to Staples Center for a game against Tulsa (Friday, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV) before finishing the week up to Seattle (Sunday, 6 p.m., ESPN2) against the real WNBA defending champions, who should have Lauren Jackson back by then.


MLB: Boston at Texas, 4 p.m., ESPN2:

ESPN’s coverage of the Little League World Series pushes this potential AL playoff match up to ESPN2. You need priorities.



(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Claudine Keane, wife of Galaxy newcomer Robbie Keane, watches the fireworks show before Saturday’s game at Home Depot Center against San Jose in Keane’s L.A. debut.

CONCACAF Champions League: Galaxy vs. LD Alajuelense, Home Depot Center, 7 p.m.:


Neat-o, Keane-o. There’s an Irish spring in the Galaxy’s step, at a sweet part of the schedule. The Galaxy, who won their Champions League opener last week, 2-0 against CD Motagua of Honduras, then go to New York for a Red Bull bulk-up on Sunday (4 p.m., ESPN2).

PGA: The Barclays, first round, Golf Channel, noon:

From Edison, N.J., the first of four consecutive PGA events that are part of the FedEx playoffs, and with a staggering $8 million purse. CBS has the final two rounds Saturday and Sunday.



MLB: Dodgers vs. Colorado, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:

Loney In the Sky With Diamonds: Tonight’s regular fireworks show will all be set to Beatles music, an ode to the group’s historic concert at Dodger Stadium 45 years ago – the group’s next-to-last live concert ever (the last was a night later at Candlestick Park). .
They’ve got more on Saturday (1:10 p.m., Channel 11) and Sunday (1:10 p.m., Prime).

MLB: Angels at Texas, 5:05 p.m., FSW:

And what did we learn last week after the four-game series in Anaheim? That if Mark Trumbo hadn’t hit a late-inning homer, the Angels would have been swept under the rug like a ball of dust. This latest go-around pits the AL West-leading Rangers, third best in runs scored and near the top in team ERA, trying to snuff out the Angels’ probable last chance to do some major damage before they meet to end the season, in what now could be meaningless. They’ve got more to play on Saturday (5:05 p.m., Channel 13) and national exposure on Sunday (5:09 p.m., ESPN).



IAAF World Track and Field Championships, 9:30 a.m., Channel 4:

Eight reigning world champions lead Team USA into this pre-Olympic spotlight event in Daegu, South Korea — most notably, Allyson Felix, going after that 200- and 400-meter daunting double again, and in line to win four golds as a member of both relay teams. The former L.A. Baptist High star who graduated from USC is a three-time winner in the 200 at the world championships, and recently won the 400 at the USA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. The 25-year-old’s biggest challengers, both in person and trying to spell their names, are Anastasiya Kapachinskaya of Russia and Amantle Montsho of Botswana, and they all meet up today as the 400 heats begin (with the final Monday; the 200 meter heats start Sept. 1 and the finals are the next day). Coverage continues Sunday (9:30 a.m., Channel 4) with the men’s 100 meter finals as the highlight.

NFL exhibition: New England at Detroit, 5 p.m., Channel 2:

The Lions say this one may count. If they win.


Little League World Series, championship game, noon, Channel 7:

Have a ball, kids. The International and U.S. title games are Saturday (9 a.m. and noon, Channel 7), from Williamsport, Pa.


IRL: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, 1 p.m., Versus:

Most believe that Lombard Street in nearby San Francisco is the crookestest street in the city. It’s actually Vermont Avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets has a sinuosity rating of 1.56 (versus Lombard’s 1.2). Sinuosity is a measure of deviation of a path between two points from the shortest possible path. The sinousity index of the Infineon Speedway (formerly known as Sears Point)? We’re not sure. It’s just a long and winding 2.22 mile,11-turn, elevated up-and-down piece of asphalt pathway that takes a lot of will power and is best viewed via a Google satellite map. Will Power, by the way, won this IRL race last year.

Golf: 111th U.S. Amateur men’s 36-hole final, 1 p.m., Channel 4:


California has the most players in the field with 47, including UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay, the 19-year-old sophomore to be who made quite a splash as the low amateur during the recent U.S. Open (finished tied for 21st) and then shot a course-record 60 at the Travelers Championship – the lowest PGA Tour round ever for an amateur. Bakersfield’s Bhavik Patel, 20, who won the 2011 California State Amateur Championship, will also be hacking around in the fescue grass of Erin Hills, Wisconsin, site of the 2017 U.S. Open. Donny Hopoi, of Aiea, Hawaii, who turned 15 on Monday, is the youngest player in the field; Randy Haag, 52, of Orinda, Calif., is the oldest player. The first three days of the five-day event are on Golf Channel (starting Wednesday), with NBC taking the semifinals Saturday (1 to 3 p.m.) before this match-play finale.

MLS: Galaxy at N.Y. Red Bull, 4 p.m., ESPN2:

The last time David Beckham cruised through New York — the MLS All-Star game a month ago — he introduced a new line of “bodywear” for the H&M clothing chain, “following in the footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Madonna.” Your move, Thierry Henry.


NFL exhibition: New Orleans at Oakland, 5 p.m., Channel 4:

No one has seen Al Davis as a Raiders’ practice yet. Concern?

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Ross Porter finds a new avenue on the Internet


Ross Porter admits that when an Orange County-based website inquired about his desire at age 72 to do play-by-play for video-streaming high school football and basketball games, the explanation of it “was so far over my head . . . but I know it’s the wave of the future.”

With a background that includes a 28-year-run calling games for the Dodgers, and 10 years at KNBC-Channel 4 where he did a live high school game of the week series (sometimes with Sandy Koufax as his colorman), Porter has gotten his head around a new gig with iBN Sports, an online broadcast network and video on-demand service in Lake Forest that has been one of the rising companies in the business.

Starting Sept. 2, Porter will do a prep football game of the week for iBN, most likely one that involves a team from the San Fernando Valley near his longtime home in Calabasas. The company will also have him hosting some of its regular series, and expand his popular “Real Sports Heroes” series that he began in 2007 from a one-minute radio segment to a three-minute video show.

“I’m really excited about this new venture,” said Porter, whose newest media rep in the business includes Toi Cook, the former NFL defensive back out of Montclair Prep in Van Nuys. “I’ve been blessed with a remarkable career, and this is exciting to call high school and some college football and basketball games in a truly unique format.

“It took about two months to get here, but we finally put something together that gets me back to work.”


John Mudge, the iBN Sports CEO with a company that does up to 1,000 high school games a year across the country, as well as some mixed-martial arts fight cards and minor-league baseball games, says hiring Porter “is very special for us. We’ve been listening to Ross Porter for many years.”

The iBN high school football games are selected after Fox Sports West and Time Warner choose games for their sites. L.A.-based, one of the first websites to do local high school games starting in 2005, is “on hiatus,” according to site co-creator Jeff Proctor.

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You ever hear MMA on the radio? You will now


A sidebar to the announcement today (and Friday’s media column, linked here) that the Fox Sports Media Group has signed up a long-term deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship — 10 events a year will be simulcast on the Fox Sports Radio Network, heard in L.A. on KLAC-AM (570).

Don Martin, the FSR program director, as well as the orchestra leader for all that goes on Burbank-based KLAC, said Thursday that as long as radio continues to seek content that appeals to that 18-to-34 male age demographic, a mixed-martial arts contest on this medium shouldn’t be any different than a fan of the Lakers trying to listen to the game before he gets home to watch it on TV or see it at Staples Center.

“If you’re stuck in traffic during rush hour and the match starts at 6 p.m., you’ll listen,” said Martin.

“We already simulcast the ‘NFL on Fox’ Sunday morning show, and that’s good content. We’re always trying to do something different. Unless you try, you’ll never know.”

Martin said the UFC presence will also involve getting fighters on to the Fox radio shows on the day of their fights.

Fox Sports Radio, operated from the Premiere Radio Networks studios on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, has nearly 400 affiliates across the country.

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The UFC on FOX … grapple with that one


(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
David Hill, chief executive of Fox Sports, left, is joined by Fox Sports Media Group president Eric Shanks, UFC president Dana White, UFC CEO and chairman Lorenzo Fertitta and FX network president John Landgraf during the announcement today about a seven-year deal between the UFC and Fox.

Ultimately, Fox had no choice but to get into the UFC.

If it put it off any longer, Jay Glazer, the network’s esteemed NFL reporter who is also one heck of a mixed-martial arts fan, trainer and competitor, might have had to put the entire upper management at Fox Sports into a lethal choke hold.


“I’ve been hoping this day would come for a very long time,” Glazer said as the announcement became official this morning in Century City – a seven-year, mult-tiered deal with Dana White’s Ultimate Fighting Championship that gives the mixed-message sport of MMA its most legitimate media platform to date.

Starting Nov. 12 with a fight card in Anaheim, at least four UFC events will air on Fox’s network a year. Six more, starting next spring, will go on Fox’s cable partner, FX, now in 99 million homes. That channel will also take up a live version of the popular “Ultimate Fighter” reality show that has been one of the most-watched series during the last seven years on Spike TV, a way to give a more human dimension to the otherwise crazed-looking fighters.

Fox Sports ultimate chief David Hill admits that 10 years ago, when he was first approached by UFC officials about becoming a partner after it was purchased by Zuffa, he was put off by the sport.

He even admitted to USA Today as recent as three years ago that MMA was “totally abhorrent.”

“I’ve changed my mind,” said Hill, not waiting to make a mountain out of that molehill.

Why? Follow the grappling greenbacks.


(AP Photo/The News-Journal, Suchat Pederson)
Yoshihiro Akiyama lies on the mat during a match during a bout against Vitor Belfort, right rear, during UFC 133 in Philadelphia on Aug. 6.

The UFC, primarily a company that makes it cash with pay-per-view events, has been one of the few sports franchises to indelibly lock in the coveted men in the 18-to-34 age demographic for its prime-time Octoganal mayhem. That translates to huge ad dollars for whatever network sells its soul to put it on.

That’s why Fox’s media relations department felt it was proper to entice reporters to its live, web-streamed announcement from its NFL set in Century City by calling it “one of the biggest announcements in its 17-year history.” Actor and MMA host Joe Rogan had no fear factor into calling this “an historic moment.”

“Since (the start of Fox Sports in) 1994, we’ve always been opportunistic, but sports is the ultimate supply and demand, and we do a fair amount of soul searching and calculations before we go into bidding on something,” said Hill, who declined to confirm reports that the deal was for a reported $90 million a year, and was also coy about Fox being one of several networks in on the rights bidding.

“This is something we firmly believe in,” he added.


Hill also noted that some advertisers might have a “do not buy” on the UFC, but “a helluva lot more have a ‘do buy’ behind it.”

Fox had an MMA beta test in 2002 when a UFC 37.5 event was held in conjunction with Fox Sports Net’s “Best Damn Sports Show” franchise. CBS and cable partner Showtime have also dipped their toe into the bloody water with a joint effort for over-the-air coverage in recent years, to very mixed reviews.

“Different quality and different production,” said Glazer of the competition’s efforts, mostly calling then UFC rival StrikeForce for its lesser-known fighters, before the UFC ended up buying Strikeforce. “Fox is the perfect fit now for UFC. We’re younger and hipper network. And we let them do the production. Why mess with someone who does it right?”

UFC will produce the fights, and Fox will air them, while Fox’s FUEL channel will also be involved. The UFC, in fact, had proposed taking over FUEL and making it a complete UFC channel until talks with Fox Sports president Eric Shanks, a former DirecTV executive, led to this partnership model.

Expect to see former CBS MMA play-by-play man Gus Johnson, now in the Fox tent, to be involved in calling some events, as well as some ultra-dimension cross-promotion of the sport on Fox’s NFL, MLB and NASCAR coverage, as well as shows like “American Idol,” as events come near.


Think Chuck Liddell on the “NFL on Fox” Sunday morning set someday sitting next to Howie Long, allowing Jimmy Johnson to rate their hair pieces.

“I remember one time bringing Chuck in here, and everyone was asking, ‘Who’s that guy with the weird haircut and all the tattoos,’” said Glazer. “Now, if we’re walking around in Vegas, he’s a huge celebrity.”

So much might need to be explained in the weeks ahead for Fox’s decision to jump into this legal form of “Fight Club,” but Shanks even had an answer for that.

He said he owns a Harley Davidson T-shirt that says, “If I have to explain it to you, you wouldn’t understand.”

“This sports has been legit for a decade,” said Shanks.

And Fox has been a legit sports network for even longer.

But some may legitimately question if that’s at risk now.

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Q-and-A: The pros, and prose, of the two-time reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur golf champ going pro


(Steven Gibbons/USGA)
Danielle Kang and her father/caddie, K.S. Kang, teammed up to win the last two U.S. Women’s Amateur titles.

Danielle Kang took the last major step from amateur to professional golf on the same day Keegan Bradley introduced himself as a major player to the golf world by winning the PGA Championship last Sunday.

Maybe you missed it.


By winning her second straight U.S. Women’s Amateur title, the Westlake Village resident who recently left Pepperdine pulled off something of a remarkable comeback herself.

Kang was tied for 27th place, at 2-over par, during the stroke play portion of the event at the Rhode Island Country Club, and a persistent upper back problem was really affecting her match play after a quarterfinal win.

After some 45-minute readjustment on her ribs and rotator cuff, Kang recovered to advance through Saturday’s semifinals and then win the 36-hole final with an impressive 6 and 5 performance over Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugard.

Enough people must have seen it on the Golf Channel: Kang said she got 75 text messages, 40 voicemails and 78 friend requests on Facebook before she even went to her post-match press conference.

“I don’t accept the person if I don’t have a mutual friend, really,” she admitted. “My brother always yells at me if I accept somebody. I learned.”

As she drove down to Carlsbad this afternoon with her brother, Alex, who plays for San Diego State’s golf team and last week was competing at the Western Amateur, the 18-year-old Danielle reflected on where she’s been and where she goes from here:

Q: Did you feel as if your title came a bit under the radar with so much more attention on the PGA Championship in Atlanta?

A: I know. That’s all right. They’ll notice it later.

Q: What kind of situation did you face physically over the weekend? Did you worry that you might not be healthy enough to even finish, let alone be strong enough to repeat?

A: I’ve had a spinal spasm that hasn’t fully healed – it’s a long-term injury – and I had so much pain in my upper back and ribs that I couldn’t breathe sometimes. (Chiropractor Dr. Ellen McNally) readjusted my ribs and shoulder blades. They were digging into my back. That really released the tension.

Q: How do your plans lay out now for turning pro? There was some mention of maybe playing in the Canadian Women’s Open in Quebec starting next week.

A: Right now I need rest for my back. I haven’t had much time to relax in months. I’m in the process of contacting agents and talking with companies that could represent me, but my priorities are really with Q-school (starting next month). So, from there, whatever happens, happens. Then I can settle down and talk about maybe playing in some exemptions.

Q: The career of Michelle Wie might be a cautionary tale about having a lot of publicity early and having a tough time living up to expectations — no matter when she does win. Is there a way to look at her career so far and look at how she has done things with handling marketing, media, exposure, things like that?

A: Um, I mean, Michelle is really a different person. She’s a great player, no matter how she markets herself. I don’t know about the expectations. I think everyone expects more from everyone else. Everyone wants more. That’s just how life is. I’m not sure how to explain it. No matter what, you’re pushing yourself to get better. I think Michelle has represented herself well in the media. She’s an awesome player. But she really is different.


Q: You’ve played in all four majors this year – 49th at the Women’s British Open to become the low amateur, tied for 50th at the LPGA Championship. How do those experiences translate to playing in the amateur championships, where so much is based on match play?

A: I looked at them all the same. With my personality, match play is more suited for me. I like to attack things. You more aggressive you can be in match play, you do well. But in every major, there’s every shot that counts, and you can be aggressive there, too. Every one of them is a learning experience.

Q: Having your dad as your caddy in these major events, what was the dymanics of that like? Was it more than having something of a comfort situation — he could really help you with club selection and reading greens? Or confirming your decisions? And then moving forward, how do you go about picking a caddy?

A: Mostly what my dad does it keep me comfortable. He’s there for me no matter what happens. I always say that the only guy you can ever trust in life is your dad. On the course, he just gets yardages for me. For instance I say, “148, right?” Then he goes, “Right.” When I’m selecting a caddy for tour, I want someone that could be my friend. Golf is not all about seriousness or being uptight … I like to have fun on the course. I play it cause I love the game.

Q: You had a unique learning experience attending Pepperdine. But you’re not at the university any more after three semesters. It didn’t end on such good terms – academically ineligible right before the team started in the NCAA tournament last spring. How would you describe all that experience?

A: Well, I did graduate (six months) early from high school (Westlake) and I think I’d be pretty young for someone going into my third full year of college (turning 19 in October). I think I got enough experience that I wanted to get in those two years, and I don’t think there are many my age who can say that.

I did learn a lot of things. I do want to get a degree someday (she was studying pre-law and business) and I’ll probably go back some day, but I’m not sure if it’ll be at Pepperdine.

There are some things that happened that I can’t say or mention. But things happen and you move on. I come from a family that’s very highly educated (her mother is a doctor and licensed acupuncturist and her father is in the communications business) and, you know, it’s complicated. School isn’t a problem for me. It’s just that no average student can skip grades easily.

Q: You’re only going to be a teenager one more year – what kind of things do you think you’re missing that other regular kids your age do? Or do you really miss it?

A: You know, you start playing ball at an early age, and any athlete who does that has to give up a lot. I missed a lot of things when I was much younger that I don’t regret. I still get to do everything I want. Maybe I missed a school graduation, or a prom, but I there’s always bigger and better things.

Q: Are you aware of how many LPGA players are there already with the last name of Kang – Soo-Yun Kang, Haeji Kang, Jimin Kang? I’m thinking you might get lost in the mix, or at least people may confuse you with them?

A: That’s rare. Maybe it’s not as common as the others, but still out there.


Q: Tell me about your relationship with Wayne and Janet Gretzky and them helping you get a membership at Sherwood Country Club. How did that all start?

A: Their son (Ty) became friends with my brother — they’re the same age, played a lot of high school golf together — and he’s been like my older brother, too. And the Gretzkys are now like my second parents. They’ve really helped me a lot and took care of me. Without them, I really wouldn’t be able to play. They let me practice (at Sherwood) before I came to the Amateur, because I didn’t have anywhere to practice. Janet called me right after I was done. She was like, “Oh, my God.” I think she was crying..

Q: And you’ve become golf buddies with Marcus Allen and Eric Dickerson?

A: We play together sometimes at Wood Ranch (in Simi Valley). Eric has become a good friend and Marcus has been close. He’s always giving me calls and texts before I tee off. He’s pushing me all the time to play better. If I shoot a 69, he says I could have had a 65. If I shoot a 65, he says next time shoot 60. So what are you going to do?

Q: There was this quote I found, you talking to the USGA about turning pro: “Everytime an amateur decides to turn pro, they always think, am I ready? That’s what they ask themselves. Now I know I am and I have to go to the next level.” Was there one or two things that happened, something that clicked, that made your decision easier and confirmed you were ready, physically and mentally, to take that next step?

A: I’m always ready for a challenge and am not scared to go for it. I just know that I’m ready and I want to be on tour and compete. I’m ready for the next level. You gotta dream big and go for it.


More on Danielle Kang:

Birthdate: Oct. 20, 1992, in San Francisco
High school: Attended Oak Park for two years, graduated early from Westlake (2010). Once shot a 10-under 57 at the Marmonte League tournament at the Westlake Golf Course to break the women’s course record by four strokes.
College: Attended Pepperdine (2010-2011). Golfweek All-American second team both of her seasons at Pepperdine. She ranked No. 14 nationally in the final Golfweek/Sagarin index following the 2010-11 season. Her sophomore-year scoring average of 72.42 ranks second on Pepperdine’s single-season records list. A career stroke average of 72.81 in 13 tournaments and 37 rounds with the Waves. Declared academically ineligible and missed the Waves’ postseason in 2011.
Amateur highlights: Won the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur in North Carolina with a 2 and 1 victory over Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Fla.

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The real McEnroe approach to reviving U.S. tennis


HBO/SI’s Jon Frankel, left, talks with John McEnroe during the “Real Sports” piece that aired Tuesday.

What’s real and what isn’t on HBO’s “Real Sports,” neither John nor Patrick McEnroe are even debating today. They’re just sure their approaches as to how to grow more U.S. tennis championships isn’t as different as the cable network show tried to make it out to be.

During a 14-minute segment in the latest episode of the HBO series that debuted Tuesday and is hosted by Bryant Gumbel , Sports Illustrated reporter Jon Frankel set out to shine a light on “a solution to what’s ailing American tennis” in the world Grand Slam scene, just as the U.S. Open is about to begin.

Frankel’s interviews with the McEnroe brothers were the foundation the discussion, and their common concerns about the cost of private lessons as well as how the sport may not be “sexy” enough when compared to football or basketball are key to the discussion. But then the focus goes more to how their opinions differ.

Patrick, for example, has been involved in the United State Tennis Association’s efforts to invest some $15 million into junior tennis academies.

“Now here’s where the brother’s efforts to reinvigorate American tennis get interesting,” says Frankel. “Because John, not surprisingly, thinks Patricks’ institutionalized USTA approach is wrong. . . . The McEnroes disagree on many ideas.”

During a conference call this morning with both Patrick and John McEnroe to promote ESPN’s coverage of the U.S. Open starting Aug. 29, the question about whether they really do disagree seemed to be a very moot point.

“Welcome to HBO ‘Real Sports,’” said Patrick, who said he watched it this morning. “That wasn’t the way they sold the piece to me. They made it about the state of U.S. tennis. (The opinions John and I) are only slightly different. And that’s pretty darn slight.”

Added John, who said he did not see the piece yet: “Sometimes what makes a more interesting piece isn’t where we end up but getting to where we’ve got. The bottom line is Patrick is a much better politician and he’s in an important position. Ultimately it will be a win-win for us as opposed to be appear we’re going in opposite directions.”

Frankel, who doesn’t interview the two together, goes back to each one later in the piece to see if he can get one to say his brother is doing things “wrong.”

Patrick allows that “in my experience, it’s pretty unlikely” that John’s idea of having kids do less regimented activity will produce the next great American players. But he also says there are many different way to go about finding them.

John says “we don’t talk about (their differences) as much as I’d like to,” but that he doesn’t bully Patrick about it.

Both Frankel and host Gumbel have a post-segment discussion about how there seems to be a “Catch 22″ aspect about how the U.S. game won’t get popular until it has an American champion, but we can’t get an American to win until it gets popular in the U.S. somehow.

“I did feel that was their message, not ours, that it’ll take a superstar to create a buzz, but how do we get there without a buzz,” said Patrick. “I don’t believe that, and I don’t believe John believes that.”

Added John: “I don’t think Patrick and I are as far off as people make it out to be. I simply believe there should be different options provided for people. … All those options should be out there.”

HBO spokesman Ray Stallone said the network had no comment.

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