Five things we learned from this last weekend: Feb. 15-17

Just a little help staying ahead of the sports world learning curve heading back into the work week:

Charlie Beljan misses a birdie putt on the 18th green as fog rolls in and darkness brings an end to the first round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. Turns out, he took a bogey on that hole instead of a better shot at par if he just returned on Friday to finish it up. How big does that look now? (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

For a guy who once had an anxiety-relate meltdown during a PGA Tour event last year, but somehow came back to win it, Charlie Beljan looked the least star-struck during the final couple of rounds at the Northern Trust Open. The Big Waffle outplayed Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els in Saturday’s third round. His final round charge from the third-to-last group Sunday swaggering in with a birdie on No. 18. In the two-man playoff with John Merrick, he may have missed a par putt on No. 10 to force a third extra hole, but it’s hardly any shame. Beljan got himself a 40-foot motor home and driving event to event with his wife and 5-month old to relieve some of the anxiety. He spent this weekend at a Malibu RV park during the tournament. “He’s been trying to change his diet and all kinds of things to keep the anxiety down,” said CBS analyst Gary McCord. “A career change would probably help,” said CBS partner David Feherty. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods played golf in Florida on Sunday with President Obama.

Danica Patrick capturing the pole for the Daytona 500 is a NASCAR marketers’ dream. She doesn’t even have to win the thing now, just survive it. Maybe she can hit the gas at the start, drive like a madwoman until she runs out of gas, get out of the car and show some leg as she waits for the AAA to arrive. It’s happened before.


Oscar Pistorius’ track career is apparently on hold. Indefinitely. Murder charges sometimes cause that to happen. The double-amputee Paralympian also learned that, for now, his Nike sponsors were sticking by him. Ask Lance Armstrong how that worked out for him.


The Dodgers are supposedly at the 27,000 season-seat sales level – half of Dodger Stadium – after floundering around 10,000 less than that in the pre-Guggenheim ownership era. Peter O’Malley once had a cap of 26,000 on seats. Dodgers all-knowing CEO Stan Kasten said there’ll be no cap. Heck, if you could sell out an entire ballpark every night on pre-sold tickets, wouldn’t you?


Derek Fisher can still be president of the NBA Players Association even when he’s not on anyone’s team? The former Lakers guard supposedly led the charge toward change in getting rid of executive director Billy Hunter over the weekend. Wasn’t Billy Hunter once his backup? Or was that Lindsay Hunter? One thing the NBAPA can do is twist the arms of its stars to attend All-Star Saturday night activities. Why bother watching these days? As ESPN’s Mike Greenberg tweeted out: “I remember fondly when the slam dunk contest was a can’t miss event. Last night, all that was missing was a guy literally jumping a shark.”

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