The Dean's List: Birthday Boys
Two star athletes with diametrically opposite public personas, who are enjoying remarkable success, share July 27 as their birthday.
Golf phenom Jordan Spieth is the only golfer to win multiple major before his 22nd birthday – yes, Tiger had won just the one Masters. Hard to imagine a more grounded athlete who has lived on Planet Earth for just 8,030 days. His popularity has skyrocketed since his first PGA Tour win, but especially since winning the Masters. The US Open triumph catapulted him into rarified air that almost reached a new zenith when it looked like after 70 holes at the Open Championship that he was going to join Ben Hogan as the only golfer in the modern era to win the first three majors in the same year.
In the Bronx, Alex Rodriguez 40th birthday is stunningly met with approximately 99.999 percent more appreciation than I expected when the Yankees gathered for training camp. A-Rod has been more accessible to fans and media, and has shown a side of himself that was missing for most of his 39 years. Much more humble and much less sensitive, the jaundiced eye would point it being more a product of his numbers and not so much a personality makeover. With career homers Nos. 675, 676 and 677 on Saturday, A-Rod is batting .277 with 23 home runs and 58 RBI in 90 games, his best season since 2010 when he hit .270 with 30 homers and 125 RBI in 137 games.
Here’s hoping they finish off their seasons without losing steam. But I keep waiting for the Yankees to crater and Jason Day and other young guns to at least keep the Longhorn off the top of the leaderboard on every Sunday of every major. Hope I’m wrong. Again.