Top 5 Sports Stories

07/18/2011 10:49 am ET | Updated Sep 17, 2011
  • Len Berman Emmy Award winning sportscaster and New York Times Bestselling Author

Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for July 18, 2011 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The U.S women fall to the Japanese in the Women's World Cup final.
  • 42-year old Darren Clarke from Northern Ireland wins his first Major, the British Open, at five under par. Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson finished tied for second, three shots back.
  • It nearly went to penalty kicks. The Red Sox beat Tampa Bay last night 1-0 in 16 innings.
  • Former NHL center Joe Sakic hit a million-dollar hole in one (half goes to charity) at the Celebrity Golf Championship.
  • I'm sure you don't remember this, but that busty fan who vowed to strip naked if Paraguay won the Copa America soccer tournament? Well, Paraguay, surprisingly, has made the semifinals. Just thought you'd like to know. And in case you forgot, or have the slightest interest, here's her picture.

2. G-O-A-L-L!

Now that was a great sports event. Sure, if you want to play the jingo card you can be pissed that the U.S. lost, but what a great win for Japan. Yes, the U.S. outplayed them the entire game, but the Japanese women hung around long enough to stay alive. And if you want to get all mushy, this was the foreign equivalent of New Orleans winning the Super Bowl. A country got knocked down, yet they're still standing. And now they have something to really cheer about. So thanks ladies, from both countries. You put on a helluva show.

3. What's His Name?

So I'm watching Phil Mickelson's charge yesterday on the front nine, and I'm noticing all those American flags on the leaderboard and I'm thinking the obituaries for American golf are way premature. The conventional wisdom says with Tiger on the shelf, the rest of the world has surpassed the U.S. But six of the top 10 finishers were American. I'm also thinking that Phil might do something Tiger has never done. Come from behind on Sunday to win a major. Then I got to thinking that when Rory McIlroy ran away with the U.S. Open all the comparisons were with a young Tiger. So I guess it's come to this. When he's there, you think about Tiger. When he's not, ditto. The pro golf world is not a Tiger-free zone... just yet.

4. I Need a Ruling

The NBA fired 11 percent of its work force. Then they issued a press release saying, "The layoffs are not a direct result of the lockout." I have to check the rule book. I think that's the definition of double drivel.

5. Excuses, Excuses

The North Korean women's soccer team came nowhere close to winning the World Cup, but they were easily the most entertaining outfit. After losing to the U.S. women, they claimed that lightning had struck the team during practice. And now five team members have flunked drug tests, and guess what? Yup, the lightning did it. They all had to be treated for the lightning strike, so they took a concoction that's made from the glands of musk deer. And that's why they tested positive. You see, it's all easily explained. Those women were not guilty! Who needs Florida juries?

Happy Birthday: Angels center fielder Torii Hunter. 36.
Bonus Birthday: The first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth, John Glenn. 90.

Today in Sports: Perfecto. Yankee pitcher David Cone pitches a no-hitter against Montreal. 1999.
Bonus Event: Perfecto. Nadia Comaneci scores the first perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastics history in Montreal (featured in my New York Times best seller The Greatest Moments in Sports.) 1976.

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