Maier Time: Masters, Sushi and is Ernie Els really from Iowa?

Masters Sunday is the best Sunday in all of Sunday’s.

Sorry, God.

I’m not a fan of Sergio Garcia and I wanted to see the curse  — if that’s what you want to call it — go on for the rest of his career.

But after cheering against him for the whole day, heck, the whole week, I was happy for him.

So, congrats Mr. Garcia on beating Justin Rose in 73 holes but I have a bone to pick with both of you.

I’m a big fan of sportsmanship, and even though I had no problem with Rose tweeting out his congratulations to the Spaniard, I wasn’t a fan of their actions towards the final holes of Sunday’s round.

As the two sat on the 15th tee box, Rose had a two-stroke lead over Garcia. After Garcia sank his eagle putt and Rose made his birdie putt the two walked off the 15th green tied at nine under.

Just before the two left the green, they gave each other a high-five. I have no problem with them acknowledging each other’s putts but do it in a different way.

Give each other a tip of the hat or just say, “nice putt.”

Fast forward to the 72nd hole. After Garcia and Rose hit perfect drives down the middle of the fairway they gave each other another high-five as they walked off the tee.

Again, I don’t care if you say, “nice drive Sergio,” or “that’ll play nicely Justin,” just don’t give them a high-five.

The two were almost too comfortable around each other throughout the final round.

Did Garcia purposely miss that putt on 18? Hell, no but I don’t think Garcia felt enough pressure to make the putt.

If he and Rose would’ve been more distant during the round I definitely think Garcia would’ve felt more heat as he tried to sneak that putt into the hole and possibly putting a ‘must must make’ label on it.

Ten (four) things I know I know that you probably don’t know:

  1. Remember the quarterback that led Alabama to two BCS national championships? Yeah, Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron is opening a sushi restaurant in Tuscaloosa.

McCarron will be the co-owner of the sushi restaurant that will open June 1. I think this is a brilliant idea. The Bengals will never move on from Andy Dalton, so McCarron might as well start making some more money on top of the money he’s already making from the AFC North team.

2. Nobody knows who the Cleveland Browns are going to take with the No. 1 pick. I don’t even think the Browns know but the selection is easy.

Take former Texas A&M defensive lineman Myles Garrett. The 21-year-old is a beast even when he’s not in a football uniform or gym clothes. I actually didn’t know Field Yates was that tiny.

3.  Let’s face it, the NBA regular season doesn’t matter. Eighty-two games is a lot even though there are professional athletes playing the game. An article came out early today saying that the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks the NBA should follow the NFL’s model.

Morey said that a 40 game season spread out to two games per week for 20 weeks would be more exciting and I have to agree. Cutting the season in half would most likely get rid of the resting star players problem. And the regular season would actually matter.

Morey also said that he thinks the postseason should be one to three game series. That would make playoff series so dramatic. If the playoffs started today the Golden State Warriors would take on the No. 8 seed Portland Trail Blazers. Just imagine if the Trail Blazers won the first game in the series, the Warriors would be playing their hearts out in the final two games. I get the money issue. Fewer games equal less money and all that jazz but at some point, the NBA (and the other three major sports) need to do something drastic to make the sport(s) more watchable.

4. I guarantee you didn’t know that Johannesburg, the city that Ernie Els is from was located in Iowa. Yes, it was just a classic ESPN intern mistake but how do you accidentally put Johannesburg, Iowa and South Africa on the same line on a graphic?

The Pacemaker: coming next Monday. 


Burros Bury FW-M at the Buzzer

When I was in sixth grade I hit a game-winning 3-pointer from the same spot on the court that Kyle Henningsgard nailed his from.

The difference between the two was that his game-winner was for Hillsboro-Central Valley’s first ever Class B state title. Mine was for a first-place finish at a Grand Am tournament.

The senior guard ran off a Jack Camrud screen to the right side with under 10 seconds to play but had the basketball poked out of his right hand from behind.

Luckily, the basketball ended up in Austin Reed’s hand on the right wing.

As three Four Winds-Minnewaukan players surrounded Reed and the ball, Henningsgard stood in the corner all alone.

Reed found him and Henningsgard’s shot left his hands with 2.5 seconds left on the game clock, and with 0.9 seconds it swished through the net lifting H-CV over the Indians 63-60 in Saturday’s 2017 North Dakota Class B state tournament in Minot, N.D.

“It felt like slow motion just sitting there with that ball,” Henningsgard said about the final possession. “I knew there wasn’t much time so I had to put it up and it went down and just a roller coaster of emotions after that.”

The No. 1 seed and defending Class B champions led for most of the game and had a seven-point lead with 6:08 left in regulation but couldn’t cage the Henningsgard monster in the fourth quarter.

The senior guard finished with 15 points as 11 of them came in the fourth quarter.

He started the game 1 for 13 but connected on 4 of his final 6 baskets.

“Obviously you don’t want to give up,” Henningsgard said about his performance. “They (FW-M) are a great basketball team but I don’t know, I guess I flipped a switch or something because it was going down and I was confident.”

“Everything you dream about as a kid,” he added. “I’m just living the dream right now, it’s unreal, it doesn’t even feel real right now.”

Two days later and I still don’t believe that’s how the game ended.

It was my first time covering the Class B state tournament and I was treated like a king.

There are millions of journalists out there that would do almost anything to cover a championship game that ends on a buzzer-beater.

Big games like the Class B state tournament one can be career moving.

In the last few year’s I’ve covered two FCS championship games, two Summit League title contests and a Class B state tournament.

As my roommate said, “Pace, you are one lucky bastard.”


The Winning Charm

I’ve been working at the Hillsboro Banner as the sports editor for just over two months.

Its been wonderful and the Banner staff is the best I’ve ever worked with.

Alyssa, our account manager makes the best chili I’ve ever had; sorry mom, just too many beans.

Cole, the boss man, is awesome. Even when I don’t ask for chocolate milk and Cheez-It Grooves he’ll bring me some back from Dale’s anyway.

Thank you for hiring me at a sushi restaurant.

Cory is a hoot and a great photographer. However, he is always blaming other people for misplacing his Mountain Dew.

My buddies call me weird for watching Twitch but Cory and Cole understand why it’s so fun and weird to watch someone else play a video game.

Working for the Banner is my first job out of college even though I graduated last May and I wouldn’t want to work for anyone else right out of college.

Sometimes, they joke that I haven’t quit or maybe they are being serious but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

Heck, in the two months that I’ve been here the Hillsboro-Central Valley boys and girls basketball team’s are a combined 26-3.

Yes, the girls got knocked out in the quarterfinal round against Grafton in the Region 2 tournament but after starting the season 1-5 with a new coach, they won 14 of their final 17.

It was a successful season after winning just five games in 2015-16.

The boys are headed to the 2017 North Dakota Class B state tournament for the first time in 18 years and the first time ever as the H-CV co-op.

I’m a lucky man. Wherever I go it seems that teams win.

Rewind the clock a year or two back. My senior year at North Dakota State, I covered the Bison win their fifth FCS championship in Frisco, Tx., and I covered NDSU men’s basketball team win a Summit League tournament title.

My first year out of college the Bison fail to make it to the FCS title game and the men’s basketball team couldn’t even make it out of the quarterfinal round in Sioux Falls, S.D.

I must be the good luck charm because in a day I’ll be covering the Burros at the state tournament.

I’ve heard that the Class B tournament is North Dakota’s most impressive high school sporting event but never actually experienced it.

Three days in Minot sounds gross but sounds a lot better when you throw in three full days of basketball inside the Minot State Dome.

The Burros received the No. 3 seed and will play Turtle Lake-Mercer/McClusky (17-7) at 2:45 p.m., Thursday.

“This year the stats show that we’ve got so many guys averaging so many points and so many guys can score at any different time,” senior guard Austin Reed said after Monday’s practice. “Jack (Camrud) is a beast on the boards, I’ve always tried to be aggressive on them and we board the ball well offensively and defensively.”

“Just to cap it off with a trip to the (Class) B (tournament) and have a chance to win it, that’s awesome.”