Some random observations while waiting and waiting and waiting for the NFL to drop the hammer on New Orleans Saints’ defenders involved in the bounty program now that coach Sean Payton has been in exile for two weeks …
Obviously, Payton is encouraged by fans who have donned T-shirts or put bumper stickers on their cars decrying the punishment he received for misleading the investigation of the pay-for-performance scandal.
“There’s that bond that’s been uniquely formed,” Payton said. “There’s a close relationship that I don’t, and I know none of our players or coaches or anyone in our organization, ever take for granted. I think the fans feel that as well.”
It was a unique draft in more ways than one because they had no picks in the first and second rounds for the first time in the franchise’s 46-year history.
Because there was no pressure to hit a home run with a high pick, the Saints sat back and waited for the draft to come to them before going on the clock with the 89th overall pick — a third-rounder that brought them defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.
Of course, having a veteran team with few starting spots available again allowed them to concentrate on adding depth at certain areas as well as getting some special teams help.
The tournament had a leaderboard full of top players who took full advantage of mostly ideal conditions for the final three rounds to put up lots of red numbers.
That it ended with Jason Dufner winning for the first time on the PGA Tour in a playoff over three-time major winner Ernie Els was a plus although the crowd was pulling for Els to win for the first time in more than two seasons.
Donald finished third and regained the No. 1 world ranking from Rory McIlroy before Els, the only player to shoot in the 60s in all four rounds, failed to complete the double.
He had a sponsor’s exemption to the Valero Texas Open and tied for 35th, then earned a spot in New Orleans and tied for 24th. On Monday, he shot a 65 in an open qualifier to play his way into the Wells Fargo Championship and will tee off at 7:50 a.m. CDT Thursday and 1:15 p.m. Friday.
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