I continue to believe that the spectrum of concussions in sports involving collisions is a ticking time bomb, and is a largely undiagnosed public health crisis that urgently needs a solution. Prevention is one priority, teaching better blocking and tackling techniques to young athletes and limiting off-season practice hitting is another, in addition to rule changes in enforcing penalties as well. There is a promising helmet design soon to be available from Tate Technology, headed by Jenny Morgan, that can dramatically reduce the force level of impact on the head. But notwithstanding preventive measures, concussions will occur in large numbers.

Dr. Jacob Van Landingham, who is associated with both the University of Florida and Florida State University, has developed a new technique to treat concussions and minimize the severity of the symptoms. His company, Prevacus, has a protocol that offers the NFL the opportunity to be a leader in solving the concussion crisis through treatment of the injury on the field, it moves the focus to treatment. Every other football or athletic injury is treated immediately, concussions need the same attention.

Prevacus offers a solution, it is the first field deliverable pharmaceutical treatment of concussion which is administered nasally, allowing more of the drug to reach the brain-injured sites. This drug begins treating the injury at the moment of impact by reducing swelling, inflammation and oxidative stress, so that the player can begin to recover faster. It limits the potential for the negative effects from concussion and repeat hits to the head.

With bigger, stronger and faster athletes colliding, the actual G force at the line of scrimmage has risen exponentially. Every time lineman hit it can create a low level sub-concussive event.

Many athletes have already experienced the symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and more cases will be added soon. This dangerous syndrome creates a downward spiral in the athlete -- confusion, dementia, depression leading to loss of job, family and life. Prevacus is in the early stages of developing a drug to treat those with CTE.

There has been a degree of despair surrounding the concussion crisis. We are beginning to see talented researchers who would rather light candles than curse the darkness. More are needed. Next week I will write about Jenny Morgan and her helmet breakthrough. Prevacus, Tate Technology and other talented researchers are bringing hope.

HBO's Real Sports has covered the topic of violence against referees, but the program is taking another look it in its latest edition. Unfortunately, it's not to report that progress has been made. It's the opposite as another soccer referee was killed while working a match.

This troubling trend is documented in the episode that premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Here's a preview:

The dramatic circumstances of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases raise the issue of which aspects of an athlete's private life should be subject to public awareness and judgment. The lines between public and private have been blurred with the development of social media and cellphone technology. When an athlete leaves his home, every moment can be captured on a phone or tablet camera providing images and sound.

When Matt Leinart was quarterback for the Cardinals, he was relaxing in his own home in his private time when a jacuzzi photo of him and several woman was captured. That led to mistaken impression. These images can then be uploaded to the Internet and travel across the country.

Clearly when a law is broken, it becomes a public matter. Rice and Peterson broke laws and were arrested. This is a change from the "good old days" in sports when domestic violence and abusive parenting were kept in the closet and were never reported. That privacy victimized woman and children and kept them in peril; the legal system often re-victimized them. Both these cases created better awareness and spurred action toward prevention and swift punishment. This is a constructive aspect of celebrity driven media exposure.

Where is it appropriate to publicize athlete's private lives? Traditionally there have been different approaches to discipline in parenting. What is seen as abhorrent by some people is considered good parenting by others. Beating a toddler with a tree branch so that he is injured clearly crosses the line.

Is it fair to scrutinize the discipline when it falls short of violating a law? Certain athletes have fathered children with multiple mothers. Is this a behavior which should be publicized? There is no question that children parented by single mothers face challenges that others don't. Is it fair to single out those fathers for censure? Or is it nobody's business but the parents?

Donald Sterling said abhorrent and harmful things on a tape with his girlfriend. Few would disagree that harboring and expressing those thoughts should disqualify someone from NBA ownership. But is all private conversation fair game for exposure? Should anyone using a phone, or speaking in privacy be subjected to public scrutiny? If there was a method of recording someone's internal thoughts, should they be subject to public scrutiny? Hasn't virtually every person who has been angry or careless expressed themselves in a way that might hurt someone else's feelings, or offend someone if exposed?

There is a visceral reaction in this country toward the widespread tracking by the NSA of private phone calls. Fears of "1984" thought control and a police state were expressed. Celebrity media draws an audience and profits mightily from the most embarrassing activities and statements of their targets. Controversy sells. An intelligent discussion of which lawful behavior and speech should be considered public, is long overdue.

The Miami Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton, who finished second in MVP voting this week, to a 13-year, $325 million contract. Stanton had an outstanding season in which he hit .288 with 37 home runs. He is 25 years old. He could be 37 when he finishes the contract. Is the practice of signing free agents, or extending current contracts for ten years or more a rational business and baseball decision?

MLB contracts are totally guaranteed for skill and injury. This means that even if the player’s productivity has dropped dramatically and the club no longer wants him at premium numbers, they are obligated to pay every last dollar through the final season. If a player becomes injured during the term of the deal and can never play again, the club must pay every remaining salary. So a team is taking a significant risk signing a player in this manner.

History shows that many players who are signed to these long term deals underperform at some point with years remaining on their contracts. Teams signing these players often look at past performance and project that same output from a player in the future. Realistically, time takes its inevitable toll on players. An everyday player will lose foot speed and bat speed and potentially strength. An aging pitcher will lose velocity. Because baseball does not involve direct collision as an inherent part of the game, like football, teams can underestimate the injury factor in baseball. But, older players are more susceptible to strains and pulls that keep them out of the lineup.

The Angels have learned some of these lessons the hard way. Albert Pujols, was once the most dangerous hitter in baseball. In the last four years with the Cardinals, his home run totals were 37, 47, 42 and 37. In his three years with the Angels, he has hit 30, 17 and 28. In his last four years with the Cardinals, his batting averages were .357, .327, .312 and .299. In his three years with the Angels he has hit .285, .258, and .272. Pujols is signed for seven more years at roughly $27 million a year, he will be 42 when the contract ends.

In his last year with Texas, Josh Hamilton hit .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI. In his two injury plagued seasons with the Angels, Hamilton batted .250 and .263. His home run totals were 21 and 10. His RBI totals were 79 and 44. His contract has three more years to run at salaries of $23 million, $30 million and $30 million. Owner Artie Moreno has been passionate about trying to assemble the most productive team possible, and has been a fan-friendly owner, but these signings illustrate the danger.

It is an intelligent strategy to take productive players who are younger and tie them up contractually with their team. When past performance motivates a team to sign a player to guarantees for years in which the player is likely to be diminishing dramatically on the field, it can be a major detriment to the franchise. New York Yankee fans will writhe in frustration just thinking about the years of A-Rod non-productive salaries ahead.

On January 26, 1996, Dave Schultz, Olympic gold medal winner and wrestling golden boy, was shot three times by du Pont family heir John E. du Pont at the famed Foxcatcher Farms estate in Pennsylvania. After the murder there was a tense standoff when du Pont barricaded himself in his home for two days before he was finally captured. Foxcatcher is gold medal winner Mark Schultz's memoir, revealing what made him and his brother champion and what brought them to Foxcatcher Farms. It's a vivid portrait of the complex relationship he and his brother had with du Pont, a man whose catastrophic break from reality led to tragedy. No one knows the inside story of what went on behind the scenes at Foxcatcher Farms -- and inside John du Pont's head -- better than Mark Schultz. Here is an excerpt.


January 26, 1996

"Hi, Coach!"

Dave smiled and waved as he stepped toward John du Pont's silver Lincoln Town Car coming to a stop in his driveway, "P.U. Kids" jotted in the palm of Dave’s right hand. It was my brother's day to pick up his two kids from school, and he had just finished repairing his car radio with a few minutes to spare.

Du Pont, rolling down his window, didn't return the greeting.

“You got a problem with me?” du Pont asked.

He didn't give Dave a chance to answer.

The first hollow-point bullet from du Pont's .44 Magnum revolver struck Dave's elbow -- perhaps he had raised his arms to cover himself -- and continued its spiraling path through his heart and into his lungs.

Dave cried out in pain and lunged forward, apparently hoping he could wrestle the gun away.

Right arm still extended, du Pont squeezed the trigger again. The second bullet entered Dave’s stomach and did not stop until it had exited through his back, pierced through the back window of Dave’s car, and shattered the front windshield.

Dave crumpled face-first onto the snow-covered driveway. His wife, who had been inside the house, started toward the front door after the first shot.

"John, stop!" Nancy shouted.

John, stepping out of his car, turned his gun toward her. She ducked back inside. John aimed the gun back at Dave as he crawled toward his car, a trail of red marking his path in the snow. The bastard shot my dying brother in the back.


My office phone rang. It was just another afternoon in the middle of wrestling season, spent opening mail and answering phone calls until my team's practice would begin shortly.

Until my dad called.

"Du Pont shot Dave and killed him."

I didn't hang up the phone; I threw it and screamed, grabbed the papers in front of me, and slung them against the wall. Notebooks and pens and anything else within reach followed. So did a clock and awards sitting on the file cabinet near my desk. I cursed loud enough for the highest heavens to hear.

Alone, I sat in the corner and sobbed for an hour until my assistant coach opened the door. I told him about my dad’s call, and he sat down and wept with me.

By that point, John du Pont -- heir to the du Pont family fortune and supposed best friend of amateur wrestling in the United States -- had taken refuge in his sprawling mansion. Police swarmed to the Foxcatcher Farm estate they knew so well. Some had trained at du Pont’s shooting range, which he had opened up to them. Some wore bulletproof vests and communicated on radios he had purchased for them.

Du Pont, ever taking advantage of his reputation as a philanthropist, had been hailed as a generous giver for all of his adult life.

But I knew better. I knew that he gave in order to take. John du Pont gave me the means to wrestle and then took my wrestling career from me. Now he had taken my brother from me.

The police, settling in for what would be a forty-eight-hour standoff, sent word warning me, even though I was more than two thousand miles from the scene, to stay away.

They were right to call me. I would have made one more trip to the farm if I had believed I had a chance of getting to John. And I would have killed him.

For the past 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake, "paper classes," according to an independent report issued last week. Advisors funneled student athletes into programs to keep them eligible. The report estimates that more than 3,100 students took these classes.

Gerald Gurney, president of the Watchdog Drake Group said, " ... the scope of the 20 year UNC fraud scandal easily takes the prize for the largest and most nefarious scandal in the history of NCAA enforcement. The depth and breadth of the scheme -- involving counselors, coaches, academic administrators, faculty and athletic administrators eclipses any previous case."

The goal at UNC was to insure that these athletes were eligible academically to play for the school. The scandal highlights a nationwide collegiate sports emphasis, which ends up hurting the student athletes and the institution alike. Instead of counseling athletes to take classes designed to help them graduate with a major that will help them find career employment, a class schedule is cobbled together haphazardly to minimally satisfy NCAA grade point and unit standards.

The graduation rates of athletes who have been in athletic programs in football or basketball for six years are shockingly low. Keep in mind that only 1 percent of the collegiate athletes in these sports will ever play in the pros. Of those lucky enough to make it in pro sports, many play only a few years and face second career quickly. So, they end up at the end of their campus life with no degree, or with a degree that has no functional major or specialization -- prospects in the job market will be slim.

A recent report on HBO's Real SportsHBO's Real Sports showed athletes from the University of Oklahoma who had graduated and were employed at somewhat menial blue collar jobs. The classes that made up their degrees prepared them for nothing with a professional bent.

My own alma mater, UC Berkeley, showed a graduation rate for the football team in 2010 at 44 percent. That failure was so stunning that reform steps were quickly taken. UNC and the University of California are academic institutions. So, what is the duty of an academic institution to student-athletes? There is a need to recognize that these athletes have burdens given their year-round training regimen, heavy practice and play schedule in season that few other students face. They clearly deserve help in tutoring and some consideration for the semester that their sport is played in. But if the goal is only to keep them eligible to play with no consideration as to the quality of the major or degree their class schedule leads to--they are being deprived of the actual benefit of a college degree.

If athletic programs are unwilling to do the counseling and tutoring that helps a student athlete achieve a real functional major and graduate, there is an alternative. A university and the NCAA could abandon the facade of student athletics and simply hire young athletes to play for the university. A better system would allow young athletes with no academic interest to try and make it in the pros when their skill set allows. This would be done without attending college, or forcing colleges to give student athletes class schedules leading to unproductive majors and ineffective degrees.

While being introduced as an investor in the new MLS franchise in Los Angeles, Mia Hamm renewed her call for FIFA to provide grass playing fields for the 2015 Women's World Cup.

"It's the biggest tournament with your brightest stars," Hamm says.

More than 60 women soccer players have sued FIFA for discrimination. Part of their case is that all 20 men's World Cup tournament were staged on grass. The upcoming Women's World Cup in Canada will be played on artificial turf, and Hamm is among the most prominent soccer figures to pan that decision. She says she understands that weather in Canada is a legitimate factor, but that shouldn't be enough for turf to prevail over grass.

"For this tournament you want to see the best players playing on natural surface," Hamm says. "You want to the surface that the men get to play on to be the same for the women."

To defend its decision, FIFA trotted out a field expert named Eric Harrison for a Q-&-A on its official website. Part of Harrison's explanation was this: "A late winter would bring incredible pressure to bear on preparing such grounds for the Women’s World Cup. The majority of stadiums in Canada have accepted that only (artificial) turf is a credible surface to meet the demands of the weather and usage to which they wish to subject the fields."

But Los Angeles Times sports reporter Kevin Baxter poked holes through that premise. Baxter wrote:

"That's not entirely true. Winters are also severe in Germany and Sweden, and both countries have hosted women's world championships on grass fields. And while five of the six stadiums the Canadians proposed for the World Cup had artificial fields, two of those surfaces -- at Vancouver's B.C. Place, site of the July 5 final, and Montreal's Olympic Stadium -- are largely unaffected by weather since the winters in Vancouver are mild and the stadium in Montreal has a roof.

"The sixth venue, at the University of Moncton in Moncton, New Brunswick, had a grass field that World Cup organizers originally liked but eventually ripped out in favor of an artificial surface.

"Meanwhile, suitable natural-grass fields, such as BMO Field in Toronto, which replaced its artificial surface with Kentucky bluegrass four years ago, and Saputo Stadium in Montreal, were ignored."

In an interview with the New York Times in August, U.S. Women's National Team all-time leading goal scorer Abby Wambach said:

"It's a gender issue through and through ... This being the pinnacle of our sport, we feel like we should be treated just like the men."

Kobe Bryant tweeted his support to the women fighting FIFA to get rid of turf at the World Cup:

Aside from the equality issue, there are also the reports of the troubling link between the "crumb rubber" in artificial turf and cancer.

Frank Burke, a Giants fan from Oakland, caught the ball that Travis Ishikawa hit for a three-run home run to send the Giants to the World Series. After the game, Burke gave the ball to Ishikawa. In addition to an autographed bat from Ishikawa, Burke received four tickets to Game 3 of the World Series.

Ryan O'Connor, a waiter at Rock & Brews restaurant near Kansas City, was serving some wives of Royals players Tuesday several hours before Game 1 of the World Series. Instead of a customary tip, Katelyn Davis, wife of relief pitcher Wade Davis, decided to give O'Connor a ticket to the game.

Fortunately for these two fans, they didn't have to worry about getting stuck with bogus tickets. But tickets were among a variety of counterfeit World Series merchandise that federal agents in Overland Park, Kansas, seized at the start of the World Series.

The Associated Press reported that 126 counterfeit game tickets with a street value of $43,000 were confiscated along with T-shirts, caps, cellphone cases, sweatshirts and baby clothes. Four arrests were made in connection with the raid, but police said some fake tickets might have already been sold.

Amy Griffin can't say for sure that artificial turfs are causing cancer. But she's doing everything she can to find out.

One thing she does know: Soccer players across the country are coming down with cancer at epidemic rates. It didn't always used to be this way.

"I’ve coached for 26, 27 years," Griffin said in an interview with NBC. "My first 15 years, I never heard anything about this. All of a sudden it seems to be a stream of kids."

Griffin has been on the hunt for answers since two female goalkeepers she knew were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A nurse at the hospital remarked on the rash of soccer players -- goalkeepers in particular -- that had been coming down with cancer. Griffin was already suspicious.

"I just have a feeling it has something to do with those black dots," she said.

That was in 2009. Since then, Griffin has been on a crusade for answers. She's compiled a list of all the American soccer players who have been diagnosed with cancer.

So far, that list has grown to more than 50 soccer players, the vast majority of whom are goalkeepers. Why does their position matter? Because goalkeepers spend far more time in contact with the ground as they dive for balls and defend the goal.

Which means they're also getting the most exposure to the artificial turf -- those suspicious black dots.

The black material is actually known as crumb rubber, and it's a product designed to mimic a natural soil playing field, with a few enhancements: Lower maintenance, no need for water and a more consistent playing field for athletes.

Crumb rubber fields also seemed to have an environmental appeal, conserving resources while recycling tire rubber into a useful product.

But there are drawbacks, too. The fields can be brutal on the body, leaving bloody open wounds on players that scrape their exposed skin on the ground. Those open wounds are exposed to dangerous carcinogens harbored in the rubber.

Griffin doesn't know enough to draw any conclusions, but she's smart enough to connect the dots. Carcinogens cause cancer, and open wounds on soccer players are routinely exposed to those carcinogens.

If that seems coincidental, consider this: Most of the athletes on Griffin's list had either lymphoma or leukemia -- cancers of the blood.


At the moment, the case against crumb rubber is largely anecdotal. Available research is limited, so much so that the Environmental Protection Agency hasn't made a strong statement either way regarding the use of these fields.

The EPA does, however, point out that synthetic turf concerns have existed for years. In 2013, the New Jersey Department for Health and Senior Services detected dangerously high levels of lead dust on synthetic turf fields in the state.

Around that time, parents in Colorado raised concerns to the EPA about the safety of rubber particulates their children were bringing home on their clothing. And in 2008, synthetic turf fields at Manhattan's Thomas Jefferson Park were found to have high levels of lead, requiring the city to replace the crumb rubber.

The EPA has published a list of dangerous chemicals and carcinogens that could be present in any tire converted to crumb rubber, including arsenic, chloroethane, latex, lead, mercury, phenol, nickel and isoprene, among others.

But the organization is reluctant to make broad statements regarding the same of America's 4,500 crumb rubber playing turfs. For now, field safety continues to be addressed on a field-by-field basis.

The wait-and-see approach is not good enough for school districts and other sports organizations, though, which face decisions that put kids' lives at risk. Left to draw their own conclusions in the face of a serious public safety issue, some are deciding that the anecdotal evidence is enough.

In Ocean City, New Jersey, a plan to convert a natural grass football field to a crumb rubber turf has been put on hold. Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian said that the risks are too great until more research is done.

Gillian also requested that the New Jersey governor's office launch an investigation into the matter.

"While I am aware that there are no studies demonstrating a health risk associated with such turf, I have come to believe that further study is necessary," Gillian wrote. "I am not ruling out installation of artificial turf in the future, pending the outcome of such studies."

In other parts of the country, more drastic measures are being taken. Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington, was set to install synthetic turf on a new home playing field -- its first in 40 years.

But news of crumb rubber's potential health risks pushed the school to make a dramatic switch. Instead of installing a crumb rubber field, the school is spending an additional $20,000 to install Nike Grind, a synthetic surface made from ground-up athletic shoes.

"We were days away from the infill process," principal Mike Prato told KIRO. "We said, regardless, 'stop everything.'"

Kennedy High is hopeful that its new Nike Grind turf will provide all of the benefits of crumb rubber without the carcinogenic hazards.

Regardless of what the research says about synthetic turfs and their cancer threat, many athletes are starting to take a stand against their use. Prominent athletes from the NFL, as well as American women's soccer star Abby Wambach, have called out the use of synthetic turfs as a financially motivated move that does athletes a disservice.

Athletes and their representatives have cited warmer playing surfaces, altered styles of play, and an increased risk of injuries as reasons why synthetic turfs should not be used in football or soccer.

Even worse, a recent report from The American Academy of Neurology suggests that concussions are more prevalent on synthetic turfs, in part because improved traction lets athletes accelerate and collide at higher speeds.

If synthetic turfs do prove dangerous, the transition will be an expensive national product. Converting to alternative turfs will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Natural grass fields, by contrast, will be cheaper to install but more costly due to continued maintenance needs.

All of that is down the road. For now, research remains a top priority. Griffin is doing her part, collecting samples from each field she visits as an assistant coach for the University of Washington. Those samples are sent to labs for testing.

Griffin says it's not about being correct. She only wants answers, and she would love for her crumb rubber cancer theory to be wrong.

Right now, though, the odds don't look great.

UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, a FieldTurf spokesman delivered a statement to ThePostGame in response to the perceived concerns regarding synthetic playing turfs:

"Scientific research from academic, federal and state government organizations has unequivocally failed to find any link between synthetic turf and cancer – as acknowledged by NBC in their report. We are committed as a company and as an industry to the safety of our fields and the athletes that compete on them – which is why we have encouraged the rigorous work from third-parties that has taken place over decades to confirm there are no negative health effects connected to synthetic turf.

"We are always open to sharing this available wealth of research with concerned individuals or organizations, and are fully confident in this body of findings. However, we recognize that some people believe that more research is needed, and we respect this and are willing to support any additional scientific studies in any way we can."


After losing the Ryder Cup for the sixth time in the past seven events, the Americans need try something different next time. Kenny Perry, a member of the U.S. team that won in 2008, is probably too far past his prime to help as a player in 2016. But he still might be part of the solution.

Perry, 54, says he thought winning a PGA Tour major title was a requirement to be a Ryder Cup captain. Fortunately for him, that isn't the case.

"They may think outside the box and pick a player who doesn't have a major title -- maybe someone who's more into the team aspect," Perry says. "That's all I've heard. I haven't talked to anybody. I only heard it once on the Golf Channel. I'd love the opportunity if my name got thrown into the mix. It'd be a great honor."

The possibility of Perry being captain is being taken seriously enough that William Hill, a bookmaker in the United Kingdom, listed at 8/1 odds for him get the job. Only Steve Stricker and David Toms were ahead of him on Hill's board.

A built-in benefit for the next U.S. captain is that the 2014 team set a very low bar. The 16.5-11.5 loss to the Europeans was its worst since 2006, as captain Tom Watson publicly feuded with players, notably Phil Mickelson.

"There were some words being spoken in the news conference after," Perry says. "There must have been something going wrong between coach and players that none of us knew about. Obviously the team was in disarray there."

If Perry gets the job, he may borrow from the playbook of 2008 captain Paul Azinger, who also won twice as a player in four Ryder Cup appearances. Azinger adopted a "pod system" in which players were grouped in three groups of four, keeping consistency. Perry says he meshed well with Jim Furyk, and Azinger kept them together for all three doubles matches they played,

"Paul Azinger did a fantastic job with our team and put us in a successful situation," Perry says. "He got our team to come together as a unit. We played as one unit even though we were 12. We believed in each other and leaned on each other. ... Paul Azinger had a great system of pairing us with the right people based on personality."

Perry owns 14 PGA Tour wins and two runner-up finishes in majors, both coming in playoffs. At the 1996 PGA Champions, played at Valhall in Louisville, Perry, a Kentucky native, lost on the first sudden death playoff hole to Mark Brooks. At the 2009 Masters, Perry bogeyed the final two holes to fall into a three-way time with Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell. Cabrera edged Perry on the second playoff hole.

For Perry, his two Ryder Cup appearances–and one win–and four Presidents Cup showings (three wins, one tie) are cherished. The victories are among his highest accomplishments.

"Your whole life you play individually," he says. "You play for yourself. That's it. When I played in my amateur, I never played on a World Cup team. All of a sudden, you've got 11 men beside you and the captain and vice-captains. You're wearing red, white and blue."

Perry acknowledges the future presence of golf in the Olympics (starting in 2016) and says he wishes he could play with a chuckle. Age will likely derail Perry's chances of going to Rio. He will not soon forget his Ryder Cup moments, especially from 2008.

"I thought Phil Mickelson was a great teammate," he says. "We had Anthony Kim. He and Mickelson were great teammates that week. Phil took Anthony under his wing and showed us the ropes and Anthony played tremendous."

Perhaps the lasting mark from Perry's week did not even come from the course. The crowning tale came off the tongue of a player who has never finished higher than ninth at a major.

"Boo Weekley was hilarious," Perry says. "He kept the team loose all week. He talked about growing up in Milton, Florida, and boxing an orangutan when he was in high school. It was just amazing the story you here from these players."

Perry promises to harness the positive attributes he has encompassed from team golf experiences to the Ryder Cup if selected as the 2016 captain. Perry insists words like "fun," "friendship" and "teamwork" are not just buzz words.

To break the three-year losing streak, the U.S. will need to make some adjustments. The nation cannot simply rely on talent alone, as it did for most of the 20th century.

"Europeans are tough,," Perry says. "They're very highly ranked in the world. America is not dominant in golf anymore. You've got Asians, notably Koreans. Australians are great. South America's got great players. It's not as easy for us to dominate in team competition as it was in the past."

In the meantime, Perry still has a golf game to focus on. Over the age of 50, Perry balances competition on the PGA and Champions Tour. He is eligible for all PGA Tour events next year with the exception of the majors and World Golf Championships. A victory on the PGA Tour can get Perry back on the board for a major.

That is not to say Perry is not enjoying his time on the senior circuit. In four seasons, Perry has three Senior major championships and seven total Champions Tour wins.

"The Champions Tour's more like a social tour. These are the men I always tried to beat. Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange, Craig Sadler, Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer. Now, we get out here and we talk about what we used to do."

Perry notes that for much of his career, he had a family of three kids to raise. All three of his children, Lesslye, Justin and Lindsey were born in the mid-to-late 1980s.

"I was trying to be a father, as well as a great golfer," Perry says.

With all due respect to Perry's children, his golf game skyrocketed as they grew up. Perry won 11 of his 14 PGA tour wins after 2000. He won five of those titles in 2008 and 2009.

"My kids are all in a good place in life," he says. "They're doing great and I'm refocused on golf."

For the past decade, Perry has crushed the sport, now with his foot on the gas on the Champions Tour. Perry is currently seed fourth in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, a competition he won in 2013. Perry was also the Champions Tour Player of the Year in 2013, winning the Jack Nicklaus Trophy.

"I'd like to try to get up there. Second place would be great if I can play strong these last few weeks," Perry says, as he feels he is on the outside looking in.

Along with the Champions Tour's season coming to a close, time is also running out in the Golf VIP Sweepstakes. Through Oct. 24, golfers can apply on www.TempurPedicGolf.com for the opportunity to win a vacation to the PGA Tour's OHL Classic in Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, a Tempur-Pedic mattress and up to $15,000 in prize money. The winner also gets to play in the tournamen's Wednesday Pro-Am and enjoy a meet-and-greet with Kenny Perry and the 2014 tournament champion.

Perry has visited the Tempur-Pedic headquarters in Lexington.

"It's always nice to work with a company from Kentucky," he says.

The OHL Classic at Mayakoba is Nov. 13-16, two weeks after the final event of the Champions Tour season, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Since nobody's had enough sense to take the 2022 World Cup out of Qatar's incompetent hands, I suppose we have to keep acknowledging the latest developments among Qatar's many ongoing problem-solving efforts.

So here's the problem: Qatar is very hot. Hot enough that playing soccer outside in the summer could kill players. Hot enough in the summer that merely sitting down to watch soccer could be construed as suicide.

No one has figured out what to do with that problem. Problem-solving discussions have played out in front of the public the way you might imagine ad execs brainstorming names for the newest flavor of Doritos chips.

Here's the best idea, apparently: Qatar might play World Cup soccer games in the middle of the night.

In fairness, playing games in the middle of the night is exactly as sensible as awarding the World Cup to a Middle Eastern country that expressly outlaws homosexuality and uses slave labor to build its stadiums.

When you're viewing this mess through the lens of that worldview, sure: Overnight games are a super idea. Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the former head of soccer in Chile and a possible candidate to be new FIFA president, proposed this in an interview with the BBC.

But unless you are Qatar or one of the American television networks that wouldn't have to tape-delay the games -- because nighttime in Qatar is daytime in North America -- it's easy to see this proposal as a half-baked solution for a problem no one can seem to solve.

Playing World Cup games at night presents a public relations disaster for FIFA, and a less-than-pleasant experience for fans. Players and teams will be frustrated by the weird sleep schedules they have to keep, which are a legitimate threat to the quality of play.

Fans, meanwhile, will be asked to attend a World Cup in a location where they can't comfortably go outside during the day, and then are uncomfortable being out late at night. Imagine the fan discomfort -- and inevitable ugly stories -- of releasing 100,000 emotionally charged fans from a soccer stadium into the streets of Doha at 3:30 in the morning.

Instead of celebrating the host nation, as is usually the case at the World Cup, fans will travel across the world to live like vampires for a couple of weeks. Sounds like a great vacation.

And what happened to air-conditioned stadiums, Qatar? You promised us air-conditioned outdoor stadiums to keep the oppressive Middle Eastern heat from adversely affecting players and fans. This technology, while never backed by any evidence that it could actually work, was a part of your formal bid for the World Cup and an important response to one of the seven or 20 Very Good Reasons Why Qatar Should Not Host The World Cup.

Now we're talking about playing games at night instead. Did your HVAC guy retire? Or is the answer simpler, like, "We sort of just made that up and paid Sepp Blatter a bunch of money to pick us?"

Oh, that's actually what happened?

At least something makes sense.

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