It was almost painful watching the early portions of the British Open today.  Does the sun ever shine in July in Great Britain?  Every year it seems like the same-- fans and players bundled up against the wind, cold and rain.  And that was the case Thursday when guys like V.J. Singh and Ernie Els each shot 80 and Phil Mickelson rallied for a 79.  The only three sub-par scores, 69s from Robert Allenby, Grahame McDowell and Rocco Mediate, all came later in the day when the winds died and the place dried up a bit.  An amazing score was even par 70 from newlywed Greg Norman, now 53, a two-time British winner and no, we never saw his bride Chris Evert walking alongside.  Rich Beem and Sandy Lyle both walked off the course midway through the round because they could not deal with the conditions any longer.  Kenny Perry and Tiger Woods had to be somewhat glad they were both home in the U.S. watching their peers suffer.

    Random thoughts from Joe Rexrode's five-part series in the Lansing State Journal which concluded Thursday:

     Michigan State is not in dire financial straits as some other mid-major athletic programs are.  I say the Spartans will be affected first by schools that are struggling who they'll want to schedule in any sport and that visiting teams either might not be able to make it or the sport will have gone out of business at that particular school.

     MSU is reluctant to raise ticket prices and it's good thinking.  Most of the venues are not sold out now and you wonder if there will be empty seats at some MSU men's basketball games this coming season.

     Depending on donations is risky-- what if donors cut back in the future?  MSU has raised $127 million through donations from 1999 through 2007.  That's good but will that level continue?

     The NCAA needs to get serious about unilaterally making substantial budget cuts for schools across the board.  That can come with staff size and created through attrition.  But most schools are losing money-- some at huge levels.  How long can such practices continue?


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