Marino Parascenzo

Marino, a freelance golf writer, has covered the game around the world. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, among other publications, and he is the author of “Oakmont, 100 Years,” the history of the storied club. He was a journalism adjunct instructor at Pitt, and was a sports writer and the golf writer at the Pittsburgh Post-​Gazette.

The Lost Pulitzer

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has won five Pulitzer Prizes. It should have been six. The Post-Gazette won No. 5 in April for its coverage of the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue, but it should have won one 55 years ago for Morrie Berman’s photo of New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle, beaten to his …

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Play Ball! Faster Please

Major League Baseball’s department of Faster Play, fearing that people will think the game has become sluggish and dull and will quit watching, has devised yet another new rule to perk things up, as Pirates fans might note this season. This one’s about mound visits. Like when the catcher goes out to the pitcher and …

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Unfair to Athletes?

Speaking of high school football, as I am, I knew of a chemistry teacher who was so tough, so mean—or at least mean-looking—that he produced decades of superb students. Not that I’m advocating mean as a teaching method, but he was so good that college chemistry professors could pick his students out on the first …

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A Modest Proposal

Mother Nature has a sense of humor and the soul of Monet. The change in the yard was startling. In just a week it went from being a crabgrass plantation to a breathtaking carpet of fluffy, soft-white clover, a pastel hand-delivered from the French master himself. But lawns are supposed to be neat and clean …

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Hard Hitter

They’re not really going to miss Ralph Cindrich, those suits with the NFL’s 32 teams. If they think of him at all, it’s in vulgar adjectives attached to the devilish contracts he extracted from them for his clients, such as Bill Fralic’s Rabbi Trust, Will Wolford’s Blind Side contract and Dermontti Dawson’s first-ever option-year double …

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Golf’s Gold Standard

The U.S. Open, the toughest golf championship to win and generally considered the most coveted, will be played for a record ninth time across 89 years at Oakmont Country Club June 13-16, 2016. And the Open perhaps owes its existence to a big man with a big mustache who, more than 100 years ago, kept …

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The Holmes Precedent

Time was when yogi Berra had to work off- season as a restaurant greeter. Richie Hebner dug graves. Nolan Ryan pumped gas. When Pirate slugger Ralph Kiner asked for a raise, scripture-quoting general manager Branch Rickey told him: “We finished last with you and we can finish last without you.” During this winter’s off-season, perhaps …

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Breaking the chain

With the approach of autumn, we come to yet another era in Pitt football. Meaning another new coach. Over recent decades, this means that you barely get to your seat with your beer and pompon before there’s another one. It may be a strain, but coaching at Pitt seems something like Sisyphus, of Greek mythology, …

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In a class of her own

Just behind the first tee of the legendary Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, looms a brooding stone edifice of baffling architectural lineage. Call it Ponderous Nondescript. This is the clubhouse of the famous and historic Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, hulking guardian of golf. A big brass telescope sits on the …

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Arnold Palmer

Arnie Palmer was at home in Latrobe that September afternoon having a quiet birthday when the doorbell rang. There, wearing a warm grin, stood a kindly old gentleman, gray where he wasn’t bald, who was just five years out of the White House and who, some two decades earlier, had saved the world. “Any chance …

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The art of contrition

There once was a “golden age” in sport, the glorious time of Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey and all the rest. Today, we are in the Mea Culpa Age, in which frolicsome, rich athletes turn to passionate, broad-spectrum apologies, seeking forgiveness for such foibles as juicing, gun-toting, wife-beating and the like. Great penitents such as …

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The old college try

Every year at this time, as college football arrives, I’m reminded of an old movie that pops up on the classic channels now and then—“The Male Animal.” The tale deals with the two principal functions of the American college: education and football. In that order. Usually. The movie, from the 1940s, is based on a …

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The Greatest Sport?

As far as I’m concerned, the summer of 2013 was a bust. It was supposed to be the summer of the 17-year cicada, humming with a biblical infestation of the things. But there wasn’t so much as a chirp or whirr, and not one gawking husk on a fence post. And I waited 17 years …

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Bring on March Madness

The swell thing about working nights for an “ayem” (morning paper) is you can be having your first coffee and catch the early games, still in your jammies. And with that, you’re on your way to the greatest show on Earth: Opening Day of a three-week national fixation:  the Big Dance; March Madness; the NCAA …

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Lay your money down

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve never really caught on to the gambling culture of pro football. Not that I’m totally clueless. I understand the over-under and a pick not covering. But when it comes to teasers, props and such, they might as well be speaking calculus. This is not the case in Britain, …

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The Sport That Didn’t Quite Make It

Here’s what you should know about the mystery sport in Western Pennsylvania history: It’s against the rules to catch the ball with your top hat. The game is played by silly mid wickets and other Monty Python candidates. And this game didn’t catch on in the U.S.A. The growth of sports in the United States …

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Remember the Tartans

They ruined a perfectly good trophy case. It used to sit there, self-consciously, in Carnegie Mellon University’s Skibo Gymnasium. The items in that case were pretty much the only tangible stuff that remained of the glory days of football, back when the school was Carnegie Tech. The main trophies were some old footballs from the …

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The Seniors Come to Pittsburgh

As public relations announcements go, this one was so benign, so coolly and corporately efficient, it might have been an update on pork belly and potassium futures: Pittsburgh, Pa. and Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.—The Constellation Senior Players Championship and the PGA Tour’s Champions Tour announced today that the tournament will move to Fox Chapel Golf …

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On the Green

This is the biography of a golf tournament. Bob Murphy, a Pittsburgh real estate entrepreneur, had every reason to believe his newest venture in the late 1980s would succeed. He had jumped into the golf boom, buying Fallen Timber, a hardscrabble course near Midway in Washington County, and turning it into Quicksilver Golf Club. He …

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The Rub of the Green

In the language of golf, there is always a “hidden gem.” The hidden gem is a golf course that is little known or even unknown, that someone has visited and then pronounced a marvel. The course generally has been sitting there, probably for many decades, known but to the locals. It could be a Ross, …

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The Course Loved ‘Round the World

The U.S. Golf Association began staging the U.S. Open — the ultimate national championship — in 1895, and moves it year to year around the country. The USGA requires, first of all, a golf course that offers a stiff challenge, where the rough is deep, the greens fast and par is an outstanding score. It’s …

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