SI Moving Swimsuit Issue Release Party To Vegas

Sorry, David Letterman - you’ve been trumped by Vegas. For the last two years, the “Late Show” host has been lucky enough to make the official announcement of which lovely lady would be gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue. (For those who need a refresher, it was Marisa Miller in 2008 and Bar Refaeli in 2009.)

Marisa Miller Bar Refaeli SI swimsuit covers

Well, the suits over at SI decided that their big bikini-based announcement needed more pizazz than just Paul Shaffer on keyboards, so they’re taking their swimsuit show out west - to Vegas!

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Week In Review: So Long, Simona Halep’s Hooters

• Romanian teen tennis player Simona Halep goes through on her threat to get a breast reduction. We’ll never look at her the same way again.

Simona Halep's First Photo After Breast Reduction Surgery

• Chiefs RB Larry Johnson spends his offseason in Las Vegas, where he’s buying large champagne bottles for some thirsty ladies.

• The Ultimate Warrior shares his thoughts on the late Michael Jackson.

• Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers grabs himself a girlfriend in gorgeous grapefruit heiress Julie Henderson.

• Italian swimmer Flavia Zoccari feels more cheeky than usual, as her swimsuit splits at the seat during a meet.

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Cuter Competitors Get Wimbledon’s Centre Court

Earlier this week, we reported how tennis commentator Michael Stich ruffled a few feathers when he, um, commented about how women players at Wimbledon are there to “sell sex” (well, not literally). Although it sounds sexist & unfair, it seems there’s a kernel of truth to his statement. And maybe not just a kernel, but a whole bag of Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn.

Victoria Azarenka Sorana Cirstea

(Victoria Azarenka vs. Sorana Cirstea - low Wimbledon rankings, but high Wimbledon ratings)

Turns out that when selecting which match-ups will play at Wimbledon’s Centre Court, it’s not always the higher-seeded ladies that get to play in the main arena. Instead, it’s the lower-seeded cuties that are often the ones courted to take Centre stage.

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Michael Irvin: Generous Guy @ Gentlemen’s Clubs

• Our own Pete Gaines reminisces about the time he & his buddies ended up cavorting at a Chicago strip club with Michael Irvin.

Michael Irvin live nude girls

• The Red Wings have released Chris Chelios, but that doesn’t mean the 47-year-old is ready to hang up his skates just yet.

Sean Avery supposedly gets his own serving of sloppy seconds in the form of Mark Sanchez’s supermodel girlfriend Hilary Rhoda.

• Egypt’s soccer team denies being robbed by hookers, blames the media for distracting them to defeat.

Brock Lesnar thanks God, not steroids, that he’s “built like a black man”, yet doesn’t care too much for President Obama.

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Tennis Babe Maria Kirilenko Captured In SI Bikinis

It could be argued that Maria is one of the most beautiful names in sports. Maria Sharapova and Maria Verchenova are just a few prime examples of this theory. But if you need further proof of such an hypothesis, may I present Exhibit A-dash-3: Maria Kirilenko.

Maria Kirilenko

Scott reminded us in yesterday’s Speed Read that Ms. Kirilenko was going to get most of her kit off for the cameras of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - you know, the special issue that featured Bar Refaeli on this year’s cover. So, how did Maria’s shoot go? Allow us to offer up a photo essay that you’re certain to fall in 30-love with:

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Speed Read: Can Unknowns Hold Off Tiger & Phil?

On US Open Monday last year, Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate treated us to one of the classic golf duels of all time. And as we speak, Tiger and Rocco are back on the course trying to make history again. Unfortunately, they’ve been joined by 58 other people and Mediate’s tied for 54th place, so it might not exactly be as magical this time around. In fact, soggy Bethpage Black has been kind enough this week to let a one-time PGA winner and another guy who’s never even finished in the top 10 duke it out for the right to lose to Woods in a playoff later today.

Bethpage warning sign

(Warning: This Course Is So Tough It Can Only Be Described With Capitalized Words)

By the time you read this, my prediction may already be rendered silly, but I’m calling it now: Tiger makes it to 4-under and the two leaders, Lucas Glover and Ricky Barnes (who I thought was a pro bowler until Saturday), will fall back to finish in a tie, with Phil Mickelson one shot behind (due to something like accidentally hitting a putt backward). Other rock-solid predictions:

1) Fat David Duval will finally remember he’s not Skinny David Duval and shoot 94.

2) Someone in the crowd will yell “get in the hole!” on a 400-yard shot from the fescue that will actually go eight feet.

3) Johnny Miller will utter the phrase “trap draw” 391 times and complain about the swing of any prominently featured Scandinavian guy.

4) Instead of tossing his ball to the gallery at the 3rd hole after putting out like everyone else, Barnes will save himself the trouble by hitting his tee shot there.

Johnny Miller

(”Trap draw. Tiger’s lurking. Fescue. What’s the lie like, Roger? Wasn’t I good in the ’70s? Trap draw.”)

As for Tiger, play was suspended for the night just after he had pulled back to even par for the tournament. And while he’s still well within striking distance, some have suggested that he might be better off if someone clubbed him in the knee last night to help him regain his 2008 form.

Tiger Woods knee

Barnes, meanwhile, duck-hooked yet another drive just before the horn sounded. While some players elected to play out the hole they were on, Ricky decided to stew over that one all night and deal with it this morning. Perhaps it was just so he could still call himself a co-leader of the US Open at the pub last night. Barnes has not only never won on the PGA Tour, he’s also never won on the Nationwide Tour despite playing regularly there. So to say this is a tall order for him would be a massive understatement.

Also giving hope to the crowd lurking a few shots back is Lucas Glover, who has ranked 87th or worse in final-round scoring for three years running. As Jason Sobel notes in his ESPN blog, Glover’s only PGA Tour win came when he holed a 50-foot putt on 17 and a bunker shot on 18. Again, not exactly a reliable bet to hold it together down the stretch.

NEWSDAY says that the odd sight of the fourth round pairings teeing off until 7:30 p.m. last night made for some problems at the first tee as play was winding down for the night. While beer sales were cut off at 6, a number of fans who had been hitting the sauce pretty hard all day starting heckling anyone and everyone who started their round — including Phil and Tiger. I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising considering the Long Island crowd has purchased 150,000 beers since Thursday, compared to 115,000 sodas and water bottles combined.

drunk Bethpage fans

While these guys battle to be America’s golf champion, America’s soccer team is currently battling to be the champion…of the eight teams that were chosen to come to a warm-up tournament for next year’s World Cup. Things weren’t looking so good, honestly, when the Americans were outscored 6-1 in lopsided losses to Brazil and Italy in the Confederations Cup. The U.S. began its match with Egypt yesterday needing a very specific and wildly improbably set of circumstances to occur to advance from the group stage to the semifinals. Which, of course, happened.

US soccer fans

The U.S. beat Egypt 3-0, while Brazil blasted the Italians by the same score, setting off a three-way tie for 2nd place in the group. And the U.S. was deemed to be not quite as bad as the other two teams by virtue of scoring one more goal overall than Italy, and in very soccer-like fashion advances based on a technicality. The reward for the Americans is a semifinal match with Spain, the reigning European champions and arguably the best team in the world right now. Basically, we have about as much of a chance at beating Spain at soccer as we’d have at beating Spain in paella-making and afternoon-nap-taking.

Spain fans

Those lovely ladies are rooting for you to scour today’s links:

•  Just days before filming was set to begin, Columbia has pulled funding from Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of Michael Lewis‘ classic book “Moneyball.” VARIETY says the movie was set to star Brad Pitt (as we reported back in October) and ex-players like David Justice and Scott Hatteberg, who were both featured in the original book. Either Joe Morgan is now running Columbia or the studio finally realized that a $50 million film about baseball stats, even with Pitt attached, might not be the wisest investment out there.

• A mislabeled bus carrying a Canadian semi-pro football team in Indiana got into a major accident with an SUV yesterday. The SUV driver died, but everyone on the bus survived, though some had to be hospitalized. The players, who don’t get paid, are members of the London Silverbacks but were rolling in a bus that said their team was the “Mustangs.” ONLINE SPORTS GUYS has the story (and video of the wrecked bus). UPDATE: The AP is now reporting that the driver of the SUV who was killed was Beth Smith, the wife of PGA golfer Chris Smith. Chris was not in the car, but his kids were and they are seriously injured. Chris Smith has spent most of the last three years on the Nationwide Tour, and won his only PGA title in 2002.

• Protests in baseball almost never work, but Joe Girardi thinks he’s got a chance to win one he filed with MLB last night during the Yankees’ game with Florida that involved a botched double-switch by Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.

• We know that the U.S. is moving on to the semis in the Confederations Cup, but one American in the tournament isn’t.

• BITTEN AND BOUND says that Sergio Garcia’s recent inability to win big golf tournaments might have something to do with his heart being broken in March by Greg Norman’s lovely daughter, Morgan Leigh Norman. They offer no theories about Sergio’s inability to win big golf tournaments for the other 28 years of his life.

Morgan Norman and Sergio Garcia

Daisuke Matsuzaka’s trip to the DL might be just about the final nail in the coffin of the WBC, which is just going to crush those people in the Netherlands who couldn’t get enough of it.

• On the list of sports you won’t be seeing at this summer’s X Games: Car surfing.

The fake umpires took their show on the road this weekend, as they traveled from their hometown of Toronto to sit in on the Blue Jays-Nationals series in D.C. They claim to be the first people to ever travel to a different city to fake umpire a game from the front row, which is quite a feather in their cap. I still prefer Sheff’s Chefs.

fake umpires

• Buried at the bottom of this Grizzlies notebook is a statement from owner Michael Heisley that his team is one of the most profitable in the NBA despite a horrible team and worse attendance. It’s mostly attributed to keeping a low payroll. In other words, congratulations Memphis, you’re blessed with the second coming of Donald Sterling!

• Former Wimbledon champ Michael Stich has a not-at-all-offensive idea for how to deal with the women who grunt too loud during major tennis events: shoot them!

• Speaking of Wimbledon, let’s celebrate the start of the great championship with a couple of gratuitous shots of Russian pro Maria Kirilenko (Andrei Kirilenko would normally consider her for this year’s “allowance,” but there’s too much of a chance that they’re related):

Maria Kirilenko

 

Maria Kirilenko

Who’s going to win the US Open?

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New SI Swimsuit Issue Photos Appear On CBS-TV

UPDATE (2/9/09): Turns out the photos weren’t leaked - they were screen shots from a profile on SI photog Walter Iooss on CBS News Sunday Morning yesterday. That not-so-minor detail wasn’t mentioned by the tennis website that posted the screen shots.

From the show’s website recap:

For almost half a century, Walter Iooss has been photographing the world’s greatest athletes, and his photos have graced the cover of Sports Illustrated more than 300 times. He’s shot pictures of everyone from Joe Namath to Muhammad Ali to Michael Jordan to Usain Bolt.

But he finds that what really brings him attention is his work for Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue. (The 2009 issue comes out this week.) Correspondent Russ Mitchell, will talk with Iooss about his most memorable photos, his attempts to capture what he considers the moments in sports when time stands still, and the photos that his subjects weren’t so happy with.

Now for my original post on the matter:

You may remember SbB breaking the news on New Year’s Eve that two tennis players will appear in the upcoming SPORTS ILLUSTRATED swimsuit issue: Tatiana Golovin and Maria Kirilenko. The issue drops Tuesday, and a tennis website has obtained a couple advance photos from their shoot.

Daniela Hantuchova My Gawd What a Hottie

(Leak: SI Swimsuit Issue will now include this jaw-dropping beauty)

From those crappy scans we also learn that a third tennis player will be featured in the issue. And she’s very, very, VERY attractive.

Pics after the jump. Read more…

Week in Review: Tennis Babes Set for SI Swimsuits

• SI is planning to serve up Russian tennis hotties Tatiana Golovin & Maria Kirilenko in their next swimsuit issue.

Tatiana Golovin Maria Kirilenko

Charles Barkley rings in the new year with donuts, DUIs, blow jobs, big bar tabs - and Urkel.

Elle MacPherson, still not afraid to flash some flesh at 44.

Danica Patrick gets pulled over for speeding. Oh, the delicious irony! (Namely because Danica herself is quite delicious.)

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Revealed: SI Swimsuit To Feature Tennis Hotties

As we await the 2009 SI Swimsuit Issue, I’ve now confirmed at least two athletes who will be appearing in the issue: Russian tennis players 21-year-old Maria Kirilenko and and 20-year-old Tatiana Golovin.

Tatiana Golovin Maria Kirilenko Sports Illustrated

(Tatiana Golovin and Maria Kirilenko)

Both are credible players, with the oft-injured Golovin ranked as high as #12 this year, and Kirilenko #18. But neither has even sniffed a Grand Slam title. (Not that it matters of course.)

Maria Kirilenko Tatiana Golovin

(Kirilenko and Golovin)

Who is hotter?

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Some advice for the girls for their SI shoots:

Marisa Miller Nude Photo

Pack light.

More photos of the two lovelies after the jump. Read more…