published Monday, June 4th, 2012

5-at-10: Tiger ties Jack, NBA drama and MLB draft

From the "Talks too much" studios, here we go...

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    Jack Nicklaus, left, talks with Tiger Woods after Woods won the Memorial golf tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, Sunday, June 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Tiger ties Jack

With an unforgettable flop shot at the 16th Sunday, Tiger Woods made us all remember what it was like when Tiger was Tiger.

You expected the impossible and watched because you were afraid to miss something magical.

There he was Sunday, in his familiar red shirt and black hat. His game was sharp, his mental toughness was evident and his will — oh that steely-eyed, teeth-grinding will that forced more than a few of his golfing peers into therapy — was stout.

In fact one of the CBS announcers asked, "does this remind you of anyone?" with Woods on the screen and Gary McCord astutely said, "Yeah, him."

And while our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer said it accurately that this jump starts a bunch of excitement for the U.S. Open later this month, http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jun/04/is-tiger-back-for-good-after-memorial/, this was Tiger looking like Tiger.

Just like Rory looked like Tiger at last year's Open. Or how Bubba looked like Tiger at the Masters.

Woods will win more tournaments and may even make a run at Jack Nicklaus' 18 career majors. But Tiger will never be Tiger again. Period. And it has nothing to do with a divorce or a car wreck or an infidelity scandal.

Tiger will never be Tiger again because that Tiger was so unbelievable. He was an eight-year run of crazy chip shots for birdie and made 7-footers for par with the tournament hanging in the balance.

Woods will never be that Tiger because no one will ever be that Tiger again.

Heck, as great as Nicklaus was, he was never in his prime as big as Tiger. No one was or doubtfully ever will be. Not ever Tiger.

————

  • photo
    Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) drives against Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) during the first quarter of Game 4 in their NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series in Boston, Sunday, June 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Now we have some drama

With the Thunder and the Celtics holding serve at home, each NBA conference finals series is deadlocked 2-2. Miami had a shot in overtime of Sunday night's Game 4, but Dwyane Wade's 3-pointer rimmed out and Boston had a 93-91 win. (Side note: If LeBron had not fouled out and had been on the floor, would that have played out differently? And if it had, how much would he be getting crucified if he had a) not taken the shot — Wade had a good look — or b) missed said shot?)

This could be a lot of fun, and with the conference finals using the 2-2-1-1-1 home-court model — as opposed to the more traditional 2-3-2 of the NBA finals and most seven-game baseball series — it's likely that each series could go seven games.

In fact here's a quick list of things to watch for — five things in 10 words or less; yes, the 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10:

1) Referee scrutiny: Sketchy officiating leads to LeBron, Pierce fouling out

2) Will Chris Bosh be back?: Heat need injured star to return for Game 5

3) Heat is on: How will James and Co. respond to the pressure

4) How will the West be won: Durant is a star; but are the Thunder ready

5) Final ride of heroes: Aging trios in Boston, San Antonio eye last hurrah

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MLB draft

We love the draft. You know this.

This includes the MLB draft, which starts today and is universally viewed as the ugly middle sister of the three major drafts. Still, we have nothing but love for all drafts — Bud Light please — and will give the MLB draft it's due.

While the draft may have the lowest profile, it does have the best rules for entry.

High school players are eligible after graduating. Junior college players are eligible at any time but players that go to four-year colleges and universities must be three years removed from high school before being eligible. Plus, every player that is drafted that does not agree to terms with the the club that picked him can follow a multitude of school opportunities.

It seems so simple and fair to each side that we puzzled why the other leagues can't agree to follow this model. So it goes.

Granted the names are not as familiar or as known as those in the NBA and NFL draft, but the system is hands down better. (And before you say that the system and high school players are the reasons that the names are not as familiar and would in turn lessen the NBA and NFL drafts, we offer the words Signing Day. The same guys that are stars in the recruiting circles would be the names on draft boards.)

MLB draft side note: Before we wisely came to Chattanooga, we were at the Marietta Daily Journal in Cobb County. And gang, the MLB draft was a big deal there. Looking at the projections, Duane Underwood, a right-handed pitcher from Pope High School, is pegged as a potential first-rounder. That's a big deal right? Of course, but in Cobb County that big deal comes about every year.

Seriously, there was a run of about a decade that a Cobb County player was picked in the first round, and in 1998, three Cobb County players — Corey Patterson, Adam Everett and Rick Elder — were first-rounders with Pat Burrell, C.C. Sabathia, J.D. Drew and Brad Lidge. In fact, Blaine Boyer was a third-round pick by the Braves in 2000 and he wasn't even on the all-county team. Ouch-standing. (Speaking of ouch-standing, Boyer was pick No. 100 that year. Pick No. 105 was some pitcher named Cliff Lee.)

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This and that

— Jimmie Johnson must have taken that talk of his demise somewhat personally. Dude dominated at Dover, winning there for the seventh time, and has now won three of the last four events if you count the All-Star shootout in Charlotte two weeks ago. JJ is now fifth in points and is one of four drivers — Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart are the others — with more than one win this year.

— Jason Alexander apologized for saying cricket was a "gay" sport after coming under fire for using the term on a late night talk show. The photos of Alexander show the man that will forever be known as George Costanza from "Seinfeld" has either taken to the Rogaine treaments or wearing a rug. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

— Lost in the crazy sports schedule was a rather historic feat for the L.A. Kings. With their Game 2 win in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Kings have won 12 consecutive road playoff games. Yes, 12 consecutive road playoff games, including 10 straight this postseason. That's staggering. Kings of the road no doubt. Roger Miller would be proud. So would Reggie Miller.

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Today's question

It's a free-style Monday. Pick any of the above topics and enjoy.

If you want to go off the board, here's a starting point: Richard Dawson died from cancer this weekend.

We have long loved game shows, and "The Family Feud" was our first favorite. And it was because of Dawson — a fact magnified if you ever watch any of the new versions of the Feud.

While he will forever be remember as the game-show host who kissed all the female contestants, Dawson was a gifted comedian and talented enough that he was mentioned as a possible successor to Johnny Carson as the host of "The Tonight Show." His biggest gift, though, was making contestants feel like they were part of the joke even when they were the butt of the joke.

So in honor of Richard Dawson, we'll ask for the Mount Rushmore of game-show hosts. We'll go Dawson, Alex Trebek, Pat Sajak and Bob Barker

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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wcole777 said...

TIGER!!!!!! Had to get it out before reading. Will go back to top now.

June 4, 2012 at 10:02 a.m.
wcole777 said...

Okay, after reading your thoughts I'm going to disagree on the "Tiger never being Tiger" commentary.

I believe I follow your logic and why this would be feasible reasoning, but the man has been putting things together this season with his new swing and this wouldn't be the first time we've seen this transition. In fact, all that's missing are some putting skills that are still a little rusty and then, of course, the magic we caught a glimpse of yesterday!

Once again we're seeing wins, his classic stinger back in play and those longed for miracle shots to clinch the win when the pressure is on.

What about his finish? Flawless! His game looked completely in control this week and I can't help to think that with another 40 plus majors left to play, as well as god knows how many overall tourneys, that the man won't streak again and show us all wrong with the magic he's always had and I would think always will.

I'm not much of a fan as you can tell. What a fun tourney to watch yesterday! A lot of fun.

June 4, 2012 at 10:24 a.m.
chas9 said...

Monday freestylin':

1) Jay's wise words are the perfect analysis--Tiger will never again be the out-of-body-wild TIGER. Nobody will.

2) Thanks to Ron Bush for the story on Jay Price.

3) It's a shame TN and KY will meet only once per year in the new regular season roundball schedule.

4) The Uniblocker says he'll shut down Kobe. Will he?

5) Wretched ink-stained sports scribblers refer to the Celtics' "big three," but Rondo may be the MVP on the team.

6) What? No mention of Santana's big game?

7) Odd stat: In its first game of the collegiate baseball postseason, Kentucky pitchers stuck out 26 batters, but The Cats lost the game.

8) Goodbye to Hogan's Heroes stalwart Cpl. Peter Newkirk, aka Richard Dawson.

9) Survey results are in, top ten answers on the board, Knoxville ties for #9 as the nation's top collegiate sports town. Sorry, Tuscaloosa. Goodbye, Columbus.

10) And did you know that Santana actually played several serviceable games for the Mets at shortstop?

June 4, 2012 at 10:27 a.m.
jgreeson said...

WC —

We know you're on board with the S.S. Eldrick, and we're good with that.

But there's no way Woods will get back to being the imposing figure he was. He can still win tournaments and as we said before he may still challenge Jack's majors record, but in 2007 it seemed like a slam-dunk certainty.

His game looks to be in fine shape, but even his biggest fans were pleasantly surprised by his win Sunday. In years passed, a win was the baseline. And in his three events before the Memorial, Tiger went T-40, missed cut, T-40.

Again, this is not a knock on Tiger. We don't think he'll ever get back to pre-wreck Tiger because pre-wreck Tiger was so great. He was a once-in-a-generation star, and those don't happen twice in a generation — never mind twice for the same guy.

That said it was an enjoyable tournament, and every time Tiger contends, the fun factor increases by a factor of 10.

— 5-at-10

June 4, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent —

Um....Mr. 5 at 10?

You mentioned two weeks ago and again last week that the Belmont would be Saturday. When you first mentioned it, I thought you had the date wrong, but then put that out of my mind since you are a professional and all....

Then on Saturday I turned on the TV about 4:00 to start looking for what time the race was supposed to start and discovered it was not until next Saturday.

Not your best effort....you need to make up for it by giving my a prize for showing up Saturday to watch even though it wasn't on.

Think about my kids. My kids were all excited to watch a horse race....and then I had to burst their bubble by telling them it was next Saturday. Think about the kids. The kids!

June 4, 2012 at 10:41 a.m.
chas9 said...

Close-up pix reveal it's not a rug. Costanza evidently found out that that mysterious foul-smelling Chinese ointment really does grow hair. Not that there's anything wrong with foul-smelling. And yes, Jay, you can get you some through your favorite Canadian pharmacy.

June 4, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.
Todd962 said...

While I have to agree that Tiger will never be the Tiger of old, I cant help but think from time to time that he is there for brief moments.

Sabbatini was in the middle of the back nine and missed a close opportunity that would have given him a three shot lead. Following the miss, Rory dropped down, bending his knees, and bowing his head as the coverage flipped to a steely eyed Tiger. In my head all I heard was Mortal Kombat's "Finish Him!" and knew that Rory had just screwed up real bad. He was down two shots and everybody still knew "Oooo he's coming."

It was great, I was all in with him. No, hes never going to be 7 birdies down the stretch to win the Masters, but he will get back to being feared by nearly all in the field week in and week out. The roar of cheers in the background of every one of Sabbatini's last four holes probably didnt help his psyche.

Side thought: After the win when the camera people were smashing their lenses and noses against the glass of the score hut, Tiger pulled up a bottle of some random vitamin drink and took a sip. I thought "Oooo, Gatorade's gonna be pissed." Nope, they could care less, they dropped in 2010. Along with Gillette, which brought about the rise of Evil Tiger who has a goatee, which all villians should. How do you know they are evil without facial hair?

And someone fill me in, cause I only got to read the overtime of the NBA game last night via Gamecast, but how awful was that overtime period? (If youve never watched a sporting event through intermittently updated text feed.....dont. Its awful.) It appeared the overtime consisted of turnovers, missed shots, a few free throws, and just awful basketball in general. They didnt use a single exclamation mark the whole period, which is never a good sign.

June 4, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
Musicman375 said...

I'm glad Santana could get his big moment after such a good career (and after the braves chased him in the second inning earlier this season with somewhere around a 17 ERA for that game), but that "foul" ball down the third base line was fair, and his defense made some amazing plays behind him. No hitters are ridiculously difficult to pull off though, so congrats to him, his D, and the third base ump for pulling it off. Go Braves!

June 4, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

As much as I loved Richard Dawson as Cpl. Peter Newkirk of the RAF, he was no better than in his role as Killian, the malevolent game show host in "The Running Man."

As soon as Sabbatini and Levin started throwing up on their shoes down the stretch, I turned the tournament off. Couldn't force down my upsurging bile for another Tiger lovefest.

And I wonder how fast Jack washed his hand after shaking Woods' following the tournament.

Plus, in the words of the great Larry Bird, well, you know what the refs still do. There was better refereeing in the NWA when Jim Cornett and his tennis racket were trying to "distract" them.

June 4, 2012 at 11:42 a.m.
CardVol said...

Those game show hosts you mentioned are indeed great. But, don't forget Allen Ludden, Gene Rayburn, Dick Clark, Hugh Downs, Bob Eubanks, Groucho Marx, Bill Cullen, Chuck Woolery, and Tennessee's own Wink Martindale. Others include Monty Hall, Art James, and Tom Kennedy.

June 4, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.
chas9 said...

CV--Thanks for adding other game show worthies. And Sajak has some Tennessee background, too.

June 4, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.
jgreeson said...

StuckinKent —

We realized our faux pas sometime late last week. Complete bust on our end. And as penance, you can have your next two weeks of 5-at-10 free of charge. In fact, that goes for everyone.

9er —

Thanks for the clarification on George's new mane. That was shocking. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

As for your list...

Our bad on the Santana snub. Yes, the Uniblocker could have a lot of defensive success against Kobe because Kobe is not as quick as he used to be. Who did this survey on college towns? We're interested.

Mr. 962 —

Great Mortal Kombat reference. And the guys that are of his generation will always be intimidated by Tiger — especially Sabatini, who has the mental toughness of a day lilly.

And the overtime was bad basketball. Boston won the extra five minutes 4-2, with Ray Allen getting a three-run double off the Green Monster.

And if we could get a full blown Evil Tiger where he wears all black except on Sunday, that would so choice.

MusicMan —

That was a blown call, no doubt. And you're right, every no-no has to have a little bit of luck involved. Heck when Clemens and Kerry Woods fanned 20 — when they had simply untouchable stuff — neither threw a no-no.

— 5-at-10

June 4, 2012 at 12:57 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Great call on Running Man, which was The Hunger Games about 25 years before The Hunger Games.

Are you saying pro rastlin' was not on the level? Because those be fighting words.

CardVol —

Great list. And Dawson gets a spot on the board because not only was he a big-time host, he was the favorite panelist on The Match Game for years. Well, he and Charles Nelson Riley. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

9er —

When we googled Sajak earlier this morning to make sure we spelled it right, the second item on the google list was "Pat Sajak drunk." Apparently in January, Pat admitted to knocking back some margarita with Vanna prior to shooting some Wheel of Fortunes.

As Ed Grimley told us many moons ago, he certainly is a decent fellow.

— 5-at-10

June 4, 2012 at 1:04 p.m.
chas9 said...

Jay--Sorry. I should have said Knoxville is #9 in collegiate basketball fandom, not sports in general. The list is from Matt Norlander's Eye on College Basketball piece posted June 1 at cbssports.com. He says the original data is from ESPN. For what it's worth, in 2011 MTV said Knoxville was the #3 college sports town in Amercia.

Here's an idea. Could you arrange margaritas with Vanna as the prize for the next 5@10 contest?

June 4, 2012 at 1:34 p.m.
Todd962 said...

I had a friend growing up whose parents had a front license plate that read "Van of White." As a result, every time I now see Vanna turning over the letters I think of a white 1991 Plymouth Voyager. She has aged a little better than the van of course.

What do you make of former Oklahoma State standout, Justin Blackmon, receiving his second DUI this weekend? He was only three times the legal limit, driving over the center line, and doing 60 in a 35. Doesnt spell success for the Jags. I have had a friend or two who made the mistake of drinking prior to getting behind the wheel and paid the price. Following their first incident they became advocates of taxis and planning for transportaion prior to intoxication. With Justin already getting his second at 22 years of age, you wonder how his team will react when contract negotiations roll around. I am sure he will get another and continue to be able to make millions playing football. You and I get two or more and we get to move in under the jail.

June 4, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We can see that. K-town has been pretty basketball crazy recently, and while they don't have the tradition or the renowned rep as being a hoops locale, how many other teams that failed to make the tournament averaged 18,000-plus in attendance.

And no, we can not arrange any margaritas with Vanna as the next prize. We do not support drinking tequila.

Mr. 962 —

Love that Van of White story. Clever. Made us think of one of the Mrs. 5-at-10's brother, who when he was little thought Parmesan cheese was "Farmer John" cheese.

Saw that thing about Blackmon. Not good.

— 5-at-10

June 4, 2012 at 2 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring,

It was the PGA Tour in Jack's era that did not have the fan base as the PGA Tour in Tiger's time.

Jack was way ahead of his time packaging with IMG market Arnie, Gary and Jack together all over the world as "The Big Three."

Jack also had stiff competition throughout his career dueling with the "Hawk" Ben Hogan at Cherry Hills, of course, Arnold and Gary, then it was the underrated Billy Casper, on to the Merry Mex, then Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf and Tom Watson.

Nicklaus, Palmer and Player with IMG marketed the game as never before building more fans, more audience...leading to more TV exposure and money from same.

Look Tiger's run was huge, but it was Jack Nicklaus who greased the track.

In other news, things going OK for REAL in Norman for #1. I heard wrong, #1 will indeed visit Fayetteville later this month.

June 4, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.
chas9 said...

Oh, yeah. I seem to remember some story about you battling a tequiler worm. Well, how about a few diamond dubonnets at Buckingham with the queen? OK, then, a couple of forties at Kanku's with Sheila the Squealer?

June 4, 2012 at 2:52 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[(Side note: If LeBron had not fouled out and had been on the floor, would that have played out differently? And if it had, how much would he be getting crucified if he had a) not taken the shot — Wade had a good look — or b) missed said shot?)]

LeBron would have ended up with the last shot had he still been in. He probably would have taken a similar shot to the one he took at the end of regulation of Game 2. Under either scenario above (a. or b.) he still gets grilled by the media simply because he's LeBron.

Hard to blame LeBron for last night. It was the first time he'd fouled out as a member of the Heat. Fouls 4, 5, and 6 were questionable at best. The charge on Pierce was 50-50. KG grabs LeBron's arm then throws him down and they call a double foul. LeBron backs down Peitrus for position, Pietrus trips and falls, and LeBron is whistled for a foul. Don't think he would have been called for those in Miami.

Great Rushmore for game show hosts. Bob Barker should be on anybody's list for sure. Sajak and Trebek are legends. For reasons you stated, Dawson gets the nod for the remaining spot.

June 4, 2012 at 3:06 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

No doubt Jack greased the wheels and he was a star. And the huge amounts of money today can be traced to those guys. In fact, there's a crazy stat out there that Tom Watson has not won more money playing golf than Brian Gay — not that there's anything wrong with that.

But as uber-talented as Jack was — and his 18 majors seem even more impressive considering he finished second at 14 majors, also a record — Tiger was icon. A global icon. If Jack made golf more popular, Tiger and Nike took it to the masses.

Tell No. 1 to keep plugging. There's going to be a bright future for big-bodied pass catcherd. We think they call them match-up problems.

9er —

We're partial to the occasional afternoon/early evening cocktail with the Mrs. 5-at-10 on the back deck.

As for the queen, everything tastes better with dubonnet on it. And we think Justin Blackmon won the 40s contest at the Kanku's.

— 5-at-10

June 4, 2012 at 3:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Shaken, not Stewed —

We concur that LeBron would have been hammered for being LeBron. We have not heard one thing about Wade's miss today, but if it had been LeBron, the story would be leading every new SportsCenter.

You're spot on about the last three fouls on LeBron were sketchy. Want to talk about the difference between MJ and LeBron — Jordan got every call on each end of the floor.

Heck, not only can we not remember MJ ever fouling out; it's hard to remember him ever being in foul trouble.

— 5-at-10

June 4, 2012 at 3:15 p.m.
Todd962 said...

MJ was never in foul trouble because he played in the times when NBA rosters were filled with men. They settled their on court problems with fisticuffs right then and there. The refs were there to break it up alone and it was awesome. If you put todays NBA refs on a court with the players of that day and age they would all be ejected by halftime of any good playoff game just due to the smack talk. Let alone the errant elbows rendering people unconscious left and right.

June 4, 2012 at 4:11 p.m.
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