5-at-10: Golf needs Tiger’s return, Eric Bieniemy dilemma, real-life Shawshank scenario

FILE - Tiger Woods speaks during a news conference for the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. Woods is back at Riviera, this time with more on his plate than handing out the trophy in the Genesis Invitational. He returns to the PGA Tour for the first time since July. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang, File)

Tiger returns

So Tiger Woods is confident that he can contend this week at the Genesis Invitational.

It's his first return to competitive tournament golf in seven months.

My expectations have almost always erred on the side of Woods, who brought so many of us so much joy from his excellence.

Not this time, though.

And I offer that hoping against all better judgment that I am 100% wrong.

I enjoy golf and watching golf. And golf needs Tiger, way more than Tiger needs golf.

Heck, dude has close to a billion dollars and that's after losing half in a divorce a decade ago.

Still, think how loaded the field was at Phoenix last week. And how loaded the leader board that had World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth in the top five for most of Sunday's final round.

And crickets.

This is not only a by-product of dividing the talent pool between PGA and LIV -- never mind LIV getting more entertaining and polarizing characters in Mickelson, Brooks, Reed and Sergio -- it's the evidence of the vacuum that Tiger has left.

I will watch more of the Genesis this weekend than I watched of Phoenix -- which also is the rock concert of golf venues -- by at least two times.

And that's with a Tiger Woods I fear will struggle mightily.

Come and still not gone

So is Eric Bieniemy the worst interviewing candidate in the history of coaching searches? Does he have some secret past life of which only the NFL hiring firms are aware?

Or is he the poster picture of the struggles Black coaching candidates have landing NFL head coaching jobs?

Really kind of feels one or the other, no?

Questions aside, let's look at the facts:

-- Bieniemy has been the OC for Kansas City during a historic run in which Patrick Mahomes has made the AFC championship game in five straight seasons as the Chiefs starting QB.

-- And yes, Patrick Mahomes could hang up his helmet tomorrow and be headed for Canton in five years, but his transition from first-year starter to Gold Jacketed fifth-year starter had to be helped, guided and directed.

-- Yes, Andy Reid likely deserves a lot of credit for the Chiefs offensive exploits, but so does the OC.

-- According to reports, the quick-motion, reverse-field-into-the-flat patterns the Chiefs used for every big conversation was something Bieniemy saw on tape from an Eagles game in October and introduced to the offense 48 hours before the Super Bowl. Yeah, that's pretty good coaching.

-- Finally, again, there are a slew of things that go into interviewing, finding the right fit and making sure your head coach -- a dude running your 11-figure investment on Game Days -- is your guy, but for the Eagles DC -- who just got torched by Bieniemy in front of 113 million viewers -- to get a HC gig, well you have to go back to the either/or that started this diatribe, right?

And while we are here, that Frank Reich -- who was a complete failure in Indy over the last 18 months -- got a second HC gig before Bieniemy got his first shot is only more fuel to this heated discussion.

Hey, I hate the place we find ourselves in discussions of this ilk.

And I am the first to point out that calling everything racist actually devalues the fight for equality and in a lot of way strengthens the racists who then flip the debate.

But to not wonder what more Eric Bieniemy must do -- other than being white -- to get a HC opportunity insults his accomplishments and is a head-in-the-sand escape move that would make the NCAA proud.

Maybe coaches look at Bieniemy and wonder, "Well, he is a fine OC, but he's had the privilege of working with a future Hall of Fame quarterback, and you have to wonder how much of his success should be credited to the head coach there."

Which is all true for Bieniemy. It's also all true for Josh McDaniels, the multi-time former Patriots OC who has been offered not one, not two but three NFL head coaching gigs.

Hmmmmmm. Thoughts?

Shawshank plus some

So a Missouri man had his murder conviction vacated Tuesday after it was proven he was wrongfully convicted of a killing he always claimed he did not commit.

He served 28 years in prison for the 1994 killing after being found guilty by a jury.

The details of the proceedings in this story make even those of us who got all our legal training from watching Jack McCoy on "Law&Order" uncertain.

Wow, can you imagine?

What would be the first thing you would do after 28 years behind bars?

And what would be the amount on the damages line item on your lawsuit against the state of Missouri?

Would $100 million be enough?


This and that

-- So Nikki Haley announced she's running for president in 2024. For my dollar, the wrong South Carolina senator announced that intention. (Yes, I've long been a Tim Scott fan.) Second, for someone like Haley, is there a better endorsement out there for someone looking for conservative support to win the GOP nomination than for Whoopi Goldberg to be hard and fast against you?

-- Huge win in arguably its best offensive effort of the season last night for Auburn, which walked Missouri to the shed in a 30-plus-point whipping. I don't think that officially punches AU's dance card, but it's a big step forward with five regular-season games left.

-- The Plays went 2-2. We hit our regular first two picks but missed badly on Illinois, which lost outright as a road favorite at Penn State, and on Georgia.

-- Today is national school resource officer day. As a parent of two in public school here in Hamilton County, I am thankful for their efforts -- everyday.

-- So Mike Bobo is the new OC at Georgia, replacing Todd Monken, who took the OC gig at Baltimore. Some are saying Bobo got the gig because he's tight with top Dawg Kirby Smart. To that I say, Kirby Smart would steal a lollipop from a 3-year-old on Easter Sunday if he thought it could mean one more TD in any SEC game. And I say that as the highest form of praise. And believe me, I was fully prepared to mock the Bobo hire, but just like with Saban, those two dudes have earned every edge of every benefit of any doubt when it comes to program management. But that's just my view -- which is heaping high praise and offering blind faith on Bama and Georgia -- as an Auburn grad.

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way:

Which word would you use to describe the NFL coaching cycle ending and Eric Bieniemy looking for a coordinator position?

Which word would you use to describe Nikki Haley's chances to win the Oval Office in 2024?

Which new MLB rule do you like the most? Which one do you like the least?

You know the drill, answer some Which Ways ask some Which Ways.

As for today, Feb. 15, let's review.

Nat King Cole died on this day in 1965.

YouTube is 18 years old today, being introduced on this day in 2005.

Rushmore of "tube" and be creative.