Beyond exhibitions and mini-events and the leaked video clips of Range Time with Eldrick, golf gets its first real glimpse of Tiger Woods starting today.
Woods, the 14-time major winner and the game's biggest icon since Arnie, will put a peg in the ground this weekend at Torrey Pines. If there was anything close to a home-course advantage, Torrey is on the short list for Woods, who was won nine professional or major amateur events there.
But winning is not in the discussion, is it? No we don't expect a Sunday round with the red-shirted one mixed in one of the late afternoon tee times do we?
I don't. Too much time, too long a road, especially this soon in the recovery process in the latest round of surgical procedures that have been called to repair the body that authored the most aggressive and torque-filled swing of its time.
Yes, the off-the-course misdeeds and adultery hurt Woods' mental stability and chipped at his aura of impenetrability, but the injuries more than anything have derailed the Woods train. And let's not forget that a decade ago, the question was not so much if Woods would beat Jack's record of 18 major titles, it was by how much.
So here we go.
Maybe this Tiger's swan song, one more day in the sun with the body and mind weary and weaker, but the need to compete still burning ever so softly. Maybe this the next chapter for Woods, who is older and would have to be more mature. Funny thing about all the scars he's collected — the physical ones may forever linger but a lot of the emotional ones can heal and make us better.
Most likely, it will be somewhere in between.
Regardless, the golf world will be watching, hoping for the magic — good or bad — and desperately wanting, needing and remembering the magnificent Sunday buzz when Woods was in contention at a big golf tournament.
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Brent Musburger is out. Next Tuesday will end a broadcasting career that spanned half a century and saw Musburger call NBA title games, NFL showcase games, NCAA hoops and BCS championships.
And like that — like Keyser Soze — he's gone.
This has to be related to his comments during the Sugar Bowl about Joe Mixon, the Oklahoma running back who punched a woman, right?
It simply has to be.
Without knowing a single thing that has gone on behind closed doors and open briefcases in Bristol, consider the following two things:
Uncle Verne Lundquist retires/gets asked to step down and he gets a season-long victory march with celebrations at each stop. Chris Berman takes a reduced role at ESPN and the network is doing documentaries on the guy who is a one-trick broadcaster who became a caricature of himself.
Those two got the royal send off, and their careers together do not equal what Musburger covered, called and witnessed. Those two got the professional equivalent of a victory lap; Musburger got a cheap gold watch and the right to call a Georgia-UK hoops game, which ranks somewhere in the upper 2,000s of events he's done in his career.
Now to be fair, and this happens in all walks, but the aging broadcaster sadly will be remembered most for his less-the-graceful final days. Keith Jackson's last year was painful. Verne has been a punchline for a while. We already covered Berman. And yes, even Musburger was slipping.
(Heck, only Vin Scully never lost a step, but he's the booth version of Jack winning Augusta at 46 — poetry at any age.)
But the end came calling quickly for Musburger, who crafted one of the best careers ever.
Let the craziness happen.
Tuesday night, the teams ranked 1, 3 and 4 lost. Wednesday night, No. 6 FSU was demolished by a bad Georgia Tech team and No. 8 UCLA fell to unrated USC.
That happens, and with all of that, is it fair to say that quite possibly the biggest upset of the last 48 hours happened at the Roundhouse. VMI 80, UTC 64, the scoreboard.
The deep and loaded Mocs — a well-blended and meshed roster that features a few dudes who will make money playing basketball in the coming years — was tattered by Q.J. Patterson.
Here's the nitty-gritty from TFP UTC ace Mean Gene Henley's game story: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/sports/college/story/2017/jan/26/vmis-petersshoots-down-mccalls-mocs/409575/
Peterson made 15 of his 19 attempts from the field and was 7-for-9 from 3-point range. In the second half, he missed his first shot — a layup in the second minute of the half — then proceeded to hit his final 10, including six 3-pointers.
A less-than-thrilled Matt McCall called it his program's worst effort since he came to town before the start of last season.
It's hard to argue with that assessment too, since VMI's record is now 4-15 and 2-6 in the league, almost a completely inverted number to the Mocs' 15-5, 6-2 numbers. It was bad, for sure, but it is hardly a season-ender, especially for teams in one-bid leagues. In fact, the late January craziness is better than a regular season sleepwalk that ends with this awful performance coming at the conference tournament in six weeks.
This and that
— Man, an all-Williams women's final at the Aussie Open is good times. Well, as long as no one makes any references to guerrilla-military tactics and such.
— More great tennis story lines: Roger Federer, who was seeded 17th for this Aussie Open, is in the final. That's awesome. We are so excited about it, we are even looking forward to tennis guru David Paschall breaking it down on today's Press Row. Mostly.
— The Knicks pitched a Carmelo Anthony-for-Kevin Love trade offer. It was understandably shot down quickly by the Cavs. In other news, Justin Verlander turned down the Knicks offer to swap a random concession stand worker for his significant other, Kate Upton.
— That said, the Cavs are broken right now. An overtime loss to the Kings — quick, other than Boogie Cousins, name two members of the Sacramento Kings exactly — the Cavs have lost six of eight. And Wednesday was brutal — 17-of-34 from the foul line; 18 turnovers; a blown 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and a blown five-point lead in OT — for a team that looks to be unraveling.
— Justin Tucker, the NFL's best kicker who is so good the Ravens used their franchise tag on him a couple of years ago, hit a 75-yard field goal in Pro Bowl practice. Yes, he's the best in the business, and the wind was at his back and he was kicking off a tee. And this is not say anything about Tucker's kick — he claimed to once make an 84-yarder for Pete's sake — or his training habits, but no one even bats an eye at NFL players and the thought of PEDs. Why is that? Do we simply not care because those guys are doing such violent things to their bodies already?
— Here's an early front-runner for our favorite NBA quote of the year: "I don't watch Golden State's film," Spurs coach Greg Popovic told CBSSports.com"I watch a game once in a while because Golden State's really fun to watch. You've got to admit that, they're in a different league than the rest of us.it." And then on the Warriors putting together a Super team and if that is bad for the league. "That's your job," Popovich said. "What team wouldn't try to put together as good a group as they can? They did a good job, they figured it out, they get credit for it. It's got nothing to do with oh, that's unfair. Life's unfair. Get over it. Go play 'em. If you want to beat 'em, do your best to beat 'em. You do or you don't. No reason to denigrate them in any way, shape or form. They're beautiful."
We have a few.
Will Tiger ever win again? Will he win another major? Does Musburger make the Rushmore of TV sports broadcasters of the last 50 years? Will the Cavs make the NBA Finals?
As for an off the wall Rushmore, let's go here. Scott Glenn was born on this day in 1941. Yes, that makes Scott Glenn Seventy-flippin-6. Rushmore of Scott Glenn movies.
Go, and remember the mailbag.