Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Tiger Weekend Rant

It’s not often that I sit around and watch sports on television on the weekend. I like to get out and do stuff, use the DVR, check in on the highlights, go to the Internet and see what’s going on. But rarely do I sit down for a few hours and just watch stuff.

Except this past weekend.

It was just a feast of a bunch of stuff that I found compelling. From Tiger Woods in the Memorial to College Baseball to the French Open Tennis tournament on in the morning, I just found myself with clicker in hand flipping back and forth and keeping up with all that I could.

Did I mention the Magic/Lakers game on Sunday night? Or the NASCAR race from Pocono? Throw in a little Major League baseball and you literally could have not left the couch all weekend and not been bored for a minute.

Whenever Tiger is in the field at a golf tournament, the rating spike up about 40%. But Tiger was four back at the start of the final round, so he would be but a bit player in the final round.

Well, not exactly.

He starts making birdies on the front nine and put himself at least somewhere near the lead. As soon as that starts happening as if on cue, everybody else starts to fall apart. Three-putts, balls in the water, it’s as if the Persian army is coming to Thermopolie and instead of the Spartans defending, they sent the girl scouts to sell them cookies. Guys are falling all over themselves to not be involved when it really counts.

On the back nine, a few players move into contention and there’s a four-way tie for the lead as Tiger’s playing the 16th hole. “Wow,” I think, this is going to be fun. A playoff, some other top players. But no, Tiger turns into Tiger again and the rest of the players turn into pumpkins. Woods birdies both 17 and 18, hitting one of the best final-hole shots ever with a 7 iron to one foot for the clinching birdie.

Jack Nicklaus says it’s the best “driving round” he’s seen Tiger have in recent memory.

And, of course, Jack’s right.

Only six times in his career did Tiger hit all 14 fairways and Sunday was one of them. Jim Nantz said it was as good a final hole shot he had ever seen Woods hit. But he started back right? Well, he shoots 65 and everybody else shoots a million. Jim Furyk shot 69 with a birdie at the last to finish solo second but you never got the feeling he was going to win. You always got that with Tiger and he just went out and did it.

No question players on Tour play differently when Tiger’s in the field. Most of them forget how to play. I was hoping for some kind of Tiger, Furyk, and Davis Love playoff. But Davis finished bogey, triple bogey to go from tied for the lead to six shot off the pace. Not exactly the hallmark of a closer.

All I can think about is Tiger playing in a different era. What if he played against Lanny Wadkins, Ray Floyd and Tom Weiskopf every week? Not that they were world beaters, but all won major championships and all acted like they were going to get into a fistfight with one of their “fellow competitors” any second. They didn’t wilt. They fought. Throw in a field that might include Arnold and Jack, Player, Trevino, Watson, Billy Casper and you get the picture.

At least somebody would be standing when they got to 18.