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