IF TIGER ISN'T BACK IT'S NEWS TO PGA TOUR PLAYERS
Three Wins, FedEx Cup Points Lead: If Tiger isn't back, I'd sure like to know what he needs to do to convince anyone. Is he back like 2000 - 2001 back? No, but he's 36, not 25. Is he back like 2009 back? Probably so. He won six times in 2009 with no majors. Sound familiar? We still have half a season left, including two majors. He's climbed to fourth in the World Golf Rankings, and has a great chance to move higher considering he doesn't have a lot of points from last year that will decrease or drop off as the season progresses. What was impressive yesterday was how he controlled the last two holes. On the 17th, he played it safe with a shot to the front left of the green after Bo Van Pelt had hit it long. And then on 18, he really put the pressure on his opponent by hitting a perfect 345 yard tee shot, making Van Pelt's second shot from 220 yards all that more difficult. The nine iron from 190 yards was a thing of beauty. I'v been watching golf since the early sixties, so I grew up watching Palmer, Nicklaus, Casper, Snead, Trevino, Player, Weiskopf, Watson and Miller. No one plays or has played the game like Woods does when he is on. It's not just me. Ratings more than double when he is in contention. To paraphrase ESPN's Colin Cowherd, "When you outdraw your sport, you're doing something special."
At Least it Didn't End in a Shootout: Unfortunately, in the EURO 2012 final Spain eliminated any drama early by taking Italy out of its game and showing why they have won three consecutive major soccer titles. I'm not a soccer expert by any means, but I know a good butt-kicking when I see one. It didn't appear Italy had a clue all day, which I would imagine is more a tribute to Spain than a knock on an Italian side that clearly overacheived to get to the final. Now we have almost two years of qualifying matches to see if the United States squad can avoid a bad draw in the 2014 World Cup.
Less Than a Month Until London: Now that the trials are all but over, our attention can turn to the London Olympic Games which begin July 27. Michael Phelps has decided to compete in seven events, giving him the potential to leave his last Games with 21 gold medals. I think five would be a great accomplishment, but you never know. Phelps is amazing and always seems to peak at the right time. His most stellar competition is probably on his own team, Ryan Lochte. However, by foregoing the 200 meter freestyle, he avoids one of those matchups.
Major League Baseball All-Star Teams Announced: Before inter-league play, I was much more interested in seeing the All-Star Game. Now, however, you don't have to wait for the midsummer classic or the World Series to see matchups that you wouldn't see in the regular season. In addition, players move around a lot more, so over the course of time they all end up facing each other at one time or another. There are two long-time stars, first ballot Hall of Famers, who have played for only one team. One, Chipper Jones, will retire after this season. Hopefully he can make it in as the fans' choice from the National League. And Derek Jeter, only a Yankee, will play again and we won't know if this will be his last chance. My guess is he'll be back at least one more year.