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June 09, 2015

All that's left for Tiger Woods' fans is hope ... and heartbreak

One of the saddest scenes in sports occurred over the weekend when Tiger Woods navigated the course alone on Sunday at the Memorial in Ohio.

Woods finished the tourney with a 302 -- he carded a round of 85 -- and has become the center of attention for his total collapse. From the top of the pack, he has become so bad he is ranked 181st, and there are no signs of things getting any better.

Amazingly, there are still crowds that follow Woods as he struggles around course after course. There is still the hope that they will see the old swing emerge, that they will be there when Woods is finally in the running to win again.

There are still some who dream that he will win his 15th major – maybe at the upcoming U.S. Open?

For all of his failings in all areas of his life, there is nothing more open to the public than Woods’ weekly struggles on the golf course. There is a temptation to just grab hold of him, look him in the eyes and see if there is anything left of the old Tiger in there.

Literally for better or for worse, Tiger Woods remains the biggest story in the game -- and one of the most fascinating falls from grace in the history of sports.


One of the highlights of the NBA Finals occurred before Game 2 when Carlos Santana and his wife performed the National Anthem. All right, you can make an argument that it wasn’t on the level of Jimi Hendrix, but there was an energy and joy to the rendition that screamed through the TV screen.

Only problem is that you have to take off your hat to perform the Anthem. So, hats off to Santana for the entire gig. In case you missed it, check it out:

The National Hockey League has a pretty good Finals in progress between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks. The series, which resumes Wednesday night in Chicago, has also had some drama surrounding the health of Tampa goalie Ben Bishop.

It first appeared that Bishop had some stomach distress that twice forced him out of the second game of the series. However, the NHL still does not demand that teams disclose “injuries” so nobody knows the real deal and one can only speculate about a lower back injury.

This has now become silly to the point of absurdity. In a day and age when concussions are such an issue, the NHL and the players association should come up with a new gameplan to disclose injuries and stop the nonsense.

For Flyers fans, the one real rooting interest in the series would have been the possibility that Kimmo Timonen would get his name engraved on the Cup. The problem is that Timonen hasn’t played a game in the Finals and if he doesn’t get in a game, he is not eligible to have his name on the trophy.

The fact that the Hawks trail the series might make it even more difficult for Timonen to crack the lineup, and it would be a nasty end-of-career experience if Timonen got the chance to make a return and then didn’t get the championship experience.


One of the most frightening scenes of the season took place at Boston’s Fenway Park last Friday when a bat shattered and seriously injured a fan.

Most of the discussion after the event centered around the possibility of putting up netting to protect the fans in the sections behind the dugouts. This would be similar to the nets behind the goals in NHL arenas.

A more logical approach would be to put some more standards on bats – especially maple bats, which tend to shatter when compared to ash. Major League Baseball has already made some rules changes in terms of bats and the thickness of the handle, but more has to be done.

It would be foolish to ruin the game-day experience by putting up netting, but it would make sense to make changes in the bats. And – as an aside, it should also be stressed that fans stay off their cell phones and electronic devices while the game in being played.

This was not a factor in the Boston incident, but time and again we all see fans not paying attention and at risk of such an accident.


For Philadelphia sports fans, the highlight of the Stanley Cup Finals doesn't come on the ice. Instead, it comes during a break in the action. The moments occur when the advertisements for Captain Morgan rum come across the screen.

The ad is basically a “Captain my Captain” campaign, and one of the stars is Bobby Clarke. After all these years, Clarke remains one of the true icons of all sports in terms of leadership and that Flyers parade in the commerical a historic event.

Nobody asked us but. . .

The Phillies are in a spot in which it might have been better to select a college player instead of a high school prospect. . . Allen Iverson is suddenly back in the news with a TV documentary “Iverson” that’s full of praise and a new book “Not a Game” that exposes all the warts.

The Phillies really need to sit Chase Utley. Management is putting itself in a bad spot by marching Utley out to second base every night, and could be setting up a situation where the Phillies will have to continue to play him or risk a challenge from the Players Association. The end result could be a vesting option and a renewed contract at $15 million for next season.

The Triple Crown winner is also a victory for those of us who spell so bad spell check gets confused. Technically American Pharoah, should be American Pharaoh. Then again, it would be a whole lot easier if it was American Farrow. . .

Major League Baseball has another highlight when Oakland pitcher Pat Venditte takes the mound. Venditte can throw with either arm, and has a special glove to fit on either hand.

The question here is why would anybody try to learn this? Unless forced by injury, why try to master that skill?

Seems like time would be better spent trying to throw better with your left arm. . .

Finally -- good luck to the U.S. Women’s Soccer team in its quest for the World Cup. It’s bad enough to have to start the tourney in Winnipeg, but the real disgrace is that the women are being forced to play this tourney on artificial turf.

There is no way the men would have played a World Cup on an artificial surface … and the women should have been accorded the same respect.