Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Night Dessert: Watson Exposes Non-Sports Fans

Dialing up and down the sports dial on Monday, alleged sports radio talk hosts talked about how little interest there was left in the British Open once Tiger Woods left. Their rationale: No Tiger means nothing worth watching.

Today, those alleged sports experts forfeited their status in sports. Maybe they'll join former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kevin Frazier or former CBS Sports broadcaster Pat O'Brien and cover Hollywood instead, since that seems to be their true calling. Somewhere along the line, they forgot why Tiger Woods became the #1 draw in professional golf, and declared that Tiger Woods WAS the draw because of his celebrity. No Tiger = no interest.

Maybe for the Hollywood celebrity paparazzi, but for sports fans, today's final round of the British Open was absolutely compelling can't miss television. (Unless, of course, you absolutely can't stand golf. Even then, the story line was hard to ignore.)

When 59 year old Tom Watson walked up to the 18th tee today with a one shot lead at Turnberry, it was as compelling, if not more compelling, than anything Tiger Woods has done on a golf course. This was a run for the ages, with Watson making putt after putt through 71 holes to be in the lead. Alas, the dream ran out on the 18th green, but for most of the weekend, Watson showed us the best of athletics.

The ET crowd masquerading as sports "experts" confused the playmaking and great play that Tiger Woods is capable of bringing to the golf course with the reality that any other golfer can also make those same shots. Just not with the same regularity that Woods. The absence of Woods from the golf course doesn't mean that those great shots or great drama won't occur; it just means that it won't be Tiger Woods making those shots. Or to put it another way: it's not Tiger Woods, it's the competition that frequently includes Woods, but isn't dependent on Woods.

Bravo to Tom Watson for some absolutely compelling television today. I hope those people who gave up on the British Open have fun chasing Britney around Hollywood tomorrow.

Last week, FSN broke out the reruns of college football games, and I swear it must have been AJ's week. Monday night, it was 1996 Nebraska/Arizona State and the "Debacle in the Desert". Then on Thursday afternoon, my wife informed me that it was 2005 Nebraska/Missouri. Good thing I missed out on 2007 Nebraska/Kansas; that had to be on at some point last week.

Picked up a copy of Phil Steele's Big 12 preview last night and started glancing at it. I must admit, I haven't had a chance to read his stuff previously, and I see partly why it's so popular. It jams as much information into it's 192 pages, but man, it's a tough read with abbreviations and shorthand style. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it, but it's almost like reading crib notes.

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