Monday, June 16, 2008

Finally, a Monday Sports Day

Mondays have long been a walking anomaly in the sports world. Sure, you have always had Monday Night Football, but that's only for half the year, and even at that the teams you get usually suck. Honestly, does anyone care about the Jets against the Dolphins in Week 4? Not hardly.

And, just like every other day of the week, when the respective other professional sports are in season, you'll get regular season games on a Monday. But, you don't get that "appointment television" kind of feel like you do, say, about college football on Thursday nights or Saturdays or the NFL on Sunday.

Well, today is your lucky day as the U.S. Open will be having an 18-hole playoff between the supposedly gimpy Tiger Woods and the everyman, "I wear a peace sign as a belt buckle" Rocco Mediate. It kicks off at noon eastern and, luckily for most of the people that can afford to play golf and enjoy watching it, it will be shown live at the U.S. Open's website.

Yesterday's final round was an interesting one to watch. Rocco could not have been in a more perfect position to "steal" a major from Tiger. First, he was playing ahead of Tiger so he didn't have to deal with the immense gallery that was following Tiger & Lee Westwood. Second, he had the benefit of not really being pushed all that much by Tiger as Tiger completely blew up on the first two holes to go from 3-under to even barely after his final round started. Heck, even Lee Westwood matched Tiger shot for shot, which sounds like a good thing until you realize that many of those shots were into bunkers and the wilderness.

Whether it was the knee or the course, you got the sense that it just wasn't Tiger's day. That is, of course, until Mediate became incapable of knocking in any sort of birdie putt whatsoever down the stretch. That failure left the door open for both Woods and Westwood, but it was Tiger that was able to capitalize, even after hitting a drive into a sand trap and then from the sand trap to the rough. He left himself an 18-footer and he rolled it in, so here we are. Tiger's knee seemed to bother him early on, but I noticed that down the stretch he hardly grimaced or acted like anything was wrong. After the round, he told reporters that he had taken "some stuff" to help dull the pain, so presumably Tiger was playing the back nine of a major under the influence of Percoset, right? Whether the knee plays a part in today's playoff remains to be seen.

I hope that today's action is a good one. Frankly, I could see Rocco completely disintegrate in the first six holes, resulting in a laugher. Although, with his laid-back personality and happy-go-lucky mentality, he may be able to avoid the pressure and simply swing loose. Anyone that wears a peace symbol for a belt buckle has to be the epitome of laid-back grooviness, right? If that's the case, we might actually see a time where the person who feels the most pressure is not Tiger's playing partner, but Tiger himself.

But I doubt it.

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