January 10, 2003
Jack Gosch:
74-year-old duffer aced two consecutive holes on Monday;
ex-NFL ref Jerry Seeman in his foursome.

 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
PLAYOFF.  PRESSURE.

A whole lot of raging hype will come to a screeching halt if Mike Vick, Chad Pennington, Jeff Garcia and Tommy Maddox are knocked out, but this season, one not pulling an upset would be the shocker.

Playoff picks:
That footage of Titans coach Steve Watterson, Steelers LB Joey Porter and the hot soup is unquestionably damning. Nevertheless: Titans 26, Steelers 17. Vick is awesome, but Eagles' D not like Packers' D: Eagles 23, Falcons 10. Sapp vs. Owens is trash-talk event of the year: Bucs 18, 49ers 13. Who else thinks Chad Pennington is due to be crushed under weight of expectations? Raiders 35, Jets 27 (For the record: 3-for-4 on flip-flopping from Monday's picks based on post-wild card giddiness.)

What If It's a Tie?
In a move that would more than make up for his disastrous decision to end last year's All-Star Game in a tie, baseball commissioner Bud Selig will tell baseball owners next week that he intends to give the league that wins the All-Star Game home-field advantage for the World Series, according to USA Today.

Premature analysis:
This is no joke: The team with that advantage has won 22 of the last 34 titles. With something actually on the line, let's forecast the controversy: Managers leaving more than a few players on the bench (combined with the notion to increase roster sizes), while keeping the best of the best in the game longer.

Coaching Carousel
Giants offensive coordinator Sean Payton is leaving New York to become QB coach in Dallas for Bill Parcells, according to several reports. Once a rising star, Payton lost his play-calling responsibilities after the Giants scored just seven TDs in the team's first seven games. Head coach Jim Fassel took over and oversaw 26 TDs in the team's last nine regular-season games. Maybe Payton hasn't lost his touch, but Chad Hutchinson is no Kerry Collins.

"I'D LIKE TO SOLVE THE PUZZLE" EDITION
CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE IN PLAY:
1. Is there a "D," please: Eagles-Vick marquee matchup
2. 1 "T", 1 "D" in "ChaD PenningTon": How many in game?
3. "Bankrupt": League prays for no ref controversy
CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE SO OVER:
1. Phrase: S-T-I-L-L M-A-D A-B-O-U-T T-H-E G-I-A-N-T-S
2. Is there a "T.O.": Time to stop Owens-bashing
3. Event: W-A-C-K-Y R-E-S-U-L-T-S
 
As Cincy Turns ...
Marvin Lewis is in Cincinnati this morning to continue a second interview he started yesterday, the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting. Tom Coughlin had his second interview yesterday afternoon, and reportedly laid out a vision for the team that was support-staff heavy (not exactly Mike Brown's favorite idea).

The Washington Post is saying that Lewis has "emerged as the team's top candidate" and is close to being offered the job. But the Enquirer says Brown apparently wants to have another conversation with Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, if Pittsburgh loses on Saturday. Is there anything loaded with more subterfuge than the NFL coaching rumor mill? Sheesh ...

For more on all the NFL coaching rumors, check out ESPN Insider.

Yao Rocks Vote
With NBA All-Star voting ending Sunday, Yao is punishing Shaq for the starting center spot in the West. Thanks in part presumably to the Chinese vote, Yao is one of four players to top a million votes (others: Kobe, T-Mac and the

inexplicable Vince Carter, who has missed most of the season with injury). Wait 'til '04, when a couple million Chinese log on to vote in the entire Rockets starting five. It will make MLB All-Star ballot-stuffing look minor league.

The "Sergio" Rule
The PGA's new crackdown on slow play has the Mercedes Championships field talking, the AP reports. Previously, players got two warnings per round to play a shot within 40 seconds (the first player has a minute) before being penalized a stroke. Now, it's one warning, then the penalty and a fine. Best golf-TV idea ever: A shot-clock for viewers when player has 10 seconds left, just like the NBA.

Home-course advantage
Jim Furyk, who has a house a tee-shot's length from the course, shares the Mercedes Championships lead with Ernie Els. If he's cool, he'll throw a playas-only party.

The Nets:
Put the spank on Sac-to last year; pounded by 36 at home last night.
 
 
What do you think about the proposed MLB All-Star Game plan?
Vote at SportsNation

Today on ESPN.com
NBA: Walton's World
NFL: Len P's tip sheet
P2: Sports Guy's picks
 

Bartolo Colon trade latest: Marlins not optimistic, Red Sox are old news ...

Reigning college-hoops scoring champ Jason Conley to transfer from VMI to Missouri ...

Senators win again: If bankruptcy is wrong, who wants to be right ...

The U.S. embassy in Venezuela stops taking visa apps on Monday. Baseball players are no exception ...

Thanks in part to an eBay publicity ploy, once-threatened Dartmouth swimmers have funding for 10 more years ...

George Foreman headed to boxing hall of fame. Grilling Hall of Fame next ...

Ving Rhames has agreed to star as "Kojak" in new TV-movie series ...

NFL Players Week concludes tonight on "Wheel of Fortune" ...

The Quickie will be back Monday morning ...


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