22-year-old models his game after Tiger, nearly takes him down in Match Play semis, finishes strong third.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
One of sports history's most stunning upsets
took place over the weekend, and I'm not talking about
St John's beating Duke: Little-known Jennie Finch
toppled Internet juggernaut Anna Kournikova in Page
2's "Hottest Female Athlete" poll.
And it wasn't even close: Out of more than
150,000 votes cast in the one-on-one comp, Finch -- a
star softball player -- got nearly 62 percent. What
next? Fame and fortune comparable to the formerly
invincible Kournikova? Not likely: Softball just isn't
mainstream enough to put her (let alone keep her) on
After sitting in the Garden bedlam, watching
Duke blow an 11-point lead during a scoreless final
four minutes, I can explain to haters what it will
take to beat the Blue Devils in the Tournament:
Recipe for beating Duke: Backcourt
pressure (fell apart in face of St. John's full-court
press); a pulse in the paint (Blue Devils don't
have one); and a fearless go-to scorer (Duke
had no solution for Marcus Hatten, 29 points plus
The Crazies know: I can think of at least eight
teams with those credentials, and based on the
postgame grumbling from Duke fans heading to the
exits, they are already steeling themselves for an
unnaturally early Tourney exit.
Toni Smith has company: Reportedly motivated
in part by her upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness,
Virginia freshman hoops player Deidre Chatman
performed her own protest of U.S. foreign policy, with
the now-familiar 90-degree turn from the U.S. flag
before UVA's game yesterday.
Get used to it: As things develop in Iraq this
month, these statements -- in sports, in entertainment
-- will become more common.
Golf: Match Play
Tiger Woods' PGA rivals might have watched his
unusually sloppy putting on Sunday and seen a sliver
of a chance that one of The Field (as in, "I'll take
Tiger; you can have The Field") might
||"HOW THE WEEK IS SHAPING UP EDITION" EDITION
|CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE IN PLAY:|
1. Handicapping NBA: Spurs' slogan -- "Why not us?"|
2. NFL QB search: Plummer hot, Stewart no buzz
3. This is "training?" Bonds jacks second of spring
|CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE SO OVER:|
1. NBA: Pistons have lost 7 in row -- and our interest|
2. Duke as No. 1 seed: And that's the end of that
3. Dubai Desert Classic: Tiger withdraws. Wouldn't you?
topple him, but
it was just a tease.
"We try harder!" With his second win in three
events, Tiger is headed for such a dominating season
that fans should celebrate the inevitable runners-up: Way to hang in there, David
Size Doesn't Matter
Why would new heavyweight champ Roy Jones ever
return to the anonymity/"welfare-weight" paydays of
smaller-sized opponents? Mainstream fans (and the
bigger money that follows their attention) don't care
about weight class, just personalities.
What next: Jones seems to be passionately
interested in making a ton of money and building his
legacy, so here is the question: Assuming Holyfield is past primetime and
that Lennox Lewis would destroy him, how much moolah
will it take to get him and Tyson together?
Who is going to want to be Georgia's head
hoops coach next season if (uh, when) they are saddled
with sanctions and Jim Harrick gets fired? If you like irony, here's a choice:
Presumed UCLA lame-duck Steve Lavin, who has
experience mopping up Harrick-related messes.
Wells' Book Club
Because he's reportedly settling in with
baseball's hottest read today, do you think Yankees GM
Brian Cashman would let me join his "Perfect I'm Not!"
book club? Questions for discussion:
* How much in the final version is changed from last
week's controversial proofs? (And does that
* Does it really tarnish the Yankees' image?
*In determining a potential punishment, how much
does Wells' apology factor in?
*As long as he wins, does anyone in the
organization really care what state he's in?
Following up this weekend's predictions: Kobe
keeps scoring more than 30. Check ... Tiger wins.
Check ... Roy whups Ruiz. Check ... We're past this
Wells thing by today. Not totally, but seems like
it ... Tougher calls on docket for next weekend.
Says "there's something wrong with" Shaq and KG if they don't want to be in the Olympics. Their choice; both have played for the U.S. before.
|Tiger, Anna, Yanks: What's next? Vote at SportsNation|
|Today on ESPN.com|
|P2: Jennie vs. Anna|
|IN: Rumor Central|
If the USOC is taking suggestions for a new CEO, how
about Mark Cuban? ...|
Signing Rob Johnson makes me think that Steve Spurrier
doesn't know as much about QBs as I thought he
Free-wheeling 'Skins' most promising pick-up: poor
man's Faulk, Trung Canidate; most valuable: K John
Quickie's No. 1 college-hoops seeds right now:
Kentucky, Arizona, Oklahoma, Marquette ...
Picks for tonight: Sixers' nine-game win streak
snapped in Sacramento; Texas Tech shocks Kansas in
If we started the show "Married by Sports Fans," the
couple most likely voted together would be
A-Rod and Jennie (even though both are spoken for).
Coming tomorrow: Actual eligible choices ...