SPORTS w/The Jock May 6, 2010

by Tom Weppel
PGA Tour/Players
This should be an interesting weekend for the PGA TOUR and The Players Championship. As always, this will be one of the best fields overall in professional golf…there’s no question this tournament is a ‘fifth Major’ for all intents.
While the field is very talented, and the competition is strong, when you listen to the media coverage, its all about Tiger and Phil. Its almost as if there’s no one else good enough to compete against these two guys! And they certainly are the two best players in golf right now.
But there are at least 15 or 20 players who are very capable of beating Woods and Mickelson on any given weekend. Because these other competitors don’t receive a lot of publicity, they almost seem non-existent. With that being the case, they aren’t really a draw for the Tour.
You would think the PGA might do more to promote the numerous players on Tour. Ricky Barnes, Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas, and now Rory McIlroy all have the talent to compete on a consistent basis. Their names are usually found on leaderboards.
But for now, it seems when someone other than Tiger and Phil are leading, a lot of fans have to look the player up to find out ‘who’ he is!
We’ll see how things play out this weekend. The Golf Channel and NBC will provide the TV coverage. Once again, should be a good one.
All four second round series are in full swing. Of all the match ups, it seems the Orlando Magic are playing the most dominant basketball, especially after their 43-point pasting of the Atlanta Hawks. They were the only team two sweep their first round series, over the Charlotte Bobcats. Those games were physical battles, but Orlando prevailed in all four games. Their three key players…Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, and Jameer Nelson, are playing solid ball. The Magic also have a very talented roster of reserves, providing depth and solid play. Give Magic GM (and former JU/Magic player) Otis Smith a lot of credit for assembling a great team.
After their 4-0 sweep, they had time to rest and heal, while the Hawks got into a seven-game series with the Milwaukee Bucks, before finally winning the last two games. Atlanta certainly would have to be worn out.
And so look for the Magic win this series quite handily, then move into the Conference Finals…
Meanwhile, its entirely possible the series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics could get into a nasty, drawn out series. Many fans have figured Lebron James and Co. might have no problem beating out the aged veterans for the Celtics, moving on into the Finals.
But that might not be the case, especially with James trying to play with his injured elbow we’ve all heard so much about. In addition, other key players haven’t come through when the Cavs needed it.
This should be an entertaining series. If Cleveland loses this one, it will certainly be disappointing, indeed not living up to expectations.
This weekend, the boys go to Darlington for a short track bump-and-grind on the NASCAR circuit. They do this after one more typical, scripted ending to a stock car race, happening Saturday night at Richmond. Here’s the deal…
Each race starts off after a lot of pageantry and too many parade laps. Then the cars get into multiple laps of monotonous racing until the finish is in sight. Then, in what has become automatic and expected, some idiot causes a wreck with 10-20 laps to go, a caution comes out, and everything shuts down. At that point, the ‘race’ turns into a two- to five lap scrum, making the first 400+ miles totally meaningless.
And so it goes. These continuous, broken-record endings have taken a lot of the interest out of NASCAR. The problem is, those in charge of running the circuit aren’t coming up with a way to solve the problem…and it IS a problem!
Meanwhile, the broadcasts on FOX have provided some awful commentary, mainly out of the mouths of analysts Larry McReynolds and Darryl Waltrip. These two guys, while certainly knowledgeable, are dumbing-down the viewer in excess. They both will tell you every little item, explaining in WAY too much detail what they KNOW is going to happen. They talk to the viewers like they are little kindergarteners! They both share an inclination to literally talk DOWN to the racing fans watching the race, as if they were complete idiots! Its ridiculous! Someone needs to pull these guys aside and give them a few pointers. Give us at least a minute or so to take in the racing without hearing either one of them blabber! Don’t state the obvious!
Maybe we can have them both race on weekend, just to see how they’d fare. That might shut them up.