by TOM WEPPEL
And so, March Madness has begun! Contests have already been played out, with a number of teams getting into the next round, while others have been sent home, after losing out in the first round.
Both Kentucky and Syracuse got past the first round as #1 seeds, and now will go into the next game with an opponent that could possibly give them a hard time. Kentucky will play Iowa St. next, while Syracuse will go up against Kansas St. Both of those teams have proven their toughness this year, and as we all know, most likely a couple of #1 will not make it to the Final Four.
When higher seeds fall to teams seeded lower than them, it seems there is always a misperception by the higher seed that the lower seed is as good as they are…or can be. That seems to be the case each and every year, as the upsets pop up in each round. You would think by now that teams would realize to stay heady and take care of business over a lower-seeded opponent.
Yet the upsets continue to occur annually!
This year, we saw #5 seed Wichita St. go down to VCU, the team that made their run in this tournament last season! Then #11 seed Colorado is able to defeat #6 seed UNLV, and so the Buffaloes will move on to face the Bears of Baylor.
And so the NCAA Tournament moves on, starting at 68 teams, but down to 16 by the end of the weekend. Plenty of people have their eye on how the games are going, especially during the workday, just to catch a peek at who is doing what. It’ll be interesting to see who makes it into the Final Four. My feeling was that it would be at least two or three #1 seeds. We shall see…
PGA TOUR/TIGER WOODS…
Last week during the PGA Tour golf tournament in South Florida (Doral), Tiger Woods once again injured his leg, specifically his Achilles, and had to leave the course and withdraw. By leaving, he gave up about $50,000 in prize money.
Tiger has had injury problems in the past, including a knee situation he had to have operated on. With his past problems, you can imagine him having a slight amount of apprehension, simply to guard against anything that would be debilitating. He became especially leery, considering his wanting to be ready to play the Masters in a couple of weeks.
But its not only Tiger who is wanting to be able to play a couple rounds on the PGA Tour courses. It is the PGA Tour that is wanting Mr. Woods to also come out and play! When Tiger is playing in a Tour event, attendance swell, interest and excitement in the tournament increase, and TV ratings jump as well. All that means greater competition during the event, which means better returns all the way around.
And while there are other golfers than do indeed attract hardcore fans to tournaments and events…Phil Mickelson being one…nobody else right now comes close to attracting the mass audience like Eldrick Woods can and does. It seems anytime he is visible and performing, he will draw a crowd and/or gathering that has an interest in following him.
Without him, it seems the PGA Tour is simply limping along, with a person of note here and there to emerge and pull off a win.
What the Tour would love is to have a ‘personality’ break out and really dominate for a period of time, simply to establish himself. It would help the Tour draw more interest and fans. It would bring more competition to the Tour events, with regular players going after it weekly. It would help raise the interest in the sport and game itself, and get more people to play more golf, as well.
But for now, that hasn’t happened. While Mickelson and couple of others have done well in the past few years, they haven’t done what Woods has accomplished. And even though Tiger’s reputation is slightly tarnished because of the improprieties he was involved with in the last few years, the bottom line is still that Tiger draws golf fans to events, period.
It’ll be interesting to see how Tiger fares this year in the four Majors, as he is only a couple of wins away from tying Jack Nicklaus. Woods says he is geared up and ready to go. We shall see how he performs this season, with a new caddie, a different swing, and a number of other changes. It will also be interesting to see if anyone can go up against him during those Majors…