March 14, 2013
The comeback is about as close to being complete as it can get. I am talking about Tiger Woods’ comeback. He won again last week and he has returned to being favored to win every tournament he enters.
Woods won again last week, topping the field at Doral by two shots. History tells us that Woods is virtually unbeatable when he putts well. That was the case last weekend. Tiger needed only 100 putts in his 72 holes on the week. He has never taken that fewer putts during a four-round tournament. As a result, the tournament result at Doral was never really in doubt either as Woods led wire-to-wire.
Tiger’s doing fine!
So, is he really back? Woods has now won five of his 23 tournaments since the beginning of 2012 after winning none of his 21 tournaments in 2010 and 2011. There is not another professional golfer out there who has won more often since the start of the 2012 season.
The win at Doral was Tiger’s 76th career victory. He is now six victories behind all-time leader Sam Snead. The Masters is just a month away and you know Woods will be favored to win at Augusta.
And you know we will start hearing talk of whether or not he can catch and pass Jack Nicklaus major’s total. I believe Tiger will win four more majors and pass Nicklaus.
Let me pass another golf fact to you. With Tiger’s win last Sunday, did you know that Americans have won all 11 tournaments on the PGA Tour so far this year. A streak like that has been a long time coming.
With Woods leading the way, it looks like American golfers have taken the game back from the foreign contingent of players.
March Means NCAA Hoops
People tend to think about the NCAA Tournament when the words, “March Madness” are used. But there is more to March Madness than filling out your brackets and watching the tourney. The regular season finales and conference tournaments annually give us a great deal of excitement. It also gives everyone a chance to scout a little bit before filling out their brackets.
Here are some observations and things I will be looking for prior to the tournament that starts next week.
The Big Ten has basically dominated this season. History tells me that they usually burn out in the tournament when this happens. I do not think that will be the case this year. I like Indiana to win it all yet I could see Ohio State, Michigan, or Michigan State beating them. In fact, Ohio State is my sleeper team and I am basing this on the sole fact that they beat the Hoosiers in Bloomington last week.
Indiana was very impressive last week winning at Michigan to clinch the Big Ten title and most likely a number-one seed. The difference in the 72-71 Hoosier win was 7-foot center, Cody Zeller. The sophomore had 25 points, including the game-winning layup with 13 seconds remaining, to go along with 10 rebounds, two assists and one block.
Another sleeper to watch is Tennessee. It was not all that long ago that the Volunteers looked like they quit. A loss at home to Georgia left them 3-6 in the SEC and 11-10 overall. Just three weeks later, the Vols have won eight of their last nine. Tennessee beat Missouri last week with the win over the Tigers being their fourth over a team ranked in the top 50 of the RPI. I will be watching the Vols in the upcoming SEC Tournament. I think they still need to win one tourney game.
Let me close by talking about Liberty from nearby Lynchburg, VA. I love this story. Where else other than college basketball can a school go 15-20 and still have a chance to win the national championship? Yes, the Flames won the Big South Tournament Final to become just the second team 20-loss team ever to qualify for the NCAA tournament. I know loss number 21 will likely take place in the first round. But I still love the story and loved watching the Flames celebrate.
Bobcats Win, Bobcats Win
File this one away in the ‘where did this come from’ file.
Gerald Henderson scored a career-high 35 points as the Charlotte Bobcats snapped a 10-game losing streak by pounding the Boston Celtics by a 100-74 count Tuesday night.
I had to look up the last time the Bobcats won by over 25 points and it as the team’s biggest margin of victory since beating the Miami Heat 104-65 on Jan. 20, 2010.
Charlotte is now 14-50. The win means the Bobcats have now doubled last season’s win total.
A recent lineup change played a part in the victory over the Celts. New starting forward Josh McRoberts had his first double-double for Charlotte with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Of course, Duke fans will be quick to point out that the lowly Bobcats need to utilize Henderson and McRoberts more often.
NFL Free Agent Season
The NFL Free Agent season began on Tuesday with a flurry of player and team movement. It seems like more and more quality players are being released due to bad contracts. This leads to teams having the potential to make major changes to their roster. Success during free agent season can dramatically improve a team. Keeping that in mind, here are some players I would like to see the Carolina Panthers take a look at.
I think Josh Cribbs would be a bargain. Carolina has been awful of late with it’s return game. Cribbs finished third in the league in kickoff returns last season and has the skills to contribute as a receiver. He is just 29 years old and would pay immediate dividends.
Another bargain would be Arizona cornerback Greg Toler. Pro Football Focus rated Toler as a top-15 cover man last season. Sign him and plug him in as a starter. This move would strengthen a team weakness.
If the Panthers want to spend money at cornerback, I am all for Sean Smith coming to Charlotte. Every time I see him on TV, the analysts talk of him having the potential to be a shut-down cornerback in this league. Charles Woodson is also out there and he may not cost as much due to his age. But his experience would be a huge help with the team’s safeties.
Yes, defense and special teams. Two facets of the game that this franchise has struggled with in recent years. Stay tuned during the next few months to see what moves Carolina makes.