All eyes, and most bets, are on Tiger

Bobby Curran
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Friday - April 11, 2008
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There will always be stirring side-bars at Augusta National for the Masters championship - Johnson Wagner, invited in by virtue of his first PGA win in Houston last week, or Davis Love missing out after 70 consecutive major starts. But there is only one real story, the kind of story that is on everybody’s lips before the first tee shot is launched: Can Tiger Woods win the first leg of the Grand Slam?

It would be unreasonable, even absurd, to discuss this in relation to any other player. But Woods has been so dominant in the last seven months that it seems like it could be destiny. Not only does he win, but he has a presence on the course unlike any other. There is a relentlessness about Woods that seems to cause other players to wither. Call it confidence or the will to win, but few athletes in any sport have ever made victory appear so, well, inevitable. Tiger on a Sunday exudes the belief that there is but one possible outcome. Some say that Woods is a product of the world’s best marketing machine. Maybe so, but would you be comfortable betting against him? This could end up being the most watched Masters in history.

Hawaii’s pro-timing day at the Home Depot Center in Southern California was the last group setting in which players could showcase their talents to NFL scouts and player personnel folks. Wide receiver Ryan Grice-Mullins ran a blistering 4.33 40 and Hercules Satele benched 225 pounds 40 times. Many of the UH contingent performed well, but it’s hard to gauge how much any player raised his stock, or even if a positive impression was made.

Consider the disparity of opinion on former UH QB Colt Brennan. Brennan weighed in at 218 pounds, 32 heavier than at the Senior Bowl. He also threw to receivers, but opted out of other drills because of a hip injury. Many thought the weight gain was positive and the workout showed great velocity on his passes. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen opined that Brennan might go undrafted, but thought he’d more likely be taken in the sixth or seventh round. That contrasts severely with Mel Kiper Jr., who last week had Brennan going in the second round to Tampa Bay. That leaves quite a bit of wiggle room.

The University of Hawaii baseball team had a terrific stretch on the final swing of its recent road trip. After being swept by Sacramento State, the Bows were at a low point. Their midweek game against nationally ranked Stanford looked like it could be an uphill fight, but the Bows responded to Coach Mike Trapasso’s unremitting positivity. The Bows went on to win that game 5-2, but to my mind, the game - and maybe the season - turned around when Jayson Kramer was on the mound in a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth with a runner on third and nobody out. When he retired the Cardinal without giving up a run, I was fist pumping next to the radio! The team then scored three in the top of the ninth for the win.

They went on to win the first of four against San Jose State in 15 innings, eventually taking the series 3-1. Now they’ll be at home this weekend against New Mexico State in a four-game series beginning Thursday at 6:35 p.m. Get on down to Les Murakami Stadium for the best value in town for live sports.

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