Without Tiger, PGA ‘silly’ season starts early

Bobby Curran
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Friday - June 27, 2008
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While Tiger Woods prepares for reconstructive knee surgery and rehab, the PGA Tour may have its “silly” season begin earlier than usual. That season usually starts at the end of the regular PGA Tour season, long after the majors and FedEx Cup are completed. But watching the Travelers Championship in Hartford last Sunday, where Stewart Cink held off Tommy Armour III and Hunter Mahan - hey, good players all, but not a lion or a bear among them, much less a Tiger - it was like the silly season has already started. Not that Woods would have played the week following a major anyhow,but the thought of enduring the remainder of the year without him gives a chilling preview of what golf after Tiger might be like.The British Open will miss Woods, the PGA Championship will suffer, and the FedEx Cup might as well be postponed till next year. Ironically, the one event that may not take as much of a hit will be the Ryder Cup. Despite having beaten the Americans five of the last six tries, the Europeans will have to bear the knowledge that the U.S. is without the world’s best player. That might actually work in the Americans favor, and who knows, Tiger may show up to lend moral support.

But if there is a player who could deliver even 10 percent of the Tiger marketing phenomenon, he has yet to reveal himself.Golf has lost some sponsors, particularly in events that Tiger does not play, such as The International. What will happen when there is no more Tiger? Tim Finchem has his work cut out for him, and it’s a much tougher task than Tiger faces in rehab.

* The NBA draft will create a new class of instant millionaires,but how many of the newly rich will make an impact for their teams? Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley will contribute, but a lot of first-rounders are being touted for their “upside,” which, in many cases, means they’re not ready to withstand the rigors of the NBA by a long shot.

One player who will exceed expectations is UCLA power forward Kevin Love.Yes, he looks like his nickname should be “Lumpy,” but he’s much more athletic than he looks.As drills in Orlando at the pre-draft camp bore out, he easily surpassed Michael Beasley in the “athletic"measurables.He is the best passer in the draft at any position and is one of the only players in the draft who can make the people playing with him better. At pick No. 4 or later, he is the steal of the draft.

Conversely, Nevada center Javale McGee has made a huge mistake entering the draft. While he has some tools, the 7-foot, 245-pound McGee makes his moves in slow motion, is not strong and has a game that is best characterized as very soft, even mushy. His stock has fallen from lottery pick to 20-something.A classic case of leaving school too early.

Local boy Derrick Low is not showing up on draft boards, and most of the NBA analysts regard him as an excellent college player rather than an NBA prospect. I expect Derrick to get on an NBA summer league team and make a lot of money playing basketball overseas.

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