April 4, 2022
Will he or won't he? That is the question of Tiger Woods and a possible return to the Masters later this week. Woods tweeted Sunday that he was returning to Augusta to continue his preparation and practice and would make a "game time" decision on whether he will play.
Woods has already won in the fact he has become the biggest story of the tournament. My guess is he will play and that is the story of Thursday and Friday. Even if Woods misses the cut, his return will grab the headlines since we all saw Woods back in December playing in the Father/Son event in Orlando with Charlie. While we marveled at his return to the course, we saw the struggles to just walk a round. But that was almost five months ago and I am sure Woods has been targeting this week. It is the event that made sense. Woods was not going to return to a regular PGA event. Tiger is about the moment and this is a moment.
I don't believe Woods would embarrass himself if he thought he would shoot 88-86 and miss the cut. Woods can shoot 76-73 and proudly walk off the course on Friday and be celebrated. If he makes the cut then get set for monster TV ratings even if he's not in the hunt and if he is....forget it.
I have argued with my good friend Mike Bianchi who says the Tour has yet to move on from Woods as its top star despite his lack of playing and world ranking. I disagree and believe the PGA Tour has never been deeper with stars and has never had a young talent base as good as it has. Purses are up and more players can win each week and ratings and ticket sales are up. Woods paved the way for the growth of the sport and he is the reason a 22-year old can tee off and be afraid of no one in the field. No one will ever duplicate the prime run of Woods and that's what makes all- time greats all-time greats.
My prediction is Woods plays and shoots 76-73 and misses the cut but wins by just getting out there. We may not see Woods ever return to an even Tiger-like schedule and that's what makes this week special...
LSU's men's basketball team has zero scholarship players who played on this year's team left after Mwani Wilkinson, who started 30 games, became the 11th player to enter the transfer portal. The school finally fired Will Wade, who was embroiled in the NCAA investigation of his program. Once Wade left the exodus began and new coach Matt McMahon now must fill an entire roster, not an easy task.
Katie Abrahamson-Henderson left UCF for the women's head coaching position at Georgia and four UCF players have since entered the transfer portal. UCF hired LSU assistant Sytia Messer on Sunday and she now has the task of rebuilding the Knight's roster, who not only loses those who entered the portal but a solid recruiting class as well.
Many now wonder what can be done in situations like this when a coach leaves or gets fired and players enter the transfer portal. The answer is...nothing. I get a fan's view that it's "unfair that players can just leave and there is no one left" but if a coach can pick up and leave why can't a player? But remember this era of portaling(I think I may have made this up) will slow down. Players get one free transfer, not five. Yes, a number of players have switched schools multiple times in the last three years because the NCAA basically gave everyone a waiver during the COVID year of 2020 and then the NCAA changed the policy allowing players one free transfer without sitting out. That is what has led to the perception that players can leave any time. This will slow down in the next few years as we move further from 2020. A player who has transferred in the last year doesn't get another free transfer, unless they are a graduate with eligibility left.
Coaches have been allowed to leave in the middle of a contract leaving players and incoming recruits behind with little thought. Players now have the ability to leave once during their college career and there is a little more balance for each side. No system is fair but you can't cap how many players can leave in a season.
The LSU situation is rare and the UCF situation is now common. But the transfer portal works both ways. Schools and coaches can benefit from it and sometimes feel the effects of it...
Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy has become the go-to voice in the Big XII when it comes to the future of the new look league. With Texas and Oklahoma eventually moving to the SEC and UCF, Houston, Cincinnati and BYU moving into the Big XII, Gundy is not shy talking about the conference's future and how it will survive and maybe thrive. During a recent interview, Gundy talked about the Big XII maybe even increasing to 14 teams in the coming years and even added that he could see a breakaway of the major programs to maybe forming a Super League of 30-32 teams. He added that TV would dictate if that happens because money drives all.
While I appreciate Gundy's confidence in the new look Big XII holding its place among major conferences, a Super League is not likely to happen..yet. New TV deals with the SEC and Big Ten wil move those two leagues into their own Super 2 while the Big XII and Pac 12 will get new media agreements and settle in with the ACC well ahead of any Group of 5 conference but well behind the Super 2. There doesn't appear to be any unified movement to have the biggest brands in college football to do something on their own. But I do think Gundy is on to something about college football moving away from the NCAA and the Power 5 leagues seeing football as its own big business. But the question remains that if you get rid of the NCAA, does anyone govern the sport?
For years, people have called for a commissioner of the sport but I just don't see how or why Greg Sankey would answer to anyone. He is the most powerful person in college sports and has no reason to change that. What I do see possible is the five commissioners and perhaps Notre Dame agree the new college football playoff contract offers no spot to any G5 school and keeps all the money for themselves...
My wife and I ordered dinner on Saturday to be picked up at a national brand restaurant. When we got home her dish was not up to par and certainly looked nothing like the picture from the online menu. Maybe I should have looked before I left the restaurant, but I called and spoke to the manager who was courteous and apologized and said he would make a new dish upon my arrival back. Well, that was kind but the dish once again fell short. I became that guy. The one who then goes online and writes an email to customer service and explained what was wrong. I don't want anything from the restaurant or the corporate office. But am I that guy? Have I become my dad, who never passed up a chance to complain if the food or service was subpar. He worked his entire life in the food and hospitality business so he came from an angle of experience. I am that guy. Am I about to eat dinner before 5p and be in bed by 9p?...
Final note: The average American eats out or orders food to pick up or be delivered more than 7 times a week.