Golf still needs Tiger

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Golf still needs Tiger

Editor's Note: Follow Tiger Woods' Friday round with the Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker feature. We'll have full coverage tonight on SportsNet Central at 6, 10:30 and midnight.

Golf really must be a boring sport.

Because there seems to be only one thing to talk about.

Tiger Woods. Still, after all these years.

Has the world of golf gone on for the past two years? Have new faces emerged? Have tournaments been won?

Yes. But no one has apparently been interesting enough to puncture the fixation on Woods. Thats a sad commentary on the sport. What if, after Eli Manning won the Super Bowl, the main response was, Yeah, yeah, but whats Brett Favre up to?

Golfs entire focus seems to remain on a man who isnt ranked in the top-10, who hasnt won a legitimate tournament in more than two years, whose single most interesting single as a celebrity was running into a fire hydrant. Do the fans like him? Are they shouting encouragement? Has robo-golfer cracked a smile? Is he unhappy with the pace of the rounds? Will he be nice to Bill Murray?

The preposterous reaction to Woods was most noticeable last December when Woods won something called the Chevron World Challenge, and the response was as if hed just come from five back on the final day to win the Masters.

The Chevron World Challenge is a non-official 18-man tournament established as a charity fund-raiser by Woods himself. Its not a PGA Tour event, not exactly a significant event. Yet Woods ability to prevail in that outing in December created a chorus of plaid-panted angels singing hallelujahs, a tally of how long it had been since Woods had won anything besides the Befuddled Texter award and generated phrases such as the win will likely send expectations soaring for 2012.

Here we are in 2012 and the fawning is in full force. Woods has deigned to play in the AT&T, a tournament he shunned for a decade -- he usually shuns it for his big payday in Dubai. Hes paired with Tony Romo -- just two athletes who just cant seem to get it done in crunch time these days.

On Thursday in his first round, he shot a four-under at Spyglass and the angels started to sing again. Has there ever been such a chorus for a tie for 15th?

More than a decade ago, Woods was the most interesting thing in golf. He was supposed to change the sport, with his athleticism and diversity. But instead he seems to have created a singular obsession among golf fans and writers: all Tiger, all the time. Even after a winless two years.

Instead of making the sport more interesting, he seems to have made it one-dimensional.

Woods made other golfers very rich. He made golf media feel important and golf-related jobs more prominent. There are a lot of people invested in him doing something more than flailing about on the golf course and having a high profile divorce. Theres a sense of an industry waiting for Woods to rescue it, Rory McIlroy be damned.

Thats more than a little tedious.

Woods and Romo play again today on the Monterey Peninsula Course. If you hear hallelujahs echoing on the winds blowing up from the south, youll know Woods shot another decent round. And the one-note story will continue.
Freelance writer Ann Killion is a regular contributor to CSNBayArea.com and Chronicle Live.

Magic Johnson to run Lakers front office, Mitch Kupchak fired

Magic Johnson to run Lakers front office, Mitch Kupchak fired

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss announced today that the team has named Earvin "Magic" Johnson as President of Basketball Operations. In addition, General Manager Mitch Kupchak has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately. Furthermore, Jim Buss will no longer hold his role as Lakers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

"Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect," Jeanie Buss said. "Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me. Our search for a new General Manager to work with Earvin and Coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new General Manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new General Manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness."

"It's a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family," said Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "Since 1979, I've been a part of the Laker Nation and I'm passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions."

Jeanie Buss added, "I took these actions today to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself. We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again."

Regarding Mitch Kupchak, Jeanie Buss stated, "We are grateful for the many contributions Mitch has made to the Lakers over the years and we wish him all the best."

With regard to fellow owner and brother, Jim Buss, Ms. Buss said, "Jim loves the Lakers. Although he will no longer be responsible for basketball personnel decisions, he is an owner of this team and we share the same goal: returning the Lakers to the level of greatness our father demanded. Our fans deserve no less."

In addition to the changes made within the basketball department, the Lakers also announced they have parted ways with John Black who had been the Lakers Vice President of Public Relations. Chief Operating Officer Tim Harris will immediately begin a search for a replacement. Jeanie Buss added, "We thank John for his many years of service."

Los Angeles Lakers media services
 

Kaval: A's must 'swing for the fences' in choosing ballpark site

Kaval: A's must 'swing for the fences' in choosing ballpark site

MESA, Ariz. — After spending a few days at spring training, A’s president Dave Kaval heads back to the Bay Area on Tuesday to continue work on the team’s search for a ballpark site.

There are so many factors to consider — location, public transportation access, parking, government obligations to be fulfilled, etc. — it’s easy to understand why it’s such an all-encompassing process.

Kaval shared some detailed thoughts on all of the potential sites the A’s are considering during a visit on the A’s Insider Podcast. Here’s some highlights:

The A’s have narrowed down to four locations in Oakland to build a privately financed ballpark: Brooklyn Basin, Howard Terminal, Laney College and the current Coliseum site on which they play.

Are these four all uniquely different from each other or do they share some common traits?

“I think all of them can fulfill our long-term vision of this urban area around the ballpark,” Kaval said. “Think of Fenway, Wrigley … all of them can achieve that vision. We want to make sure with such a big decision that we swing for the fences. … I think the Coliseum is probably the hardest to create kind of an urban village, but I think it’s possible, and we’re not ruling it out.

"But all the other locations can have neighborhoods around the ballpark where people can live and you can just have a really intimate experience around the ballpark.”

There hasn’t been the same buzz about Brooklyn Basin as Howard Terminal. Located close to the water, does it offer similar attributes as Howard Terminal?

“It’s very close. There’s a couple different places the ballpark could go down there,” he said. “You’re closer to the water, which is exciting, and I think being on the water provides the ability to have water taxis, ferries, other transit options that kind of lower the requirement for parking, lower the requirement for walking or biking. And that actually can be a really great thing for the fan experience.”

Howard Terminal offers a big potential payoff with the terrific views available. But there are some substantial hurdles, not the least of which are the government regulations and approvals required to build right along the water.

“If you want to actually develop something in there, you need to have legislation from the state of California. That’s just something that has to happen,” Kaval said. “So when we think about the steps to get the individual sites (approved) and break ground, it’s just another one you have to do at that site. So you have to weigh, is it worth the time, effort, political opposition that might come up to pursue that type of effort? The site is so iconic that we’ve been keeping it in the mix because, wow, it could just be something that is a game changer.”

That’s just a sample of the many topics Kaval touched on over the course of the podcast.