Tiger and Kobe: let's go grassy knoll
What a bizarre sports Saturday morning.
We went to bed knowing Kobe Bryant probably suffered a torn Achilles tendon Friday night against Golden State and awoke to news that Tiger Woods might be DQ'd at the Masters.
Kobe, as of this writing, is still awaiting an MRI that will likely confirm he's done for the season which makes it that much harder for his Lakers to hang onto the last conference playoff spot. And, Tiger is about to tee off at Augusta amid a flurry of Twitter-verse second-guessing about the two-stroke penalty he received after Friday's questionable drop on the 15th hole, meaning he's starting the third round 19 strokes back.
Bryant's injury has tongues wagging as to whether the Lakers wore him out to the point where the tendon snapped amid an ever-growing pile of minutes played. Kobe admits he hurt himself making a move he's done a million times.
The Lakers started the season with a an all-star roster but played middling basketball as Bryant and Dwight Howard butted heads, Steve Nash tried staying on the floor and Pau Gasol wondered where he'd be playing the next night. It was delicious, made-for-ESPN drama that was often the lead story on the self-proclaimed World Wide Leader most of the winter to the exclusion of anything else happening in the sports world. Even Tim Tebow couldn't get airtime as L.A. spun out of contention.
As to whether Kobe got over-played, well, I'm thinking Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni couldn't win: if he rests Bryant during this crucial stretch, even for five minutes, he'd be second-guessed for not using his most valuable asset during the team's most pressing hour of need. And, if he runs him 47 minutes a night as he did, well, he's in the bulls eye for overtaxing his superstar when a tendon goes "pop".
The Woods story is fascinating: the two-stroke penalty keeps Tiger at Augusta for the rest of the weekend. Interesting that a TV viewer--not a Masters official--called the questionable drop into question. Remember, this is the same tournament that hit a 14 year old kid with a one-stroke penalty Friday for slow play. The clock is running on an eighth grader, yet no course official calls Tiger on his drop in the moment?
Opinion this morning is all over the place--some former PGA players are saying Woods should be disqualified for signing a bad scorecard. Others wonder about the vagueness of the rule used to justify the decision to penalize, rather than DQ. Coloring everything is the enormous interest in Woods--remove Tiger from Augusta's two big money days and you've said farewell to millions of casual viewers from the TV audience, people who watch the Masters (or golf period) only to see the game's most intriguing player. Did Woods' star power influence Saturday morning's decision?
The NBA playoffs grind on without one of the Association's biggest draws, thanks to a late-season injury that's sparking debate about coaching decisions and playing time. The Masters continues with its largest personality, one who gets to play despite controversial call and dense rule book terminology.
What a Saturday morning.