What If Tiger Wanted a Trade
As for Kobe Bryant. just taking Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton from the front pages wasnt good enough. Hes done his best to send the league thats made him famous into chaos during its playoff spotlight.
In a day of radio interviews that seemingly had no end, the star of the Los Angeles Lakers - and perhaps the NBAs brightest star - had requested a trade from Hollywood. Tinseltown, which loves its stars, would perhaps never be the same without number 24 (or the former number 8.)
I would like to be traded, yeah. Tough as it is to come to that conclusion, theres no other alternative, Bryant told ESPN radio.
Then, about three hours later, after a conversation Bryant had with his current (perhaps soon to be former) coach Phil Jackson, Bryant told KLAC radio I dont want to go anywhere, this is my team. I love it here.
Regardless of whether Kobe stays or goes, it brought me to thinking about the world the PGA TOUR lives in.
Kobes frustrated that the Lakers arent pointed in the direction of winning. And with four years left on the seven-year $136.4 million contract he signed in July of 2004, Kobes burned out on trying to light a fire under his current franchise.
Kobes not winning ' enough.
Tiger Woods has 12 professional major titles to his credit. Bryant helped (along with Shaquille ONeal) guide the Los Angeles Lakers to three straight NBA titles but hasnt won since ONeal left town for Miami.
And so goes the difference between two of sports greatest superstars ' and their desire to win, win and win some more.
Tiger Woods is in control of Tiger Woods. As he approaches 60 PGA TOUR titles, he doesnt have to rely on Smush Parker or Lamar Odom or Chris Mimm for help.
Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, can shoot his way to 60 points in a single game ' but it hardly guarentees that his team wins or that his team wins the title that year.
Golfers are required to worry about themselves. NBA stars are required to play within a team concept.
There is no salary cap for Tiger. For the Los Angeles Lakers ' there is.
Tiger dominates the PGA TOUR with regularity but has never asked for a trade because the competition isnt quite good enough. Hes never asked to player for Europe in the Ryder Cup because his American side isnt competitive enough.
My problem with Kobe is not his $136.4 million contract. Its his apparent lack of understanding about the ramifications to the rest of the franchise because of the huge sum paid directly to him.
Sure, the Lakers need to do a better job of finding better pieces to the puzzle around Bryant. And they need to watch what they say about Bryants dedication to the team or lack of dedication. Frustration is one thing ' reality is another.
Does the PGA TOUR need to do a better job of finding the pieces around Tiger in a 156-man field? No, but could it do a better job of promoting its PGA TOUR winners?
Tiger is a part of the team on the PGA TOUR. Kobe Bryant is a part of a team named the Los Angeles Lakers. Fans pay big money to see each man do their thing. If Kobe doesnt like the frustration that comes with playing a team sport ' then give Butch Harmon a call and start working on the 60-degree wedge.
As I see it, Bryant called out Odom and Mimm and Parker as unfit parts in Kobes desire to build a winning team. Are they perfect? Perhaps not, but most NBA players arent stars and are thus reliant upon the likes of a Bryant to achieve a championship.
Michael Jordan never gave up on the Chicago Bulls along the way to its run of titles. And Bryant needs to sit back, be more like Mike as he perhaps chases his legacy, and work harder to make the others into champions just as Jordan did. Believe me ' it will feel a lot better to win when folks think you cant than to have two other stars dumped into his starting five where winning becomes easy.
PGA TOUR golf and the NBA are apples to oranges in comparison. But perhaps each could learn something from the other.
Kobe ought to learn that there isnt an I in team. Winning comes from making others better.
The PGA TOUR ' bolstered by a collective group of individuals focused on their own score ' should do more to develop the team concept that has been brought to light be Kobes comments this week.
For now, (and well see how long this lasts) Bryant and his coach Phil Jackson will be tested to prove their greatness as superstar player and coach. They chose the sport in which they live and play.
As for Tiger - with all due respect, you can bet hes glad his legacy is not directly tied to the likes of PGA TOUR winners Will MacKenzie or Paul Goydos who might be playing alongside in a three-man weave of their own.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.
Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.
The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:
The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.
For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.
But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.
Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":
Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.
Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.
The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.
“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.
In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.
“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”
Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.
“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.