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Hooks & Cuts: A lot going on besides Super Bowl

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Chris Stroud hits his tee shot on the fifteenth hole during the scond round of the Shell Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston on April 3, 2015 in Humble, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)  - 

It’s almost February so it’s time for another installment of Hooks and Cuts:

• Peyton Manning is not unlike Tiger Woods. He’ll play Sunday, not just for a Super Bowl win, but for a stronger position in the greatest-ever debate.

• We see them every year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, low scores and high heels.

• Life on the road: trudging on the treadmill before daybreak, listening to Tupac, watching Golf Channel from Dubai. Barry Lane for par to stay at plus 7, and no, another dropped shot for the veteran Englishman.

• Is Phil like Steve Young: an exciting left-hander with an uncanny ability to scramble?

• Suddenly, Bubba, Rickie and Hunter feel like long shots to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

• Luke, Kenny and now Jimmy.  All “sky Walkers.”

• I watched the U.S. Figure Skating Championships recently, prepping for the Olympics when I’ll turn to my wife and say, “Wow, she stuck that triple Salchow.”

• I visited Roberto De Vicenzo last week outside Buenos Aires. At nearly 91, still lucid, funny and deep. Of his scorecard gaffe that cost him an opportunity for a playoff spot in the 1968 Masters, he said, “It was the best mistake I ever made.” De Vicenzo never complained, earning universal respect. “Money is easy to get. I could rob a bank. But prestige, a good name, that’s not so easily won.”

• Rickie Fowler is a slot receiver, Bo Van Pelt a tight end, Gary Woodland a quarterback and Tiger Woods a big-hitting free safety. Who are some other golfers with gridiron game?

• Johnson’s a Zach-tician.

• Switching to baseball, Phil lopes like a power-hitting first baseman, like Jim Thome or old school Boog Powell. Harris English ambles like a Cy Young winner taking the hill for Game 7.

• In Argentina Angel Cabrera told me Seve taught him how to play Augusta National. “What did he tell you about putting those greens?” I asked.   Angel held up his hands and wriggled his fingers. “It’s right here,” Angel said with a smile. “Right here, in the hands and fingers.”

• Make it two in a row for the big fellas’. Patrick Reed and Scott Stallings start at left guard and right tackle on the PGA Tour’s agile offensive line. I like Brendan de Jonge and Angel Cabrera to win the next two.

• I think about it every time he travels to places like Dubai. What’s the most money Tiger’s ever been offered to play a single round of golf?  Do you think some crazy rich dude’s ever waved 10 figures his way?

• Scott Stallings is part of the Tiger effect. He says that when he was 12 he watched Woods win the 1997 Masters. Inspired, he quit every other sport he’d been playing and dove into golf.  His friends thought he was crazy. Wonder what they think now?

• Terry Bradshaw threw 46 interceptions his first two seasons in the NFL, then went on to win four Super Bowl titles. Is he football’s Tom Watson?

• Rory’s revival began in Australia. Now he’s firing in Dubai. We’re early in the alphabet and far from America, but the Masters beckons.

• From the low, low summer swoon last year, Sergio’s rising with wins in Thailand and Abu Dhabi. On talent alone, he lives in the same exclusive neighborhood as Adam Scott and McIlroy. The head and heart were the issue. They seem settled.

• Kevin Durant is on an absolutely insane scoring jag right now, as if he’s gone three straight weeks shooting nothing higher than 66. I saw him last year from the floor and it blew me away. He’s almost 7 feet tall with two-guard skills. Freaky.

• Self-loathing fights self-love on Tour. A multiple major champion laughed when I asked if there are times when he hates himself on the golf course. “Are you kidding me?” he shot back. “When it’s going south I’m not just a bad player, I’m a bad human being.”

• British sports book Ladbrokes puts Adam Scott at 16-1 to win the Masters, Sergio and Matt Kuchar at 40-1. I believe that’s what they call value. Marc Leishman and Harris English at 100-1 look like worthwhile long shots. And I’m not condoning, just reporting.