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Hooks & Cuts: Golf part of major sports weekend

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With the Masters behind us, golf's stars are in full bloom and hopefully just in time for a big weekend in sports.

• One veteran Tour pro described Jordan Spieth this way: “He’s a really good kid but between the ropes an absolute bad a@@.” That rhymes with mass, as in mass appeal.

• On a weekend featuring Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, LeBron and likely D-Rose in the NBA playoffs, and American Pharoah and Dortmund at the Kentucky Derby, golf could use Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth in Match Play primetime.

• Dustin Johnson is 50 shades of cool. He doesn’t walk as much as he ambles, golf’s high plains drifter. The game seems easy for DJ, the harder battles fought within.

• I saw Steph Curry go for 39 in New Orleans, and I’m comfortable saying that in my more than 40 years following pro ball he’s one of the best I have ever seen. Dribbling, passing and shooting, he’s made the game high art. By the way, his pop, Del, shot 78 at English Turn earlier that day. Blessed with touch, the Curry family puts up nice numbers.

• For what it’s worth, Tim Barter, Sky Sports commentator and respected golf instructor, thinks Tiger’s closer to the Butch Harmon move from 2000 than he’s been in a long time. He also told me that Tiger’s comeback from what appeared to be chip yips was an enormous psychological victory for Woods. Bottom line, Barter, a no-nonsense type who’s covered the game for years, feels Tiger’s on his way back.

• Wednesdays may not be as tense as they used to be in the one-and-done days of the Match Play, but Saturday and Sunday should be much better.

• Keegan Bradley says his ceiling is much higher as a putter with the conventional method than it was with the anchored style. Alignment was easier with the big stick, but his feel is superior with the new approach.

• I’d love to hear Howard Cosell bellowing, “Down goes Mayweather, down goes Mayweather, down goes Mayweather.”

• If Jim Furyk were a fighter, he’d be the guy with excellent ring generalship.

• Steady and strong, organized and smart, Justin Rose may well be like Furyk in another 10 years, on the cusp of, or into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

• Lydia Ko and Spieth: They’re thinkers, not bombers. How refreshing.

• It was a good week for golf in China, and therefore a good week for golf, in general. Wu Ashun became the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event on his home soil at the Volvo China Open. Plus, 19 year old Li Hao-Tong contended throughout. On top of all that, Woods rolled into China on a promotional trip and gave basketball legend Yao Ming a golf lesson. When you’re 7’6” as Yao is, can you ever get comfortable over the ball? Seriously, Yao is one of China’s most popular figures and just the sight of him swinging a club could give golf a boost there. Yao against Charles Barkley on the links could be fun, too.

• Speith is suddenly golf’s American idol. Funny, 25 years ago moms and dads wanted to be like Mike. Now they want their kids to be like Jordan.

• On the mic for the big fight this weekend, Jim Lampley once called golf. He now owns the boxing space, a modern day Don Dunphy. On my all-time list of play-by-players, Vin Scully does baseball, Curt Gowdy pro football, Keith Jackson college football, Marv Albert basketball and the late, great Flyers’ announcer Gene Hart does hockey. And I also happened to like a young Vince McMahon with Gorilla Monsoon on pro wrasslin’.