Shanoff's W.U.C.: Tom Watson's Finest Moment

Today's Calls: Tom Watson vs. Stewart Cink, Michael Vick vs. Roger Goodell, Jason Schmidt vs. Jason Marquis, Blake Griffin vs. Tyreke Evans and More. ↵
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The Opening Pitch: No one will remember Stewart Cink. More improbably, no one will remember that Tiger Woods missed the cut -- which should have been THE story of the weekend, as the British Open itself sidled into instant forgettableness. ↵

↵No, instead, we all were gripped by Turnberry fever, worshipping the most unlikely sports hero of the 21st Century: 20th century golf legend Tom Watson. ↵

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↵The 59-year-old became an instant sensation, bridging the gap between the senior set who remember him in '77 and the Twitter generation who could totally get into the retro awesomeness of this old/older guy keeping up with the younger ones. ↵

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↵For my money, Tiger passing Jack Nicklaus in career major championships is going to be a massive, history-altering accomplishment, but won't nearly be as impressive as something new for Tiger to strive for: Matching Watson. ↵

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↵Let's see Tiger -- a quarter-century from now -- come thisclose to a major championship. I'm willing to wager that history's greatest golfer won't sniff a major title when he's 59 and a half, let alone come within one Sunday putt on 18 of winning one. ↵

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↵(Watson is coming off a hip replacement last year and damn nearly wins the British Open; Tiger is coming off knee surgery last year and doesn't even make the cut. Actually, Watson's run was made far more special precisely because Tiger wasn't there to suck all the oxygen away.) ↵

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↵This weekend wasn't the crazy bookend to Tom Watson's amazing career -- it was his single greatest moment. For the rest of us, it was the most exhilarating sports event of the year. And he didn't even win. ↵ ↵

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↵Very very sad day for the SN family: Sporting News Chairman and CEO Ray Shaw passed away yesterday. The most heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues. ↵

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↵(I don't really mean that we'll entirely forget Stewart Cink. In addition for him winning his first major, he will forever be linked to Tom Watson's run. As in "Hey, who was the guy who took Watson into a playoff in '09? Oh, yeah: Cink." There is some immortality value in being the Other Guy.) ↵

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↵Meanwhile, yes: It was staggering that Tiger missed the cut. Under anything but the most extraordinary circumstances, this would mean utter doom for any golf event. (Of course, arguably the most amazing part of the Watson Effect is it counteracted the No-Tiger Syndrome: We cared, even if Tiger wasn't there.) ↵

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↵Vick Watch: He ends his sentence today, and a few things have to happen, not necessarily in this order: (1) Roger Goodell has to decide what the terms of Vick's reinstatement are, and (2) teams have to start floating their interest (either directly or indirectly) to soften their fans for a signing. ↵

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↵The bottom line is that barring an unreasonable decision from Goodell, Vick won't lack for (NFL) suitors. He may eventually be an NFL starting QB; for now, he may have to settle for being a backup. Hey: It's better than prison. ↵

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↵What about Favre? Seriously, is the start of NFL training camp really going to be dominated by Brett Favre and Michael Vick? It appears so. Anyway, Brad Childress has watched about 15 seconds of Favre throwing on videotape and has nothing bad to say about it. Shocking only in how it takes the Favre banality to a new level. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points ↵

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↵• Halladay Watch: Last start for Jays? (Beating Boston? Not a bad ad campaign.) ↵

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↵• Joba gets off schneid: Yanks sweep Tigers. ↵

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↵• Marquis rolls on: MLB-best 12th W. ↵

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↵• Injury Watch: AL HR leader Nelson Cruz (finger). ↵

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↵• Remember when ...: Jason Schmidt was an ace? ↵

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↵• Minor-League Zany: I was actually at this game. ↵

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↵• Fantasy Stud: Dan Haren (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K, W). ↵

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↵NBA Summer League: Vegas Wrap-Up! Anthony Randolph owned the place, but summer league is really about the rookies. This year, I'd tab Tyreke Evans as the MVP, with expected great performances from Blake Griffin and Jonny Flynn, with surprisingly good results from Jodie Meeks and Austin Daye. (Others worth a mention: DaJuan Summers, DeJuan Blair, Brandon Jennings, Rodrique Beaubois, James Johnson.) ↵

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↵NBA Offseason: Jamario Moon gets an offer sheet from the Cavs, who may have just found their "stretch-four" (ie, Rashard Lewis) stopper. ↵

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↵Is Chris Paul available? After LeBron and Dwight Howard, CP3 would be the best player in the league, with the most on-court upside and off-court marketing potential. If I was a team in need of a foundation, I would do anything I could to try to pry him from the tenuous grasp of the Hornets. ↵

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↵What would you do if you were the Rockets? Plan as if Yao was coming back in 2010? Plan as if he was never coming back? On the one hand, he's the cornerstone of the franchise; on the other hand, they came closer than any other team to toppling the Lakers -- and that was without Yao. ↵

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↵NASCAR's Mayfield Mess: Jeremy Mayfield is now accusing NASCAR of "spiking" his urine tests to ensure he tested positive for meth. ↵

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↵Name to Know: Hershel McGriff, the oldest driver ever to drive in a NASCAR-affiliated race. It's not quite Tom Watson at Turnberry, but -- then again -- this guy's got Watson beat by 20 years. Let's see Watson tee it up in 2029. ↵

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↵David Beckham booed ... at home, by his own "fans." (Even to the point of mixing it up in an argument with one of them.) I think some hard-core Galaxy fans might be sick of being used as pawns in Beckham's worldwide marketing campaign. ↵

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↵CFB Preview: No. 47 Wisconsin ↵

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↵CBB Offseason: Two NITs later, Donovan is being overlooked as one of the nation's best coaches. Don't forget about those back-to-back titles, folks. Donovan is too good of a recruiter, and too good of a coach, for this drought to last long. Check out Mike Decourcy’s Q&A with Billy Donovan. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Now on board flight back to the States, with one more carry-on than I had on the way over." -- Stewart Cink, via his Twitter feed (now with more than 566,000 followers). ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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