Shanoff's WUC: Phil Becomes the Anti-Tiger

Today's Calls: Phil Mickelson vs. Tiger Woods, Santonio Holmes vs. New York Jets, LeBron vs. Cleveland, Roy Halladay vs. Stephen Strasburg, Charlie Haeger vs. Edwin Jackson, Bulls vs. Raptors, Blazers vs. Thunder, Patrick Patterson vs. the NBA, Jeff Bzdelik vs. Wake Forest, Mark McGwire vs. Barry Bonds and more. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: You have to wonder what irks Tiger most: ↵

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↵(1) That Phil won the Masters title Tiger coveted. ↵

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↵(2) That Phil's endearing embrace with his wife Amy after he won put in stark relief Tiger's own marital issues. (Phil's tears were a particularly affecting touch, a nice contrast to Tiger's affected emotion.) ↵

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↵(3) That Phil emerged from the weekend as golf's most beloved player and Tiger ended it as merely its biggest curiosity. ↵

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↵Oh, Tiger got plenty of golf claps (but reports on the ground are that the applause wasn't nearly as wholehearted as the TV broadcast would have you believe), and a fourth-place finish would be impressive for anyone coming off a Tiger-sized offseason ... except for Tiger. ↵

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↵But mainly, the most stunning visual of the event wasn't of Tiger — it was of Phil, kissing Amy. If TV producers wanted to create the most glaring commentary to put Tiger's failures in perspective, this would be it. I'm sure that wasn't Phil's (or the TV folks') intent — but it was the result. ↵

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↵Phil has the green jacket. He has the fans. He has the solid marriage. ↵

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↵Phil is the anti-Tiger. ↵

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↵Steelers trade Santonio Holmes to Jets: How valuable is the former Super Bowl MVP? Oh, about as valuable as a fifth-round draft pick. Holmes' off-field problems are the Jets' gain, with Pittsburgh unwilling to deal with the PR problem. (Well, besides Big Ben as a PR problem. Speaking of whom ...) ↵

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↵The reviews are nearly unanimous: Even if Holmes misses the first quarter (or even half) of the season, the Jets came out the huge winners here. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵— Halladay: More domination (complete game shutout) ↵

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↵— Symbolism (AL): Yanks beat back Rays. ↵

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↵— Symbolism (NL): Mets lose two out of three to Nats. ↵

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↵— Helping his cause: Edwin Jackson home run ↵

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↵— Fantasy stud: Dodgers starting pitcher Charlie Haeger (12 strikeouts) ↵

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↵— Rookie watch: Strasburg wins debut. ↵

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↵— Today: Target Field opens. ↵

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↵College Football Spring Games: Yes, Florida is going to be just fine with John Brantley taking over for Tim Tebow. (Florida suddenly has depth at receiver — and Brantley seems more apt to spread the ball around than the previous guy ... you know: What's-his-name.) ↵

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↵Does LeBron want to stay in Cleveland? You have to believe that his team (not the Cavs, but "Team LeBron") wouldn't be floating his interest in staying if he wasn't going to ... y'know ... actually stay. ↵

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↵Here's how I read that new "short-term" theory: LeBron could stay in Cleveland for 3-4 years while the window is open, then move to, say, Brooklyn by the time the Nets are straightened out. Who's ready for four more years of "Is LeBron staying or going?" ↵
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↵NBA Playoff Race: It might only be ceremonial, but the Bulls beat the Bosh-less Raptors head-to-head to take a one-game lead (with two to play) for the East's No. 8 spot and the chance to lose in the first round to the Cavs. ↵

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↵In the West, watch the scrums for 2/3/4/5 (Mavs, Jazz, Nuggets, Suns) and 6/7/8 (Thunder, Blazers, Spurs). They're close enough for the final few games to have playoff-level intensity for those teams. (Today's most intriguing game: Thunder-Blazers.) ↵

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↵NBA Draft: Given that Patrick Patterson is a lock for the lottery, I'm not sure why he would stick around Kentucky for another season — although, if he did, the anti-early-entry college hoops pundits would ensure that Patterson was preseason first-team All-American and, possibly, national player of the year. (But who are we kidding: He ain't staying. Nice thought, though.) ↵

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↵College Basketball: But I don't want a contrived Butler-Duke rematch. Some things should just be left alone for our memories. That matchup is one of them. ↵

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↵Coaching Carousel: Jeff Bzdelik headed from Colorado to Wake Forest? He is one of the most highly respected coaches who has crossed in between college and the NBA. ↵

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↵Demolitions: Most impressive about the implosion of Texas Stadium? It was sponsored by Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I'm proud of him." — Barry Bonds, with support for "friend" Mark McGwire that Big Mac might not see as particularly useful. By the way: Expect McGwire to get a huge ovation from Cards fans during their home opener today. ↵

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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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