From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / August 30, 2000

Call it what you want but the Battle of Big Horn between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia Monday night was some good golf. Certainly better than mostMonday Night Football games will be this season and closer than either the U.S. Open or the British Open. And if you think the two were not taking itseriously, just take a look back at their expressions down the stretch.

Through the front nine, Woods appeared to be in command but could never put away Garcia. And once Garcia, who dueled Woods to the wire in thePGA Championship last season but who has struggled in 2000, started making birdie putts on the 14th, the tide had changed. His putt on the 16thto give him the lead has to rank among the best of the year.

You also have to give Woods credit for grinding to the end. He had to playlate Sunday night in Ohio, conduct a clinic Monday morning, then fly across the country to play the prime time event, all while battling a cold.

OK, it may have been a contrived idea. But with the way Woods has beendominating the PGA Tour this season, it was nice to see some drama for once.

Speaking of Woods, you think golfers will be spreading honey on their hands now. Woods gets stung on the left finger by a wasp during the thirdround of the WGC-NEC Invitational and goes on to shoot a 3-under 67 on his way to an 11-stroke victory. This after he wins the Tour Championshiplast season after hitting a rock. And as Sunday night proved, even darknesscannot slow him down.

Now that Woods-Garcia is over with, how about Woods and Karrie Webb squaring off. She’s dominating the LPGA Tour as much as he is dominatingthe PGA.

They finally found something to slow down Virginia Tech’s Michael Vick – lightning.

Everybody is talking about Colorado’s Todd Helton batting .400 this season(he was batting .397 through Monday.) But he also had 52 doubles throughMonday and the record is 67, set by Boston’s Earl Webb way back in 1931.

Yo, Atlanta and Seattle, nice run in the pennant race. But it helps toactually win some games.

Now that the Cubs have fallen out of the wildcard race, the next team whose belated run will fall short will be Detroit’s.

Sometimes the grass is not greener on the other side. Just ask former LSUstar Gabe Northern who left Buffalo, where he was a starter, for Pittsburgh in free agency this year. The Steelers cut him Sunday. Yes, Florida State’s passing attack looked good against BYU Saturday. Butthe Seminoles better find a way to run the ball if they want to make reservations in Miami come January.

If there was ever an argument for shortening the preseason, Friday’s Saints-Miami game was it.

Finally, predictions for the U.S. Open – Venus Williams for the women andPete Sampras on the men’s side.

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