Monthly Archives: April 2008

Jordan, Brown have a lot on the line

So Michael Jordan got his man, luring vagabond coach Larry Brown away from the potential openings in Dallas, Phoenix, Toronto and Atlanta to come lead the Charlotte Bobcats.

What’s interesting is that both men need this pairing to work to rebuild their slumping reputations. Brown is coming a disastrous campaign with the New York Knicks, a situation he worsened by insisting on trading for Steve Francis and clashing with Isiah Thomas, who, to be fair to Brown, wasn’t, well, fair to Brown in dealing with complaining players.

Still, Brown’s rep for turning moribund franchises into playoff contenders is on the line with Bobcats, a team with a lot of young talent and parts that don’t really mix all that well together. 

But Jordan has even more at stake. If this move fails, it will fail spectacularly. A lot of eyes will be watching to see how this plays out, moving Charlotte into the NBA spotlight for the first time since the Hornets were in the process of leaving town.

Jordan’s legacy as a player is undeniable and unassailable. His reputation as a basketball executive, though, is bordering on the laughable. He has wrecked two top-five draft picks in his short career with Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison, and with Brown has named his fourth coach in less than 10 years holing up in a front office. When he was with the Washington Wizards, Jordan hired Leonard Hamilton without any NBA head coaching experience and fired him after one year. And just last year, he hired Sam Vincent without any head coaching experience and then burned him after one year.

Now Jordan turns to a friend in Brown. And at Brown’s introduction on Wednesday everybody was all smiles and eager to talk about their North Carolina connections.

But these are two irascible personalities that have a long, long road ahead of them, even in the weak Eastern Conference. On paper, this seems like the perfect move. After all, Brown got the Los Angeles Clippers into the playoffs. 

But it seems as though everything Brown and Jordan The Executive touch end badly after a brief honeymoon period.

That they both have so much to gain and so much more to lose may be the best thing to happen to both of them.

They have to make this work, not just hope it does.

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Filed under ACC, Charlotte Bobcats, College Basketball, Designated Hitter, NBA, Sports, Sports columns, The Sanford Herald

A new low in the Clemens steriod saga

Back when the Roger Clemens/Brian McNamee steroids and HGH story blew up, we knew it would get ugly well before it ever got resolved.

One would’ve thought the ugliest high point (low point?) would have been congressional discussion of a “palpable mass” on Clemens’ buttocks, but things sank to a new depth on Monday.

In a report filed by McNamee’s attorney, allegations have been raised of a decade-long extramarital affair between Clemens and country singer … well, former country singer Mindy McCready.

Because Clemens filed a defamation lawsuit against McNamee a few weeks after McNamee’s claims came to light in baseball’s Mitchell Report, Mac’s representation is saying that “all is fair game”. Evidently that includes personal mudslinging of Canseco-like proportions.

McCready has been such a train wreck since the years following her platinum-selling debut “Guys Do It All the Time” that she makes Britney Spears look like a choir girl. And now Clemens is mixed up into all of this.

It wasn’t very long ago, a mere three months, in fact, when our first thought upon hearing the name Roger Clemens was “Hall of Famer.” Or maybe, “Legend”.

We may never know for sure whether Clemens doped or not, but his reputation for flirting with and possibly using steroids has landed him on the first ballot of the Hall of Shame — right next to Brian McNamee.

If that’s not enough to keep anybody away from touching performance-enhancing drugs, then there’s no hope.

And it can only get worse.

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Hansbrough’s coming back, but is it the right move?

Tyler Hansbrough, the national player of the year, has made his decision — he’s coming back for his senior season at North Carolina.

He may or may not have his point guard back with him, or the team’s deadliest outside threat. Both Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington have declared for the NBA draft, but neither will hire an agent. They have until June 16 to decide whether to go on or come back to Chapel Hill.

Whether those two return or not, the Tar Heels will again be among the favorites to reach the Final Four with Hansbrough back in the fold. Would they be a prohibitive favorite to win it all should Lawson and Ellington return? Sure. But Hansbrough might be enough.

But is it the right decision? Should Hansbrough have entered the draft as well?

He’s the first player of the year to return to school since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 1992 — a very different time in college and NBA basketball. Early entries into the draft just weren’t nearly as common — or as expected.

But can Hansbrough hurt his future draft stock? Of course he can, and there are certainly those who will say that he can’t necessarily help his stock by coming back for another year, either. A knee injury would likely plummet him into the second round instead of the 15-to-25 range that he is probably in right now, but that’s a risk Hansbrough is willing to take. He may turn out to be Matt Leinart, who left the No. 1 pick on the table after winning the Heisman trophy his junior to return to Southern Cal for another shot at a national title.

But something else is at work here, one has to think. While the jury will be out on Hansbrough’s effectiveness at the next level for some time — is he a quality role player on a good team, a glorified version of Mark Madsen or could he develop into a starter? — we know what he can do in the college game.

And that’s dominate.

He might not win another player of the year award, but with Hansbrough, that’s not what he’s after. He wants to win a national title, and if he does, something else will happen along the way. Just 122 points behind Phil Ford on the UNC all-time scoring list and only 601 away from the ACC scoring mark set by Duke’s J.J. Redick, Hansbrough has a chance to be the most decorated Tar Heels’ player — statistically-wise — in the history of the program. If he can collect a title as well, then Hansbrough, already a cult figure among sportscasters and Heels’ faithful, will be in the pantheon of UNC basketball, right up there with Jordan, Rosenbluth and Ford. Put him on Mt. Heelsmore.

Wouldn’t that be enough for most of us, no matter how the NBA career panned out?

As for Lawson and Ellington, we will see. Lawson may or may not have been hampered by a troublesome ankle against Kansas in the national semifinal, but he wasn’t even one of the top 5 players on the court that night. Did he just have a bad game? Maybe. Or was he simply not as good athletically and physically in a game featuring the two deepest teams in the country? One would also have to figure that Lawson, a decent shooter in college, would be woeful from NBA 3-point range.

Ellington is harder to figure. He can certainly stroke it and teams always need shooting. And on a team with as much talent as the Tar Heels, it’s likely that we didn’t see everything that he’s capable of doing. 

At the same time, though, is Ellington better than Rashad McCants was in college? That’s a tough call, isn’t it? And 6-foot-4 shooting guards tend to struggle in the NBA.

Whatever happens, Heels fans can rest assured that the team’s centerpiece is coming back, and the team is obviously better for it. Hansbrough will be loved even more now than ever, and fawned over on an even grander scale.

Dick Vitale is probably doing cartwheels.

But so are Heels’ fans.

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Pacman and Dallas — Bad Idea

You hear some things about Dallas.

You hear stories. And among them includes the high volume of strip clubs within the Dallas metro area. Maybe it’s nothing more than any other American city, but you know what they say about Texas…

There was something else about Dallas on Wednesday. The Cowboys, America’s (Most Wanted) Team in the 1990s, reached a deal to acquire Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones.

Jones has been suspended for the last year by the NFL for his various scrapes with the law, the most damning of which came in a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club that left a bouncer paralyzed.

Jones has yet to file for reinstatement into the league, meaning he won’t be donning the star-adorned helmet quite yet.

But when he does, he could be an electrifying football player who might be enough to help the Cowboys actually win a playoff game, something they haven’t done in 11 years.

He may also be the worst acquisition in the history of football. It’s too early to say.

But for a guy, who, after his 11th run-in with police, commented on ESPN that he sees nothing wrong with “scrip clubs,” let’s just say the odds of him getting quickly reacquainted with police procedure could be at an all-time high in his new home.

Pacman and Dallas? Really? Isn’t this like trading Chris Washburn to a team in Bogota, Colombia? Isn’t this like sending Gilbert Brown with a gift certificate to Golden Corral? Trading John Rocker to the Harlem Globetrotters?

This is not going to end well.

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Annika, Danica — and my little girl

When my daughter was 2 months old, with my lovely wife working a 12-hour shift at the hospital, I propped my little girl up onto my lap and we watched Annika Sorenstam tee off on the first hole to open her Thursday round at The Colonial.

Throughout the course of the day, from changing diapers to bottle feedings to running the gamut of Fisher-Price toys, the TV in the living room was tuned to Sorenstam’s first round in a PGA Tour event. We saw her pars, her bogeys and her first birdie, the one she putted from just off the fringe that prompted Sorenstam to rock back and give us a fist-pump.

I was OK with Sorenstam getting a sponsor’s exemption to play in a PGA Tour event. And even though I knew there was no way my little Allison was ever going to recollect what was happening on the screen in front of us, I made sure to have it on so that I could remind her any time that I needed to that she watched, in some form or fashion, Annika take on the men on Thursday and Friday.

I’ve already told Allison that story a couple of times over her 5 years, and surely, she will roll her eyes when I bring it up over and over again in the future. She knows who Annika Sorenstam is more from EA Sports’ Tiger Woods series of video games, and though she rather dress Natalie Gulbis in her blue outfit and use her at times, Allison understands that Annika is good, that Annika is a girl and that Annika once played against the boys and beat some of them.

So when I told Allison about Danica Patrick on Saturday, her eyes got pretty big. Allison knows what auto racing is — she sees the NASCAR races on at our house and roots for Reed Sorenson, not because she knows who or what a Reed Sorenson is, but because he drives the Target car. She likes Target, likes the color red and wonders why the Target car never leads a race.

That question isn’t an easy one to answer to the satisfaction of a 5-year-old.

But she caught on to Patrick’s story.

Patrick became the first woman to win a top-level motorsports race when her fuel strategy led to an IRL victory in Japan on Saturday. It was Patrick’s 50th race in her much-hyped career, and for Patrick and those in her corner, the victory generated more of a sense of relief than pure joy. The Anna Kournikova comparisons could stop.

Naturally, some critics have tried to downplay Patrick’s accomplishment already, claiming she only won because of fortuitous fuel mileage or that the IRL boasts a relatively weak field. Some have even criticized Patrick for crying in victory lane, as if Michael Jordan’s desperate clutching and weeping over the NBA championship trophy never happened, or that Woods’ shedding of tears following his winning the British Open weeks after his father’s death was an illusion.

Patrick’s accomplishment is real. One would need to look no further than in my daughter’s eyes when I told her that a girl beat all the boys in a race to know that. Patrick was the only girl out there, and yet she beat them all. All the boys. 

Who cares exactly how it happened? 

My little girl doesn’t.

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The NBA playoffs have started — Where’s my team?

They were my team.

They came to me like the Carolina Panthers eventually did. Before the Panthers arrived, I was a Washington Redskins guy, lover of all things Gibbs, Theismann and Riggins. But then the Panthers showed up and Daniel Snyder took over in Washington, making the split easier.

The Charlotte Hornets, though, took a little bit more time. I was an unathletic kid who liked to shoot baskets in his driveway. In other words, I was a Boston Celtics kid. Bird. McHale. Parrish. DJ. Ainge. Maxwell. JoJo. Fitch.

My team.

But then the Hornets showed up out of the teal blue. And with Bird in decline, McHale barely able to get up and down the floor, my allegiances shifted. Just like David Stern wanted them to.

And so when Dr. K, Tim Kempton, came up with a big board, and when Kelly Tripucka came back onto the floor and cried in a postgame interview, and when Armand Gilliam made a pass once, I was there. Not in the Charlotte Coliseum, but in heart and soul. Boxscores. Newspaper clippings. Magazine articles. Posters.

The Muggsy Bogues replica jersey.

I was that guy. I was the one who thought the guy tossing the big foam brick behind the basket on foul shots was cool. I followed the Hustle Stats during games. I watched to see how many bee logos lit up the scoreboard, the barometer by which decibel levels were measured in the arena. I thought the Hive Five was… OK, I thought the Hive Five was terrible.

Still.

This was my team. All mine. My buddy had a horrific teal and purple windbreaker. Ghastly. It made Member’s Only jackets look hip. He loved it. It was teal and purple. I wished I had it.

They were worthless to start, but the Hornets won more games than the other expansion team, the Miami Heat, did that first year. I know because I followed it. One. Five. 10. 13. 14. 18. 20. The Heat never got past 15.

Then the ball started rolling. Larry Johnson, “Grandmama” came along. Then “Zo,” Alonzo Mourning. Those two with Kendall Gill? This, my friends, was a team.

And it was my team.

But then things soured. We found out owner George Shinn had an affinity for Hornets’ dance team members, and a parade of kinda good players came through the turnstiles — Glen Rice, Vlade Divac, Kenny Anderson, Anthony Mason, Eddie Jones. Came and went, it turned out, just like the fans started doing.

Soon Shinn started telling us the most modern arena in the league less than a decade earlier was all of a sudden outdated. He brought in an insufferable blowhard named Ray Wooldridge as a minority owner, and the team started shopping around, holding Charlotte ransom for a new arena while the owners’ private jet was gallivanting to Louisville and Roanoke and New Orleans.

ShinnRidge didn’t get its arena and left town, ripping my heart out. And they did it with the other NBA owners’ blessing, of course. Why wouldn’t they approve the move? What if they wanted to move one day?

It’s a different NBA now. There’s something called the Memphis Grizzlies. Something called the New Orleans Hornets. And something called the Charlotte Bobcats.

And just this week, on Thursday, the band of billionaires approved the SuperSonics’ owners a potential move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, turning their collective backs on the wonderful fans of Sonics basketball, a 40-year institution that has an NBA championship banner in its rafters. The owners approved it by a vote of 28-2. ShinnRidge, of course, wasn’t one of the two.

Three days later, the NBA playoffs began, capping an incredible regular season unlike any in the league’s history.

But not all fans are rejoicing.

Some of us are wondering where our team is playing.

 

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I need help

I need help.

OK, let me rephrase that. 

I need patience.

Herald sportswriter Randy Quis has made a move in his career and enjoyed his last day at the Herald on Wednesday. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes him all the best. Anybody who knows Randy likes him within seconds, and he’s going to be missed around here.

With that said, while the Herald conducts interviews to find Randy’s replacement, the sports department has been cut in half — to me. So instead of having two of us desperately trying to figure out how to be in as many places at once as possible, now we’re down to a single solitary sports writer and editor.

In other words, things are going to be a bit stretched over the next few weeks, so please be patient with the Herald and its sports coverage during this very busy time. We are as short-staffed as we can be, and while we’re actively pursuing applicants for the job, it’s going to take a little time. 

I’ll be out to as many events as possible, I can assure you of that. But over the next few weeks, it will be even more imperative that coaches and/or team parents get results from sporting events to us at the paper. Those can be phoned in directly to my desk at (919) 718-1222 or e-mailed to me at alexp@sanfordherald.com.

Any and all help, as always, is very much appreciated. No one reading our section every day truly knows just how incredible our community’s coaches are in getting information to us. They make our lives that much easier and our product as good as it can be.

With that in mind, please don’t be shy in making sure I get a little help.

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A chip off the idiot block

There are days when I really feel for my little girl, Allison.

And they are the days when I realize that a lot of her is a lot like me. 

My precocious 5-year-old daughter loves the ABC show “Dancing With the Stars.” Loves it. She doesn’t know who any of the people are or why they are on it when the show begins each new season, but since its premiere a few years ago, she’s been a staunch viewer, rooting hard for Helio and Julianne last year.

She always picks her favorites in the season premiere, relying on nothing but the color and look of the dresses that are being worn by celebrities and non-celebrities. 

This year, though, she made a curious selection. Based mostly on the fact that her dress was red on the first show this season, Priscilla Presley, of all people, became Allison’s pick to click.

Oh boy.

While Presley’s high ranking on the creepy scale is enough to turn anybody off, hoping against hope that she will win a dance contest on television is especially troubling. And with worse and worse scores coming in each week, the writing was on the dance floor. Only Allison, still a few months away from kindergarten, couldn’t read it.

And so when Presley was booted on Wednesday night, a meltdown of nuclear proportions ensued at the Podlogar household. My poor wife bore the brunt of it and was forced to settle Allison down in time to get her to bed, but I swear I heard it all the way inside the brick walls of the Herald newsroom.

My lovely wife and I talked about it a little on Thursday, with Becky telling me that she explained to Allison that things are OK, that “Dancing With the Stars” is only a TV show and not worth getting so hung up about.

I agree.

But I don’t practice what I preach.

I can remember vividly, living in northern Virginia and being 7 years old, waiting with baited breath for my beloved Washington Redskins to take on the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. And I can remember the Skins falling behind early — and I can remember me running crying to my room because I couldn’t stand to watch it.

I also remember my dad coming upstairs to talk me off the ledge (of my bed), drying my tears and getting me to come back downstairs, where I joyously scampered around the room when John Riggins made his big touchdown run, sealing the Redskins’ win.

But I can also remember reacting just as badly when the Oakland Raiders destroyed the Redskins a year later in Super Bowl XVIII. 

Worse, I can remember all the way back to Sunday, slamming the TV remote against the couch as Brandt Snedeker, the guy I was rooting hard for, missed short putt after short putt in the Masters.

It is my hope that my little girl will outgrow these tendencies to become attached to something or someone she wants to believe in, even though those somethings and someones really have nothing to do with her daily life. 

To her credit, Allison does know to tell me to calm down she hears me yelling sugar-coated obscenities (“Shoot the bug!” “Dog-gone it!”) back at the TV while watching the Chicago Cubs blow another late lead. (“Calm down, Daddy!”) It seems that she understands the lunacy of that kind of behavior.

She just can’t control it, either. 

Just like her old man.

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So who will win the Masters?

I’ve been writing columns like this one going on 10 years, and before last year, I never had a player who I believed couldn’t win a major championship actually win it. I like to write about who I believe can win, who I believe won’t win, and who I believe will win.

Of course, last year, in two out of the three columns I wrote like the one you’re about to read, I missed badly, writing that neither Zach Johnson nor Angel Cabrera could win the Masters and the U.S. Open, respectively.

You’d think a shot to the broadside of my credibility  — two of them, even — would make me rethink this whole process.

Whatever.

Here we go.

Who Can Win

Tiger Woods -5

Duh.

I know, I know. Real tough pick there, Podlogar. But notice I’m just saying that he’s capable of winning his fifth jacket. He’s not my pick to click, but he’s too darn good to think he doesn’t have a shot. That’s the thing with Woods. Even though he will start the final round six back of the lead, he’s Tiger Freaking Woods. Think of it as handicapping the field. It’s level now.

Sure, he’s never come from behind to win a major on the last day, but does anybody really think that will last forever? And with high winds expected on a softer course because of Saturday’s showers, his talents will be that much more in play. I can see him shooting 70 and everybody else going down in flames.

Steve Flesch -8

He’s only three shots back of the lead, and if he walked down Horner Blvd. wearing a T-shirt that said “Hi, I’m Steve Flesch”, we still wouldn’t recognize him.

But he could be this year’s Zach Johnson, methodically taking what the course gives him and not trying to do too much. It worked last year.

And besides, he’s left-handed. Something about lefties on Augusta National lately.

Paul Casey -7

Sometimes, the course just fits a player.

Not that Casey isn’t an accomplished player, he is. But when you’re thinking about Masters favorites on Wednesday night, you don’t immediately think of him.

But like a Fred Couples, or a Retief Goosen, or a Phil Mickelson, he just seems to play well at Augusta National. He tied for sixth in 2005 and tied for 10th in 2007. He just seems to be in the mix. Let’s just say he’s capable.

Retief Goosen -2

He’s miles back, but he’s a good pick for the “Most Likely to Play Well Early and Post a Score Before the High Winds Pick Up and Wreak Havoc” award. Too much talent and too good at Augusta (T3, T3, T2 the last three years to go with a second place in 2002) to put aside.

Who Won’t Win

Phil Mickelson -2

Too far back, and even though Lefty is one of the few players you could envision making eagle at both 13 and 15, he’s also just as likely to drive into the woods at No. 1 and double bogey or plop one in the water at 11.

Mickelson played beautifully on Friday, marching through the pines and azaleas with a masterful round of four birdies and 14 pars. Lovely stuff.

But when Mickelson feels like he has to try to make something happen at a major, he bites off more than he can chew. He’s a bomber, and that will help on the softer course, but he’s too loose to put together a 65, which is what he would need.

Shoot par on Saturday, and he’s in the aforementioned group. Maybe next year.

Stewart Cink -4

Cink is a really good player, and it’s not insane to think he could win a major before he’s done.

But as he has proven over the last year, he won’t do it if Tiger is in the mix. They’re friendly, but Cink folds whenever Woods is around. Anybody remember the World Match Play? Ecchhh.

Zach Johnson -2

A good showing in his Masters defense. Another who seems to just know how to get around the track. If only he didn’t implode on 17 with a double on Friday. He’s just too far back and won’t be able to go low enough to post.

Boo Weekley -2

The aw shucks attitude will come in handy on Sunday. That’s about it.

Andres Romero -2

This guy is scary good and scary young, at just 26. He contended in the British Open last year and he might turn into what we all hoped Sergio Garcia would become. Too far back this year, but watch this guy.

Brandt Snedeker -9

This kills me, just kills me.

Snedeker is one of the nicest guys around, and if you don’t want to take my word for it, ask his former coach Press McPhaul and the Herald’s Jonathan Owens.

But I think the rain hurt Snedeker more than any other player at the top of the leaderboard. He isn’t the longest hitter on Tour, and a soft and hilly 7,480 yards is not only daunting, it’s detrimental to his game. Now wind will be in play, too. Ugh.

Still, when he stepped onto the 11th tee on Saturday, Snedeker held a one-shot lead. By the time he hit the 14th tee, he was three shots back of the lead after three straight bogeys.

Give the 2007 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year credit, he responded and bounced back with three birdies in his last five holes, kind of reminiscent of Mickelson’s surge on Sunday in 2004. He showed tremendous guts, and with his putting stroke and tight swing, maybe he can hold off the nerves a little. And if he does hang in there, and if Woods fails to make a serious move, Snedeker will easily ascend to the crowd favorite, what with the flowing blonde locks and goofy smile.

I just don’t see it happening.

(And if you don’t think this is all a ruse given my recent bad luck in picking winners, well…)

Who Will Win

Trevor Immelman -11

There hasn’t been a wire-to-wire winner at the Masters since Raymond Floyd did it in 1976.

But Immelman has far and away been the week’s best player, the only one to fire three rounds in the 60s. And he may even have the luck of Fred Couples on his side, what with the spinner on 15 that somehow stayed on the bank and out of the water.

He’s got the game — he was the 2006 Tour Rookie of the Year — and he’s been steely tough all week. He’s also got a pretty nice cushion.

But here’s the big thing. Last year, just a few months ago, in fact, Immelman was facing the worst when he was diagnosed with a tumor. For a week, he didn’t know whether it was benign or not. So for a week, Trevor Immelman was facing his own mortality. Even after he got good news, he still had complicated surgery. And now he’s back.

I’ve heard it said several times by major league baseball players from the Dominican Republic. “Pressure?“ they say. “Pressure isn’t trying to get the big two-out hit in the bottom of the ninth. Pressure is hitting enough to get off the island and feed my family.”

I think Immelman has that going for him on Sunday. The old adage is that the Masters doesn’t really start until the leaders make the turn on Sunday. That’s when the pressure hits them the hardest.

Immelman just may hit back.

 

 

 

 

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Day 3 from the Masters

Day 3 of the Masters has begun, but it’s being suspended for rain.

1:26 p.m. The storms that were expected have arrived in Augusta, halting play about five minutes before Tiger Woods was scheduled to tee off. How much of the third round is completed remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt it will not finish on Saturday, leading to a long day on Sunday for the leaders, not unlike 2006 when Phil Mickelson won.

Barely half the field got under way, and there were a couple good starts, suggesting that there may be some room to move up the leaderboard if the round does ever get started again. Defending champion Zach Johnson is 2 under on his day through five holes, making it back to level par, while Boo Weekley is doing the same thing through four holes. Former British Open champion Todd Hamilton was also 2 under on his day through seven, inching up to 1 over.

Woods probably has to be thinking that he needs to get within about three-to-four shots of the leaders before the start of the final round to have a chance. Mickelson will just need to hang close to the leaders, and for the third time in the last five years, may find himself not having to worry much about Woods’ presence on the course. This is Woods’ shot though at doing something he’s never done — storm back to steal a major.

How the leaders will respond will be interesting. The two reigning PGA Tour Rookies of the Year are in the final pairing for the third round. Trevor Immelman and Brandt Snedeker were probably already feeling the pressure, now they have the uncertainty of weather to deal with.

2:24 p.m. They’re back at it, and Woods’ is doing what he needs to do, making birdie at No. 2 to go to 2 under for the tournament. Johnson is up 1 under and the leaders wil be off soon.

2:36 p.m. Saturday is always moving day, and this one is being brought to us by the Zach Johnson Moving Company. He goes out in 32 and is up to 2 under. Imagine if he didn’t make a mess of 17 on Friday evening.

3:21 p.m. Neil Dougherty, Sean O’Hair and Retief Goosen have all moved to 3 under. Goosen may be a name to watch this weekend.

3:35 p.m. It looks like most of the scoring is coming early, all the way trhough the field. Even those off the quick starts — Johnson, Weekley and others — have slowed a bit once they’ve made the turn.

Woods is still at 2 under through 8, and Paul Casey and Mike Weir are the latest to make some early noise.

My main man Snedeker is about to tee off. Time for me to go. Check back after the round for more comments.

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