Once more, Woods’ grip is inescapable | SkyHiNews.com

Once more, Woods’ grip is inescapable

A drained Rocco Mediate, the 157th-ranked, 45-year-old PGA veteran who last won on tour six years ago, said it best.

“This man, he is just so … hard … to beat.”

Mediate was talking about Tiger Woods, of course, his emotions still nice and raw since the NBC interview took place moments after Woods defeated him in the U.S. Open’s double-overtime, sudden-death playoff Monday afternoon ” the 91st hole of what was to be a 72-hole tournament.

In that sense, we did not learn anything new from Woods’ win, only a reiteration of his legend. To think Mediate entered the final hole of their scheduled 18-hole playoff with a one-shot lead, and couldn’t protect it, says as much about Woods ” who won despite an ailing surgically repaired knee ” as it does Mediate.

After all, Mediate’s calling card all week had been his seemingly unflappable, mosey-about-town demeanor. And yet with the championship a mere five minutes away, the pressure of facing Woods, and his 13 major wins, apparently became too much.

Woods remains the standard by which all individual champions should be measured. …

One of the reasons the Olympics are the Olympics is because of stories like Jake Deitchler’s. Deitchler is an 18-year-old recent high school graduate from Minnesota who only began concentrating on the Greco-Roman wrestling style ” in which you cannot hold an opponent below the waist ” two years ago.

Nevertheless, the teenager stunned the American wrestling world in Las Vegas over the weekend by winning his 145.5-pound weight class at the Olympic trials to secure an improbable spot in the Beijing Games in August. He is the first high school wrestler since 1976 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, and only the third in this nation’s history.

Most impressively, Deitchler defeated two-time world championship bronze medalist Harry Lester in the semifinals, eliminating a man whom U.S. head coach Steve Fraser believed to be a legitimate Olympic gold medal threat. …

The NBA Finals aren’t over yet, and, yes, Kobe Bryant has gotten his points (26.4 per game) throughout the series; but while Bryant came into the finals shooting 51 percent in the playoffs, Boston has held him to just 42 percent ” reason No. 1 the Celtics are a win away from the title. …

Anyone else catch the way ESPN’s bottom-line ticker reported Roger Clemens’ alleged use of Viagra? It said the drug “has been shown to increase endurance” ” which, I recognize, related to its sports significance, but still. …

Guess it kind of depends on how you view the NASCAR phenomenon in general, but suffice it to say there’s a reason I’m including this as our Quote of the Week.

In it, Benedict Morelli, the New York-based lawyer for Mauricia Grant ” who filed a $225 million discrimination lawsuit against NASCAR last week, alleging she was called “Nappy Headed Mo” and “Queen Sheba,” among other discriminatory treatments ” outlines his view of NASCAR itself.

“This isn’t a sophisticated operation,” Morelli told SI.com, “this is a bunch of nudniks hanging around together who just happen to be onto something because they were enterprising what is now a billion-dollar business. And they haven’t caught up with the fact that America actually has laws protecting women, people of color, people over 40 years old, etcetera.” …

On a different note, how does one decide which levels of discrimination are worth what? I mean, I’m confident Grant’s claims hold water, but $225 million? Really? …

For everyone who argues soccer players are pansies and that they dive too much and they’re inferior to other top-tier professional athletes, I hope you witnessed David Villa’s goal in extra time to send Spain past Sweden in Euro 2008 on Saturday. One of the most sensational displays of athleticism I have ever seen. …

In parting, you tell me which starting pitcher is the bigger bust ” or, on a larger scale, the most glaring example of how overvalued lefthanded pitching can be.

Dontrelle Willis, who was signed by the Detroit Tigers to a deal worth about $10 million per year this past offseason, is currently 0-1 with a 10.32 ERA (the worst in baseball) and nearly twice as many walks as innings pitched. He was sent down ” to Single A ” after his last start.

Barry Zito, meanwhile, is 2-10 with a 5.88 ERA for the Giants, who are paying him $14.5 million this year and $126 million over seven years. He has failed to pitch seven innings even once this season and opposing hitters are batting .320 against him.

” Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs Tuesdays. He can be reached at devononeil@hotmail.com.

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