Tom Hoffarth

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Feb 19

Bubba Watson ends two-year drought with Genesis Open victory at Riviera

  • Bubba Watson reacts on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson reacts on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Patrick Cantlay hits his second shot on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Patrick Cantlay hits his second shot on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Justin Thomas putts on the first hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Justin Thomas putts on the first hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Cameron Smith, of Australia, hits out of the bunker on the first hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Cameron Smith, of Australia, hits out of the bunker on the first hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Phil Mickelson tees off on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Phil Mickelson tees off on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Kevin Na watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Kevin Na watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Patrick Cantlay tees off on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Patrick Cantlay tees off on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Jordan Spieth grabs his putter after chipping onto the first green during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Jordan Spieth grabs his putter after chipping onto the first green during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Dustin Johnson reacts after missing a putt on the first hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Dustin Johnson reacts after missing a putt on the first hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Cameron Smith, of Australia, watches his second shot on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Cameron Smith, of Australia, watches his second shot on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson watches his second shot on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson watches his second shot on the second hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Derek Fathauer hits out of the bunker on the first hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Derek Fathauer hits out of the bunker on the first hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson pumps his fist after making a putt on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson pumps his fist after making a putt on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Kevin Na hits his second shot from the rough on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Kevin Na hits his second shot from the rough on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, hits out of the bunker on the tenth hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, hits out of the bunker on the tenth hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Justin Thomas reacts after his second shot on the 17th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Justin Thomas reacts after his second shot on the 17th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Dustin Johnson hits out of the bunker on the 14th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Dustin Johnson hits out of the bunker on the 14th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Patrick Cantlay watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Patrick Cantlay watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Kevin Na hits his third on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Kevin Na hits his third on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Cameron Smith, of Australia, chips on the 16th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Cameron Smith, of Australia, chips on the 16th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Sam Saunders slams his putter after missing a putt for par on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Sam Saunders slams his putter after missing a putt for par on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson lines up his putt on the 18th green as spectators watch during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson lines up his putt on the 18th green as spectators watch during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Phil Mickelson tips his hat to the crowd after making par on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Phil Mickelson tips his hat to the crowd after making par on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Tony Finau, left, and Kevin Na, right, shake hands on the 18th green after their final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Tony Finau, left, and Kevin Na, right, shake hands on the 18th green after their final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Scott Stallings hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Scott Stallings hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Patrick Cantlay chips onto the green on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Patrick Cantlay chips onto the green on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Scott Stallings hits his second shot on the ninth hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Scott Stallings hits his second shot on the ninth hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Kevin Na hits his third on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Kevin Na hits his third on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson watches his second shot on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson watches his second shot on the 13th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson tees off on the ninth hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson tees off on the ninth hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Phil Mickelson hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Phil Mickelson hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson celebrates with his caddie Ted Scott on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson celebrates with his caddie Ted Scott on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson hugs his caddie Ted Scott on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson hugs his caddie Ted Scott on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson is interviewed on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson is interviewed on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson poses with his trophy on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson poses with his trophy on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

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PACIFIC PALISADES — Bubba Watson confirmed late Sunday afternoon something that was fairly public knowledge in the golf world: He has now reached a career goal of winning 10 PGA Tour events, including a major.

Don’t assume he’s now planning any sort of exodus after this Genesis Open triumph.

The 39-year-old’s emotions were frayed enough after ending a two-year tournament-win drought with another flood of tears after his par-clinching putt on the 18th green secured a two-stroke win. The 12-under 272 total, which wasn’t always enough to scare off a daylong challenge from more than a half-dozen contenders that included Long Beach’s Patrick Cantlay, also established a somewhat Riviera career three-peat in a five-year window.

But give Watson some breathing room before he is pressed about setting any more benchmarks.

“I don’t know (that) I was going to retire — let’s don’t start putting words out there,” he said afterward and repeated in various forms in several media interviews. “I said I could. Somehow I got to 10. We never thought we’d get to 10, let’s be honest. And somehow, here we are.”

Still, during the process of some recent health issues that he did not want to expand upon — “nothing worse than a paper cut,” was as detailed as he would get when pressed — and a noticeable loss of weight and strength, as well as dropping out of the top 100 in the world rankings, Watson would admit that he was down on himself enough to where he did contemplate quitting the game.

“I was close,” Watson said. “My wife was not close … she basically told me to quit whining and play golf. She’s a lot tougher than me.

“I would rather be healthy than play golf, so that’s what I was focusing on, and I was focusing on the wrong things. Pitiful me and not how beautiful my life was, things like that. All the emotion and everything.”

Cantlay, the Servite High and UCLA grad who started the final day in second place just a stroke back of Watson, took the lead himself or shared it at various points in the round, as did former Diamond Bar High talent Kevin Na, playing in the second-to-last group ahead of Watson, Cantlay and Australia’s Cameron Smith.

A three-way tie happened with Watson, Cantlay and Na when they were all occupying the 12th hole. Na and Cantlay posted bogeys there; Watson converted par on a 7-foot putt.

On No. 13, Na and Cantlay bogeyed again. It was the only time in the entire tournament that either had back-to-back blue squares on their card. Watson made another 7-foot par putt.

The 194-yard par 3 No. 14 proved to be the place where Watson created his first real separation and created one of those meme-like moments for social media fame.

Na had already posted par there. Cantlay would as well. But in between, Watson holed out from about 50 feet with a sand wedge down in the steep green-side bunker for a fist-pumping 2.

Watson explained his incentive for trying to get the job done at that moment in the crossfire.

“You know, my little secret there was Cameron was telling me where the bathroom was — on the next tee (at 15). He said, ‘We’ve got a couple of shots and then you can just go if you can wait.’ I said, ‘Nah, I’m just going to hole it and then go straight to the bathroom.’”

After he did just that, Watson then turned toward Smith and caddy Ted Scott and debated on who called that shot.

Two-time Riviera champ Phil Mickelson, in posting a 3-under 68 in the final round and making his third straight top-10 finish with a tie for sixth, put in an admirable bid for another tournament win with a spirited display of chips and putts until he also posted back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16.

Defending Genesis Open winner Dustin Johnson again came apart on the par-4 fifth hole with a double-bogey that occurred after a lapse on a follow-up putt. Johnson also double-bogeyed No. 13 and went from a challenger to 2-over for the day and tied for 16th at 4-under.

Na, who matched Watson and Finau with a round of 2-under 69 on Sunday, called the win “a great comeback for Bubba and I’m happy for him. Overall, I played great.”

Cantlay’s even-par 71 finish left him tied for fourth with Scott Stallings at 9-under. Cantlay has four top-15 finishes in six starts this season, coming off a win in Las Vegas.

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas (7-under, tied for ninth), former Riviera winner James Hahn (6-under, tied for 14th) and Rory McIlroy (3-under, tied for 20th, with UCLA grad Kevin Chappell) were among the other noteworthy finishers who earned six-figure payouts.

But not as much as the $1.296 million prize for Watson, the two-time Masters champion who late Sunday made it clear: “I’m not going to retire. I’ve got two more years guaranteed (on the Tour for this win) and I’m going to be at Augusta until they kick me out.”

A new goal?

“I haven’t been able to set one yet. The goal is … you’ve got to remember, my goal (long ago) was very simple: Make the PGA Tour. Nobody thought that Bubba Watson from Bagdad, Florida, would ever get to 10 wins. Without lessons … a head case … hooking the ball, slicing the ball, can’t putt, you know? Somehow we’re here making fun of it. So yes, I’ve got to set a new goal.”

His first goal at that point was to get finished in time to watch the NBA All-Star Game, about to get underway at Staples Center. Mission accomplished.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/18/bubba-watson-ends-two-year-drought-with-genesis-open-victory-at-riviera/

Feb 19

Play it Forward Feb. 19-25: Extinguish the flame in South Korea, not the good will

Ranking the top 10 sports events Feb. 19-25 you won’t want to miss:

NO. 1: XXIII WINTER OLYMPICS
CLOSING CEREMONIES

Details/TV: At PyeongChang, South Korea, Sunday, 3 a.m., NBCOlympics.com; 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., (delayed), Ch. 4

The idea came to four-time U.S. women’s ice hockey world champ and Simi Valley native Angela Ruggiero, who sits on the IOC’s executive board: After watching a collection of South and North Korea members combine to compete in the women’s hockey tournament at the Olympics, what if they were to get nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize? “Seriously, the team,” she said. “Something that is recognizing the sacrifice they made to adjusting their competitions. … As someone who competed in four Olympics and knows it isn’t about you, your team, or your country, I saw the power of what it did.”
This can get complicated.
North and South Korea are technically still at war since their 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce rather than a peace treaty. Watching them unite under one flag for the Opening Ceremonies was inspiring enough that Pope Francis commented about how that it “gives hope for a world in which conflicts can be resolved peacefully through dialogue and mutual respect, as sports teaches us to do.” Seeing the two countries again in the Closing Ceremonies could be a last memory of goodwill. Even if the IOC won’t get 100 percent behind the prize idea,

Ruggiero followed up by saying: “I’m happy that it’s resonated … it’s starting the conversation and encouraged to have that dialogue with other members and all stakeholders for that matter.”

More highlights for the final week of the Winter Games (as per the original schedule):
Women’s figure skating short program (Tuesday, 5 p.m.) and long program (Thursday, 5 p.m.)
Women’s hockey gold medal game (Wednesday, 8 p.m.)
Men’s hockey gold medal game (Saturday, 8 p.m.)

NO. 2: NBA: CLIPPERS at WARRIORS
Details/TV: At Oakland, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., TNT
MAVERICKS at LAKERS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN

A few extra days to lounge around after the All Star break might be vogue, but since the Clippers and Lakers have about two dozen games left in the regular season that ends April 11, the vacation realistically hasn’t started yet. The Clippers had lost 12 in a row to Golden State, going back to late 2014, before Lou Williams’ 50-point game at Oakland back on Jan. 10 resulted in a 125-106 stunner. “He ordered 50-piece nuggets on us tonight,” said the Warriors’ Kevin Durant, who had 40 points in the loss and was without Warriors teammates Steph Curry or Klay Thompson for that game because of injuries. The Lakers meet up with a Dallas team that handed them a 130-123 loss on Feb. 10, which was Isaiah Thomas’ first game in purple and gold. Perhaps the Lakers made a season-high 16 3-pointers in the game, but the Mavs also scored a season-high 130 points.

Also this week for the Clippers: At Phoenix, Friday, 6 p.m., Prime Ticket
Also this week for the Lakers: At Sacramento, Saturday, 7 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet

NO. 3: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
UCLA at UTAH
Details/TV: At Salt Lake City, Thursday, 6 p.m., ESPN
USC at COLORADO
Details/TV: At Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Every win, or loss, looms large for the Bruins and Trojans as the Pac-12 Conference Tournament final exam draws closer. These are the last two regular-season games that funnel into the second USC-UCLA head-to-head matchup. USC posted wins of 70-58 and 84-67 over Colorado and Utah at Galen Center back on Jan. 10-14. UCLA handled Utah, 83-64, but lost to Colorado, 68-59, when they met at Pauley Pavilion that week.

Also this week for UCLA: At Colorado, Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPNU
Also this week for USC: At Utah, Saturday, 11:30 a.m., Pac-12 Network

NO. 4: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
UC SANTA BARBARA at UC IRVINE
Details/TV: At Bren Events Center, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
The top two teams in the Big West, to this point, have one more regular-season chance to make a statement. The Anteaters dropped a 70-58 decision at UCSB on Jan. 20 behind 20 points and 11 rebounds by Jalen Canty. Former Oaks Christian High standout Max Heidegger leads the Gauchos with 20.8 points per game.

Also this week for UC Irvine: At Hawaii, Saturday, 10 p.m.
Also this week for Long Beach State: At Hawaii, Thursday, 9 p.m.; At Cal State Fullerton, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Also this week for Cal State Fullerton: At UC Riverside, Wednesday, 7 p.m.; At Titan Gym vs. Long Beach State, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Also this week for Cal State Northridge: At Cal Poly, Thursday, 7 p.m.; At the Matadome vs. UC Santa Barbara, Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPN3

Also this week for UC Riverside: At SRC Arena vs. Cal State Fullerton, Wednesday, 7 p.m.; at UC Davis, Saturday, 5 p.m.
Also this week for Loyola Marymount: At Santa Clara, Thursday, 7 p.m.; At Gersten Pavilion vs. Pacific, Saturday, 1 p.m. Spectrum SportsNet

Also this week for Pepperdine: At St. Mary’s, Thursday, 7 p.m.; At Firestone Field House vs. Portland, Saturday, 5 p.m.
Also this week in Top 25/Games of interest: Oklahoma at Kansas, Monday, 6 p.m., ESPN; Illinois at Michigan State, Tuesday, 4 p.m., ESPN; Kentucky at Arkansas, Tuesday, 6 p.m., ESPN; Georgia Tech at Virginia, Wednesday, 4 p.m., ESPN2; North Carolina at Syracuse, Tuesday, 4 p.m., ESPN; DePaul at Villanova, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., FS1; Louisville at Duke, Wednesday, 6 p.m., ESPN; Ohio State at Indiana, Friday, 5 p.m., FS1; Arizona at Oregon, Saturday, 7:15 p.m., ESPN; Michigan State at Wisconsin, Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 2; Minnesota at Purdue, Sunday, 1 p.m., FS1.

NO. 5: NHL: DUCKS at GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Details/TV: At T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas, Monday, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket

During a Golden Knights’ home game against Edmonton last Thursday, a guy proposed to his girlfriend on the big-screen during the first period. They got married inside the arena before the third period. With an Elvis impersonator. And they were given Mr. and Mrs. Golden Knights jerseys. Things like that now happen at the Vegas rink. Ducks fans be warned.

Also this week for the Ducks: At Honda Center vs. Dallas, Wednesday, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket; at Arizona, Saturday, 5 p.m., Prime Ticket; at Honda Center vs. Edmonton, Sunday, 5 p.m., Prime Ticket

NO. 6: NHL: OILERS at KINGS

Details/TV: At Staples Center, Saturday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports West

The Kings’ 5-2 win over the Oilers at Staples Center earlier this month marked 12 wins in a row at home over Edmonton, the longest home win streak for the Kings over any team in franchise history. During that stretch, the Kings have outscored the Oilers, 57-21.
Also this week for the Kings: At Chicago, Monday, 5:30 p.m., FSW; at Winnipeg, Tuesday, 5 p.m., FSW; at Staples Center vs. Dallas, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., FSW.

NO. 7: MLB EXHIBITION:
DODGERS vs. WHITE SOX
Details/TV: At Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., Friday, 12:05 p.m.

ANGELS at ATHLETICS
Details/TV: At Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz., Friday, 12:05 p.m.

The excuse begins for needing to go to Arizona for a weekend excursion as the exhibition season opens for the Dodgers and Angels. Use your hall passes wisely.

NO. 8: COLLEGE BASEBALL:
USC at LONG BEACH STATE
Details/TV: At Blair Field in Long Beach, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

PEPPERDINE at UCLA
Details/TV: At Jackie Robinson Stadium, Tuesday, 6 p.m.
UC IRVINE at LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
Details/TV: At Page Stadium, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Intermingling for the SoCal baseball programs is always a good thing. Especially when it comes to recruiting talent down the road.

Also this week for USC: At Dedeaux Field vs. Villanova, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
Also this week for UCLA: At Jackie Robinson Stadium vs. Baylor, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
Also this week for Long Beach State: At Texas Christian, Friday at 4:30 p.m., Saturday at noon, Sunday at 11 a.m.
Also this week for Cal State Northridge: At Matador Field vs. Manhattan, Friday at 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Also this week for UC Irvine: At Cicerone Field in Irvine vs. Gonzaga, Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.

Also this week for UC Riverside: At Washington, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 5:30 p.m. (DH), Sunday at 1 p.m.
Also this week for Pepperdine: At Eddy D. Field Stadium in Malibu vs. Michigan State, Friday at 2 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., Sunday at 10 a.m.

Also this week for Loyola Marymount: At Page Stadium vs. Oregon, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.

NO. 9: BOXING: SRISAKET SOR RUNGVISAI vs. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA
Details/TV: At the Forum in Inglewood, Saturday, 6:30 p.m., HBO (delayed at 9:30 p.m.)
Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40 KOs) makes his second WBC super-flyweight title defense, coming off a fourth-round knockout of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez at StubHub Center in Carson last September.

NO. 10: GOLF: PGA TOUR HONDA CLASSIC
Details/TV: At PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Thursday-Sunday, Golf Channel and Channel 2

With the tour’s West Coast swing done, the lead-up to April 8 Masters is official on with another Tiger Woods’ scheduled appearance near his home in Jupiter, Fla. Rickie Fowler, who skipped the recent Genesis Open at Riviera, is the defending champ here.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/18/play-it-forward-feb-19-25-extinguish-the-flame-in-south-korea-not-the-good-will/

Feb 18

Bubba Watson leads at Riviera, seeks end to two-year winless streak

  • Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, tees off on the third hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, tees off on the third hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson tees off on the 18th hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson tees off on the 18th hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson hits his second shot on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson hits his second shot on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson hits out of the bunker on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson hits out of the bunker on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bud Cauley hits his second shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bud Cauley hits his second shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Phil Mickelson hits his second shot on the first hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Phil Mickelson hits his second shot on the first hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, reacts after hitting his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, reacts after hitting his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Kevin Na chips onto the second green during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Kevin Na chips onto the second green during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Sam Saunders hits his tee shot on the third hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Sam Saunders hits his tee shot on the third hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Aaron Baddeley, of Australia, hits his second shot on the first hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Aaron Baddeley, of Australia, hits his second shot on the first hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Patrick Cantlay hits out of the bunker onto the second green during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Patrick Cantlay hits out of the bunker onto the second green during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Patrick Cantlay tees off on the third hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Patrick Cantlay tees off on the third hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Justin Thomas tees off on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Justin Thomas tees off on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Justin Thomas, right, and Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, stand on the third tee box after Thomas’ tee shot during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Justin Thomas, right, and Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, stand on the third tee box after Thomas’ tee shot during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Phil Mickelson watches his second shot on the first hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Phil Mickelson watches his second shot on the first hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Justin Thomas reacts after making a putt for eagle on the first hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Justin Thomas reacts after making a putt for eagle on the first hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Aaron Baddeley, of Australia, tees off on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Aaron Baddeley, of Australia, tees off on the second hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • The sun rises over Riviera Country Club as greenskeepers change the pin location on the ninth green prior to the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    The sun rises over Riviera Country Club as greenskeepers change the pin location on the ninth green prior to the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, hits his second shot on the 13th hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, hits his second shot on the 13th hole during the third round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

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PACIFIC PALISADES – No matter how goofy he is or the idea sounds, it’s no slam dunk that hipster hoopster/golfer Bubba Watson Jr.,cruises to his third PGA Tour win at Riviera in the last five years.

Based on an entertaining 6-under 65 he posted in Saturday’s third round of the Genesis Open, the 39-year-old left-hander in the midst of a two-year winless streak has one stroke up on Long Beach’s start-to-finish leaderboard challenger Patrick Cantlay.

The Servite High and UCLA grad somehow put together back-to-back rounds of 2-under 69 by knocking down a 54-foot birdie on the 18th green to the roar of the amphitheater gallery.

But the thing that stands to make Sunday’s final round a basket full of fun: Defending champ Dustin Johnson is on a heck of a fast break to defend his good name.

Johnson, who could have been hopelessly defeated when he posted a bogey-triple bogey-bogey on holes 4-6 during the first third of his opening round, and then was a stroke away from missing the cut Friday, started almost in anonymity on the back nine Saturday before going bogey-free with a polished 7-under 64 that somehow has him in a group tied at eighth at just four strokes back.

Watson and Cantlay will be joined by 24-year-old Australian Cameron Smith in the final group teeing off at 10:10 a.m. Sunday; Johnson will be three groups ahead of them, knowing momentum is on his side, going from a T52 to a T8 in less than 24 hours.

“I know if I drive it in the fairway, I can pretty much be aggressive to most pins,” Johnson said . “The pin on 13 was not one that you can really go for, but pretty much everything else was. I felt like we had plenty of room to hit some nice shots.”

Pin placements on Nos. 1, 6, 10 and 18 were in purposefully favorable positions for the third round. China’s HaoTong Li took it upon himself at the famous No. 6, playing 189 yards with a pin far right of the green bunker, by making a hole-in-one and deciding that was worth buying a round of beers for the media tent. (They were giving away a new Genesis car if a player made an ace on Nos. 14 or 16 … just not 6).

With that Saturday pin placement as open invitation for anyone making the cut to have an opportunity to get back into contention, Johnson hunkered down.

A 12-foot eagle putt on No. 1, Johnson’s 10th hole of the day, led to preposterous 6-under 29 on his back nine that could have been even better had he not just missed a 15-foot birdie putt with his next-to-last stroke of the day.

“I knew making the turn, I looked over at (caddy and younger brother) AJ (Austin) and said, ‘We’ve got 27 holes to see how good we are’,” said Johnson, the World’s No. 1 player since winning at Riviera last year. “We can get back in this thing if we play really well.

“But I’ve got 18 holes tomorrow again, so you never know what’s going to happen.”

What won’t happen – probably – is the lure of Watson going back to Staples Center to participate in anything NBA All-Star Game related. He would likely have to undergo some sort of concussion protocol before that even could be discussed.

Watson, who started the third round at 4-under in a tie for seventh and then sped over to participate in the NBA Celebrity basketball game, boasted that his ability to avoid injury was primarily a result of avoiding Tracy McGrady coming up on him to block a shot at one point in the exhibition.

“When I saw him, all I saw was, ‘This is the moment to get hurt, this big tank is about to hit me’,” said Watson after his round Saturday. “I was like, ‘Just knock it into the stands, just don’t touch me.’ So it worked out …

“He’s got like just under 800 blocks for his career, so I gave him one more, you know?”

Several things have blocked Watson’s path to victory in general since the ’16 Riviera playoff win – which was also the last time he was in the final group on the final day. He is coming off his worst tour season, a 166th spot in the FedEx Cup and making just six top 25 finishes.

“If I win, yeah, the confidence will be up, but until I win, the confidence won’t be 100 percent … I guess it’ll be 99 percent,” Watson, also the 2014 winner, rambled on. “The trend is going in the right direction and that’s what I’m looking for. If I don’t win tomorrow, or if I do win, I’m still going in the right direction.”

Another who refused to be blocked from contention was Kevin Na, the South Korean native and former No. 1 junior player in the nation at Diamond Bar High in 2001 before he left his senior year to turn pro.

With an 3-foot eagle putt at No. 1, a 31 on the front side, a hole-out chip at 14 and a 4-under 67, Na is tied for third and playing in the next-to-last group Sunday.

“I got there and I said, ‘I’m going to make this … I’m going to hoop this one’,” Na said about the 50-foot chip out of a green-side bunker on the par 3, 183-yard hole.”I hit it and right when I hit it, I said, ‘This is perfect, go in.’ And I looked up and I could see it just barely crawl into the hole and catch the right side. I just kept screaming to my caddie: ‘I told you, I told you.’

“That saved the day .. I mean, who knows what could have happened to me. I could have probably blew my chances of having any chance tomorrow, so I’m right there.”

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/17/bubba-watson-leads-at-riviera-seeks-end-to-two-year-winless-streak/

Feb 18

Hoffarth on the media: NBA’s narrative fueled by more than star power

In this burgeoning business of storytelling, and taking the most credit for the ability to cut and paste ideas, the NBA knows a good one when it can tell it in its own ways. And just because it has a certain height advantage here, there are no tall tales evident of a pro league boasting it has this whole media business figured out.

As celebrated as its All-Star Weekend arrival in Los Angeles will be documented, capped off by Sunday’s exhibition game at Staples Center, there may have been an even bigger star-studded NBA Tech Summit at the Beverly Hilton last Friday morning. It punctuated just how influential the league’s basic knowledge and implementation has become of the current media landscape connects players and teams to its fanbase.

Now it’s willing to share. Or drop a a handful of dimes, in basketball parlance.

In a power-meeting ballroom more often shown off during Golden Globe presentations, here was the meshing of Clippers owner Steve Ballmer’s vision of artificial intelligence with an global strategy executive from Facebook trying to disprove a Silicon Valley myth about millennial short attention spans, relating a story about how viewers’ input resulted in reordering longer episodes of the “Ball in the Family” reality show.

All of it was off the record – with some irony the NBA apparently doesn’t care to acknowledge. Even some mass media distribution has its limits and could dilute the perception of unfiltered truth speaking.

But Connor Schell, ESPN’s award-winning documentarian recently promoted to executive vice president of content and on a panel led by TNT’s Ernie Johnson that did a deeper dive into the art of storytelling with today’s techno gadgetry, was able to explain more of his take-away from how the NBA is telling – and selling – its own narrative at this season’s intermission.

In this particularly appropriate city, and at this exact moment, it can’t be undervalued as a template to reinforce for others to admire and apply to its own game plans.

“We talk about the elements of every story you tell – inform, entertain and surprise, and nothing surprises people like live sports, because no one knows the ending, so that becomes the greatest vehicle for story telling in the world,” said Schell in the hotel lobby afterward.

“Sports creates heroes and villains and sympathetic characters and all this drama and triumphs and sadness – it’s all the elements of a great Hollywood story, or a documentary, plays out on the court literally every day.

“And the NBA and its players have been successful in adding to that a real-time access and conversation. There is seemingly as interesting off the court as on the court and they’ve done that really well. Ultimately all that leads to greater connection with their fans and more interest in the game.”

A MULTI-PLATFORM PERFORMANCE

If this storytelling thesis wasn’t working, the good old TV ratings might reflect it. But in the NBA, that’s another story it enjoys framing positively.

The Sports Business Daily reported that NBA regular season games to date over ABC, ESPN and TNT are up 15 percent from last year through the All-Star break. TNT leads the way with a 20 percent jump (1.9 million viewers through 44 telecasts). Broken down by demographics, women’s influence on the numbers is more impressive than the men’s.

Games on regional networks are up 9 percent. The Clippers’ games on Prime Ticket have seen an 88 percent jump in the adult 18-to-34 age demographic through 54 games this far, according to Nielsen sources. Lakers’ games on Spectum SportsNet are up 22 percent compared to the 2016/17 final average. The pregame shows are also up 30 percent, and postgame has jumped 38 percent.

On social media, TNT and NBA TV is up 10 percent over a year ago, with nearly 3.1 billion social impressions on Facebook and Twitter since Opening Night. Video views on those accounts are up 47 percent.

How does the NBA buck an annoying trend that the NFL constantly tries to dismiss with a variety of excuses?

Sure, the players don’t wear face-covering helmets or caps, might be a bit more expressive in an intimate visual setting, and on-going social media banter amongst star player feed into a unique fan connection.

(One subliminal secret revealed from the Hilton ballroom: NBA commissioner Adam Silver pointed out that a 94-by-50 basketball court has the same visual ratio as a movie screen or flat-screen TV. Coincidence?)

Schell was more blown away by how ratings took off recently for its NBA studio show, “The Jump,” on trade day, during a 90-minute special fueled by breaking news provided in Twitter by its own new media star, Adrian Wojnarowski.

“It was unbelievable engagement,” said Schell. “That’s the element of surprise again. You literally can’t write that.”

MADE IN AMERICA MEDIA MOGELS

So there was Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade, hosting an exclusive screening of a documentary, “Shot in the Dark,” at Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood on Thursday night. The film about the lives of NBA prospects dealing with gang violence and poverty in Chicago comes directly from a media company Wade has an executive producer role with: Chance the Rapper. Fox premieres the show Saturday. Video-on-demand Cheddar.com was all over reporting on it.

Count that toward the other part of this baller equation: Players taking the media into their own hands. And we’re not just talking about The Players Tribune, which Kobe Bryant’s media company has helped finance.

Bryant,the retired Lakers star building momentum with his Academy Award-nominated animated documentary based on his multi-media “Dear Basketball” project, can talk a whole new courtship language with current NBA star Kevin Durant, whose Thirty Five Media company created last April is in production with producer Brian Grazer on a drama called “Swagger,” based on Durant’s incredibly documented life.

You likely already are aware of the plethora of L.A.-based media projects LeBron James is involved with, which led to him buying a Brentwood home and fueling talk of him playing for the Lakers or Clippers as soon as next season to consolidate his business ventures.

A comedy titled “Uncle Drew,” starring Boston guard Kyrie Irving and others, will be in theatres this summer at a time when sports movies aren’t all that abundant any more.

That’s how they’re drawing this up.

If players viewed an ESPN or TNT as simply a middle man in the media delivery process, they are unapologetically taking their story into their own hands and portfolios.

So how does a media giant like ESPN stay relevant without being looked upon as “the old way” of doing things?

“Yes, Aaron Rodgers can tweet and we can post on Instagram his own story in his own certain way, but then (ESPN writer and TV personality) Mina Kimes can bring him to life in a way only a great writer can,” said Schell. “Some of bringing an athlete’s story to life is reacting, some of it is giving them a platform, and some of it is laying a level of authenticity or persuasiveness or authority on top of that. We aspire to be a platform for the best story tellers in the world, with all our talent and producers.

“I still believe quality wins in a world of infinite choice, and that’s the bar we’re trying to get to every day.”

The paradigm shift also continues to no longer emphasize creating a seven-minute piece for an “E:60” or parceling out a three-part, 50-minute window for an ESPN documentary, Schell added. Stories aren’t limited by length or platform, but are delivered more by what tells it best.

“It’s really with the strategy and goal to think ‘story first’ — this is to me the important point,” said Schell, part of the executive team that created the “O.J.: Made in America” multi-part documentary for both TV and movie theatres that received an Academy Award for its quality and depth of work.

“The ways fans interact with social feeds, apps, websites, our networks, it’s completely unshackled from traditional formats. And I think that’s a unique place we get to exist in today because we’re reaching all these people on all these different mediums.

“Instead of ‘you have to fill X-number of column inches each day,’ we think of how to bring a story to life in the best possible form, and if variations of that story work across other platforms, you tell it differently. That’s what we aspire to do.”

And that’s the story Schell is sticking to here.

MEASURING MEDIA MAYHEM

WHAT SMOKES

== The Beverly Hilton ballroom has more sports cred – it was the host venue again for the 13th annual L.A. Sports Council’s Awards Show, hosted by Patrick O’Neal and recorded by Fox Sports West to air as a 90-minute program starting Monday at 8:30 p.m. with various replays.

== At the urging of former sportscaster-turned-stage-performer Roy Firestone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told the Associated Press last week he plans to start a cross-country audience-interactive stage production this fall called “Becoming Kareem,” a title that comes from his 2017 young-adult autobiography (already listed on Amazon as No. 1 in Children’s Islam Books category). It’s the latest attempt by the 70-year-old Basketball Hall of Famer with UCLA and Lakers pedigree to reconstruct his media image that was often sullied by his own doing with the way he often handled himself with reporters during his playing days. “And that was very unfortunate,” Abdul-Jabbar told an AP reporter from his Newport Beach foundation office. “I think it kept me from a head coaching job and commercials and stuff because people wanted to assume the worst.” As long as Kareem can handle whatever the drama critics’ review of his stage show might be, he should hook enough patrons who will be engaged with the thought-provoking conversationalist. Warning: This could inspire Bill Walton to follow this same path.

WHAT CHOKES

If not called out by the Boston Globe, which led to a sponsor revolt, one is left to wonder if Boston sports-talk radio station WEEI would not have gone to the extreme to finally suspending live programming Friday to hold an 12-hour mandatory sensitivity training meeting for its employees (particularly on-air talent) in the wake of ridiculous incidents and suspensions that did nothing to improve the company’s credibility or the genre’s overall purpose. Shirley Leung, a Globe columnist and self-defined Chinese America mother of two, urged the Red Sox and Patriots to speak up as broadcast partners and advertisers to withhold their spending. It happened. “WEEI hosts are entitled to free speech,” Leung wrote, “and so are their listeners, but the station routinely crosses a line that makes Boston a hostile place to live. Tune them out? No, we need to stop the vitriol.” After the sensitivity training was announced, Leung followed up: “Let’s hope they finally get it.” If they do, they’ll be making more sports radio history.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/17/hoffarth-on-the-media-nbas-narrative-has-more-than-star-power-fueling-it/

Feb 17

Patrick Cantlay maintains share of Genesis Open lead; Tiger Woods misses cut

  • Beau Hossler tees off on the tenth hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Beau Hossler tees off on the tenth hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Dustin Johnson tees off on the 11th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Dustin Johnson tees off on the 11th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Tiger Woods watches his second shot on the second hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Tiger Woods watches his second shot on the second hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Dustin Johnson watches his second shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Dustin Johnson watches his second shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Patrick Cantlay hits his approach shot from the rough on the 17th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Patrick Cantlay hits his approach shot from the rough on the 17th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Toger Woods walks past the 10th green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Toger Woods walks past the 10th green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Bubba Watson tees off on the 11th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson tees off on the 11th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson watches his shot out of the bunker on the tenth hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson watches his shot out of the bunker on the tenth hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Bubba Watson drives on the second tee in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Bubba Watson drives on the second tee in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Jamie Lovemark hits from a bunker on the seventh fairway in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Jamie Lovemark hits from a bunker on the seventh fairway in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Bubba Watson watches his tee shot on the tenth hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Bubba Watson watches his tee shot on the tenth hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Rafa Cabrera Bello, from Spain, eyes his putt on the 10th green in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Rafa Cabrera Bello, from Spain, eyes his putt on the 10th green in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Rafa Cabrera Bello, of Spain, hits from the trees outside the 10th green in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Rafa Cabrera Bello, of Spain, hits from the trees outside the 10th green in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Patrick Cantlay hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Patrick Cantlay hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Troy Merritt watches his drive on the second tee in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Troy Merritt watches his drive on the second tee in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Tiger Woods tees off on the third hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Tiger Woods tees off on the third hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Fans crowd the terraces of the Riviera Country Club clubhouse as Tiger Woods, lower left center, drives off the first tee during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Fans crowd the terraces of the Riviera Country Club clubhouse as Tiger Woods, lower left center, drives off the first tee during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Tiger Woods watches his drive on the second tee in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Tiger Woods watches his drive on the second tee in the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, hits from the ninth fairway during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, hits from the ninth fairway during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Ryan Moore watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Ryan Moore watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Justin Thomas reacts after making a birdie putt on the 18th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Justin Thomas reacts after making a birdie putt on the 18th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits his second shot, from near a fairway bunker, on the seventh hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits his second shot, from near a fairway bunker, on the seventh hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, hits from the 13th fairway during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Graeme McDowell, of Northern Ireland, hits from the 13th fairway during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • Justin Thomas hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Justin Thomas hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Tiger Woods chips onto the 13th green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Tiger Woods chips onto the 13th green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Tiger Woods tees off on the second hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Tiger Woods tees off on the second hole during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

  • Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas walk to the 18th green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas walk to the 18th green during the second round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

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PACIFIC PALISADES — As long as Patrick Cantlay continues to demonstrate how he can expertly navigate L.A. golf traffic with the best of the natives, he won’t need any smart phone apps to keep him atop the Genesis Open leaderboard.

The Long Beach native from Servite High and UCLA stayed in his lane and maintained a share of the lead at Riviera Country Club during cut-day Friday, an event that coincided with Tiger Woods’ inability to turn into his own continual skid to give him a free weekend to take in the NBA All-Star Game down the freeway.

“Lots of just solid shots to the smart side of the hole and take advantage when you can,” the 25-year-old Cantlay explained his approach the last two days.

Friday’s serviceable 2-under-par 69 nearly included a hole-in-one on the par-3 sixth hole for Cantlay, who’s late-charge 66 on Thursday snatched the co-leader spot with Tony Finau.

At 7-under 135, Cantlay is now a car-pool partner with veteran Graeme McDowell for the second-round lead. Sam Saunders’ late charge to join them was put on hold as he was still playing when the round was suspended at 5:46 p.m. because of darkness, as he sits at 7-under with three holes to finish in the front nine starting at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday.

Finau shot an even-par 71 to put himself in a tie for fifth.

Cantlay’s can-do attitude within some tricky wind navigation resulted in him missing just five greens in his first two rounds. He converted three straight birdies on the front nine sandwiched between bogeys. Boosted as well by some Bruin-friendly gallery encouragement also directed to playing partner and UCLA alum Kevin Chappell, Cantlay’s local knowledge has spilled over to how he’s handling off-the-course decisions as well.

He acknowledged that he’s “sticking to the same old deal even though it’s a hometown event – staying in a hotel this week (since) our place is too far away with traffic,” he said. It’s also not an issue to him when it still takes more than an hour to get through rush-hour traffic to get to that Beverly Hills hotel, even if it frazzles some of the other competitors who will still be around for the final two rounds.

Woods had his weekend pass revoked following a Friday effort that was more erratic than Thursday. His 5-over 76 included a 39 on the back nine as he was under more scrutiny to finish clean. The cut was projected to be at 1-over when his round started but will end up at 2-over, which saves players such as former tournament winners Adam Scott and Charles Howell III.

“I knew I had to make a run on the back nine and I went the other way,” said Woods, who had his mother in the gallery following him. “The last two tournaments (including Torrey Pines two weeks ago) have been really tough tests. It is what it is.

“It’s so different playing tournament golf versus playing at home. I’ve got to play more tournaments.”

That would include entering himself into next week’s Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., about 10 miles south of his home in Jupiter, Fla.

As the Woods’ grouping with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas continued to support the largest following, defending champion Dustin Johnson, playing right behind Cantlay, figured out how to make up 53 spots on the board and settle into a tie for 52nd with a 69 on Friday, standing at 1-over and surviving the cut.

Among the other former Riviera winners, Bubba Watson has the best position to add a third title, running off a string of four birdies in his round to position himself at 4-under, tied for seventh. James Hahn, who won here in 2015 for his first PGA title, is with a group at 3-under that includes ’09 winner Retief Goosen.

Chappel joined McIlroy and Thomas within striking range at 2-under, a shot ahead of Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth.

Among those who aren’t coming back for the weekend: Former champions Ernie Els (3-over) and John Merrick (4-over), University of Texas amateur entrant Scottie Scheffler (5-over) and last week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner Ted Potter Jr. (6-over).

McDowell’s 5-under 66 in his 600th official PGA Tour round was Friday’s best round. It was capped by a 32 on the front nine, which were his final holes after he started with three birdies at Nos. 10, 11 and 12.

“This is the first dry year I can remember being here and I think the firmness of the golf course is taking guys by surprise,” said McDowell, the 38-year-old from Northern Ireland who won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach but often skips the PGA’s West Coast swing. “Historically, I’ve played well in tough setups. I’m relishing the opportunity to continue playing this tough setup this weekend.

“I like my game plan. I’ve just got to keep executing.”

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/16/patrick-cantlay-maintains-share-of-genesis-open-lead-but-tiger-woods-misses-cut/

Feb 16

Tiger Woods shoots 1-over in first round of Genesis Open; Patrick Cantlay tied for lead

PACIFIC PALISADES – Just minutes after Tiger Woods’ scatter-shot 1-over 72 in the opening round of the Genesis Open on Thursday morning, a story that seemed to be of some importance popped up GolfDigest.com:

“Tiger Woods just did something he’s never done in his PGA Tour career,” read the headline.

Click ahead, and discover the 42-year-old former No.1 player in the world just completed his 1,184th career round since 1992 but, for the first time, Woods hit seven or fewer greens in regulation, yet still made at least five birdies.

Digest that, golf fans.

Hours before UCLA grad and Long Beach native Patrick Cantlay posted a 5-under 66 to take a share of the lead before darkness fell on Riviera Country Club, a star-rich threesome of Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas kept the sun-drenched galleries entertained, amidst some windy conditions that caused them all to fret about their position going into cut day.

Through all the inconsistencies and utterances, Woods only gave up two strokes to McIlroy (70) and three to Thomas (69), then found himself tied with 24 others in 63rd place, about halfway down the leaderboard.

“Overall I thought I hung in there well and grinded,” said Woods, whose five birdies included one on his first hole at the magically tricky par-4 No. 10, but were offset  by four bogeys and one strange double-bogey, the result of launching a ball far right into a treeline along the par 5 11th fairway and never seeing it again.

“I wasn’t very happy,” he said about  the lost ball, which forced him to get on a cart and tee off again. Truth is, Woods was seen and heard barking an expletive after some in the gallery told him they’d searched for his shot, but it never fell.

“Eucalyptus (trees) don’t normally keep golf balls,” Woods conceded, “but this one did.”

Playing in just his third event since having spinal fusion surgery last April, Woods went from 1-under to 2-over just three holes in. He ended his day on the ninth hole by driving a ball into a 10th-green bunker before somehow saving par.

“I made too many bogeys,” Woods said. “If I can just clean that up, I can start making my way up the board.”

It’s a board currently controlled by Cantlay as well as one-time PGA winner Tony Finau, a Utah native who is the Tour’s first person of Tongan and American Samoan ancestry.

Cantlay’s group, which included fellow UCLA grad Kevin Chappell and World No. 3 Jordan Spieth, started four-and-a-half hours after the Woods’ threesome and just beat it in before play was suspended at 5:48 p.m. with 12 players still on the course.

Cantlay, who has overcome back issues that caused him to miss two entire seasons on the Tour, hasn’t played in the Riviera event for five seasons, but has local course knowledge from coming out to see the tournament as a kid with his dad and grandfather, as well as getting some early tee times when he played at UCLA.

Patrick Cantlay watches his tee shot on the 18th hole in the first round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Patrick Cantlay watches his tee shot on the 18th hole in the first round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

“My only concern was at times feeling like I may not ever feel 100 percent again,” said the 25-year old who worked his way from No. 1,424th in the Official World Golf Rankings after the 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to No. 38 today.

Cantlay, with just two appearances at Riviera as a pro, missed the cut both times. He’s never held a lead or co-lead after the first round of any PGA event.

Since 2000, only two players have been able to go from a first-round lead to win at Riviera.

“I have good systems for my practice and a lot of confidence in my ability. I’m happy to say I feel 100 percent and the golf is going to take care of itself.”

Cantlay knocked out six birdies, including one after a sand-save at No. 17 that launched him into the lead temporarily. Finau started his day with four birdies in his first five holes on the back nine and finished with a birdie on No. 9 to link up with Cantlay.

Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer who had a nice run at this event a year ago, is in a three-way tie for third. Two-time Riviera winner Bubba Watson had birdies on three of his last four holes to get into a group of 11 at 3-under 68, including former USC standout Jamie Lovemark.

Chappel birdied the 17th and 18th to get himself into a group at 2-under 69 that also had Thomas, Graham McDowell and Ernie Els. Two-time winner Phil Mickelson is part of another large group at 1-under, while McIlroy was joined at even par by Spieth, who pulled off a 99-foot chip from the primary rough on the fifth hole to secure one of his three birdies.

“I had enough room to get under it and it was kind of a little double breaker, triple breaker – this way, this way, this way … it was obviously a bonus for it to go in,” said Spieth.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson was three-over after his first five holes – the result of a bizarre triple bogey on No. 5 – and he stayed three-over 74 to tie for 107th with plenty of ground to cover Friday if he’s going to make the cut.

Woods’ group includes Brendan Steele (UC Riverside), Beau Hossler (Santa Margarita High) and former Riviera champ Adam Scott.

McIlroy and Thomas got a first-hand look at how Woods may be in a position to make the cut, but with a noon tee-time Friday, it might not be decided again until after the sun sets.

“This morning it was cold and if you don’t quite release it that much it can get away from you pretty easily,” said McIlroy. “(Woods) remembers how to do this and his body’s allowing him to do this. It’s no surprise he can get it out there.”

“He’s obviously not driving it well, not hitting the shots he wants, probably the distance control isn’t quite there,” Thomas added about Woods. “So he got around 1-over on a pretty tough golf course …

“He hung in there pretty well. All of us did.”

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/15/tiger-woods-shoots-1-over-in-first-round-of-genesis-open-patrick-cantlay-tied-for-lead/

Feb 14

Defending champ Dustin Johnson stands atop golf word at Riviera

PACIFIC PALISADES >> Dustin Johnson’s Riviera-to-Riviera run as the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Rankings didn’t come without one major pratfall.

From the time he sloshed his way to a rain-impaired win in the 2017 Genesis Open last February to climb atop the computer-generated list from No. 3, to where he is today as a favorite to defend the title as well as keep that top-dog status, the only real misstep Johnson made over the last 12 months was poorly navigating a flight of stairs at an Augusta rental house the day before the Masters last April.

Johnson’s back took the brunt of the injury – he initially thought he broke it. After a month of rest, missing the cut at the U.S. Open in June, and gutting out eight more events at less than 100 percent, he somehow kept his first-class status.

Rankings aside, his concern was it could have been much worse.

“It wasn’t just my back – both of my elbows hurt,” said the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder from South Carolina. “Thank God, I didn’t break my back. Definitely, it was severe pain.

“I got an MRI that showed it was just badly bruised, no structural problems, and I knew it just took time. Continuing to play didn’t help it heal quickly, so I kept working through it.”

Johnson’s five-stroke win last year during the 36-hole Sunday final was the  greatest margin of victory in this L.A. Tour stop since 1986. The 17-under score was the best recorded in 13 years.

If Johnson goes back-to-back at Riviera, questions about the back issues probably won’t even come up. It’s somewhat obvious he’s returned to top-launching form after four events this 2017-18 PGA Tour season, where he has already claimed one title (the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in Maui), two ties for second (last week at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, after having a share of the lead going into the final round, and at the World Golf Championship HSBC event in Shanghai, China), and a tie for 14th (at Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge last December, an unofficial PGA event).

Keeping the No. 1 standing and all the perks that come with it are much better than any sort of free fall.

“Really, the only perk is I get to do more interviews,” he said.

That’s a perk?

“No,” he sheepishly replied. “You obviously get a little more attention, but … I like the attention. I’d rather be here than not. I’ve worked very hard to get to this, and I’ll work hard to maintain it.”

He gets enough attention as the son-in-law of Wayne Gretzky, his pro-am partner last week at Pebble Beach. He has the attention of his competitors by leading the season in scoring average (68.716) and birdie average.

Considering that Johnson was a runner-up at Riviera in 2014 and ’15 (a playoff loss), fourth in 2016, seven Top 10 finishes in his 10-year pro career here, plus 13 rounds (out of 36) where he has shot 67 or better since 2008, the 32-year-old should continue one of the most dominant runs in this tournament’s history.

Lloyd Mangrum won the L.A. Open four times from 1949-56, the first three at Riviera. Ben Hogan had three wins (two at Riviera) and two runner-ups from 1942-50. Arnold Palmer won three times and finished second once from 1963-’68, when Rancho  Park hosted the tournament.

Phil Mickelson was the last to win consecutive Riviera events, in 2008-09, after a playoff loss to Charles Howell III in ’07 that could have made it an unprecedented three straight. Mickelson was also tied for second in 2012, again losing in a playoff.

Last Sunday, Mickelson closed with a 67 while Johnson stumbled with a 72 to get entangled in a four-way tie for second at Pebble Beach, three shots back of surprise winner Ted Potter Jr., who is in the Genesis field.

Said Mickelson about how his finish last Sunday could continue at the Genesis Open: “Riviera is a course I’ve played well in the past and I like it a lot. I know a lot of the nuances in it. If I drive it the way I’ve been driving, it’s a perfect course for those who are striking it well. And I’m hitting it as well as I have in a long time.”

HAAS UPDATE

Bill Haas, the 2012 Riviera winner, returned to his home in Greenville, S.C., injured during a car accident Tuesday afternoon just west of the Riviera Country Club on Chautaqua Blvd., that killed the driver of his vehicle.

Haas’ representative Allen Hobbs said Wednesday morning that the 35-year-old was released from a local hospital. Mark Gibello, 71, a friend of Haas’ swing coach Billy Harmon and hosting Haas this week at his home, was killed. Gibello was said to be instrumental in helping bring the Walker Cup and U.S. Open to the Los Angeles Country Club.

Haas was scheduled to tee off at 8:04 a.m. Thursday. His place was taken by Ryan Moore.

TEE TIME NOTES

Johnson plays with two other defending champions – Adam Scott and Bubba Watson – from the first tee at 12:12 p.m. Thursday, and at 7:32 a.m. from the 10th tee Friday. After Watson finishes Friday, he goes from the course to Staples Center to participate in the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game …

Two UCLA grads, Patrick Cantlay (Long Beach, Servite High) and Kevin Chappell, are paired with World No. 3 Jordan Spieth at 12:02 p.m. off the first tee Thursday …

Mickelson, World No. 13 Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Kuchar go off at 7:32 a.m. from the first tee Thursday in the group behind Tiger Woods, World No. 4 Justin Thomas and World No. 10 Rory McIlroy (7:22 a.m.) …

Other Southern Californian natives in the field – aside from Woods — include 2013 champion John Merrick (Long Beach Wilson High, UCLA), Beau Hossler (Mission Viejo, Santa Margarita Catholic High), Cameron Tringale (Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo High), Jamie Lovemark (USC), Kevin Chappell (UCLA), Vinnie Poncino (head pro at San Clemente Municipal Golf Course, Mission Viejo High, Saddleback College, UC Irvine) and J.J. Spaun (Los Angeles, San Dimas High, a 2016 Charlie Sifford exemption for this event).

2018 GENESIS OPEN INFORMATION

Where: Riviera Country Club (1250 Capri Drive, Pacific Palisades)

Schedule:

Thursday and Friday: First two rounds begin at 6:40 a.m.; gates open at 6 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Final two rounds begin at 8 a.m.; gates open at 7:30 a.m.

The course: Par 71 on a layout of 7,322 yards (75.6 rating, 137 slope). Opened in 1927. Designed by George C. Thomas Jr., updated by William P. Bell. Greens are a mix of bentgrass and poa annua. Fairways are kikuyu. Course website: www.therivieracountryclub.com

Prize money: $7.2 million ($1.296 million to the winner and a Genesis G80 Sport)

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson

The field: The 144 players include current World No. 1 Johnson, No. 3 Jordan Spieth, No. 4 Justin Thomas and No. 10 Rory McIlroy. Past champions include Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Ernie Els, James Hahn, Charles Howell III, Adam Scott and John Merrick.

Weather forecast: No chance of rain and a mix of partly cloudy and sunny skies all four days of the tournament with highs between 65 and 72.

Tickets: All information at www.GenesisOpen.com

Public parking: Downtown Santa Monica parking structures S1 through S8 are open 24 hours and include a complimentary shuttle. The pickup and drop off locations are on Wilshire Boulevard, between 2nd and 3rd Street. Shuttles run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The shuttle ride from Santa Monica to the Riviera Country Club main gate is about four miles.

The Metro Express line riders can exit at the Downtown Santa Monica station and walk 10-to-15 minutes to the shuttle pick up and drop off spot. More info: www.metro.net.

Television: Golf Channel is live Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., with repeats later in the day. KCBS-Channel 2 is live Saturday from 1-4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3:30 p.m. Live streaming as well at PGATour.com

History: The PGA Tour professional stop in Los Angeles goes back to 1926. It has rotated among several Southern California courses until staying at Riviera as the home course since 1973 (with diversion to Rancho Park in 1983 and Valencia Country Club in 1998). It has previously been known as the Northern Trust Open, the Nissan Open and the Glen Campbell L.A. Open.

Records: 72 holes – 264 by Lanny Wadkins in 1985 at Riviera; 18 holes – 61 by George Archer (third round, 1983, at Rancho Park), Ted Tryba (third round, 1999, at Riviera)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/14/defending-champ-dustin-johnson-stands-atop-golf-word-at-riviera/

Feb 14

Tiger Woods gets ready to tee it up at Riviera again

  • Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. (Photo by John McCoy)

    Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Bryson DeChambeau hits an iron from the 17th fairway while playing a practice round with Tiger Woods. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Bryson DeChambeau hits an iron from the 17th fairway while playing a practice round with Tiger Woods. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the green from the 17th fairway. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the green from the 17th fairway. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the 17th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the 17th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the 17th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods hits a wedge onto the 17th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods walk up the 17th fairway during a practice round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods walk up the 17th fairway during a practice round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods looks relaxed as he walks the 18th fairway. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods looks relaxed as he walks the 18th fairway. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods practice some puts on the 18th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods practice some puts on the 18th green. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Bubba Watson shakes hands with Tiger Woods after playfully asking him to autograph his visor. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Bubba Watson shakes hands with Tiger Woods after playfully asking him to autograph his visor. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods practice putts on the 18th green after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods practice putts on the 18th green after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Tiger Woods held a press conference after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Tiger Woods held a press conference after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Jake Olson, who is a blind football player for USC, talks with Tiger Woods after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Jake Olson, who is a blind football player for USC, talks with Tiger Woods after his round. Woods returned to Riviera Country Club to get in a practice round before the Genesis Open. It is Woods first return to Riviera in a number of years. The tournament begins on Thursday. Pacific Palisades, CA 1/13/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

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A new sign planted along the first-hole fairway at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open this weekend gives visitors a quick history lesson right out of the main gate.

“Tiger Woods makes his PGA Tour debut in 1992 at the Rivera Country Club with a long drive off the famous first tee,” it reads.

And what ever happened to Cypress-born sophomore from Western High in Anaheim, eventually voted “Most Likely To Succeed” by his senior class?

Long story very short: A Masters title at age 21, a career Grand Slam by age 24 – a “Tiger Slam,” they called it – and 836 weeks at No. 1 before …

Tuesday morning, the 14-time major champion and 79-time winner on the PGA Tour was inching his way back to the 550th spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. But he didn’t need any special signage to remind everyone who he once was, and what he’s still trying to become, at a reconstructed age 42 after all sorts of personal, physical and career-threatening setbacks.

“I’d eventually like to win tournaments,” he admitted before dozens of reporters and TV cameras inside a tent on the other side of the famous first fairway at Riviera. “I’m trying to get through that process, get to that point.”

Woods circles back to these comfortable home-feel surroundings, two weeks removed from finishing tied for 23rd at the Farmers’ Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Reporters tried different ways to gauge his current abilities and disabilities as he still is recovering from spinal fusion, as well as the mental adjustments that come with playing with pros who weren’t even born when he won his first major.

Asked what was most sore after that four-day experience north of San Diego, Woods said: “My feet. I’m not used to walking. I’m used to being in a cart playing 36 holes. It’s a good sore, yes, but it’s just different.”

After he played the back nine at Riviera on Tuesday for practice with Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas, Woods says he still notices the “small subtle changes” in his posture and swing as he is trying to “understand my body a little bit more because this back is just different than it used to be.

“Those are things that I could never have figured out on my own, not in a tournament setting, because in a tournament setting things are revved up and I could feel some of the things that were off and was able to work on them. The more tournaments I play in I’ll get used to that.

“But I don’t want to play too much. This is all still new to me. And I want to be smart about it.”

Woods’ first participation in a tournament at Riviera comes after a dozen-year disappearance – he tried in 2017 but had to bail out because back spasms, prior to more surgery last April. As much as he says he loves Riviera, it hasn’t loved him much back. He is 0-for-10 at this Palisades private track, still the most starts on any course on the PGA Tour without a win.

He missed the cut in ’92 and ’93 as a teenage amateur. He left after 36 holes in 2006 because of illness. He has six Top 20 finishes and scrambled to tie for second in 1999. The only time he nearly won the L.A. event only happened because it was moved to Valencia Country Club in 1998, and he lost a playoff to Billy Mayfair.

“I love the golf course and it fits my eye,” he said of Riviera. “And I play awful.”

Once upon a time, Woods said he would be “seriously upset” if he went his entire career without winning at Riviera. At this point, he’s just hoping to make it every which way to Sunday, starting with a Hollywood-type pairing on Thursday at 7:22 a.m. on the first tee with Thomas and Rory McIlroy. It flips to a 12:02 p.m. start on the 10th hole for the second round, where Golf Channel coverage will document whether or not he’s able to make the cut.

Woods’ appearance Tuesday coincided with a rebranding announcement of his TGR Learning Center in Anaheim, which opened 12 years ago and now, as Woods admits, is full of kids who may know his name but not what he does.

He still meets players who still get star struck in his presence, like Haotong Li, the 22-year-old from China who got an exemption from Woods — his company runs the Genesis Open, and his foundation benefits from the proceeds.

“He’s the first guy (who) makes me nervous on the Tour, pretty much my golfing hero,” said Li, who finished third at the British Open last season. “It’s such a big honor to meet him.”

Woods got a welcome-back embrace from Channel 2 reporter Jim Hill, who has known him since he was a couple years old, before a TV interview with him on the clubhouse balcony above the first tee box. KLAC-AM’s Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith also got radio time with Woods, peppering him about his best rounds as a kid at El Dorado, Long Beach Rec and the old Los Alamitos course, where Woods recalled being able to launch balls into the quarter horse stables and rattle some hoofs.

As Woods tries to reacquaint himself with how the poa annua pulls and the kikuyu can kill your wrists, he says he forgets “how much tug there is down toward the ocean.” He revisits holes where “the bunkers are deeper .. the greens have gotten more pin locations that I remember … I’ve got to do a little more homework in the pro-am.”

That would be the first to start at the first tee at 6:40 a.m. Wednesday. Tournament host still has its privileges.

2018 GENESIS OPEN INFORMATION

Where: Riviera Country Club (1250 Capri Drive, Pacific Palisades)

Schedule:

Wednesday: Pro-Am begins at 6:40 a.m.; gates open at 6 a.m.
Thursday and Friday: First two rounds begin at 6:40 a.m.; gates open at 6 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Final two rounds begin at 8 a.m.; gates open at 7:30 a.m.

The course: Par 71 on a layout of 7,322 yards (75.6 rating, 137 slope). Opened in 1927. Designed by George C. Thomas Jr., updated by William P. Bell. Greens are a mix of bentgrass and poa annua. Fairways are kikuyu. Course website: www.therivieracountryclub.com

Prize money: $7.2 million ($1.296 million to the winner and a Genesis G80 Sport)

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson

The field: The 144 players include current World No. 1 Johnson, No. 3 Jordan Spieth, No. 4 Justin Thomas and No. 10 Rory McIlroy. Past champions include Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Ernie Els, Bill Haas, James Hahn, Charles Howell III, Adam Scott and John Merrick.

Weather forecast: No chance of rain and a mix of partly cloudy and sunny all four days of the tournament Thursday-Sunday with highs between 65 and 72. Partly cloudy Wednesday with highs of 65.

Tickets: All information and purchases at www.GenesisOpen.com

Public parking: Downtown Santa Monica parking structures S1 through S8 are open 24 hours and include a complimentary shuttle. The pickup and drop off locations are on Wilshire Boulevard, between 2nd and 3rd Street. Shuttles run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The shuttle ride from Santa Monica to the Riviera Country Club main gate is about four miles.

The Metro Express line riders can exit at the Downtown Santa Monica station and walk 10-to-15 minutes to the shuttle pick up and drop off spot. More info: www.metro.net.

Ridesharing: Pick up and drop off locations for Uber or Lyft is at Paul Revere Charter Middle School at 1450 Allenford Ave., L.A.

Television: Golf Channel is live Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., with repeats later in the day. KCBS-Channel 2 is live Saturday from 1-4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3:30 p.m. Live streaming as well at PGATour.com

History: The PGA Tour professional stop in Los Angeles goes back to 1926. It has rotated among several Southern California courses until staying at Riviera as the home course since 1973 (with diversion to Rancho Park in 1983 and Valencia Country Club in 1998). It has previously been known as the Northern Trust Open, the Nissan Open and the Glen Campbell L.A. Open.

Records: 72 holes – 264 by Lanny Wadkins in 1985 at Riviera; 18 holes – 61 by George Archer (third round, 1983, at Rancho Park), Ted Tryba (third round, 1999, at Riviera)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/13/tiger-woods-gets-ready-to-tee-it-up-at-riviera-again/

Feb 13

Texas star Scheffler wins College Showcase and place in Genesis Open at Riviera

  • Justin Suh from the University of Southern California lines up a putt on the 2nd green. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Justin Suh from the University of Southern California lines up a putt on the 2nd green. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • University of Kentucky golfer Lukas Euler on the 2nd tee. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    University of Kentucky golfer Lukas Euler on the 2nd tee. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Jordan Spieth hits onto the 1st green. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Jordan Spieth hits onto the 1st green. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • (l-r) Pro golfer J.B. Holmes and University of Kentucky golfer Lukas Euler on the 2nd tee. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    (l-r) Pro golfer J.B. Holmes and University of Kentucky golfer Lukas Euler on the 2nd tee. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Spencer Soosman from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Spencer Soosman from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Scottie Scheffler, from the University of Texas, tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • PGA pro Jordan Spieth tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    PGA pro Jordan Spieth tees off on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • USC golfer Justin Suh and Athletic Director Lynn Swan walk down the 4th fairway. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    USC golfer Justin Suh and Athletic Director Lynn Swan walk down the 4th fairway. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • (l-r) USC alum Dave Gilbert, Athletic Director Lynn Swan congratulate pro golfer Jamie Lovemark on a birdie on the 3rd hole. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    (l-r) USC alum Dave Gilbert, Athletic Director Lynn Swan congratulate pro golfer Jamie Lovemark on a birdie on the 3rd hole. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • (l-r) University of Southern California golfer Justin Suh keeps an eye on Jamie Lovemark as he putts on the 2nd green. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    (l-r) University of Southern California golfer Justin Suh keeps an eye on Jamie Lovemark as he putts on the 2nd green. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Justin Suh from the Univerity of Southern California, hits a fairway shot on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Justin Suh from the Univerity of Southern California, hits a fairway shot on 2. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Carl Yuan, from the University of Washington, looks at his yardage book on the 2nd tee. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Carl Yuan, from the University of Washington, looks at his yardage book on the 2nd tee. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Doug Ghim, from the University of Texas, tees off on the second hole. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Doug Ghim, from the University of Texas, tees off on the second hole. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • (l-r) Carl Yuan gets a fist bump from C.T. Pan after Yuan made birdie on the first hole. Yuan plays for the University of Washington. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    (l-r) Carl Yuan gets a fist bump from C.T. Pan after Yuan made birdie on the first hole. Yuan plays for the University of Washington. College players were paired with tour pros during the Collegiate Showcase during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

  • Justin Suh, who plays for the University of Southern California, walks along with USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann while playing a round during the Collegiate Showcase at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

    Justin Suh, who plays for the University of Southern California, walks along with USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann while playing a round during the Collegiate Showcase at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The low scoring college player will get an exemption to play in the tournament that begins on Thursday. Los Angeles, CA 1/025/2018 (Photo by John McCoy)

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University of Texas standout Scottie Scheffler never looked back in firing a 3-under 68 Monday at Riviera Country Club for a six-shot win the Genesis Open Collegiate Showcase Pro-Am, earning an exemption into the PGA Tour event that begins Thursday at the Pacific Palisades course.

Scheffler, going out first and teamed with PGA Tour pro and Texas alum Jordan Spieth, was the only amateur in the six groups to break par 71. Texas teammates Spencer Soosman (Westlake High in Westlake Village) and Doug Ghim each shot 74.

USC’s Justin Suh, seventh in the world amateur rankings, shot 75, playing with Trojan alum Jamie Lovemark and USC athletic director Lynn Swann.

The 21-year-old Scheffler, No. 38 in the world amateur rankings, came in with some Riviera experience, just missing the cut for the 64-player match play at the U.S. Amateur golf championship last August. Ghim also had a track record at the course, finishing runner-up at the U.S. Amateur in a 37-hole final.

Scheffler was the top amateur at the 2017 U.S. Open at 1-under 287, tying for 27th, and he tied for third at the 2017 NCAA individual championships. Scheffler was also on the U.S. Walker Cup team that won last September at the L.A. Country Club.

“It’ll be awesome to be a part of this field and to be a part of the history of this tournament is going to be really special,” said Scheffler.

Last year’s Collegiate Showcase winner, Pepperdine’s Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills, ended up tied for 49th in the 2017 Genesis Open, one of the best amateur finishes in the event’s history.

2018 GENESIS OPEN INFORMATION

Where: Riviera Country Club (1250 Capri Drive, Pacific Palisades)

Schedule:

Tuesday: Course closed to public

Wednesday: Pro-Am begins at 6:40 a.m.; gates open at 6 a.m.
Thursday and Friday: First two rounds begin at 6:40 a.m.; gates open at 6 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Final two rounds begin at 8 a.m.; gates open at 7:30 a.m.

The course: Par 71 on a layout of 7,366 yards (75.6 rating, 137 slope). Opened in 1927. Designed by George C. Thomas Jr., updated by William P. Bell. Greens are a mix of bentgrass and poa annua. Fairways are kikuyu. Course website: www.therivieracountryclub.com

Prize money: $7.2 million ($1.3 million to the winner)

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson

The field: The 144 players include current World No. 1 Johnson, No. 3 Jordan Spieth, No. 4 Justin Thomas and No. 10 Rory McIlroy. Past champions include Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Ernie Els, Bill Haas, James Hahn, Charles Howell III, Adam Scott and John Merrick.

Weather forecast: Sunny all four days of the tournament Thursday-Sunday with highs between 65 and 71. Partly cloudy Tuesday and Wednesday with highs of 62.

Tickets: All information and purchases at www.GenesisOpen.com

Public parking: Downtown Santa Monica parking structures S1 through S8 are open 24 hours and include a complimentary shuttle. The pickup and drop off locations are on Wilshire Boulevard, between 2nd and 3rd Street. Shuttles run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The shuttle ride from Santa Monica to the Riviera Country Club main gate is about four miles.

The Metro Express line riders can exit at the Downtown Santa Monica station and walk 10-to-15 minutes to the shuttle pick up and drop off spot. More info: www.metro.net.

Ridesharing: Pick up and drop off locations for Uber or Lyft is at Paul Revere Charter Middle School at 1450 Allenford Ave., L.A.

Television: Golf Channel is live Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., with repeats later in the day. KCBS-Channel 2 is live Saturday from 1-4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3:30 p.m. Live streaming as well at PGATour.com

History: The PGA Tour professional stop in Los Angeles goes back to 1926. It has rotated among several Southern California courses until staying at Riviera as the home course since 1973 (with diversion to Rancho Park in 1983 and Valencia Country Club in 1998). It has previously been known as the Northern Trust Open, the Nissan Open and the Glen Campbell L.A. Open.

Records: 72 holes – 264 by Lanny Wadkins in 1985 at Riviera; 18 holes – 61 by George Archer (third round, 1983, at Rancho Park), Ted Tryba (third round, 1999, at Riviera)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/12/texas-star-scheffler-wins-college-showcase-and-place-in-genesis-open-at-riviera/

Feb 12

Play it Forward Feb. 12-18: Arrival of LeBron James, Paul George for L.A.’s NBA All-Star Game has plenty of subplots

NO. 1: 67th NBA ALL-STAR GAME
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Sunday, 5 p.m., TNT

Wait for the moment when LeBron James comes jogging onto the Staples Center floor for the pregame shootaround in this latest incarnation of an NBA exhibition game. Watch the high-roller fans in attendance with connections to either the Lakers and Clippers begin to out-cheer each other for his approval. Whatever happens, happens. But the narrative won’t be lost on those watching at home, or broadcasting this to all points of the globe – LeBron-to-L.A. is what they’ll be talking about.

He has made clear he will not waive the no-trade clause in his Cavs’ contract and enter free agency (again) at the age of 33 when the season ends. The Cavs actually come to L.A. for games against the Clippers (March 9) and Lakers (March 11) in less than three weeks, so the 14-time All Star and four-time MVP can revisit things sooner than later. But for now, the national and local spotlight will be on him, leading Team LeBron in this schoolyard pickup game with former Cavs teammate Kyrie Irving (2014 All Star game MVP) back on his side along with the Warriors’ Kevin Durant and the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and Paul George, two more SoCal locals who could someday be back.

On the other hand, the team led by Stephen Curry will keep Warriors’ teammates Draymond Green and Klay Thompson together with him, along with Rockets star James Harden and the Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan, the one-time Compton High and USC standout.
Let the speculation during this spectacle continue.

Also this week in L.A. associated with the Sunday game:
Thursday: Rising Stars practice, L.A. Convention Center, 9:30 a.m.

Friday: Media day open to the public, L.A. Convention Center, 11 a.m.

NBA All Star Celebrity game, L.A. Convention Center, 4 p.m., ESPN; Rising Stars game, Staples Center, 6 p.m., TNT.

Saturday: Hall of Fame announcement, 10 a.m., NBATV; All Star team practice, L.A. Convention Center, 11 a.m.; All-Star Saturday night contest (Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest), Staples Center, 5 p.m., TNT

Sunday: NBA G League All Star event, 1:30 p.m., L.A. Convention Center.

More info: www.nba.com/allstar and www.nbatickets.nba.com

Also this week for the Lakers: At New Orleans, Wednesday, 5 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet; at Minnesota, Thursday, 6 p.m., TNT

Also this week for the Clippers: At Brooklyn, Monday, 4:30 p.m., Prime Ticket; At Boston, Wednesday, 5 p.m., Prime Ticket

 

NO. 2: GOLF: PGA TOUR GENESIS OPEN
Details/TV: At Riviera Country Club, Thursday-Sunday, Golf Channel and Ch. 2

Take two in Tiger Woods’ latest comeback attempt. He committed to this $7.2 million event a year ago – the proceeds support his foundation – but he had to back out and never made it out to the Palisades. His 2018 calendar season started with a 3-under finish and tie for 23rd place at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago. It was the first cut he made in an event since 2015.

Dustin Johnson is the defending champion here, a cruise-control five-stroke victory in the rain-drenched event. Others in the field include past champions Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Charles Howell III, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, John Merrick, Bill Haas and James Hahn.  Golf Channel coverage runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, plus 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Sunday. CBS’ coverage is 1-4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.


NO. 3: XXIII WINTER OLYMPICS

SNOWBOARDING: WOMEN’S HALF PIPE
Details/TV: At PyeongChang, South Korea, Monday and Tuesday, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. (delayed), Ch. 4

The Chloe Kim portion of the Games begins with qualifying in her specialty Monday and the medal round Tuesday. The 17-year-old born in Long Beach and reared in Torrance and La Habra, while training in Mammoth, told Sports Illustrated that when it comes to snow, “actually, I hate it … I hate being cold … I’m a little wimp.” As long as America’s newest sports darling stays chill during her event.

The U.S. men’s hockey team has its three preliminary games set Wednesday against Slovenia, Friday against Slovakia and Saturday against the OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia, playing despite a ban on their country).  The U.S. women’s hockey team gears up toward its preliminary round game against Canada on Thursday to sort out the four-team playoff starting Feb. 19. NBC has prime-time live and delayed coverage every day starting at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. along with coverage on NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network and NBCOlympics.com for live streaming.

NO. 4:  NASCAR: 60th DAYTONA 500

Details/TV: At Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, noon, Ch. 11

Name the greatest drivers never to win the Great American Race. Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart and Ned Jarrett make the short list. But so does Martin Truex Jr., the 37-year-old defending Cup champion with eight wins a year ago. He won the 500 pole in 2009 in his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevy, but finished 11th. In 2016, he started 28th  in his Furniture Row Racing Toyota, and made it to second.

Last year, he went from starting 35th to a 13th-place finish. Add 32-year-old Kyle Busch, the 2015 season champ and runner-up to Truex last season, as another looking for his first Daytona title after 12 tries. Older brother Kurt Busch, 39, the 2004 series champ, finally ended his dry spell in his 17th attempt at Daytona with a win last year after three career second-place finishes. If he wins again, it’ll be the first to go back-to-back since Sterling Marlin in 1994-95. Alex Bowman starts on the pole this year in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s former No. 88 ride.

Also at Daytona this week: Can-Am Duel 1 and 2, Thursday, 4 p.m., and 5:45 p.m., FS1; PowerShares QQQ 300, Saturday, 11:30 a.m., Channel 11

More info: www. daytonainternationalspeedway. com

 

NO. 5: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
OREGON at USC
Details/TV: At Galen Center, Thursday, 6 p.m., ESPN2
OREGON at UCLA
Details/TV: At Pauley Pavilion, Saturday, 7:15 p.m., ESPN

Elijah Brown, the Ducks’ senior guard out of Mater Dei High and son of former Lakers coach Mike Brown, scored just 9 and 5 points in games against the Trojans and Bruins at home earlier this season, but he has become Oregon’s second-leading scorer this season at about 13 points a game.

Playing at his third school in four seasons, Brown leads the Ducks with 3-point attempts and conversions and has a Pac 12-best 96.3 percent from the free-throw line. He had a streak of 39 free throws in a row before missing one against Washington last week. Jordan McLaughlin scored the Trojans’ final eight points, including six straight free throws, to lock down a 75-70 win at Eugene, Oregon on Jan. 18, snapping a 14-game losing streak against Oregon that went back to 2009.

Two nights later, the Ducks rebounded with a 94-91 win over the Bruins as Payton Pritchard hit four free throws in the final seven seconds.

Also this week for UCLA: At Pauley Pavilion vs. Oregon State, Thursday, 8 p.m., FS1

Also this week for USC: At Galen Center vs. Oregon State, Saturday, 8 p.m., FS1

Also this week for Long Beach State: At the Walter Pyramid vs. UC Santa Barbara, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Also this week for Cal State Fullerton: At Titan Gym vs. Cal State Northridge, Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN3

Also this week for UC Irvine: At Bren Events Center vs. Hawaii, Thursday, 8 p.m., ESPN3; At Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Also this week for Cal State Northridge: At the Matadome vs. UC Riverside, Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN3; at Cal State Fullerton, Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN3

Also this week for UC Riverside: At Cal State Northridge, Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN3; At SRC Arena vs. Hawaii, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket

Also this week for Loyola Marymount: At Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., Thursday, 6 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet; At San Francisco, Saturday, 3 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet.

Also this week for Pepperdine: At Firestone Field House vs. BYU, Thursday, 7 p.m.; At Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, 5 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet.

Also this week in Top 25/Games of interest: Notre Dame at North Carolina, Monday, 4 p.m., ESPN; Virginia at Miami, Tuesday, 6 p.m., ESPN2; Oklahoma at Texas Tech, Tuesday, 6 p.m., ESPNEWS; Kentucky at Auburn, Wednesday, 6 p.m., ESPN2; Arizona at Arizona State, Thursday, 6 p.m., ESPN; Syracuse at Miami, Saturday, 9 a.m., Channel 2; Michigan State at Northwestern, Saturday, 11 a.m., Channel 11; Alabama at Kentucky, Saturday, 11 a.m., Channel 2; Villanova at Xavier, Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Channel 11; West Virginia at Kansas, Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN; Yale at Harvard, Saturday, 6:30 p.m., ESPNU; Duke at Clemson, Sunday, 10 a.m., ACC Network; Ohio State at Michigan, Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 2; Wichita State at Cincinnati, Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN; Penn State at Purdue, Sunday, 5 p.m., Big Ten Network; Stanford at Cal, Sunday, 5 p.m., ESPNU

 

NO. 6: NHL: KINGS at PENGUINS
Details/TV: At Pittsburgh, Thursday, 4 p.m., FSW

DUCKS at BLACKHAWKS
Details/TV: At Chicago, Thursday, 5:30 p.m., NBCSN
Road trips that seem to be never ending roll on for the Kings and Ducks, who may be jostling lineups in anticipation of the Feb. 26 trade deadline. The Kings lost to the defending Stanley Cup champs 3-1 at Staples Center on Jan. 18 as part of a six-game losing streak. The Ducks suffered a 7-3 loss to the Blackhawks at Chicago on Nov. 27, capping a four-game losing skid at the time.

Also this week for the Kings: At Carolina, Tuesday, 4 p.m., FSW; at Buffalo, Saturday, 10 a.m., FSW

Also this week for the Ducks: At Detroit, Tuesday, 4:30 p.m., Prime Ticket;  at Minnesota, Saturday, 11 a.m., Prime Ticket.

 

NO. 7: MLB: DODGERS, ANGELS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT TO SPRING TRAINING
Details/TV: At Glendale, Ariz., and Tempe, Ariz., Tuesday

Shohei Ohtani has already shown up in Arizona, and video of him taking some batting practice already has gone viral. Get used to it. First workouts for pitchers and catchers are Wednesday. First full squad workouts are Feb. 19. First exhibition game is Feb. 23. Ready, break.

 

NO. 8: COLLEGE BASEBALL SEASON OPENERS
PORTLAND at UCLA
Details/TV: At Jackie Robinson Stadium, Friday, 6 p.m.

UTAH VALLEY at USC
Details/TV: At Dedeaux Field, Friday, 6 p.m.

CAL STATE FULLERTON at STANFORD
Details/TV: Friday, 6 p.m.
SAINT MARY’S at LONG BEACH STATE
Details/TV: At Blair Field in Long Beach, Friday, 6 p.m.

For the 160th season of intercollegiate baseball, Baseball America’s pre-season rankings ranks defending national champion Florida at No. 1, ahead of No. 11 Cal State Fullerton (39-24 last year, ranked 7th) and No. 13 UCLA (30-27, unranked last year).

Titans pitcher Brett Conine (31 games, seven starts, 15 saves, 1.39 ERA last year) is on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ second team for its preseason All American squad while 49ers pitcher Chris Rivera (26 games, 13 saves, 2.60 ERA) and Bruins pitcher Jon Olson (7-1, 15 starts, 2.86 ERA with two shutouts last year) is on the third team.

Also this week for UCLA: At Jackie Robinson Stadium vs. Portland, Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
Also this week for USC: At Dedeaux Field vs. Utah Valley, Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.

Also this week for Cal State Fullerton: At Stanford, Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Also this week for Long Beach State: At Blair Field vs. Saint Mary’s, Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.

Also this week for Cal State Northridge: At Matador Field vs. BYU, Friday at 2 p.m., Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (DH), Sunday at 1 p.m.

Also this week for UC Irvine: At Cicerone Field vs. Nevada, Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.

Also this week for UC Riverside: At Tempe, Ariz., vs. Washington State, Friday at 11 a.m. and vs. Nebraska, Friday at 2 p.m.; vs. Nebraska, Saturday at 3 p.m., vs. Washington State, Sunday at 3 p.m.

Also this week for Pepperdine: At Malibu vs. Louisiana Tech, Friday at 2 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (DH); Sunday at 1 p.m.

Also this week for Loyola Marymount: At Las Vegas vs. Oregon, Friday at 1 p.m., vs. Indiana State, Saturday 1 p.m. and vs. UNLV, Sunday, 3 p.m.

 

NO. 9: HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS
Details/TV: At Honda Center in Anaheim, Sunday, 2 p.m.

In the 92-year history of the Trotters, there have been 14 female players, and the latest incarnation has four of them — Swish Young and TNT Lister from Temple, Torch George from Purdue and Hoops Green from UTEP. They’ve also added 4-foot-5 Jahmani “Hot Shot” Swanson, the shortest players in Trotters’ history.

They make eight appearances at six venues in Southern California this year, starting at Citizens Business Bank Arena (Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m.) and the first of three at the Honda Center. Next week: At UCSB (Feb. 22), back at Honda Center (Feb. 24), Staples Center (Feb. 25) and Victor Valley College (Feb. 26).

More info: http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/socal

 

NO. 10: 142nd WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW: BEST IN SHOW
Details/TV: At Madison Square Garden in New York, Tuesday, 5 p.m., FS1

It takes a certain breed of viewership to consider this annual event falling into the sports genre, but Fox has decided to unleash its resources. FS1 also has coverage Monday (5-8 p.m.).

More info: http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/11/play-it-forward-feb-12-18-arrival-of-lebron-james-paul-george-for-l-a-s-nba-all-star-game-has-plenty-of-subplots/

Feb 11

Hoffarth on media: Interesting times to be NBC in the Olympic movement

Remember the last time we voluntarily exposed ourselves to the frost-bitten sound bites of NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage from Sochi, Russia?

Bob Costas and his pink eye was giving the stink eye to Vladimir Putin, Al Michaels took Cris Collinworth out to comb over the hockey arenas with an eye out for pending miracles, and Matt Lauer was apparently eyeing more than just how he could make the Opening Ceremony sound more sexy.

And it was all jammed into a taped-delayed wonderland.

For those just now shaking off a four-year hibernation, all of the above has been eliminated from the competition. Here “Today,” gone tomorrow. And somehow, Al Roker weathers the ice storm.

It’s a new media world order that we filter of Pyeongchang, South Korea through our TVs, phones, computer screens and late-night text buddies.

Diversity and dexterity in the name of demilitarized diplomacy have noticeably and triumphantly replaced status quo and plausibly live, both among the competitors and those describing it. As viewers, we should give it a warm embrace.

That old chill is gone.

Now, this 17-hour time lapse will surely mess with our wait-loss and weight-gain prime-time experience as NBC’s pledge to go live as much as possible means we have to be ready to go by 5 p.m. each weeknight (picking up the East Coast feed, finally).

But the time that matters most to NBC and its $1 billion-range investment in these Winter Games, as part of a $7.65 billion deal it has to keep the five-ring circus going through L.A. in 2028 and into the unknown parts of 2032, is how it keeps up with the times, not just technically, but politically correctly and sponsor friendly.

It starts with prime-time host Mike Tirico. It flows through it’s-about-time figure skating analyst Johnny Weir. More women are in a timely place of importance.

And while it won’t ultimately explain why Winter Olympic TV ratings continue to erode like a mini Nielsen avalanche, it certainly will come up in the discussion about why the coverage couldn’t have been more skewed to those curling fans in Wind Chill, Wisc., instead the Inclusiveness, Calif.

But look at what’s showing up already in the national ratings – not so much in numbers that are eclipsing previous Winter Games. But the top eight markets that registered the best ratings for Friday’s Opening Ceremony: Salt Lake City (first at 29.6 rating/55 share), Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Sacramento, Portland, San Francisco and then Los Angeles (eighth at 20.9/41 share).

That says enough about where the target audience sits.

MORE MULTIFORMITY ON STAGE

While the 51-year-old Tirico doesn’t quite have the resume yet of a Costas – someone who couldn’t even keep his job on last week’s NBC Super Bowl pregame show – this is a moment in Sports TV History when you can actually see a torch as it’s more-than-metaphorically being passed.

“I’m not replacing him; I’m following him,” Tirico recently told the Washington Post. “I think trying to be Bob would be stupid. And that was one of his bits of advice: Be yourself. So I’m going to try to do that.”

Stupidity defines anyone who these days aspires to be a Costas-type know-it-all, a position he carved out for himself after many years of pontification, comfortable enough in his position and bank statements to be critical of the NFL about all its player-health issues and still liable to go sideways when it comes to questioning the sanity of some of the new Olympic sports events coming onto the schedule, as he was four years ago with the slopestyle snowboarding community.

Costas cost us, and others, enough furrowed eyebrow wrinkles. Time to move on. Tirico, aside from the obvious, checks off many boxes in how a network would want to stay as current and wide-appealing as possible. His sense and sensibilities have already been vetted through recent major event coverage. The bosses have nothing to worry about.

And just to make sure the audience understands, Tirico was cordial enough to make it clear at the closing of Thursday night’s broadcast, noting that Costas’ “a year ago chose to end his incredible run in this (host) role. … He brought to the assignment his special mix of grace and greatness which elevated the work of the entire NBC Olympics family. So tonight, we say thank you… for making our Olympic viewing even more memorable. Now, we hope you get to experience that same joy on the other side of this camera.”

Enough said.

Weir, meanwhile, has seen a rise in TV fame more than just the flamboyant arm candy for BFF Tara Lipinski. The openly gay former two-time Olympic skater has effectively sent fan favorite Scott Hamilton off to become a “special correspondent” for NBC after he was the main figure skating analyst going back to 2002. And Weir wasn’t giving Hamilton any great kiss offs with on-air commentary.

Weir will end up as the network diva when this two-week-plus soap opera concludes, based only on how he came out hot before the torch was lit in Friday’s Opening Ceremony. Weir ignited social media with his critiques of the team skating competition. First off, sizing up the performance of U.S. men’s skating favorite Nathan Chen:

Prior to Chen’s program, Weir said: “His skating is sublime. The artistry, the moxie, the swagger, it’s all there.”

And afterward: “That’s the worst short program I’ve ever seen from Nathan Chen…disastrous…now the bronze for Team USA is in jeopardy (in the team event).”

Weir later tweeted out: “I’m a commentator, not a ‘complimentor.’

Comedian Daniel Tosh was already all over it, tweeting out:

“One way to fix the NFL next year would be to have @johnnygweir and @taralipinski call all games!”

Listen, if you can get Glamour and People magazines following the Winter Games based on Weir’s GPS, you’ve reached audiences that others couldn’t possibly have figured out.

A TONE ALREADY SET

One thing to keep in mind: The U.S. Olympic Committee is also behind this ethnic mosaic narrative. It had continually pointed out to the media covering these Games that this American squad of 243 athletes have the most African Americans (10) and Asian Americans (10) than any recent team, as well as two openly gay men.

Along with figure skater Chen, short-track speed skater Maame Biney and hockey player Jordan Greenway, the first black in his sport for the U.S. team, are already getting NBC’s attention. Repeat skating medalist Shani Davis, snubbed in the U.S. flag bearer decision, has made his presence felt as well before even competing.

“We’ve just been trying to find ways to make sure our team looks like America,” Jason Thompson, the USOC’s director of diversity and inclusion, told the Washington Post.

John Moody, the executive editor and vice president of Fox News, felt that was enough of a chilling effect, so he wrote an op-ed piece on the company’s site lamenting the U.S. team’s diversity mantra.

It has since been deleted.

MEASURING MEDIA MAYHEM

WHAT SMOKES

= Despite having eye surgery last month to prevent a detached retina, former Dodgers play-by-play man Ross Porter, who turned 79 last November, says he recovered enough to start his third season calling a selection of Cal State Northridge home baseball contests, starting with the season opener Friday against BYU. The 25 broadcasts are available at GoMatadors.com.

= An ESPN special called “Dear Black Athlete,” taped last week in front of a live audience at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., airs Sunday at 5 p.m., presented by TheUndefeated.com. The focus of athletes and community leaders discussing their roles in society and  social justice includes The Undefeated’s Jason Reid and Jemele Hill as well as collection of speakers. One of them is former L.A. Rams Pro Bowl quarterback James Harris, the first black to start at quarterback in the NFL with Buffalo in 1971.

= Fox’s coverage of the NHRA Winternationals finals from Pomona on Sunday (2-to-5 p.m., FS1) returns with Dave Rieff and Tony Pedregon in the booth joined by racer/reporter Bruno Massel.

WHAT CHOKES

= Already in an era of publication where fewer issues are focused on quality journalism, Sports Illustrated finds itself even more in a defensive position trying to justify the latest Swimsuit Issue that comes out this week. A piece in Vanity Fair calls this first “Swimsuit Issue of the #MeToo Era” and includes editor MJ Day saying: “It’s about allowing women to exist in the world without being harassed or judged regardless of how they like to present themselves. That’s an underlying thread that exists throughout the Swimsuit Issue. You have Harvard graduates, you have billion-dollar moguls, you have philanthropists, you have teachers, you have mothers — you have a full range of women represented in the alumnus of this magazine, and not one of them failed because they wore a bikini.” That’s one convenient way of spinning it.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/10/hoffarth-on-media-interesting-times-to-be-nbc-in-the-olympic-movement/

Feb 05

Play It Forward: Happy sledding into two-plus weeks of Winter Games in South Korea

Ranking the top 10 sports events Feb. 5-11 you won’t want to miss:

NO. 1: XXIII WINTER OLYMPICS
OPENING CEREMONIES
Details/TV: At PyeongChang, South Korea, Friday, 3 a.m., NBCOlympics.com; 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. (delayed), Channel 4

Greetings from a ski resort we’re still not sure of the correct spelling. Most commonly spelled in English at Pyongchang, it gets confused with the Communist North Korean capital of Pyongyang, hence the capitalization of the middle “c.” South Korea’s Olympic committee decided to change the spelling a bit to make it more distinctive. Or, perhaps add more problems.

In this exercise, Greece enters first, North and South Korea stroll in together last, a group of Russians allowed to participate under a generic flag come second-to-last, and the USA contingent of a Winter Olympic-record 242 members will be 26th out of 92 groups when the actual march of the countries takes place at 8 p.m. local time, so get used to the practice of subtracting 17 hours going forward.

The U.S. squad will include a 39-year-old hockey player (Brian Gionta, who spent 16 seasons and more than 1,000 NHL games and is in good enough shape to be on a team without any NHL participants), a 17-year-old figure skater (Vincent Zhou, from Palo Alto), a pair of five-time Olympians (cross-country skier Kikkan Randall and snowboard halfpipe competitor Kelly Clark) and a four-time gold medalist (speed skater Shani Davis, the 35-year-old Chicago native who became the first black athlete to win an individual gold in Winter Olympic history back in 2006 at Turin, Italy).

There are some 2,400 hours of live coverage on all the NBC platforms, starting Wednesday with the debut of mixed doubles curling and some alpine skiing training runs (NBCSN, 8 p.m.) USA Network has all the hockey starting with the women’s tournament Saturday at 4 a.m.
The full schedule

Also this week in prime time: Figure skating team competition, Thursday, 5 p.m., Channel 4; Figure skating, Alpine skiing, Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 4; Snowboarding, curling, Saturday, 4 p.m., NBCSN; Figure skating, Alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, luge, Sunday, 4:30 p.m., Snowboarding, curling, Sunday, 5 p.m., NBCSN

 

NO. 2: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
USC at ARIZONA
Details/TV: At Tucson, Saturday, 7:15 p.m., ESPN
There’s this ongoing federal investigation about the corrupt nature related to college basketball, and these two programs remain ensnarled in that probe. The No. 9 Wildcats (19-5, 9-2) and Trojans (17-7, 8-3) are also first and second in the Pac-12 standings. After Colorado outlasted Arizona 80-77 in early January, Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle there was “absolutely” some “extra satisfaction” in handing Sean Miller a defeat amidst the FBI sniffing around. Trojans coach Andy Enfield fired back that it was “unfair for someone to comment who doesn’t have all the facts.” The fact is, this one-and-only regular season meeting for the Wildcats and Trojans – as well as with the Bruins (16-7, 7-4) a few nights earlier – has ESPN coming to televise all of it (although its College GameDay show will be in Charlottesville, Va., prior to Virginia Tech and Virginia).

Also this week for USC: At Arizona State, Thursday, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Also this week for UCLA: At Arizona, Thursdays, 7 p.m., ESPN; at Arizona State, Saturday, 4 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Also this week for Long Beach State (12-14, 6-4 Big West): At Walter Pyramid vs. Cal Poly, Saturday, 8 p.m., Prime Ticket

Also this week for Cal State Fullerton (12-9, 5-4 Big West): At Titan Gym vs. Cal Poly, Thursday, 7 p.m.; at UC Davis, Saturday, 5 p.m.

Also this week for UC Irvine (11-14, 6-3 Big West): At Bren Center vs. Cal State Northridge, Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN3; at UC Riverside, Saturday 5 p.m.

Also this week for Cal State Northridge (5-18, 2-7 Big West): At UC Irvine, Wednesday, 7 p.m.; ESPN3; At Hawaii, Saturday, 9 p.m.

Also this week for UC Riverside (5-17, 0-8 Big West): At Hawaii, Wednesday 7 p.m.; At SCR Arena vs. UC Irvine, Saturday, 5 p.m.

Also this week for Loyola Marymount (7-16, 2-10 WCC): At Gersten Pavilion vs. St. Mary’s, Thursday, 7 p.m.; At Gersten Pavilion vs. Pepperdine, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Also this week for Pepperdine (4-20, 1-11 WCC): At Firestone Field House vs. San Diego, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet; At Loyola Marymount, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Also this week in Top 25/Games of interest: West Virginia at Oklahoma, Monday, 6 p.m., ESPN; Tennessee at Kentucky, Tuesday, 4 p.m., ESPN; Michigan State at Iowa, Tuesday, 6 p.m., ESPN; LSU at Florida, Wednesday, 3:30 p.m., SEC Network; St. John’s at Villanova, Wednesday, 4 p.m., CBSSN; Ohio State at Purdue, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Big Ten Network; Duke at North Carolina, Thursday, 5 p.m., ESPN; Purdue at Michigan State, Saturday, TBD; Iowa at Ohio State, Saturday, TBD; Butler at Villanova, Saturday, 9 a.m., Channel 11; Florida at South Carolina, Saturday 9 a.m., Channel 2; Oklahoma at Iowa State, Saturday, 11 a.m., ESPN; Gonzaga at St. Mary’s, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN2; Michigan at Wisconsin, Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 2; Duke at Georgia Tech, Sunday, 3 p.m., ESPN.

Also this week in women’s college basketball: UCLA (18-4, 9-2) at USC (15-7, 5-6), Galen Center, Monday, 6 p.m., Pac 12 Network

NO. 3: NBA: THUNDER at LAKERS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., TNT

CLIPPERS at PISTONS
Details/TV: At Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Friday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket, ESPN
The NBA trade deadline arrives Thursday at noon, PDT, and we’re led to believe there will be more swapping aside from that deal heard ‘round L.A. and Detroit last week. Blake Griffin has had a couple games to get used to playing in the Motor City and has helped the Pistons get closer to the .500 mark and No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Clippers are teetering on that No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. ESPN added this game to their schedule late last week, anticipating some sort of national interest.

Also this week for the Clippers: At Staples Center vs. Dallas, Monday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket; At Philadelphia, Saturday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket.

Also this week for the Lakers: At Staples Center vs. Phoenix, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet; At Dallas, Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet

 

NO. 4: NHL: OILERS at KINGS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports West
It’s the last time we see these Kings in person until Feb. 22 – after this comes a seven-game, 13-day trip that overlaps the Olympic hockey schedule in South Korea. The Kings pounded out a 5-0 win at Edmonton on Jan. 2 thanks to a five-minute power-play opportunity when Oilers forward Patrick Maroon hit Drew Doughty in the head. This is the first of three meetings between the teams from here until March 24.

Also this week for the Kings: At Florida, Friday, 4:30 p.m., FSW; At Tampa Bay, Saturday, 4 p.m., FSW

 

NO. 5: NHL: SHARKS at DUCKS
Details/TV: At Honda Center in Anaheim, Sunday, 5 p.m., Prime Ticket
The Ducks have lost two of three meetings so far to the Sharks using three different goaltenders – a 6-2 loss at home on Jan. 21 came at the expense of John Gibson (allowing five goals on 22 shots before Ryan Miller came in), a 2-1 shootout loss in San Jose on Nov. 4 that Miller couldn’t prevent, and a 3-2 shootout win in San Jose on Nov. 20 with Reto Berra in the nets as his only start of the season.

Also this week for the Ducks: At Toronto, Monday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket; at Buffalo, Tuesday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket; at Honda Center vs. Edmonton, Friday, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket

 

NO. 6: COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NATIONAL SIGNING DAY
Details/TV: Wednesday, ESPNU, ESPN2, Pac 12 Network
In that 72-hour window of Dec. 20-22, more than 80 percent of the high school commits put their names on the paper, and estimates are that between 65 and 70 of the recruiting class was done. The drama left here is how far USC’s class will improve based by those who do the judging. The rating from 247Sports.com has USC at No. 11 now, but it could jump to No. 2 if they scoop up players like Antelope Valley receiver Devon Williams, Mission Viejo cornerback Olaijah Griffin (a former UCLA commit) and Mater Dei linebacker and high school Butkus Award winner Solomon Tuliaupupu. All three are expected to make their decisions live on ESPU between 9 a.m. and noon. UCLA commit Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the quarterback from Las Vegas, is also expected to sign officially with the Bruins.

 

NO. 7: NHRA WINTERNATIONALS
Details/TV: At Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Thursday-Sunday, FS1 and FS2
How did John Force spend his offseason? Getting’ smarter. The 68-year-old Funny Car legend, driver and team owner received an honorary doctorate of laws degree in mid-January from the University of Northwestern Ohio. The degree to which he will be a force in the 58th edition of this season opener remains to be seen, after he finished seventh in the Funny Car championship last November. Leah Pritchett won the Top Fuel opener last year, but Brittany Force ended up as the 2017 champion. Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also won their events last season. FS1 has live coverage Sunday at 2 p.m. Qualifying starts at 8:15 a.m. Thursday and Friday, qualifying at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and prerace ceremonies begin Sunday at 10 a.m. Final runs in five divisions go from 3:20 p.m. to 4:37 p.m. Sunday. More info: www.nhra.com.

 

NO. 8: GOLF: PGA TOUR AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM
Details/TV: At Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and Monterey Peninsula Country Shore Course in Pebble Beach, Thursday-Sunday, Golf Channel, Channel 2
Jordan Spieth started last year’s tournament with a stellar 68 during a miserable day on the Monterey Peninsula, followed with a pair of 65s and then cruised in with a 19-under, four-stroke win. Rory McIlroy is playing this event for the first time. The pro-am will include Bill Murray (for the 23rd time), plus regulars Wayne Gretzky (playing with son-in-law Dustin Johnson), Ray Romano, Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Duhamel, Huey Lewis and Darius Rucker. This leads into the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 15-18.

 

NO. 9: NASCAR: ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CLASH
Details/TV: At Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, noon, FS1
The 2018 NASCAR season opener is this 75-lap, invitation-only event. Qualifying for the Daytona 500 also takes place Sunday (9:15 a.m.), a week prior to the 200-lap classic.

 

NO. 10: UFC 221
Details/TV: At Perth Arena in Perth, Australia, Saturday, 7 p.m., pay-per-view, FS1
The interim middleweight title is to be decided by a matchup of Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold. But the local Western Aussies will be more fired up by bouts on the main card that include Tai “Bam Ban” Tuivasa, Jake “The Celtic Kid” Matthews and Tyson Pedro. This is the first UFC event subject to approval by the Combat Sports Commission of Western Australia, for what that’s worth.  More info

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/04/play-it-forward-happy-sledding-into-two-plus-weeks-of-winter-games-in-south-korea/

Feb 04

Hoffarth on media: Will you be amazed to see a Super Bowl on Amazon Prime someday? Don’t be

As arranged marriages go, the one that three tried-and-true networks have with the NFL in regards to mass distribution of its championship game over the last 50-plus years is beginning to look and feel far more quaint that cutting edge.

Kind of like the smell that hits you when you walk into your grandma’s house. It’s not fresh-baked cookies.

NBC, CBS and Fox blindly bask in a partnership importance as protector of the Super Bowl brand and haughtiness, having invested all kinds of resources into a show that apparently can recoup its dignity with outrageous price tags on 30-second commercial spots that they make you think are part of the attraction.

At one time, ABC was an important part of this rotation, which also kept alive a notion that partner-in-crime ESPN could be positioned as the media outlier to wrestle away the country’s greatest annual TV sporting event from the rabbit-ear generation and mess with the viewers’ remote control knowledge of where to find it.

Even that wacky idea isn’t so much must-do anymore. Try blazing a chamomile three-wick candle to cover up any lingering mustiness.

As this current Wynken, Blynken and Nod deal stands, NBC takes its turn with Sunday’s New England-Philadelphia 52nd Super Bowl, and then gets to do the 2021 contest.

CBS (2019, plus the 2022 game at the new L.A. stadium in Inglewood) and Fox (2020 and 2023) happily marched in lockstep way back in 2011 when the league sent out a press release announcing a far-out contract extension under the headline: “THE TRADITION CONTINUES: NFL TO REMAIN ON BROADCAST TV”

What happens in 2024 and beyond?

If you dare believe what you read, the paradigm could easily flip.

You Tube TV, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Facebook Live – or some other financially robust communal distributor we have yet to identified but will be standard equipment on a future Elon Musk jet-propelled flame-throwing vehicle – could easily fair-catch the rights to the Super Bowl, and then use those traditional networks who punted them away because of an archaic game plan would be pleading to be an ancillary distributor.

Don’t be afraid. Just have your hover board ready to jump on it when it happens.

WAGERING UPSTREAM

David Carter, the executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, estimates that “maybe a decade from now” the business model for the NFL and how it distributes rights will get flushed out, and for two primary reasons.

The first pertains to how streaming services are inherently set up to collect information, whether the consumer/viewer likes it or not, and tailor a broadcast that way.

“Amazon Prime can monetize viewership so much better than others because they gather immense consumer data and they know what’s you’re buying and listening to and watching, then they can target you with precision,” said Carter. “So for them a rights fee is not just about broadcasting or streaming a game, it’s how they know exactly what you are doing so they can upsell you for all their other products. There’s ultimately more value in some integrated streaming service capable of delivering that.”

The second aspect concerns the current case heard in the U.S. Supreme Court to allow legalized sports betting in every state. A decision is expected to come this summer.

Carter agrees that the anticipated passage of the law is one of the keys to Fox’s deal announced last week to extract $3 billion for five years’ worth of otherwise dismal Thursday night NFL games, 11 of them per season. As more will gamble on the games, interest will increase and reverse this ratings downturn.

Approval of the gambling law would also accelerate the shift from traditional to streaming platforms “because, ultimately, where are people going to be gambling? It’ll be online,” said Carter. “And if you’re streaming those games, you also have the ability to tell the viewer: ‘Hey, if you’re watching the game coming up Monday night, the Patriots are favored by 10 … are you in?’

“Not only is that kind of gambling going to happen, but who is best suited to take advantage of it? Probably not old, entrenched broadcast companies that remain reluctant to it, but rather progressive streaming services that would be able to bundle an over-under number on a Cleveland Browns game … or, more realistic, the under to a Cleveland Browns game.”

SMALL CHANGE

When asked last week if he anticipated a time when the Super Bowl would not be carried on standard, over-the-air, now-called linear TV, NBC chairman Mark Lazarus, who once upon a time the head man at Turner Sports, responded:

“I don’t see that. What I see, and what is happening, is the NFL continues to be a broadcast-centric league, and I think that has helped them maintain and grow as the largest media property in the world. … What you see as linear will always be the base, will always be the biggest. It will maintain its dominance.”

The way to slowly accept the changing landscape of how consumers take in media, Lazarus admits that it’s easy to add video-streaming companies as additional layers to the coverage as “the goal there is to make this game, in particular, accessible to everybody in the United States as it relates to our world and the league.”

He added that streaming makes up between 1 and 4 percent of the total audience, most of those who can’t be in front of a TV. For a Super Bowl, can translate to more than 1 million viewers, “maybe headed towards two million concurrent users. So it’s a significant amount of people.”

Michaels agreed that “not in my lifetime anyway” would the Super Bowl “come off of broadcast television.”

For what it’s worth, NBC NFL analyst Cris Collinsworth added: “I hope they always make it as easy for everyone as possible to participate” in what has become a national celebration of the NFL.

What should be nationally celebrated instead is what happened this week in our own media-savvy backyard.

The first-year Major League Soccer franchise LAFC made an inspired move to go new school by working out a three-year, $18 million deal with the Google-owned YouTube TV, including their games to subscribers of the company’s $35-a-month streaming service.

Since YouTube TV already has MLS national rights holder ESPN and FS1 in its package of 40-some channels (along with Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, Big Ten Network and the SEC Net), all 34 LAFC games have an English-language distributor.

It couldn’t hurt that Chad Hurley, co-founder and former CEO of YouTube, is part of the LAFC ownership and is now driving a video-sharing company called MixBit.

One would have surmised by now that the Steve Ballmer-era Clippers would have test driven this alternative platform. As he is tied into a deal now with Fox Sports/Prime Ticket and dawdles for direction, LAFC is the right team in the right sport at the right time aiming for a particular demographic and user – and in the right city.

As the rival and MLS original member L.A. Galaxy continues to struggle for viewers less than halfway into a 10-year, $55 million deal with Spectrum SportsNet, launched in 2014, the LAFC’s forward thinking makes more sense, if not immediate dollars.

“There’s not a tremendous amount of risk and return attached to streaming or televising Major League Soccer, nor does it preclude them from doing other national or Spanish-language deals with Telemundo or Univision,” said Carter. “So they have a chance to build their brand online with next-generation soccer fans who aren’t watching traditional broadcasts in the first place.

“It’s no doubt a transcending deal. Six million dollars a year is nothing to shake a stick at, but what it really speaks to is being in a place where you can reach consumers and over time, the traditional broadcast rights as they’ve been operating may become subservient to streaming.”

For a league that somehow hangs onto the idea that Justin Timberlake remains a hip halftime show, there has to be someone under 40 in the NFL offices who could ask if Alexa is voicing any opinion on Amazon Echo.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/03/hoffarth-on-media-will-you-be-amazed-to-see-a-super-bowl-on-amazon-prime-someday-dont-be/

Jan 29

Play It Forward: It’ll be a Super Sunday for Patriots and Eagles

Ranking the top 10 sports events Jan. 29-Feb. 4 you won’t want to miss:

NO. 1: NFL: SUPER BOWL LII: PATRIOTS vs. EAGLES
Details/TV: At U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.; Sunday, 3:15 p.m., Ch. 4

Jeffrey Lurie, who was born in Boston and holds a master’s degree in psychology from Boston University, once tried to buy his hometown Patriots in 1993, but he couldn’t get past a $150 million bid because his family wouldn’t help him with the investment. Robert Kraft crafted the winning bid at $172 million. The Pats are valued by Forbes at $3.4 billion today, the sixth most-valuable franchise in all of sports and second in the NFL behind Dallas.

A year later, Lurie scraped enough together to rescue the endangered Eagles of Philadelphia, and it cost him $195 million. Now the franchise is worth $2.5 billion, 22nd ranked in all of sports, 10th in the NFL.

It’s all about timing, eh?

Back in Week 13 of the 2015 season, Lurie’s 4-7 Eagles traveled to Foxborough, Massachusetts to take on the 10-1 and defending Super Bowl champion Patriots. Lurie, who made his family cash in movie theatres and also dabbled a bit in Hollywood film and TV as a producer, went along on the trip. Perhaps he remembered too much about how “Remember The Titans” played out, because he used that opportunity in his old ‘hood to give his Eagles a passionate locker-room pregame speech.

His degree in psychology, also remember …

“He had a fire in his ass,” Eagles linebacker Nejee Goode said at the time. “And it lit a fire under our ass.”

Good for the Eagles, who pulled off a 35-28 upset, in what would be Chip Kelly’s next-to-last win for Lurie before he fired him.

It’s an interesting game to look back on. The Eagles relied on some critical Patriots’ turnovers to cruise to a 35-14 lead in the fourth quarter. Then Tom Brady woke up. He threw a TD pass, then after a Patriots recovered onside kick, he ran it in from the 1 for another score. Suddenly, it was a seven-point game with three minutes to play. After an Eagles turnover, Brady had the ball for one more drive. But three passes in a row to Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola and Keshawn Martin were dropped in the last 34 seconds.

Under Lurie’s watch, the Eagles have been to one previous Super Bowl – a 24-21 loss to the Patriots in 2005 at Jacksonville, Fla., one he no-doubt mentioned in that 2015 speech to the team. Those Eagles never led in that game behind Donovan McNabb. Brady completed 23 of 33 passes for 236 yards and two TDs in winning his third title game.

NO. 2: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
USC at UCLA
Details/TV: At Pauley Pavilion, Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN2

By the time we get to the final meeting between the Trojans and Bruins this season on the last Saturday of the regular schedule (March 3), it could end up finalizing the seeding for the Pac 12 tournament in Las Vegas. But this exercise could go a long way toward determining who, aside from Arizona and Arizona State, has what could be the last Pac 12 bid in the final field of 68. The Trojans (17-6, 8-2) are a projected 10 seed at the moment, sitting No. 45 on the current College Basketball Power Index. The Bruins (15-7, 6-4) are at No. 68, trailing Arizona (No. 21) and ASU (No. 41), and just one spot ahead of Oregon (No. 69). USC and UCLA sit second and third in the conference behind Arizona at the moment.

Also this week in women’s basketball: USC at UCLA, at Pauley Pavilion, Friday, 8 p.m., Pac 12 Network

NO. 3: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
UC IRVINE at LONG BEACH STATE
Details/TV: At Walter Pyramid, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket

UC IRVINE at CAL STATE FULLERTON
Details/TV: At Titan Gym, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPNU
Anteaters may not be endangered in the Big West territory, but they could decide who is Big Dance-ready coming up. UC Irvine (9-14, 4-3) comes off a game when it held UC Riverside to 40 points in a 39-point win last week.  The conference-leading 49ers (12-12, 6-2) have four in a row at home to try to make establish something. The Titans (12-8, 5-3) have only one game this week after coming home from a successful trip to Hawaii that ended a three-game losing streak.

Also this week for Long Beach State: At Walter Pyramid vs UC Davis, Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN3
Also this week for Cal State Northridge: At the Matadome vs. UC Davis, Thursday, 7 p.m., ESPN3; At UC Santa Barbara, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Also this week for UC Riverside: At Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Also this week for Loyola Marymount: At Gersten Pavilion vs. BYU, Thursday, 8 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet; At Portland, Saturday, 1 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet.
Also this week for Pepperdine: At Portland, Thursday, 7 p.m.; At Firestone Field House vs. Pacific, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Also this week in Top 25/ games of interest:

NO. 4: NBA: LAKERS at THUNDER
Details/TV: At Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma., Sunday, 11 a.m., Ch. 7

Amazing what hitting some free throws will do to help create a bit of a win streak. Are the Lakers ready for a real Sunday national TV appearance? What a moment for this oft-overlooked franchise. A five-game road trip ends here, perhaps with a Lonzo Ball return.

Also this week for the Lakers: At Orlando, Wednesday, 4 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet; At Brooklyn, Friday, 4:30 p.m., SSN

NO. 5: NBA: BLAZERS at CLIPPERS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., TNT
Is Portland’s Damian Lillard, the guy sporting No. 0, finally getting his due? The All-Star guard scored 25 against the Clippers in their last meeting, but Blake Griffin’s 3-pointer at the buzzer capped off a 104-103 triumph at Portland back in October.

Also this week for the Clippers: At Staples Center vs. Chicago, Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Prime Ticket

NO. 6: NHL: COYOTES at KINGS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., FSW
The Kings (26-18-5) are at home for the first time since Jan. 21 – four games and an All-Star break that has spanned 11 days. The Coyotes, whose 12 wins to this point are fewest in the entire league, and their minus-54 goal differential the largest margin (plus or minus) of any team, actually defeated the Kings 3-2 in OT on Nov. 24 when Darcy Kuemper was in the nets instead of Jonathan Quick.

Also this week for the Kings: At Dallas, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., FSW; at Nashville, Thursday, 5:30 p.m., NBCSN

NO. 7: NHL: DUCKS at BRUINS
Details/TV: At Boston Garden, Tuesday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket

The Ducks (24-17-9) resume the post-All Star schedule with a five-game road trip to the Eastern region, and nine of their next 11 away from home. The Ducks pulled out a 4-2 win over Boston at Honda Center back on Nov. 15, led by former Northeastern University standouts Kevin Roy and Josh Manson, who’ll likely get hit up for tickets this trip. Brad Marchand missed the Ducks-Bruins game in Anaheim last time because of injury, and the Boston star will not play in this one either as he continues to serve a five-game league-imposed suspension.

Also this week for the Ducks: At Ottawa, Thursday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket; At Montreal, Saturday 10 a.m., Fox Sports West

NO. 8: GOLF: PGA TOUR WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN
Details/TV: At TPC Scottsdale, Ariz., Thursday-Sunday, Golf Channel, Ch. 2

Waste not, want not: The now-traditional PGA Tour stop during Super Bowl weekend was won the last two years by Hideki Matsuyama, both in a playoff. The Tour hasn’t had a three-peat winner of one event in seven years. Former ASU star and world No. 2 player Jon Rahm, who recently won the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, will be the local favorite.

NO. 9: PRO BULL RIDING: ANAHEIM INVITATIONAL
Details/TV: At Honda Center, Friday, 7:45 p.m.; Saturday, 6:45 p.m., CBSSN
The fourth stop during the PBR Tour’s 25th anniversary season is back in Anaheim. Jess Lockwood, a 5-foot-5, 130-pound 20-year-old from Montana, is the tour’s reigning champ and owner of the $10,000 belt buckle trophy. CBSSN has live coverage Saturday from 7-9 p.m.

NO. 10: RUGBY: INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT
U.S. EAGLES vs. ARGENTINA XV
Details/TV: At StubHub Center in Carson, Saturday, 5 p.m., www.therugbychannel.tv

It’s a U.S. starting point to the six-team Americas Rugby Championship, which runs from Jan. 27 to March 3 and was won by the U.S. in 2017. The U.S. team will also have games against Canada (Feb. 10 in Sacramento) and  Chile (Feb. 17 at Titan Stadium in Fullerton) before going to Brazil (Feb. 24) and Uruguay (March 3). A bonus match here: UCLA vs. Arizona at 3 p.m. starts the doubleheader.

More info: www.usarugby.org/event/rugby- saturday

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/01/28/play-it-forward-itll-be-a-super-sunday-for-patriots-and-eagles/

Jan 28

Hoffarth on media: Alex Rodriguez continues media makeover with ESPN

At this point in the Alex Rodriguez Media Makeover, the one-time sure-bet Baseball Hall of Famer doesn’t seem as focused on getting any last laughs as he is about getting first cracks at another get-to-know-me opportunity.

When ESPN announced an unusual sharing agreement with Fox Sports to bring the once-tarnished New York Yankees star into its newly shaped “Sunday Night Baseball” booth for the upcoming 2018 season, it effectively elevated A-Rod as the March-to-November TV voice of the game.

Rub your eyes again, read that again, and check off another box.

A media that once relished in debate about Rodriguez’s toxicity levels long before and continuing after he was benched for the entire 2014 season – the longest suspension in baseball history for performance-enhancing drug use – must be gagging on its hazmat hankies. In less than two months, Rodriguez will jump in with Matt Vasgersian and Jessica Mendoza and start with two Dodgers-Giants games at Dodger Stadium – the March 29 opener, followed by the April 1 finale to the four-game series. Rodriguez will then jump into the other side of the batters’ box and keep his Fox post-season analyst role in the studio.

How has this Homer Simpson with a stick of glowing plutonium in his back pocket been melted down and transformed into MLB TV gold standard?

It gave Rodriguez a moment to pause the other day and consider how this period of fixing himself was the result of fixating on how he wanted to turn out of his skid.

“First of all, I’ve changed, so it starts with you, right?” he said. “And I think one of the things that — I changed and once I served my suspension and I had the whole year to sit down and reflect, I wanted to in many ways turn the lens inward and try to figure out a better way, because I knew that I needed some type of paradigm shift.

“The suspension was long enough, unfortunately or fortunately, to allow me to think about changes and putting that change in motion.”

LINING UP ALLIES

In Feb., 2009, there was Rodriguez in apologetic mode, in an confessing interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons that, yes, he tested for steroid use six years prior to that. President Barack Obama, in his first prime-time press conference, was even asked about it, and called it “depressing.”

The result could have been a lifetime ban from baseball.

Last October, Rodriguez sat with Joe Buck for an episode of DirecTV’s “Undeniable” and admitted the whole steroid cloud “cost me my reputation.”

The ARod reboot we’re seeing now goes beyond having Jennifer Lopez on one arm and talking selfies with his two daughters while posting them on a very active Instagram account.

After Fox took the first major big-name-driven plunge by giving Rodriguez a post-game studio role in 2015 while he was still active – he would play one more season after that – the critical response was well received. Rodriguez segued in a way that perhaps only a Michael Strahan could appreciate it.

He filmed a pilot last year for CNBC called “Back In The Game,” where he would mentor down-and-out former athletes. On ABC’s “Shark Tank,” he teamed up with Mark Cuban go buy into an ice-shaker business created by Rob Gronkowski’s family.

If Rodriguez isn’t guest-hosting ABC’s “Live with Kelly Ripa” (thanks again, Strahan), he’s a guest doing goofy stuff with Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s “The Tonight Show”

Vasgersian, who has been calling weekly games for the league-owned MLB Network as well as Fox regional contests, discussed with Rodriguez last summer about what it might be like to team up on ESPN, knowing play-by-play man Dan Shulman said he was going to leave after seven seasons. When Aaron Boone also left to become the Yankees’ manager in early December, two spots needed filling.

Rodriguez reportedly told ESPN that he would be most comfortable moving into the Sunday night spot if Vasgersian was with him, plus he already admired the work put in by Mendoza.

Vasgersian said the key to Rodriguez’ media-induced is “there is no nefarious motivation – he’s just not afraid to put himself on all kinds of platforms. He’s broadened his appeal to the non-purists and those who aren’t even sports fans so I think it can’t help permeate into sports.

“Sure, he’ll have his critics, but he also has an earnest quality about him and the more people he exposes himself to, the more they’ll know he’s a person that, yes, there are choices he made that he would like a do-over, but spending more time with him, you can’t help but like him.”

MAKING IT HAPPEN

Stephanie Druley, ESPN’s senior vice president, events and studio production, can point out examples of where ESPN on-air talent has been shared with other networks – Beth Mowin and Jay Bilas, loaned to CBS to work on the NFL and college basketball, or Curtis Strange going to  Fox on golf. Sometimes, it takes trading off properties or assets to make it work for both sides.

“This is not unprecedented,” Druley said, “and it was not a hard thing to do. … this was not a giant hill to climb” to get Fox and ESPN to share Rodriguez. Druley also dismissed that this was a result of the recent announcement that ESPN parent company Disney has an agreement to buy a large chunk of Fox properties, including its regional sports networks that are not tied to the Fox Sports operations. The government may not approve that deal for at least another year.

Still, this concession is a bit unusual. Some behind the scenes are L.A.-based Fox are somewhat baffled at how Rodriguez was allowed to cross into a perceived enemy territory. A statement released by Fox quoting executive producer John Entz touched only on how the network was “pleased to extend our relationship with Alex for the next four years as a key voice in our all-star lineup of baseball minds on our MLB pre- and post-game shows in October.” Fox Sports chief Eric Shanks did not offer a comment about how the deal came about.

Other sources point to Tony Petitti, the MLB COO who succeeded Rob Manfred in that spot three years ago when Manfred became baseball commissioner, as the one who coordinated all right-holders to play together for the good of the entire product. It follows along the lines of allowing ESPN to add the MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” show to its daytime lineup.

Even if this arrangement somehow fails, Rodriguez seems to already have learned the ability to make it work in his favor. As he posted on Instagram recently: “There’s nothing wrong with making a mistake, what’s wrong is not making the effort to make it right.”

Then there’s the notion that former players who turn to TV broadcasting can elevate their public persona and perhaps flip a narrative that may have been brewing against them.

Maybe by the time Rodriguez becomes first-time eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022 – he still has the 14 All-Star appearances in 22 seasons, 696 homers (fourth all time), 2,086 RBIs (third all time), and three MVPs – he could have a solid decade of TV work that covers up any residual PED scars, speaks to his love and knowledge of the game and enhances his image. Something that more than $450 million of salary over the years couldn’t buy.

“Look, I’d be sitting here lying to you if I said it wouldn’t be an absolute dream to get into the Hall of Fame,” he said. “But I certainly don’t control that.

“But I think what I can control is my behavior, my actions … So I think it’s not an image. This is a long ride and it’s a slow burn. And nothing’s going to happen easy.”

MEASURING MEDIA MAYHEM

WHAT SMOKES

The next edition of HBO’s “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) sends a somewhat beleaguered Bernie Goldberg out to decide that the Anaheim-based St. Brown football-focused family is not at all like the Chino Hills-based Ball basketball-crazed family despite some obvious similarities. Thanks for that news flash.

= Bob Costas said he could justify NBC leaving him out of any upcoming Super Bowl coverage because “Dan (Patrick) and Liam (McHugh) have done the job hosting NBC’s NFL coverage all season. It wouldn’t be right for me to parachute in and do the Super Bowl.” But after speculation came about that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell refused a sit-down opportunity with Costas for the pre-game show because of Costas’ stated distain for how head injuries have hurt the NFL product, Costas later told Sports Business Daily that he not only didn’t have a problem with being left out, “I’m actually happy about it. I have long had ambivalent feelings about football, so at this point, it’s better to leave the hosting to those who are more enthusiastic about it.” Count us equally happy he’s not there as well. Ambivalence can go both ways.

WHAT CHOKES

= Reading between whatever lines Jemele Hill wants to use in explaining why she’ll leave as co-host of the 3 p.m. “SC6” SportsCenter role after Friday and gravitate toward writing projects with TheUndefeated.com, there can’t be many employees left at ESPN pleased to hear this, or even others who aren’t there, like the ones sacrificed in layoffs due to budget cuts. All the resources poured into promoting this “innovative” and urban-slanted pairing with Michael Smith was simply “His & Hers” folly and results in a year-long failed experiment where none of it is rescuable.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/01/27/hoffarth-on-media-alex-rodriguez-continues-media-makeover-with-espn/

Jan 22

Play It Forward Jan. 22-28: Lakers, Clippers have no Grammy break, but Celtics’ visit could leave sour notes

Ranking the top 10 sports events Jan. 22-28 you won’t want to miss:

NO. 1: NBA: CELTICS at LAKERS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., TNT
NBA: CELTICS at CLIPPERS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, ESPN
In a game of musical chairs, neither the Lakers nor the Clippers are left without a seat at Staples Center this week even though the Grammy Awards are coming up. For just the second time since 2000, these Staples singers don’t have to clear out for the week-long rehearsals because the event, marking its 60th anniversary, decided it wanted a Madison Square Garden party. Now it messes with the Knicks’ routine.
So let it be.
Instead, the Lakes and Clippers have to face the music with the arrival of the Boston Celtics for their annual visit. The team with the best record in the Eastern Conference, in the fifth year of coach Brad Stevens’ rebuild, will try to play along with two franchises ill equipped to be on the main stage with them. In fact, this will merely be a two-day L.A. tuneup before Boston faces Golden State in Oakland for a prime-time superiority test (Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Ch. 7).

Boston’s rebuild includes the arrival of Kyrie Irving, the Cavs’ former No. 1 overall pick who lasted there six years until a presumed fallout with LeBron James. With the Celtics, he’s an All-Star starter averaging 24 points a game and remains the league’s Most Interesting Quote Machine, leading to a story in GQ this week proclaiming that “It’s Kyrie Irving’s World Now: What If Kyrie is the last sane one in a world that’s completely gone mad?” Remember, he has said he still believes the Earth is flat.
“Right now, it’s impossible to ignore him,” the story says. “After LaVar Ball, he’s the NBA’s premier sideshow, whether he’s dissing the entire city of Cleveland, rejecting Christmas as a valid holiday, planning an anti-capitalist ‘self-sustaining community,’ or going vegan because ‘steak doesn’t come from anything natural.’
“In the era of #fakenews, it’s not exactly encouraging that an NBA All-Star is out here spewing anti-science gibberish. But what if Kyrie Irving is a tool for liberation, an object lesson in just how foolish it is to listen to people like him?”
What if we just put Irving and LaVar Ball at center court and let them discuss global issues.
Also this week for the Lakers: At Chicago, Friday, 5 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet; at Toronto, Sunday, 3 p.m., Spectrum Sports Net
Also this week for the Clippers: At Staples Center vs. Minnesota, Monday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket; At Memphis, Friday, 5 p.m., Prime Ticket; At New Orleans, Sunday, 1 p.m., Prime Ticket.

NO. 2: NBA ALL-STAR ROSTER ANNOUNCEMENT
Details/TV: Thursday, 4 p.m., TNT
The NBA is missing a prime opportunity not to let viewers watch the new roster selection process for the All-Star game scheduled for Staples Center on Feb. 18. Two captains, LeBron James and Steph Curry, will pick their own teams, no matter employment in the Eastern or Western Conference. We know the 10 starters, and the reserves filling out the 24- player pool comes Tuesday. But all we get here is the announcement, because NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes too many feelings will be hurt by doing it live on TV. “There was a sense from the players that it put them in an impossible situation where they’re picking one player over another, in part not because that player is better than another player but maybe because they have a personal relationship with the player or they think that player will be a better complement to the players,” Silver told NBA TV. There’s an argument one can easily pick apart.

NO. 3: BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
CLASS OF 2018 ANNOUNCEMENT
Details/TV: Wednesday, 3 p.m., MLB Network
With less than half the ballots submitted to BBHOFtracker.com, the trend is that first-year eligible players Chipper Jones and Jim Thome, as well as former Angels MVP Vlad Guerrero (in his second year) will easily exceed the 75-percent threshold and get in, former DH Edgar Martinez (in his ninth year) and relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman (third year) are slightly above the cut-off line, Mike Mussina (fifth year) is just short, Curt Schilling (sixth year) needs some late support, and steroid-tainted Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (both in their sixth year) are still not going to have enough.  Still, five getting voted in is quite a bunch. “In the last five years we’ll see more people going into the Hall of Fame – just in the last five years – than in the entire decade of the ’70s or ’90s,” says Sports Illustrated writer and MLB Network analyst Tom Verducci, whose vote left off Bonds and Clemens but included Schilling.

NO. 4: NFL PRO BOWL
Details/TV: At Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, noon, ESPN, Ch. 7
Let’s go camping. There’s no other pro football in the week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, nor is this in far-away Honolulu to make some forget about their miserable weather. Your representatives from the Rams and Chargers could also change their minds, but for now, you’ll be able to see an NFC team with Todd Gurley, Andrew Whitworth and Johnny Hekker, and the AFC team with Keenan Allen, Casey Hayward and Joey Bosa. (Philip Rivers and Aaron Donald have taken themselves out because of injury). More info: www.nfl.com/probowl

NO. 5: NHL ALL STAR GAME
Details/TV: At Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Ch. 4
A year removed from a visit to Staples Center, this 3-on-3 format made up of four teams from each division will be SoCal repped by three Kings from the Pacific Division – goalie Jonathan Quick, forward Anze Kopitar and defenseman Drew Doughty, along with Ducks forward Rickard Rakell, in his first All Star game. Looks like a natural line pairing. So with no NHL players going to the Winter Olympics, this may have to serve as the place to celebrate U.S./Canada hockey’s best. The last time Tampa hosted an All-Star Game was in 1999, when Wayne Gretzky earned MVP honors in what would be his final appearance in the contest (doing so as a member of the New York Rangers).
Also during All Star Weekend: Skills Competition, Saturday, 4 p.m., NBCSN
Also this week for the Ducks: At Honda Center vs. N.Y. Rangers, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket; at Honda Center vs. Winnipeg, Thursday, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket.
Also this week for the Kings: At Vancouver, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports West; at Calgary, Wednesday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports West.

NO. 6: TENNIS: AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINALS
WOMEN’S FINAL
Details/TV: At Melbourne, Australia, early Saturday, 12:30 a.m., ESPN
MEN’S FINAL
Details/TV: At Melbourne, Australia, early Sunday, 12:30 a.m., ESPN
If there’s no Nadal-Federer finale, are we still engaged in the process? The Bryan brothers, meanwhile, are still in contention in the men’s doubles.

NO. 7: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
CAL at UCLA
Details/TV: At Pauley Pavilion, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., FS1
STANFORD at USC
Details/TV: At Galen Center, Wednesday, 6 p.m., ESPNU
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT at PEPPERDINE
Details/TV: At Firestone Field House in Malibu, Thursday, 7 p.m. Spectrum SportsNet
In the latest College Basketball Power Index, a three-game losing streak by the Bruins (13-7, 4-4) drops them to No. 68 overall – the same number that’s allowed to go to the NCAA tournament – and a four-game win streak by the Trojans (15-6, 6-2) has boosted them to No. 46. USC’s last loss was to Stanford, thanks to that 50-foot buzzer beater by Daejon Davis, otherwise the Trojans’ win streak would be seven.
Meanwhile, there are last two teams in the West Coast Conference — LMU (6-13, 1-7) is No. 256 and Pepperdine (3-17, 0-8) is at No. 306 out of 351 teams on the CBPI. The Waves are surrendering 81.1 points a game, which ranks 330th.
Also this week for UCLA: At Pauley Pavilion vs. Stanford, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Also this week for USC: At Galen Center vs. Cal, Sunday, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Also this week for Loyola Marymount: At Gersten Pavilion vs. San Diego, Saturday, 1 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
Also this week for Pepperdine: At Firestone Field House vs. Santa Clara, Saturday, 3 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
Also this week for Cal State Fullerton: At Titan Gym vs. UC Santa Barbara, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports West; At Hawaii, Saturday, 5 p.m.

Also this week for Cal State Northridge: At UC Davis, Thursday, 7 p.m.; At the Matadome vs. Long Beach State, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Also this week for UC Irvine: At Bren Events Center vs. UC Riverside, Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Also this week for Long Beach State: At Cal Poly, Thursday, 7 p.m.; At Cal State Northridge, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Also this week for UC Riverside: At UC Irvine, Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN3; At SRC Arena vs. UC Santa Barbara, Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPN3
Also this week in Top 25/ games of interest: Clemson at Virginia, Tuesday, 4 p.m., ACC Network; Kansas at Oklahoma, 4 p.m., ESPN; Michigan at Purdue, Thursday, 4 p.m., ESPN; Colorado at Arizona, Thursday, 5:30 p.m., FS1; Utah at Arizona State, Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Pac 12 Net;  North Carolina State at North Carolina, Saturday 9 a.m., Channel 2; Virginia at Duke, Saturday, 11 a.m., Channel 2; Utah at Arizona, Saturday, 2:30 p.m., Channel 11; Kentucky at West Virginia, Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN; Colorado at Arizona State, Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPNU; Oregon State at Oregon, Saturday, 5 p.m., Pac 12 Net; Villanova at Marquette, Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 11; Michigan State at Maryland, Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 2; Purdue at Indiana, Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11; Washington State at Washington, Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPNU.

NO. 8: GOLF: PGA TOUR FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN
Details/TV: At Torrey Pines Golf Course, Thursday-Sunday, Golf Channel, Channel 2
Tiger Woods, the spotlight is back on you. In his first official PGA Tour event in a year – he was carted off the course here in 2017 complaining about another back issue after shooting 76-72 to miss the cut – Woods is ranked 668th in the Official World Rankings. Not too shabby for a 14-time major winner with eight Torrey Pines wins who just turned 42. The field includes World No. 3 player Jon Rahm, the defending champ, as well as local hero Phil Mickelson.

NO. 9: SOCCER: U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM vs. BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
Details/TV: At StubHub Center in Carson, Sunday, 4:30 p.m., FS1
The U.S. Soccer Federation website calls this the “next brick in the building process,” since it’s in no way a tune-up match for the 2018 World Cup and the end to a three-week training camp to reboot the roster. Galaxy midfielder Gyasi Zardes and LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman are among the 30 in this phase. Zardes, the former Leuzinger High (Hawthorne) standout, had 37 appearances with the national team so far. StubHub Center has been the site for 15 previous USMNT games, and they are 11-2-2 with eight shutouts.

NO. 10: MLB: DODGERS FAN FEST
Details/TV: At Dodger Stadium, Saturday, 10 a.m.
The free-for-all ends at 4 p.m., but prior to that, it’s a chance to see if you can find anything left over from the Houston Astros’ World Series Game 7 celebration. More info: www.mlb.com/dodgers/tickets/events/fanfest

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/01/21/play-it-forward-jan-22-28-lakers-clippers-have-no-grammy-break-but-celtics-visit-could-leave-sour-notes/

Jan 21

Hoffarth on media: Doug Adler’s net gain is to restore credibility

With all due respect to how irony works, and using a phrase that if misinterpreted could destroy a person’s life and career, it’s accurate to say Doug Adler is in guerrilla attack mode these days.

Rather than let others on Twitter, the mainstream media or the general tennis viewing public go into pitchfork-and-torch mode to push an inaccurate narrative about his character, the former USC walk-on who once battled his way to All-American status as a tennis player and in mid-career took up a career in sports broadcasting is now at a point where he is charging the net – and a network – to find peace of mind.

lawsuit.jpgThe stress of this has already brought on a heart attack, but that hasn’t detoured him from restoring his good name and credibility, believing he could be a cautionary tale for anyone else who gets cornered into this sort of maddening media-induced free fall.

“I want to fight for something that’s worthwhile to me, stay positive, find a silver lining, be grateful I’m still alive and try not to let the people who put me in this position impact my life anymore,” said Adler as he sat in a diner booth not far from his Sherman Oaks home, a day before his 60th birthday.

A wrongful termination suit against ESPN that Adler filed last February is scheduled to be heard in L.A. Superior Court this October. Adler hasn’t worked on a tennis broadcast over the last year, saying he was not renewed for long-standing assignments at ESPN, Santa Monica-based Tennis Channel and other productions because of the assumption he is still too toxic.

Consider how a tennis player must feel when he’s down two sets in a five-set match. Give up, or break back.

Hire a new attorney who is aggressive, committed and passionate, like Adler, for your cause. Hire a public relations firm to help get you air time on Fox News, after you’ve already had talk-back appearances on NBC’s “Today” show, Larry Elder’s radio show or even a local KNBC-Channel 4 sports segment, to give your side of the story.

That’s how all this adds up for Adler at the moment. It’s his serve.

‘GUERRILLA’ VS. ‘GORILLA’

Rewind to Jan. 18, 2017. At the DirecTV broadcast center in Marina del Rey, calling a match at the Australian Open for ESPN’s Interactive feed off a TV monitor, Adler sat with analyst Elise Burgin to do a first-week match between Venus Williams and Stefanie Voegle. As Williams ran off to a 6-3, 6-2 win, Adler said he could sense that her strategy was to rush the net from the baseline on Voegele’s serves to upset her timing.

There’s a term for that. It’s been used in tennis jargon for awhile, popularized by a Nike commercial campaign.

“You see Venus moving in and put the guerrilla effect on … charging (the net),” Adler said, just before Williams did it.

Translating “guerrilla” to “gorilla” takes this to a whole new level of charging someone with being a racist, “appalling” and “horrifying that the Williams sisters remain subjected to it still in 2017.” Those were included in tweets sent out by Ben Rothenberg, a New York Times tennis freelancer who implied that Adler had slandered Williams. The Daily Mail in London picked up on it and retweeted.

While Adler’s call was going to DirecTV subscribers and ESPN3 online, ESPN also had that match on its main feed, but with a different announcing crew. It’s hard to say just how many actually heard Adler’s description first-hand, let alone how it was repeated.

“All it took was one person to light a match and everyone following,” said Adler, who didn’t have a Twitter account at the time and had no idea how this was snowballing.

Before he was to go on the air the next day, Adler said he was forced to make an apology. For what? Adler says he was told that if he read a statement prepared by ESPN and made the mea culpa on air, they would move on together and Adler would keep his job. Adler was also told ESPN’s people understood what he meant, but at this point, the story had already become unhinged on social media.

Including a phrasing that it was an “inadvertent use of the wrong word to describe Venus’ play,” Adler did the ESPN scripted apology, put his headset back on and was to call another match. But he said he was taken off the air, told to go home and come back the next day and all would be OK. That never happened. He was terminated.

Meanwhile, Williams was asked by reporters in Australia her reaction to the story. She replied that she doesn’t comment on things that are not noteworthy.

“If what I said was racially driven or divisive, I believe Venus would have taken a much different stance,” Adler said. “I have the utmost respect for Venus and what she’s accomplished over her great career.”

In the weeks before hiring an attorney and filing the lawsuit, Adler was urged by some friends to get his side of the story out, starting with Twitter.

“Twitter scares me,” Adler added. “It can be wonderful and fun, but there is all this political correctness, not having the right information …”

He tried anyway.

“One of the first responses I saw was someone saying: ‘This can’t be Doug Adler. He can’t be that stupid to come on Twitter.’ Why would I be so stupid to let people come and get me? But I tried to challenge them: How do you know my character, or what I was thinking, or do you know tennis terminology?’” His goal was to try to educate. Some got it. Some didn’t.

Guess how all that turned out? A heart attack, for one. But eventually, some clarity from those in the media from those who had figured things out.

‘NEGATIVELY VIEWED COMMENTS’

ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys responded to an August appearance Adler made on the “Today Show,” an interview conducted by Matt Lauer: “Adler made an inappropriate reference to Venus Williams for which he felt no apology was necessary. We disagree and stand 100 percent behind our decision to remove him from the 2017 Australian Open. … We removed him from the Australian Open for making an inappropriate comment that was viewed negatively by everyone but Adler.” This week, Soltys said the network’s stance remains the same.

Adler can rightly feel that if he were a higher-profile analyst like John McEnroe, this would have been “handled much differently with more care and thought.” Instead, Adler says McEnroe told him recently that he “had become nothing more than collateral damage” in this whole scenario. Small consolation as he continues to get support from the tennis community.

Doug Adler, left, with Mark Donaldson calling a match for ESPN at Wimbledon in 2016. (Courtesy photo)
Doug Adler, left, with Mark Donaldson calling a match for ESPN at Wimbledon in 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Adler isn’t backing away from his feelings that ESPN “threw me to the wolves.” He doesn’t feel it’s productive to comment on the way ESPN has handled other caustic employee-related social media stories this past year because, as his own story has taught him, “the last thing I want to do is make judgments or assumptions or be uneducated when we’re talking about someone else’s career that could be ruined by something said about them.”

This isn’t about trying to force an out-of-court settlement with ESPN, he insists. There isn’t even a figure attached to the suit for financial damages sought.

“What I said was proper tennis terminology and 100 percent accurate and meant as a compliment,” said Adler. “All I’m doing now is fighting for my life against ESPN. They haven’t even issued an apology to me. That would be a nice start and make things better.

“Talking about this continues to be therapeutic on some level. I’m not going to be angry because that doesn’t help. No one wants to be called a racist. I’m not. I embrace people of all races, ethnicity, cultures and life experiences. I don’t want this to happen to other innocent people.”

Yet, if there’s any sort of misunderstanding about where Adler is coming from, consider that long before he played at Hollywood High, where his best friend on the tennis team was Maurice Hunter, who went on to play at Pepperdine, and his first doubles partner at USC was Earl Prince, and who roomed as a senior at USC with track sprint stars James Sanford and Kenny Hayes, Adler already had some life lessons in racial and culture sensitivity training.

“Growing up as a Jewish person, I understand how words can be so destructive and so hurtful and make you want to hide, or even fight,” said Adler, who grew up in Eagle Rock. “As a kid, I was hit with an onslaught of words – bad words – and I would go home and say, ‘Why are they calling me that? Who are they hearing that from?’ ”

What could Adler do? Not stand on the baseline. Fight back. Guerrilla style, if that’s the accurate phrase for it.

“That’s terribly accurate,” Adler said.

MEASURING MEDIA MAYHEM

WHAT SMOKES

dickenberg_fb* PodcastOne.com has launched a one-hour tribute to the late Dick Enberg, who had just started the process of cataloguing a dozen episodes of his “Sound of Success” podcast before his passing last December. Narrated by Rich Eisen and Suzy Shuster, the show includes memories of Enberg as told by Bob Costas, Dick Vitale, Troy Aikman, Dan Patrick, Jay Bilas, Joe Buck and Jim Nantz, as well as many clips from Enberg’s shows. In addition to the website it is also available on iTunes via apple.com.

WHAT CHOKES

* How would you like your introduction as a local reporter to a national TV audience be Charles Barkley reacting to one of your tweets on TNT: “How the hell does Ashley Brewer know?” As TNT was into its postgame show from the Clippers-Rockets broadcast late last Monday, reports started to surface about Rockets players trying to come into the Clippers locker room, but nothing could be verified. Brewer, the KABC-Channel 7 reporter at the game, tweeted out: “Chris Paul walked into the locker room very upset. James Harden tried to reason with him and it turned physical.”  She later defended her tweet at 10:41 p.m. saying it was true “because that’s what security told us.”  What wasn’t posted on TNT was her first tweet at 10:15 p.m. that read: “There is a fight in the Rockets locker room. Security guards called for extra security to run inside.” She then tweeted at 10:37 p.m. that the “LAPD was called into the locker room area. Now hearing Chris Paul stayed out of it, 3 Rockets players were going after Austin Rivers,” which drew boisterous laughs of disbelief on the TNT set by Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal about the thought LAPD would even be involved. It circles back to: What does a reporter hear, what can he or she verify and what should be reported on Twitter. In that order.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/01/20/hoffarth-on-media-doug-adlers-net-gain-is-to-restore-is-credibility/

Jan 17

Wilshire Country Club to host LPGA Tour event in April

Wilshire Country Club in the regal Hancock Park area has agreed to return as host of the LPGA Tour’s first Los Angeles-based event in 13 years, set for April 19-22.

The HUGEL-JTBC L.A. Open, with the title co-sponsors connected to a Korean beauty products company and media outlet, will have a $1.5 million purse for a 144-player field who can see the Hollywood sign in the background at various parts of the course.

The LPGA had announced in December that, as part of its 34-event season, it planned an L.A. return and had the sponsors in place, but still had not locked down the course.

The Wilshire Country Club (301 N Rossmore Ave.), about six miles northwest of downtown L.A. and bordered by Highland, Melrose and 3rd Street, is a private club founded in 1919 with a course designed by Norman MacBeth. It held four PGA Tour Los Angeles Opens (1928, ’31, ’33 and ’44), as well as a Senior PGA Tour event from 1995 to 2000, after which Kyle Phillips began a restoration project in 2010.

The course is listed at 6,527 yards and a par 71. One of the signature holes is a 555-yard 16th with a green protected by part of the winding creek that runs through the property.

L.A. and the LPGA have had a rather otherwise volatile relationship. The LPGA has played 10 courses in 22 L.A. stops between 1970 and 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted the Office Depot Championship in 2001, won by Annika Sorenstam. El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana was also a recent L.A. course host from 2002-04 (Sorenstam won that in ’03 and ’04). Prior to that, courses such as Calabasas, Wood Ranch in Simi Valley, Brookside in Pasadena, Oakmont in Glendale, Rancho Park in L.A. and Los Coyotes in Buena Park have held it.

The Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes was the problematic site for the last LPGA tournament in Southern California in 2005, but it was plagued by several days of early morning fog in October, forcing a Monday finish. That was the one and only year the course had the event.

But no LPGA event in L.A. has lasted more than three years in a row at one club.

The event at Wilshire continues something of a comeback story for old-school L.A. courses. While Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades has established itself as the home for the PGA Tour — the next event is Feb. 15-18 — Los Angeles Country Club was named in 2015 as the host for the 2023 U.S. Open. In September, LACC also played host to the Walker Cup. Both Riviera and Bel-Air Country Club were co-hosts for the U.S. Amateur Open in August.

This L.A. tournament arrives three weeks after the LPGA Tour stop at Carlsbad (March 22-25) and two weeks after the season’s first major, the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage (March 29-April 1).

Outside of the major in Palm Springs, originally known as the Dinah Shore Invitational, La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad has been the closest-to-L.A. location for the LPGA since 2009. That year, the LPGA announced it would be putting a tour stop in L.A. from 2010-2014, but a venue was never settled upon, and La Costa ended up with it.

Another new LPGA event will follow the L.A. stop — Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, just outside of San Francisco.

The Eiger Marketing Group (EMG), a global marketing and event management agency that owns and operates the annual LPGA tournament in Atlantic City, will run this L.A. tour stop as well.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/01/17/wilshire-country-club-to-host-lpga-tour-event-in-april/

Jan 15

Play It Forward Jan. 15-21: The NFL’s Final Four has a very Patriotic scent, but Jags, Vikings and Eagles smell upsets

Ranking the top 10 sports events Jan. 15-21 you won’t want to miss:

NO. 1: NFL: CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
AFC: JAGUARS at PATRIOTS
Details/TV: At Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, noon, Ch. 2
NFC: VIKINGS at EAGLES
Details/TV: At Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Sunday, 3:40 p.m., Ch. 11
“If the final four quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs are Tom Brady, Blake Bortles, Nick Foles and Case Keenum I can tell you how this ends,” CBS Sports NFL writer Will Brinson tweeted out early Sunday afternoon, before knowing how it would shake out. Now that Super Bowl savvy QBs like  Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are out of the equation, and it looks pretty simple, eh?
Sure, but does 40-year-old TB12 know any defensive schemes? Or will Sacksonville have the advantage in the AFC title game? The Jaguars are 1-10 against the Patriots in their franchise history. Surprisingly, that one win came in the playoffs, in Jacksonville, after the 1998 regular season. These Jags lost to the visiting Rams in Week 6 (27-17), needed OT to outlast the visiting Chargers in Week 10 (20-17), and in Week 3 of the 2015 regular season, New England coach Bill Belichick figured out a way to scramble Bortles’ game by pinning a 51-17 defeat on him, where Brady scored on all nine of his possessions. In the NFC championship, the No. 2-seed Vikings somehow stay alive to have a home Super Bowl after the stunner against the Saints, also on their home field, but first have to visit the No. 1 seeded Eagles. Keenum and Foles — two former Rams QBs before Jared Goff finally found his footing — can compare improbable career arcs experienced this season. The Vikings last played the Eagles in Week 15 of the 2013 season — Foles, in his second year out of Arizona at the time, threw for a career high 428 yards in Philadelphia’s 48-30 loss at Minnesota. The QB for those 4-9-1 Vikings that day: Matt Cassel.

NO. 2: NBA: MLK DAY GAMES
ROCKETS at CLIPPERS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Monday, 7:30 p.m., TNT
LAKERS at GRIZZLES
Details/TV: At FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, 2:30 p.m., TNT, Spectrum Sports Net
WARRIORS at CAVALIERS
Details/TV: At Quicken Loan Arena in Cleveland, Monday, 5 p.m., TNT
TNT has made the Lakers and Clippers part of this holiday schedule – bookends to the second and last Golden State-Cleveland matchup of the regular season. Each game brings its own storyline. The Lakers are in Memphis, where the National Civil Rights Museum is located, and nearly 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Meanwhile, the Clippers get a visit from Chris Paul for the first time since he left the organization. The Warriors knocked off the Cavs, 99-92, on Christmas Day without Steph Curry. Since then, Cleveland has gone 2-6, even with Isiah Thomas back in their lineup, while Golden State has gone 8-2.
Also on MLK Day:  Charlotte at Detroit, NBATV, 9:30 a.m.; San Antonio at Atlanta, noon, NBATV.
Also this week for the Lakers: At Oklahoma City, Wednesday, 5 p.m., SSN; At Staples Center vs. Indiana, Friday, 7:30 p.m., SSN; At Staples Center vs. N.Y. Knicks, Sunday, 12:30 p.m., SSN.
Also this week for the Clippers: At Staples Center vs. Denver, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket; At Utah, Saturday, 6 p.m., Prime Ticket.

NO. 3: NHL: PENGUINS at DUCKS
Details/TV: At Honda Center, Wednesday, 7 p.m., NBCSN
PENGUINS at KINGS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Thursday, 7 p.m., NBCSN
KINGS at DUCKS
Details/TV: At Honda Center, Friday, 7 p.m., NBCSN
At just past the halfway point in the regular season, with the All-Star Game coming up (Jan. 28), defending champion Pittsburgh is flailing around on an iceberg with three other teams for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, about at .500 as one can get in every measurement. As goalie Matt Murray struggles, the Pens have to watch their previous No. 1 goalie tearing it up in Vegas. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel are averaging a point a game, and in the top 20 in points, but all are in the minus category for plus-minus. Does Pittsburgh need a tire rotation or a whole new set of wheels as they make their last journey through the Pacific Time Zone this season? NBCSN takes both games for all the nation to see, as well as the fourth Kings-Ducks matchup of the season on Friday from Honda Center, which, based on what happened during the third match up last week, should allow for a larger penalty box and an extra half-hour for the TV window.
Also this week for the Kings: At Staples Center vs. San Jose, Monday, 1 p.m., Fox Sports West; at Staples Center vs. N.Y. Rangers, Sunday, 7:30 p.m., FSW
Also this week for the Ducks: At Colorado, Monday, noon, Prime Ticket; at Honda Center vs. San Jose, Sunday, 6 p.m., Prime Ticket.

NO. 4: GOLF: PGA TOUR CAREER BUILDER CHALLENGE
Details/TV: At the PGA West Stadium Course, the Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Thursday-Sunday, Golf Channel
They know how to do it up in the Coachella Valley. Phil Mickelson may be the tournament’s “ambassador,” but Fitz and the Tantrums are what they want to make the party happen at this 58th event (going back to when Bob Hope hosted it). A concert by the indie-pop bank is part of your Saturday admission ticket and takes place adjacent to the driving range between the stadium and Nicklaus courses at PGA West after third-round play. Mickelson, who won this in 2002 and ’04, is the field’s headliner otherwise, along with Bubba Watson, Jon Rahm, John Daly, Corey Pavin and Jason Dufner are also in the field, as well as defending champ Hudson Swafford. Palm Desert High School senior Charlie Reiter, committed to play at USC, is also added to the field. Golf Channel airs all four days fom noon-to-4 p.m. More info: www.careerbuilderchallenge.com.

NO. 5: TENNIS: AUSTRALIAN OPEN
FIRST THROUGH THIRD ROUNDS
Details/TV: In Melbourne, Australia, Monday-Sunday, Tennis Channel, ESPN2
There are no such things as bomb cyclones or a polar vortex this time of the year in Australia. Instead, this summer is so hot in Sydney, temps recently hit 117 degrees. New mom Serena Williams, who won this thing a year ago, while pregnant, decided she’s not fit enough to endure the grind. That left older sister Venus (seeded fifth) as one of the top draws worthy of attention. However Venus was bounced in the first round, as were CoCo Vandeweghe (10th) and Sloane Stephens (13th), Madison Keys (17th) remains in the field.. The men’s side should come down again to No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal and No. 2 seed Roger Federer, with possibly Americans Jack Sock (seeded eighth), Sam Querrey (13th) or John Isner (16th) making some noise. “Let’s just continue to appreciate this guy,” ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe says about the 36-year-old Federer. “The fact that he’s still able to play at this level, quite frankly, I think it’s just one of the most amazing feats I’ve ever seen in any sport.” Action already started Sunday night Pacific Time, and most of the play going forward takes place daily from 4-to-6 p.m. on Tennis Channel and 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. on ESPN2. Finals air on Jan. 28. More info: www.ausopen.com

NO. 6: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
UCLA at OREGON STATE
Details/TV: At Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, 8 p.m., FS1
UCLA at OREGON
Details/TV: At Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, 6 p.m., ESPN2
CAL STATE FULERTON at LONG BEACH STATE
Details/TV: At Walter Pyramid, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports West
Swear to goodness, we decided to take a first peek at the Joe Lunardi “Bracketology” projection on ESPN to see a possible Field of 68 that could happen in a couple of months. UCLA (13-5, 4-2) is one of just three Pac 12 teams in his field right now – a No. 11 seed in the South, going to Nashville to face Texas Christian in the first round (Arizona State, a No. 3 seed in the West, and Arizona, a No. 5 seed in the Midwest both are sent to games in San Diego). But up there as a new-entry No. 16 seed in the South regional is Cal State Fullerton (11-5, 4-0 in the Big West), slotted for a first-round game against top seed West Virginia in Pittsburgh. The Titans have a RPI of 116 to this point, but 0-2 against other RPI Top 50 teams and 2-4 against RPI Top 100 teams. Here’s another TV opportunity to show what they can bring.
Also this week for UCLA: At Oregon, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN
Also this week for USC: At Oregon State, Saturday, 5 p.m., Pac-12 Net
Also this week for Cal State Fullerton: At UC Santa Barbara, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Also this week for Long Beach State: At UC Davis, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Also this week for Cal State Northridge: At UC Riverside, Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN3; At the Matadome vs. Cal Poly, Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN3
Also this week for UC Riverside: At SCR Arena vs. Cal State Northridge, Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Also this week for UC Irvine: At Bren Events Center vs. Cal Poly, Thursday, 7 p.m., ESPN3; at UC Santa Barbara, Saturday, 9 p.m., ESPNU
Also this week for Loyola Marymount: At BYU, Thursday, 8 p.m., ESPNU; At Gersten Pavilion vs. Portland, Saturday, 7 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
Also this week for Pepperdine: At Pacific, Thursday, 7 p.m.; at University of San Francisco, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Also this week in Top 25/games of interest: Duke at Miami, Monday, 4 p.m., ESPN; Kansas at West Virginia, Monday, 6 p.m., ESPN; Wisconsin at Purdue, Tuesday, 4 p.m., ESPN; Clemson at North Carolina, Tuesday, 4 p.m., ACC Network; Louisville at Notre Dame, Tuesday, 4 p.m., ESPN2; Kentucky at South Carolina, Tuesday, 6 p.m., ESPN; Villanova at Georgetown, Wednesday, 3:30 p.m., FS1; Auburn at Alabama, Wednesday, 4 p.m., SEC Network; St. John’s at Xavier, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., CBSSN; Seton Hall at Creighton, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., FS1; Arizona at Cal, Wednesday, 6 p.m., Pac 12 Net; Arizona State at Stanford, Wednesday, 8 p.m., Pac 12 Net; St. Mary’s at Gonzaga, Thursday, 6 p.m., ESPN; Indiana at Michigan State, Friday, 4 p.m., FS1; Villanova at UConn, Saturday, 9 a.m., Channel 2; Purdue at Iowa, Saturday, 9 a.m., ESPN; Texas at West Virginia, Saturday, 11 a.m., Channel 2; Xavier at Seton Hall, Saturday, 11:30 a.m., Channel 11; Pittsburgh at Duke, Saturday, 1 p.m., ACC Net; Notre Dame at Clemson, Saturday, 1 p.m., ESPN; Arizona at Stanford, Saturday, 1 p.m., Channel 2; Baylor at Kansas, Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN; Florida at Kentucky, Saturday, 5:15 p.m., ESPN; Arizona State at Cal, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Pac 12 Net; Virginia at Wake Forest, Sunday, 3 p.m., ESPNU.

NO. 7: AMA SUPERCROSS
Details/TV: At Angel Stadium, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Marvin Musquin won the first 450SX event at Anaheim before some 45,000 fans in the AMA opener on Jan. 6, with Newbury Park’s Cole Seely sixth. They’re back at it after a trip to Houston in between. More info: www.supercross.com

NO. 8: COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL
Details/TV: At the Rose Bowl, Saturday, 1 p.m., FS1
The previous six have been at StubHub Center in Carson, but this exercise in life experiences for NFL Draft-eligible players who may be under the radar moves to Pasadena for the first time. Mike Martz and Darrell Green coach the rosters divided into National and American teams. More info: collegiate.nflpa.com
Also this week: 93rd East-West Shrine Classic at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., Saturday, noon, NFL Network

NO. 9: MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
UFC 220: STIPE MIOCIC vs. FRANCIS NGANNOU
Details/TV: At TD Garden in Boston, Saturday, 7 p.m., pay per view, FS1, UFC Fight Pass
BELLATOR 192:  DOUGLAS LIMA vs. RORY MacDONALD
Details/TV: At the Inglewood Forum, Saturday, 7 p.m., Spike TV (delayed, 9 p.m.)
Heavyweight champion Miocic (17-2) takes on Cameroon’s Ngannou (11-1), the top-seeded challenger, as the UFC kicks off its 25th anniversary of being in business this year. “What started as an idea in 1993 to put on the best fights with the best fighters in the world has changed the face of sports,” UFC President Dana White said. “I heard the word ‘no’ over and over and we faced a ton of challenges, but UFC bounced back each time, bigger and better, to build legends and superstars, while creating some of the most memorable events in the history of sports. The first 25 years have been amazing and we’re just getting started.” More info: www.ufc.com
Meanwhile at the Forum, welterweight champ Lima faces MacDonald in the main event at 9 p.m., but many are also attracted to a matchup of Rampage Jackson (37-12-0) against Chael Sonnen (29-15-1), with a Kimbo Slice bobblehead giveaway (complete with gold chain) for those who get in early enough. More info: www.bellator.com

NO. 10: U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS: FREESKIING/SNOWBOARDING
Details/TV: At Mammoth Lakes, Wednesday-Sunday, 8:30 a.m.
Part of the Mammoth Grand Prix event, the last chance for many to make it to Team USA. Also Friday-Sunday at Mammoth Lakes: World Cup freestyle skiing, halfpipe and slopestyle. Saturday and Sunday, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announces who will make Team USA for the Pyeonchang Winter Games in February. More info: www.mammothmountain.com

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/01/14/play-it-forward-jan-15-21-the-nfls-final-four-has-a-very-patriotic-scent-but-jags-vikings-and-eagles-smell-upsets/

Jan 13

Hoffarth: Enberg’s voice resonates 50 years after the UCLA-Houston ‘Game of the Century’

A college basketball game, ill-fitted for a major domed stadium? It’s become common place today when TV wants to facilitate who should be declared the next NCAA champion.

In 1968, that awkward template was stumbled upon with some trepidation, in a place no longer the eighth wonder of the world, with seats too far away from the action and beamed to the nation through a patch-work syndicated TV feed that was still adding affiliates, commercial spots and viewers as it was taking place.

A half-century later, the matchup of No. 1 UCLA, on a 47-game win streak, and No. 2 Houston on Jan. 20, 1968 is still referred to as the “Game of the Century,” a true made-for-TV event put on by Eddie Einhorn’s TVS broadcasting company that pitted giants Lew Alcindor and Elvin Hayes inside the still newish Houston Astrodome.

It was not just the first regular-season college basketball game deemed worthy of a nation-wide audience, and not only set a record for the sport with more than 52,000 in attendance, most of whom couldn’t see much, but it ignited a sport in a way that only Dick Enberg, called upon to do play-by-play for it, could most aptly describe.

“That was a booster game into the stratosphere,” he said about 10 years later, engaged at the time to call the Michigan State-Indiana State game featuring Magic Johnson and Larry Bird for NBC, another seminal moment for the sport. “But the launching pad for the incredible popularity of college basketball on television, I believe, started right there in Houston, close to NASA. That really shot the rocket into the sky.”

Last November, in an opera house on the University of Houston campus, Enberg was joined on a panel discussion with former Houston players Hayes and Don Chaney, as well as CBS college basketball studio analyst Seth Davis, who compiled a compelling John Wooden biography in 2014, to re-educate people about the importance of that event. Houston alum Jim Nantz, who will be doing his 28th NCAA college basketball championship games this April, was the moderator.

The whole thing was recorded and is the foundation of a special presentation, “History in the Astrodome – 1968: UCLA vs. Houston” at 6 p.m. Monday on CBS Sports Network, repeated through the week, and a perfect way to celebrate the anniversary.

Yet it’s also a bittersweet moment, taped about six weeks before Enberg’s passing at age 82 last December. To see him so vibrant and sharp and poetic about that game, which he calls the “most important” thing he ever called, creates a whole near aura around it.

“It’s still difficult for me to get my mind around the fact we were all part of what will be his last TV show … it’s such a powerful thing,” said Nantz, in Foxboro, Mass., to call the Patriots-Titans NFL playoff game for CBS on Saturday night.

“The Friday night we taped that show, I was in between a Thursday night and a Sunday NFL game (for CBS), and Dick wanted to get back home for the Breeders’ Cup, but the show ran long and he was such a great sport and said, ‘That’s OK, I’m having a great time,’ and stayed over to fly out the next morning.

“To think about the symmetry of this: His first and ‘most meaningful’ broadcast was UCLA-Houston, where the nation was eyewitness finally to his magical prose, and now, he’s looking back on it 50 years later, and then he’s gone … How does that work?”

Sports_Illustrated_42398_19680129-001-2048Enberg had just turned 33 and was a few years in doing the UCLA basketball games for KTLA-Channel 5 (shown tape delayed at 11:30 p.m.) when Einhorn agreed to have him call this game paired with colorman Bob Pettit, the soon-to-be Basketball Hall of Famer. Einhorn, based in Chicago, put up a reported $27,000 in rights fees for the game, cleared about 120 TV stations across the nation, including KTLA. But, like the first Super Bowl, there is little video evidence of it remaining, making it a sort of Holy Grail search to find the game footage intact.

Nantz was 8 when it was played and admits he doesn’t recall watching it. But as a UH student who became the public address announcer at Cougars’ home games when Guy Lewis was still the coach, and helped campaign to get Lewis voted into the Basketball Hall, Nantz said he has always had “a tremendous awareness and appreciation” for what happened.

But then, on that Nov. 3 night, listening to Enberg recall the details, “that gave this idea to look back 50 years tremendous credentials,” said Nantz. “He was as sharp that night as he was in the prime of his career. Every time we asked Dick a question, he fired back the most eloquent answer as if he was sitting at his keyboard. I always marveled at his command of the language. He loved and savored every moment.”

Dan Weinberg, CBS Sports’ executive vice president for programming, came up with the show’s idea, with the help of Houston native and producer Chip Rives. Emilie Deutsch, who runs the features and documentaries for the network, said the topic “was a natural thing to look back upon as something we prioritize and treasure. And it’s an amazing thing that Dick would be doing his last national broadcast on the topic of his first national broadcast. He was so invested in this story, telling stories in the green room, so animated.”

Enberg, by the way, was also wearing a cast that November night on his leg, having recently ruptured an Achilles tendon while playing tennis.

Consider that on this coming Saturday, Jan. 20, there will be more than 100 college basketball games played across the country, and in Los Angeles, nearly half are accessible on TV or video streaming – CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, Fox, FS1, the Pac-12 Net, the Big Ten Net, the SEC Net, the ACC Net, NBCSN and CBSSN, plus ESPN3 online and all sorts of conference-owned and managed platforms.

But on Jan. 20, 1968, only that one regular season game was televised, as a test, and it passed. A book on the subject, “How March Became Madness,” out in 2006 by Einhorn and Ron Rapoport, traces the entire TV success of the NCAA Tournament to that day in Houston. It includes a DVD narrated by Enberg called: “The Game That Changed College Basketball.”

“We take it so much for granted now,” said Nantz, who will be back home at Pebble Beach to watch Monday’s documentary and see it edited for the first time. “Maybe we’re not even sure what game we’re watching (as we flip around). But not on that night.”

MEASURING MEDIA MAYHEM

WHAT SMOKES

* Filling a hole that had been open since the July firing of Jamie Horowitz over sexual harassment allegations, Fox Sports shifted Mark Silverman from head of the Big Ten Network over to president of national networks to oversee all programming, production, marketing and digital for Fox Sports, FS1 and FS2 starting Tuesday at the L.A. offices. The Chicago-based Silverman has been the first and only president of the BTN since it launched 11 years ago, and he will continue to oversee the channel that is 51 percent owned by Fox (the other 49 percent by the Big Ten) and also operated by the media company. Will Silverman systematically disassemble all that Horowitz did during his reign? That’s open to debate.

* As ESPN starts the process of replacing Jon Gruden as the main analyst on “Monday Night Football,” the network said it will have current studio analyst Matt Hasselbeck join Sean McDonough on the Jan. 28 Pro Bowl telecast in Orlando, Fla. “The process for determining our new Monday Night Football booth is already underway,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN senior VP of events and studio production. “We are looking at both internal and external candidates and expect to have a decision made this spring. This is one of the most high-profile and attractive positions in all of sports broadcasting so we want to take our time to ensure we make the best decision.” Recently retired Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is reported to be a viable candidate for the job. Want a three-person booth? One openly campaigning for himself to be added to the crew is Stephen A. Smith, who could be the closest version to a Howard Cosell-type figure that might actually spark renewed interest in the franchise, unlike the outside-the-box hirings in the past like Dennis Miller or Tony Kornheiser.

WHAT CHOKES

* As the NBA’s Orlando Magic announced the hiring this week of former WNBA Sparks star Lisa Leslie as its new pre- and post-game analyst for its Fox Sports Florida regional outlet, the question is begged: Why could neither the Lakers nor Clippers – or even the Sparks — thought enough of her to do the same? All those reps with KABC-Channel 7’s Rob Fukuzaki on the local NBA post-game shows, as well as work for ESPN, NBC and Turner Sports, have paid off for the one-time Morningside High and USC star whose retired number hangs in Staples Center.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/01/13/hoffarth-enbergs-voice-resonates-50-years-after-the-ucla-houston-game-of-the-century/