Woods' appeal unmistakable at British Open

Media Watch

July 17, 1998|By Milton Kent

Just after yesterday's first round of the British Open and just before running to dinner last night, ABC's Mike Tirico mused about the once and possibly future kings of golf, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

Nicklaus, of course, made news last week when he announced that he would voluntarily skip the British Open and PGA Championship, both this year and next, breaking a string of playing in 154 consecutive major tournaments.

Tirico, who is the host of ABC's coverage of this weekend's proceedings, says the usually staid British have noted Nicklaus' absence, but aren't fazed by it.

"They miss Jack and they're looking forward to him coming back in 2000," Tirico said. "I mean, he had three firsts, seven seconds and three thirds there, and this is the first time since 1960 that we haven't had either Nicklaus or [Arnold] Palmer. But the British Open has gone on without a lot of great players, and I think they'll go on from here."

That, of course, dovetails nicely into talk about Woods, who made such a tremendous splash with a romp in the 1997 Masters but has been relatively quiet in majors since. Tirico said Woods has become a victim of his own meteoric rise.

"The reaction of people after he won that Masters so convincingly was unfair," Tirico said. "So many people who don't know golf expected so much. That was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. What they don't realize is that he's been a pro for 23 months and he's won eight times."

Tirico and company wouldn't be terribly hurt if Woods, tied with John Huston for the first-round lead, won or at least finished in the hunt at Royal Birkdale.

"You'd be less than honest if you didn't want Tiger to be close, from a television standpoint. History has shown us that people will watch when Tiger's playing well," said Tirico.

ESPN will air second-round coverage today beginning at 9 a.m., with highlights at 7: 30 p.m., before ABC (Channel 2) takes over with coverage tomorrow at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 9: 30 a.m., with highlights at 5 p.m.

Welcome back

After a four-year absence from the committee he helped to found and nurture, Ravens owner Art Modell will re-join the NFL's broadcasting committee.

Modell, who championed the "Monday Night Football" package among owners, said yesterday he was asked to return to the committee he chaired for 32 years by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"I'm an NFL man. I'm a loyalist," Modell said after a ceremony to unveil the scoreboard at the Ravens' new stadium.

College schedule

ABC and ESPN have announced their college football schedules for the 1998 season, which begins in late August and ends with the proverbial national championship game in January.

ABC's slate commences Aug. 30 with the Pigskin Classic, matching Purdue against Southern California from the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Its Saturday schedule begins Sept. 5, with Penn State playing host to Southern Mississippi, and continues through Dec. 5, when the network will air the WAC, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference championship games.

ABC also will carry the Blue-Gray All-Star Game on Christmas Day and five bowl games, including, for the first time, all four in the Bowl Championship Series. The schedule culminates Jan. 4 with the presentation of the Fiesta Bowl, this year's title game.

ESPN's season begins Aug. 29 with the BCA Classic, pitting Colorado State against Michigan State on ESPN2, and Virginia meets Auburn on Sept. 3, the first of 11 Thursday night telecasts on ESPN, to be preceded by "Thursday GameNight."

Meanwhile, CBS announced yesterday that it will retain the rights to the Army-Navy football game through the year 2008.

Around the dial

No Orioles on the Fox Saturday Game of the Week this week. That distinction goes to Cleveland and the Chicago White Sox (Channel 45, 1 p.m.), but the Orioles are prominently featured on the "In the Zone" pre-game show, as second baseman Roberto Alomar and his brother, Cleveland Indians catcher Sandy, chat about growing up, and center fielder Brady Anderson plays catch with four boys from Waldorf. The Goodwill Games open this weekend in New York, and TBS will carry the opening ceremonies tomorrow night at 8: 05, with coverage continuing on Sunday and Monday at the same time. CBS (Channel 13) will air FTC track and men's basketball from the Games on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Finally, on a serious note, be forewarned that Sunday's Orioles-Angels game is the only scheduled contest all season not to air on any televised outlet and you can thank the Angels for not moving the air time up out of ESPN's exclusive window. On a not-so-serious note, tonight's Orioles-Angels game will air on Channel 54, so that Channel 13 may air the dramatic series conclusion of "Family Matters," and all two of its fans can get it on videotape.

Pub Date: 7/17/98

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