Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods celebrated major championship No. 15 at The Masters as if it meant more than the first 14. AP Photo

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Final Four has left the building. The Masters filed a memory for the ages. The NBA playoffs are starting to simmer. Baseball is weeks from any sense of a pennant race.

Yes, it's time to begin a serious transition to the Kentucky Derby, but not before a final thought or two about The Masters.

1. A Kinder, Gentler Tiger

That looked like a different Tiger Woods.

Not the guy who didn't always make a ton of friends while blowing through the clubhouse at Valhalla. Not the one who lost PR points by doing things like refusing to sign golf balls for other touring pros.

Not the one who carried himself as if he was the only guy to win multiple major championships, stirring the Jack Nicklaus Fan Club into reminding the world the scorecard read Golden Bear 18, Tiger 14.

This Tiger Woods looked vulnerable. Appreciative. Wiser. Thoughtful. Uncertain that major title No. 15 would ever come.

The immense Tiger Fan Club -- as well as his persistent pocket of critics -- noticed.

Former Washington Post sportswriter John Feinstein has never worshipped at the Church of Tiger.

Called him out for outrageous things he said or did. Wasn't a fan of his controlling ways with the media. Didn't swoon and instantly rank him ahead of Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and the other all-timers as soon as Woods won his first major championship.

But Feinstein saw what many saw after Woods won at Augusta Sunday: This one meant more to Woods.

His words were different. His emotions appeared less calculating. His joy appeared boundless.

So Feinstein wrote it -- and I recommend it.

2. Brady on Tiger

Twitter was a day-long ode to Woods Sunday after his final putt dropped on 18 (about the same time that Tim Anderson drilled a grand slam home run for the White Sox at Yankee Stadium, but I'm certain you knew that).

Athletes, politicians and celebrities flooded their timelines with praise for Woods -- as they should have.

I liked this one by Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady better than the other contenders.

3. About Those Tee Times

More 9 a.m. starts please, everybody.

In a world where NCAA men's tournament games tip after 10 p.m., where World Series games routinely drag past midnight and post times for the Kentucky Derby keep inching closer to dusk, the most delightful part of the Masters was that everybody was on the course playing before 9:30 a.m. and finished by mid-afternoon.

Baseball, more than any sport, should get the message and give us AT LEAST one day game during the World Series.


We enjoyed sports -- and the rest of the day. What's the problem?

4. Draymond vs. Montrezl

The Clippers are not expected to make the Golden State Warriors sweat during their first-round Western Conference playoff series. Golden State won the opener by 17 after leading by 13 at halftime.

Don't expect the series to last more than five games.

But don't blame former Louisville star Montrezl Harrell. He led Los Angeles with 26 points in 30 minutes, making 11 of 15 shots and earning these words of appreciatios from one guy Harrell is competing against -- Warriors' all-star Draymond Green.

Montrezl is one of the league's best sixth men, on his way to a long and lucrative career.

5. Katie Vs. Kareem

One benefit of social media is it makes it easier for legends to get together. That happened Sunday night in Milwaukee, where Bucks' fans expect their team to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar roamed the middle for Milwaukee.

With the Lakers out of the playoffs, Abdul-Jabbar got his playoff fix in the spot where he started his NBA career in 1969. He was posted up by another legend -- former WDRB sportscaster and U of L volleyball star Katie George, who is acing her first season as the Bucks' court side reporter and social media star.

6. Expanded Football Playoff

Considering the glacial speed the FBS programs traveled to arrive at their four-team playoff five seasons ago, I don't expect the game to upgrade to an eight-team playoff until today's first-graders are grandparents.

People can dream. People like Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez. One of the 13 inaugural members of the playoff committee, maybe Alvarez can get the expansion talks rolling.

At least he's trying. Here is the link to the story.

7. Cousins Documentary

This is the most critical two-month stretch of DeMarcus Cousins' nine-season NBA career. After eight seasons in the wilderness in Sacramento and New Orleans, Cousins is part of the push for the third consecutive NBA title with the Warriors.

One of the original one-and-dones at Kentucky, Cousins figures to also be one-and-done with the Warriors, who won't have the salary cap room to keep him in the Bay Area with Steph Curry and Co.

Cousins is absolutely playing for his last major contract, trying to prove he is healthy and that he can plug in and produce as part of a winning team dynamic.

His opening night playoff performance was OK -- 9 points and 9 boards in 21 in minutes, although the box score shows Cousins was the only Golden State starter with a negative plus-minus figure (-17) while he was on the floor.

Cousins has to stick to the grind and knows it. If you subscribe to Showtime, I'd recommend watching the documentary about his challenges that outlines everything he has endured.

8. The One That Got Away

I thought high school basketball star James Wiseman was just a guy who picked playing for Penny Hardaway and Memphis over playing for John Calipari and Kentucky.


There's more to Wiseman than simply basketball -- as Marc Spears, once a sportswriter in Louisville, found out when he talked to Wiseman over the weekend at the Nike Hoops Summit and wrote his story at TheUndefeated.com.

Wiseman speaks Mandarin. He is plugged into the Memphis community, He has major business interests.

9. RIP Steve Davidowitz

Chances are you don't remember Steve Davidowitz, a professional racing handicapper who died in suburban Las Vegas Sunday.

But other than Andy Beyer, Davidowitz had as much impact on the world of betting thoroughbred horses as anybody in the last four decades.

His book, "Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century," was a must-read for anybody who wanted to improve his or her odds at the track. His Derby analysis routinely ranked among the best as he was never hesitant to take a public stand against a favorite or make the case for a long shot.

A former college baseball pitcher at Rutgers, Davidowitz was 77. Reading his book would be an excellent way to prep for the Derby.

10 Charles Barkley Twitter

The Milwaukee Bucks looked like the Eastern Conference champions in their playoff opener against Detroit. The Pistons looked like the Washington Generals.

Charles Barkley made note of that on the post-game show with Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson -- and Detroit sports columnist Bob Wojnowski made note of what Barkley said on his Twitter account.

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