The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on February 16, 2000 · 16
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 16

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 16, 2000
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S Wednesday, February 16, 2000 I JPJJ ft i J? feJ 1 M If lw The Tampa Tribune A r 'v- . ? . TOM McEWEN The Morning After Tiger keeps amazing all types of golf er The field for the 2000 GTE Seniors this week is the best ever, with Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Lanny Wadkins, Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, defending champ Larry Nelson and all the aging big shots entered. But how about 26 years from now when the Dec. 30, 2025, Tribune headline reads: 'Tiger Woods turns 50, enters the $1 Billion GTE Seniors." Unless he's long quit golf and bought California, suggested Seniors patriarch Art Pepin. "Or bought Nike and Augusta National," said Tim Marcum, coach of the Tampa Bay Storm. "Who knows how many tournaments he will have won and how many records he will have broken by then," put in Outback CEO Chris Sullivan. "Hell rewrite the record book, Sullivan partner Bob Basham said. "And he is so important to the sport of golf. He's got a leg up already on becoming the man of the next half century." Such were the between-shot comments at Old Memorial Golf Club Tuesday in the celebrity-amateur 18-holer. It was the final warm-up event to the pro-ams and 54 holes of Senior Tour golf that starts today at the TPC of Tampa Bay. THE OLD MEMORIAL gathering seemed just the right spot for conversation about Tiger Woods, golfs most compelling figure today. All I did was ask: "How do you react when I say, Tiger Woods?"' Almost everyone was admiring and amusing. Here we go: Bucs tackle Brad Culpepper, a good player himself: "He's what I'd be if I practiced." Sure. "He's so smart Makes it look so easy, and it is not," Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks said. "He's smart Football? If he played it, I'd want him on my team." Florida coach Steve Spurrier, who shot 78 at Black Diamond last week: 'Tiger knows how to win. What is it nine times he's had the lead going into the last round, and won them all? Tells you something. He wins them when they are close." "He's Michael Jordan all over again, but in golf," Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts said. Bucs punter Mark Royals: "Now here's a man who says he didn't have his game and shoots 68. My job and his? Some similarity. So much depends on every effort One miss can be so important." "I keep wondering how someone so young can be so good," said Randy Cross, broadcaster and former star for the 49ers. "He does all the right things, on and off the course. What a talent" "HE HAS REDEFINED golf. He was great Now he's greater. He has no limits," baseball Hall of Famer Al Kaline said. "Play baseball? Sure, infield or outfield, but why?" "He's the best thing for golf since Arnold Palmer," former golf pro Denny Rouse said. "Like Palmer, he has more and different people interested in our game. Good." "Oh, boy, everybody wants to be like him," said Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber, a good golfer. "He controls the tournaments. You expect him to win. He expects to win." "Even at his age, he already is at another level. If he sticks with it he'll have all the records," said Old Memorial's Bob Merritt "We all want to play golf like him," said Buc Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon, hooking an iron off a the tee. "No, half like him. No, a quarter like him." Selmon is not a candidate for golfs Hall of Fame. Oh, Don Maynard wondered how Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson would have done with today's equipment, as did a few others. And they wondered how Tiger would have done with theirs. But the consensus was Tiger is clearly the best today and on the way to being the best ever. Perhaps he'll be the best Senior Tour player, too, but that's a long way off. Bucs get Christy from Vikes TAMPA - The Bucs began the retooling of their offensive line by signing free-agent center Jeff Christy away from the Vikings. By ROY CUMMINGS of The Tampa Tribune The Bucs coaching staff is still reaping the benefits of the working vacation it took to Hawaii a few weeks ago. In addition to a getting some sun and some much-deserved relaxation, the Bucs staff now has a new center. Less than 10 days after returning from Honolulu, where two of their coaches rekindled an old relationship while preparing the NFC's best players for the Pro Bowl, the Bucs on Tuesday signed Vikings free agent Jeff Christy, the NFC's starting Pro Bowl center each of the last two years. "I had a relationship with Bucs head coach Tony Dungy and offensive line coach Chris Foerster when they were at Minnesota, and so I'm very excited to Christy be here," said Christy, who signed a five-year, $17.5 million deal that includes a $5 million guaranteed signing bonus. "I'm very excited about our chances of winning the Super Bowl here and I think that now we can get it done." The Bucs also are feeling a little better about their Super Bowl chances these days. They believe Christy, 31, gives them an upgrade at center, where he will replace 33-year-old fellow Pro Bowler Tony Mayberry. And they are hoping his signing will be just the first in a series of changes they make to their offensive line. "We're looking to retool the offensive line and Jeff is obviously a big piece of that" Bucs General Manager Rich McKay said. "He's an athletic guy, a tough guy, a smart guy. He's not going to make any mental mistakes, and he's a veteran, which was important to us." Christy's experience playing in the See BUCS, Page 6 Arlans Arians still frontrunner I ft , ! i By ROY CUMMINGS of The Tampa Tribune Bruce Arians was the only prospect still standing after the Bucs whittled their initial trio of offensive coordinator candidates by two Tuesday. But the Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks coach still wasn't standing alone. Increasing the possibility of hiring his new coordinator from within, Bucs coach Tony Dungy is believed to be contemplating the possibility of promoting Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Chris-tensen. Christensen was considered a long shot for the post, and Dungy even said early in his search that Christensen was not a candidate. However, Dungy apparently is not enamored with the prospects he has interviewed, and he may be reconsidering Christensen as a result Dungy refused to comment on the hunt Tuesday, but sources close to the situation said he may now interview other candidates. Failing that however, it appears Arians has emerged as the leading candidate, and he could be named the Bucs' new coordinator before the week is out Arians was among the first three candidates interviewed for the job, which opened when the Bucs fired Mike Shula while preparing for the Pro Bowl. The others were Denver Broncos receivers coach Mike Heimerdinger and Carolina Panthers running backs coach Chick Harris. DAVID KADLUBOWSKITribune photo The Lightning's Todd Warrlner sneaks the puck past Kirk McLean late In the first period Tuesday, j I fit I Lecavalier gets tie for Bolts TAMPA - Vincent Lecavalier's late third-period goal forges a 2-2 tie for the Lightning against the New York Rangers. By IRA KAUFMAN of The Tampa Tribune Despite playing one of their best games in months, the Lightning were facing a sixth straight loss until Vincent Lecavalier discovered hockey is lovely the second time around. Lecavalier, stopped on the doorstep only seconds earlier, poked in a loose puck with just 82 seconds left Tuesday night to lift Tampa Bay to a 2-2 tie against the New York Rangers. New York goaltender Kirk McLean turned away Lecavalier and Todd Warriner in a wild flurry, only to see Lecavalier forge a tie with his 16th goal. Chris Gratton won a draw in the left circle and Lecavalier, standing inexplicably alone below the right circle, converted a rebound of a shot from the left point as Tampa Bay avoided a sixth straight loss. The scoreless five-minute overtime session was sensational as both teams exchanged dangerous scoring chances with few whistles. Warriner scored a dazzling first-period goal for the Lightning, who went 0-for-6 with the manpower advantage and yielded power-play goals to Petr Nedved and Brian Leetch. Goaltender Dan Cloutier was superb after Saturday's debacle against Carolina, but the Lightning were undermined by ineffective special teams play and have won just two of their last 27 games dating back to Dec. 10. I can't MLS Cup won't be in Tampa TAMPA - Despite help from USF, Tampa was unable to land the MLS championship match. By BILL WARD of The Tampa Tribune This year's Major League Soccer's championship match will be played in Washington instead of Tampa, league officials said. The game, which had been tentatively scheduled for Raymond James Stadium in October, was lost de- ing accommodations by the University of South Florida football imagine why team. USF shares RJS j with the Mutiny and you u want to Buccaneers. be in One league official Washington said a final contract b between the league for anything and D.C. Sports Com- jn October mission is "in the , MLS legal depart- when you ment." A news confer- can be in ence will be called y n later this month to of- 1 atnpa. tiut ficially announce RFK you can't win Stadium as the host i n a site of MLS Cup 2000 em ail. J J on Oct 15. Another MLS offi-cial said Commis- Dick Greco sioner Don Garber made telephone calls Tuesday to key Tampa officials who were involved in the RJS bid to inform them of the league's decision. Tampa mayor Dick Greco said late Tuesday he had not heard from the league. "I don't know anything about it" See CUP, Page 7 Seniors are rookies again on PGA tour LUTZ - The arrival of Tom Watson, Lanny Wadkins and Tom Kite is the story of this year's Senior PGA Tour, and this week's GTE Classic. By MICK ELLIOTT of The Tampa Tribune They are rock stars. They are on the conservative, buttoned down and extra starched side, but they're still rock 'n' rollers in the land of easy listening. And everybody is waiting on a little shake, rattle and roll. Are you sure this is the Senior PGA Tour we're talking about? Absolutely. Not since AARP has anyone done more for turning 50 than the arrival of Tom Watson, Lanny Wadkins and Tom Kite to senior golf. Accused in recent years of showing its age and losing its ap- At A Glance What: GTE Classic, Senior PGA Tour event Where: Tournament Players Club of Tampa Bay TV: Friday ESPN, 2:30-4:30 p.m. (live); Saturday-Sunday ESPN, 5:30-7 p.m. (taped) Monvj: $1.3 million purse; $195,000 for first, $114,400 for second, $93,600 for third Format: 78-player field. 54-hole stroke-play event Today' schedule: 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., Pro-Am shotgun starts. Complete chedulePage 3 peal, the Senior PGA Tour is suddenly seen as young and hip. OK, maybe not show-your-ID, Backstreet Boys young, but cer- AP photo Lanny Wadkins won his senior debut In a four-way playoff Sunday. tainly hip, and we're not talking the artificial variety. The senior tour once again has clamor. And new glamour. With all due respect to last year's stars, Player of the Year Bruce Flcishcr and four-time winner Al- See GTE, Page 3 Not-so-sweet home: Bulls aren't drawing TAMPA - South Florida's men's basketball team is undefeated at home this year, but the Bulls still have trouble getting fans to the Sun Dome. By BRETT McYURPHY of The Tampa Tribune It's come to this at South Florida: The Bulls own the nation's 20th-longest home winning streak and are fighting for an NCAA Tournament berth. Yet, what is the school's major promotion for tonight's home game with Tulane? A halftime appearance by Bucs quarterback Shaun King a Tulane graduate. USF newspaper advertisements this week read: "See Burs rookie sensation Shaun King as he is introduced to the crowd as USF Attendance South Rorida's average home attendance figures (or the past 10 years: Rk Art. Yr. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 7.184 6.560 6.245 5.640 5.139 4,788 4.704 4.652 4.571 4,520 1992 1991 1993 1996 1994 1999 1997 1998 1995 2000 the Bulls face his alma mater. " Hey, with the Florida State Fair in town for another few days, why not borrow a carnival barker to attract more fans. See USF, Page 7

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