Or is it the Dorsal Open, what with the way Greg Norman (right),
the Great White Shark, has mastered the Blue Monster the past
few years? Norman, who returns after his longest hiatus from the
PGA Tour (two months) since turning pro in 1976, has two wins
and a second in his last four appearances in this tournament.
Last year three-time Doral champion Raymond Floyd revamped the
course, adding, among other things, 18 bunkers to, he says, "put
the teeth back in the Monster." The strongest field on Tour to
date in '97 will put the toughened layout to the test.
CBS, 4 PM
Game 3, ABL Finals
The Richmond Rage hosts the Columbus Quest in the third game of
the new women's league's best-of-five championship series.
Columbus is led by guard Nikki McCray (right), who averages 19.9
points per game for the team that entered the postseason with
the league's best record, at 31-9. However, McCray and the Quest
better watch their step. In four regular-season trips to
Richmond (21-19) the Quest lost thrice. If Richmond wins the
title, might it be inclined to rename itself the Serenity? And
Columbus? We suggest the Request.
SPORTSCHANNEL, 11 PM
Bulls at Knicks
Last week First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton did what the Bulls
have yet to do this season: appear at New York's Madison Square
Garden. She was on hand to accept the Grammy for the best
spoken-word album, for her recitation of her best-selling book,
It Takes a Village. Speaking of the spoken word, Knicks coach
Jeff Van Gundy called Michael Jordan a "con man" before the
teams met in January. Jordan responded with 51 points in an
88-87 Chicago win. If Van Gundy reprises his tune, it will take
more than a village to silence His Airness.
NBC, 5:30 PM
NCAA Tournament Selection Show
"I cover it like I would an election night," says host Pat
O'Brien of the announcement of the men's tournament draw. "It
has a Campaign '97 feel to it." No stranger to politics, O'Brien
reported on presidential elections as a researcher for David
Brinkley in 1972 and as a newscaster in Los Angeles in 1976 and
'80. The selection of the schools that fill out the 64-team
bracket can be downright political, but part of the allure of
the half-hour show is that the players and the coaches learn
their destinations for the upcoming week no sooner than the guy
who runs your office pool. Of course, the real fun begins at
noon on Thursday, when O'Brien & Co. provide more than 12 hours
of first-round coverage from four sites around the country.
CBS, 6:30 PM
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
In 1969 St. Louis Cardinals centerfielder Curt Flood refused to
honor a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies, choosing instead to
contest baseball's reserve clause. In the profile of Flood that
is the most compelling segment of Real Sports, we learn that
union head Marvin Miller told him, "You're either god-sent or a
damn fool." Though he lost the case and, in effect, the rest of
his career, Flood, who died of throat cancer in January at 59,
became the patron saint of free agency.
HBO, 10 PM
Legends of Hockey: Men of Steel
The third installment of a five-part series profiles Hall of
Famers from 1939 to '55. Montreal Canadien Rocket Richard (left)
reveals that because he was moving, he didn't sleep on the eve
of his five-goal game against the Detroit Red Wings in 1944.
Teammate Bernie (Boom Boom) Geoffrion discusses his accidental
invention, the slap shot, which led to New York Rangers goalie
Jacques Plante's face-saving invention, the mask. Retired ref
Red Storey says of Detroit's "Terrible" Ted Lindsay, "He's got
one of those faces that holds about three days of rain." If
Lindsay's mug happened to freeze over, you can bet the men
featured here would have played on it.
ESPN, 7:30 PM
All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.
THE ! ZAPPER
Gimme a 'Z.'...Gimme another 'Z.'... March Madness gets under
way on Thursday, and by evening's end Kentucky will have
successfully defended its national championship. In
cheerleading, that is. The Wildcats, vying for their fourth
straight title, take on nine other finalists in the 15th annual
National Cheerleading Championships (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.), which
were actually held in January in Orlando. If you don't give two
bits about which cheerleading squad wins but do enjoy watching
folks display a little school spirit, flip to the NCAA tournament.
COLOR PHOTO: JIM GUND [Greg Norman playing golf]COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO [Nikki McCray in game]
B/W PHOTO: RICHARD MEEK [Rocket Richard in game]