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SI View The Week in TV Sports

Saturday 1/10

Mercedes Championships

Same old Woods, brand-new irons. When the PGA Tour launches its
1998 season from the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad,
Calif., Tiger Woods, the defending titlist at this event, will
be hitting his shots with Titleist irons instead of Mizunos. Of
course Woods, 22, the Tour's leading money-winner last year with
a record $2,066,833, did enjoy some good fortune with his old
clubs. His victory at La Costa a year ago was accomplished when
he beat Tom Lehman in a playoff by pulling out a six-iron on the
par-3 7th hole and launching his ball (let history record that
it was a Titleist) to within six inches of the pin.

U.S. Championships

No, the stars at this event only look like the cast of Scream2.
Unlike the 1994 championships, which gave us the
Harding-Kerrigan high jinks and the original Scream, the young
females featured here have no hooded hoodlums to fear--only each
other. Nineteen skaters, including '97 world champion Tara
Lipinski (left), 15, and '96 world champion Michelle Kwan, 17,
are scheduled to vie in the free skate for spots aboard next
month's Olympic caravan. Look for charismatic rebel grrrl Nicole
Bobek, 20, or graceful Tonia Kwiatkowski, 26, to join Lipinski
and Kwan in the U.S. contingent for Nagano.

Sunday 1/11

AFC & NFC Championship Games

In Pittsburgh, where the score and the temperature could be low,
will the Steelers' Jerome (the Bus) Bettis (36) have enough gas
in his tank to outduel the AFC's top rusher, Denver's Terrell
Davis? In San Francisco, can the top-rated defense of the 49ers,
who have bowed out of the NFC playoffs the last two years at the
hands of Green Bay, contain the Packers' NFL co-MVP quarterback
Brett Favre?
AFC, NBC, 12:30 PM; NFC, FOX, 4 PM

Monday 1/12

Harlem Globetrotters' 20,000th Game

Vegas casinos aren't offering a line on this game between the
Globies and the New Jersey Nationals (coached by lovable loser
Red Klotz), and who can blame them? The Globetrotters (who
should enter the game with a 71-year record of 19,667-332) have
lost once in the past 27 years, a 1995 defeat at the hands of a
pickup team led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The site for number
20,000--Remington, Ind.--was chosen for being typical of the
towns through which the Trotters have barnstormed since they
were founded in Chicago in 1927. Even if the Nationals enter the
gym at Tri-County High prepared for the water-bucket trick, they
have no one to impede 6'5" Globetrotter forward Michael Wilson,
coholder of the world record for the highest slam dunk (11'10"),
or 7'6 1/2" center Dut Mayar, the tallest player to cavort to
the strains of Sweet Georgia Brown.

Tuesday 1/13

Sonics at Bulls

Newly bearded Seattle coach George Karl now looks like team
mascot Sasquatch. Prodigal Son(ic) guard Dale Ellis, 37, has
returned, by means of a trade with the Denver Nuggets, and at
week's end was leading the NBA in three-point precision (48.7%).
Forward Vin Baker (at left, number 42, shooting against the
Detroit Pistons) sings the national anthem. Dynamo point guard
Gary Payton says, "The 1996 team"--which made the NBA
Finals--"was great, but we can do a lot more." Smells like team
spirit, something Seattle lacked last season, and it had
propelled the Sonics to the NBA's best record (26-6) through
Sunday. This matchup pits I-can Seattle against Chicago's icon,
Michael Jordan, who scored 26 points in the Bulls' 91-90 loss in
Seattle on Nov. 25 and who has since boosted his Pippenless team
to the best record (22-10) in the Eastern Conference.


COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER [Jerome Bettis in game]

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO [Vin Baker in game]


Last week's Rose Bowl supplied us with the year's first
fact-based TV movie--as if anyone would believe this
tear-jerking, true-life fairy tale--Griese and Son. Our casting
call: Mark Harmon, himself a former college quarterback (UCLA),
as ABC analyst and proud dad Bob; Party of Five's Scott Wolf (in
platform cleats) as unassuming-yet-heroic quarterback and game
MVP Brian; and Sam Waterston as equally unassuming Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr. Supporting roles would be filled by Jonathan
Winters as Bob's broadcast partner, Keith Jackson, and Reggie
Theus as sideline reporter Lynn Swann. James (Titanic) Cameron,
who would be expected to build a full-scale replica of Ann Arbor
on the outskirts of Tijuana, would direct.

All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.