Kobe, Tiger Rule the Weekend

Kobe Bryant
Bryant's injury is devastating for a 35-year old but I see Kobe coming back at some point.

It wasn’t the first time that folks on the East Coast of the United States of America awoke to find huge sports news coming from the late games out on the West Coast but the news of Kobe Bryant’s season-ending injury and the two-stroke penalty leveled against Tiger Woods were more than enough to dominate the weekend on their own. Time to break them down.

In Los Angeles, the Lakers are in the midst of a final push to claim the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference playoffs. With two games remaining in the regular season, the Lakers have a one game lead over Utah but the Jazz own the tie-breaker should the two tie with the same record.

Frankly, it may all be for naught for the purple and gold of Los Angeles after Kobe went down with his ruptured Achilles tendon. His surgery was reportedly successful yesterday and the future Hall of Famer is now looking at a six to nine month rehab which more than likely means he will not be 100% when the 2013-2014 season gets cranked up this fall.

The Achilles injury has long been proven to be one of the most difficult for athletes to recover from and at age 35, Bryant will be facing incredibly long odds in doing so. Make no mistake about it, Bryant will return. There is no way he is going to end a remarkable career in this fashion, but at what level will he return remains the question.

For the Lakers, who I suggested earlier this week would upset the Spurs in the first round should they have played, that idea is now as distant as the former planet Pluto. With Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, the Lakers will still be formidable but reality must set in. They are no longer the threat they were with Bryant.

Tiger was hit with a 2-stroke penalty in a situation where he should have known the rule.

In the case of Tiger Woods, he fell victim to two things. First, he should have known the rule about taking a drop following a ball going into a water hazard. If he wasn’t sure, he should have asked for assistance from an official. This is why they are on each hole of the course at The Masters. Secondly, Woods’ faux pas was brought to light not by an on-course official or fellow player, but a television viewer.

The mere fact that professional golf allows viewers to call in penalties on players is wrong and the PGA knows it yet does little about it. Woods admitted his mistake and what perhaps is even scarier is the amount of ‘real golfers’ who took to social media supporting the decision or being against it without knowing the rule themselves.

I’ve read many editorials saying the Masters’ rules committee would have disqualified Woods had it been deemed necessary and could have cared less about TV ratings. That’s a joke and we all know it. CBS was more than likely on its’ collective hands and knees begging to keep Woods in the tournament. The numbers of viewers when Tiger is in contention versus when he is not is undeniably important and extremely vast.

Perhaps what is most disheartening is that Woods, not his playing partner knew the rule. That illustrates just how many amateur players don’t have a sniff about the game they are playing.

If you have Woods in your office pool this week, you have my sympathies but he isn’t out of the tournament yet. While he isn’t known for great charges in majors after 54 holes, don’t be a bit surprised if he is right there at the end today. The story in and of itself would be too much to pass up and would add to the Tiger-legend.