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Golf will survive without star Tiger

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Tiger Woods entered third-round play of the British Open on Saturday 14 shots behind the leader.

In a different time, at another place, this would have been nearly impossible for Woods, his legions of ardent followers and various corporate sponsors to process.

”Fourteen shots! Is he sick?

Using a croquet mallet for a putter? Stroking fairway irons while balancing himself on one foot? What?”

Turns out he’s human like the rest of us.

Placing the word “new” in front of an individual’s name usually implies improvement, be it with one’s attitude, health, spiritual journey, etc.

The new Tiger Woods I’m always hearing of just plain looks old.

To his credit, Woods doesn’t appear to be one of those who keep mistaking 2014 for 2000. However, the monster created by setting the bar so high early in his professional golf career is now proceeding to take bites out of Woods’ legacy.

Being tied for 56th place pre-weekend lumped Woods with 15 other golfers. Two of them, coincidentally enough, were Jordan Spieth and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson.

Watson could legally purchase adult beverages as far back as 1970. Spieth has to wait until Sunday.

These two represent what is from what was in men’s professional golf, with Woods falling somewhere in the middle.

I’ll never be convinced Tiger doesn’t have another major or three left in his tank. He’s simply too skilled and too experienced to underestimate regardless of course or conditions.

But it’s Spieth and fellow 20-somethings Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and others who’ll boldly advance the sport into the future.

None are as polarizing individually as Woods was, is and will continue to be no matter how balky his back and knees become. And that’s all right.

Woods is golf’s great comet sighting, the Ruth, Ali and Jordan of his generation. Looking ahead, the sport’s level of popularity promises to be more of a collective effort.

Pacers moves

Speaking of spreading the wealth, it appears that’s what the Indiana Pacers have in mind when it comes to Lance Stephenson’s old laundry list of responsibilities.

Recently signing 6-foot-5 Rodney Stuckey to a one-year deal coupled with 6-6 swingman C.J. Miles inking a four-year contract could actually be viewed as an upgrade at the shooting guard position.

I say this not based solely on statistical data.

Stuckey and Miles know the Eastern Conference and its Central Division backward and forward, having come from Detroit and Cleveland, respectively. Even better, both are hungry, having played for losing ball clubs.

Stuckey in all likelihood will be the starter, Miles the first guard off the Pacers’ bench.

I can almost hear Pacers’ public address announcer Michael Grady now ... “He’s in his eighth season out of Eastern Washington ... Rrrrrrrodney ... Stuuuuuuuuckey.”

It has a ring to it. Let’s hope in more ways than one.

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. Send comments to mbeas@dailyjournal.net.

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