U.S. Open Final Rounds
Are the lush, intimate fairways of the Bay Area's Olympic Club playing host to a USGA major or a Stanford alumni reunion? Tom Watson (class of 1971), who was runner-up (to Scott Simpson, USC '78) in '87 when Olympic was last the site of the Open, will play. Fellow Cardinal Tiger Woods (who left the Farm in '96 without a degree) will gladly cede some gallery members to cart-riding former teammate Casey Martin ('95). If a major isn't in the Cards, look for Fred Couples, the Tour's leading money winner, and Justin Leonard to take advantage of their well-honed short games on the cozy 110-acre course. Meanwhile, long hitters such as David Duval (left) may find the tight quarters frustrating. Duval will hope to stay on the fairway and wield the putter that in recent months has helped make him the hottest player on tour.
? NBC, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, 2 PM
U.S. vs. Iran
Iranians, Khomeinians! What, were the Vietcong busy? On one level this is a must-win World Cup match for both teams if either side is to have any hope of advancing to the next round. On another it's Great Yankee Satan versus the Mad Ayatollah. The 444-day Iran hostage crisis of 1979 to '81 was a low point in U.S. history—and not just because it spurred a revival of Tony Orlando and Dawn's Tie a Yellow Ribbon. Jalal Talebi is the fourth coach the Iranian team has had since October. The new American wrinkle is the 3-6-1 alignment, which leaves Eric Wynalda (below), the U.S.'s all-time leading scorer in international play, as the lone striker. Might ABC consider using Ted Koppel, whose esteemed Night-line was spawned during the hostage drama, as a sideline reporter?
?ABC, 2:45 PM
U.S. Track and Field Championships
Greene means Go! In the last year Kansas City, Kans., native Maurice Greene has defeated world-record holder Donovan Bailey of Canada in the 100 meters at the World Championships and set the world record for 60 meters (6.39 seconds). His 9.79 in the 100 last month in Eugene, Ore., was the third-fastest 100 under any conditions ever, not including the occasional hiker-happens-upon-bear incident (also wind-aided). Greene didn't run in college. That may explain why, at least in terms of visibility, he trails distaff colleague and erstwhile North Carolina basketball star Marion Jones, who also is expected to take to the track today in New Orleans. "I'm sure I can speak for her, too," Greene said after his win in Eugene, "when I say that this is only the beginning."
? CBS, 3 PM; ESPN, 4 PM
All England is in the grip of hysteria. "Is she really gone for good?" crazed fans shriek. "Who can ever replace her? How can the other girls continue without her?" They speak, of course, of Ginger Spice. Meanwhile at the All-England, where play begins today, the same sentiments echoed until recently in response to the extended leave of seven-time Wimbledon champ Steffi Graf (a.k.a. Schnitzel Spice). Since the 1997 French Open, Graf (right) had played in only two tournaments through Sunday because of a plethora of leg injuries. Last week she fell from the computer rankings for the first time since 1983. While her pursuit of Margaret Court's record 24 Grand Slam singles titles drifts further from the realm of possibility, Graf, who has 21 such victories, will return to compete on perhaps her best surface, grass. This London fortnight just may be the graceful Graf's Grand Slam swan song.
? HBO, MONDAY-FRIDAY, 9 AM
Braves vs. Yankees
Mariah the pariah. Cone bitten by mom's dog. Hideki, El Duque. Brawltimore. Perfect games, falling beams. Has following New York—unless you're behind the Yankees in the American League East—ever been so much fun? Next up for baseball's best team, which had a 47-14 record through Sunday: a home-and-home four-game series with National League leader Atlanta (47-22), which extends through Thursday and could prove to be the first time World Series foes also will have met during the regular season. Braves owner Ted Turner, who knows a thing or two about acquisitions, is elated with the play of new infielders Walt Weiss and Andres Galarraga, who led Atlanta in batting average (.329) and home runs (25), respectively. The steadiest bat among New York's ensemble cast belongs to Paul O'Neill, whose recent 17-game hit streak bumped his average to .332.
?TBS, MONDAY AND TUESDAY; ESPN, WEDNESDAY; WPIX, THURSDAY; ALL GAMES AT 7:30 PM
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.