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The Players Championship Sawgrass has been called home to golf's fifth major, which is why the big names flock to Ponte Vedra, Fla., every year. The unforgiving rough doesn't favor a spray hitter such as Tiger Woods (who hasn't won this tournament since 2001), but it plays right into the hands of short--but straight--hitter Fred Funk, who last year at age 48 became the oldest champion in TPC history. Thursday and Friday ESPN noon; Saturday NBC 2 p.m.; Sunday NBC 1:30 p.m.
Figure Skating World Championships Where are the gold medalists? Turin ice dancing champs Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov are skipping the event in Calgary, as is women's champ Shizuka Arakawa. That will open the door for several U.S. hopefuls: the team of Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto (right) and Sasha Cohen and Johnny Weir, who will look to capitalize on the absence of men's gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko of Russia. Thursday and Friday ESPN 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday check listings
City of Rome Marathon It may lack the prestige of Boston and the star power of New York, but any race that begins and ends in the shadow of the Colosseum can't be too shabby. More than 5,000 runners--a record for the race--from 70 countries will convene in the Eternal City, including 2005 winner Alberico Di Cecco, who finished sixth in New York last November.
Mavericks at Pistons In Detroit and Dallas everything starts with D: The Mavs are holding opponents to 92.6 points per game (the sixth-best average in the NBA). But Dallas has got nothing on Detroit, which allows just 89.9. Part of the reason the Eastern Conference champs are so tough: Ben Wallace, who is ninth in the league in blocks (2.19 per game) and rarely misses a chance to swat a shot. One scout swears Wallace has "the best block per opportunity ratio in the league." ESPN 7:30 p.m.
Extreme Poker Championship By virtue of winning the 2005 Extreme Poker title on the floor of the Caribbean off St. Kitts (left), Juha Helppi earned the right to pick this year's venue. His choice: a 60,000-cubic-foot ice castle he had built in his backyard in Kemi, Finland. Six players will shuffle up--and muffle up--to determine this year's champ.