Phil Mickelson will be the last person to utter the phrase "I am Tiger Woods." By winning this event last year, Mickelson, who before he turned pro in 1992 won three NCAA championships and one U.S. Amateur title, became the youngest player since Jack Nicklaus to get eight PGA Tour victories. Then came You Know Who (three U.S. Amateur championships, one NCAA title), winner of three of his first nine Tour events. Will the packed galleries—an event-record 156,875 attended last year's final round—root for Mickelson, 26, an alumnus of Arizona State? Or will they pull for Woods (right), 21, coming off his playoff win at the Mercedes Championships?
5 PM, SAT
4 PM, SUN
All-Time All-Madden Super Bowl Team
"Hey! We love John Madden! We love his blithe bluster, his pigskin purity, his tailgate Telestrating and especially his annual All-Madden teams! And we cannot wait to see that squad of Super Bowl legends, like Joe Namath (right) and Mean Joe Greene (who will be reunited with the kid from the famous 1979 Coke commercial), which will kick off five hours of pre-Supe programming. Boom! The legends will even be on hand as Madden delivers a locker room speech. And another thing...."
FOX, 1 PM
Lakers at Sonics
Following a recent perfunctory home win against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, Detlef Schrempf, the Teutonic Sonic, said, "It took us forever to get into it." The same can be said for Seattle's approach to the 1996-97 season. The defending Western Conference champion Sonics have only recently merited their Super prefix, by reeling off seven straight wins through Sunday. The Lakers are charging in the Pacific Division behind the MVP-level numbers (26.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, 3.1 blocks a game) of center Shaquille O'Neal. On Dec. 3, Shaq scored 32 as L.A. beat Seattle 110-106.
NBC, 3 PM
Clemson at North Carolina
Since 1925 no brand has been smoked as consistently at this stop on Tobacco Road as Clemson, now 0-42 against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. But these Tigers, who began the season with an upset of national champion Kentucky, are cut from a different leaf. Led by 5'9" point guard Terrell McIntyre—the ACC's shortest scholarship player in a decade—Clemson had burst to a 16-1 record and No. 3 national ranking at week's end. In each of the last two years coaches Rick Barnes of Clemson and Dean Smith of North Carolina (10-4) have engaged in shouting matches. The temperature inside the DeanDome will be hotter than a smokin' stogie.
ABC, 4 PM
Super Bowl XXXI: Packers vs. Patriots
The average margin of victory in the last two Super Bowls staged in New Orleans—one of which (XX) saw New England as the victim of the Chicago Bears—is 40.5 points. They don't call it the Big Easy for nothing. And worries about another blowout abound. Admit it, you miss the Dallas Cowboys, who, by the way, beat both of these teams in the regular season. The AFC has lost 12 straight Super Bowls (its last victory: Jan. 22, 1984, when the Los Angeles Raiders—that's right, Los Angeles—beat the Washington Redskins 38-9). Packers quarterback and NFL MVP Brett Favre (left) was raised 40 miles from the Louisiana Superdome in Kiln, Miss., which is pronounced "kill," as in, well, you understand.
FOX, 6 PM
Winter X Games
"What do you get," asks the promo, "when you combine a street luger's mentality with a garage mechanic's initiative?" Someone too brain dead to promise you that your car will be ready "day after tomorrow, latest"? No! Super-modified shovel racing, one of five events (including snowboarding, below) spread over four days. To those who say, "X? Y?" be apprised that Bill Nye (the famed Science Guy) will be the games' science expert. "I'll be able to inform viewers on the rates at which snowboarders are metabolizing glycogen," says Nye.
All times Eastern, Schedules are subject to change.