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?
ESPN 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. 2 national ranking as of Monday. 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'
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
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.
ESPN2 8 PM
All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.
Viewers of Wildhorse Saloon (The Nashville Network, 5 p.m.
weekdays) know the show's host, Katie Haas, as the distaff Dixie
Dick Clark. This month Haas has joined Randy Pemberton as cohost
of TNN Motor Madness (Fridays, 8-11 p.m.), which provides
flag-to-flag coverage of everything from swamp-buggy races to
next month's Demolition Derby Showdown I. A former member of
stock car racer Zillon Felts's pit crew, Haas is fuel-injected
about her added automotive duties. "I missed the bumping and
the shouting," she declares.