Ryder Cup

Mano a mano, no manana, en Espana. You think the Inquisition was
torture? Only lives were at stake. The final day of play from
Valderrama, Spain, features 12 singles matches between the top
golfers from Europe and the U.S. Though these pairings will not
be determined until after Saturday's play, we can dream: How
about 1997 Masters champion Tiger Woods versus three-time
Masters winner Nick Faldo? Or Davis Love III facing Costantino
Rocca (above) in a rematch of their 1993 round that hung in the
balance until the 18th hole? The last two Cups have seen the
team that trailed as Sunday dawned rally to win.


49ers at Panthers

The term "separated head" has yet to appear on an NFL injury
report, but quarterbacks Kerry Collins (broken jaw) of Carolina
(below, 12) and Steve Young (concussion) of San Francisco have
come perilously close this year. The good news for Young:
Carolina's most prolific sacker of 1996, Kevin Greene, now plays
on his team. The bad news: The Panthers had seven sacks against
San Diego two weeks ago, after which Greene's replacement,
Michael Barrow, said, "You couldn't get Jesus to stand back
there the way we were coming." Honey, where's the Advil?


Before They Were Pros

Brett Favre naked--at age two. Home movies and interviews with
family and friends expose the wonder years of five NFL
standouts. For example, despite being a three-sport star at
Henryetta (Okla.) High, Troy Aikman won his lone title in
typing. Wayne Chrebet drew inspiration from his dad, Wayne Sr.,
who finished second in the Mr. America bodybuilding competition
in 1989. Comic relief is provided by the Favre men, who are
wholly unapologetic about their chronic, um, favreting. Future
Hall of Famers Marcus Allen and John Elway are also profiled.


Panthers at Flyers

On opening night of the NHL season, let us pause to remember the
dead: the Hartford Whalers (antiquing is now Connecticut's major
professional sport), the puck (scoring hit a 27-year low last
season) and Philadelphia's Legion of Doom line. Gone in a trade
is Mikael Renberg, and until last week center Eric Lindros's
other wingman, John LeClair (right), was a contract holdout.
LeClair, coming off two straight 50-goal seasons, rejoined the
Flyers after management promised to renegotiate his relatively
paltry $1.4 million-per-year deal. Now if only Philadelphia,
swept by Detroit in June's Stanley Cup finals, can put to rest
its new nickname, Legion of Broom.
ESPN, 7:30 PM


Jamaica vs. U.S.

The joint was packed for the first World Cup qualifier between
these two nations last March in Kingston, a match that ended in
a 0-0 dreadlock. No goal nets will be frayed at the end of this
rematch in Washington, D.C., either. Jamaica's self-proclaimed
Reggae Boyz have scored just four goals in seven qualifying
matches but, like the Americans, appear likely to garner a berth
in the 1998 World Cup, their first, regardless of the outcome of
this match. A reggae jingle getting copious airplay in Kingston
includes these lines:

Jamaica's going to France, Jamaica's going to France....
Them beat up on other teams and mash up all their dreams....

The ska's the limit.
ESPN, 7:30 PM

All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.

COLOR PHOTO: DAVE CANNON/ALLSPORT [Costantino Rocca] COLOR PHOTO: BRAD MANGIN [Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers in game] COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER [John LeClair playing hockey]


Is there an arcane provision in the major league collective
bargaining agreement stating that American League players be
paid by the hour? Before the Division Series commence with a
tripleheader on Tuesday--ESPN at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Fox at 8
p.m. (teams to be announced)--check out these numbers from last
autumn: The average length of nine-inning Division Series games
was 2:52 in the National League and 3:26 in the American. In
couch-potato terms, you missed the equivalent of an entire
Seinfeld rerun by tuning in to the junior circuit. No wonder
Jerry's buddy George wanted to bolt from the Yankees to the Mets.