This is an article from the June 26, 2000 issue
Nike Prefontaine Classic
CBS 3 PM Track transients will create an Oregon trail between
Eugene and Portland this weekend to watch the best U.S. running
talent. The Prefontaine has this year's top two American
performers in the men's 400 meters (world-record holder Michael
Johnson and Derrick Brew) and mile (Jason Pyrah and Richie
Boulet) plus an intriguing women's 1,500 field that includes
golden girl Suzy Favor Hamilton and the legally blind Marla
Runyan, respectively Nos. 2 and 3 in the U.S. On Sunday the
Adidas Oregon Classic (CBS, 3 p.m.) has the best U.S. men's
110-meter hurdler, Terrance Trammell.
McDonald's LPGA Championship
CBS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY 4 PM Karrie Webb was raised in
Queensland, Australia, and often used a drive-in as her driving
range. Now she has turned the LPGA Tour into her own theater of
the absurd, winning six tournaments last year while setting
records for season earnings ($1.59 million) and lowest average
score (69.43). This year, having already won four
events--including 2000's first major, the Nabisco
Championship--and finished in the top 10 in five others, the
Down Under Par lass enters this major threatening to set a
standard for Webbed feats.
Mike Tyson vs. Lou Savarese
SHOWTIME 9 PM (TAPE-DELAY) Considering that the headliner is
Tyson (47-3, 1 NC) and that the bout is being staged in Glasgow,
is it more tellingly anagrammatical to rearrange the underdog's
surname as SAVE EARS or SAVE ARSE? Savarese, a 6'5" Bronx mauler
(39-3), already has been bitten during a fight--in the chest, by
Nathaniel Fitch. Savarese attempted to retaliate with a kick to
the groin. In a country that gave us Trainspotting with the
character Begbie, one of cinema's alltime dirtiest fighters,
these blokes should feel right at home.
A Hero for Daisy
ESPN CLASSIC 9 PM In 1976 Yale oarswoman Chris Ernst did what
every rower knows not to do: She rocked the boat. Upset that
women didn't have shower facilities (as the men did) in the Elis'
boathouse, Ernst led the crew into the office of the director of
physical education, where they shed their clothes to reveal TITLE
IX emblazoned on their bare chests. One rower's bold stroke, as
this fantastic feature attests, was to have a ripple effect on
athletic parity. Sparingly told, the 40-minute documentary wisely
excises the melodrama. The irony: Ernst, who went on to become
the '86 world championships gold medalist in lightweight double
sculls, is now a plumber. "I've gone from fighting for showers,"
she says, "to fixing them."
Braves at Mets
FOX SPORTS 7 PM; TBS 7:05 PM By playing his controversial new
song about the Amadou Diallo slaying, American Skin (41 Shots),
at the first of his 10 shows at Madison Square Garden, Bruce
Springsteen alienated many New York City cops. On opening night
of this much anticipated reunion of last October's National
League Championship Series combatants--possibly the first 2000
appearance at Shea Stadium of a certain relief pitcher who dissed
Mets fans of all ethnic, racial and sexual persuasions--would the
Boss dare play his 1980 standard I'm a Rocker? When New York and
catcher Mike Piazza (above) last hosted Atlanta, the Mets won a
15-inning classic 4-3.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Last Thursday night, ESPN's SportsCenter used a telestrator to
pinpoint the whereabouts of Yankees second baseman Chuck
Knoblauch, who had committed three errors and was refraining
from joining his fellow infielders on the mound during a
pitching change. There should be a penalty for excessive
telestration....Dave Ryan hosts ESPN2's coverage of the NHL
draft on Saturday (noon) while TNT's Ernie Johnson will describe
the sartorial splendor of pro basketball's newest millionaires
during the NBA draft on Wednesday (7 p.m.)....Marv Albert makes
his debut as a tennis anchor on Wimbledon coverage beginning on
Monday and continuing daily on TNT (noon) and CNN/SI (8 p.m.).
He's The Man!
NBC's U.S. Open ratings reaffirmed the astonishing
Nielsen clout of Tiger Woods
For last week's 100th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, NBC deployed 47
cameras--nearly double the standard number--from vantage points in
the air, on land and on the sea. The Peacock unveiled newly hired
commentator Jimmy Roberts and reverently paid homage to the late
Payne Stewart as well as to Jack Nicklaus, appearing in his last
In the end, however, all those elements had less to do with NBC's
robust ratings than did one man, Tiger Woods. Last Saturday, with
Woods already in command, NBC did a 6.5 in the Nielsens--a 23%
leap over Open Saturday 1999 at Pinehurst. On Sunday, which began
with Tiger pawing with a 10-shot lead, NBC pulled in an 8.8
overnight Nielsen, compared with last year's 7.9.
"What we've found in covering any PGA Tour event," says NBC
spokesman Kevin Sullivan, "is that if Tiger's on the Sunday
leader board, that's worth an extra one and a half Nielsen points
or more. That's huge."
At the 1997 Masters, when, as on Sunday, Woods's final round was
less a competition than a coronation, CBS eagled the Nielsens,
achieving an NBA Finals-like 14.1. The 2000 Open's Nielsen
scorecard suggests that, to tune in, viewers don't need a Tiger
in the hunt; they just need a Tiger, period. "I'd like to think
that our coverage played a role in those numbers," says Roberts,
"but maybe it's just that people really do appreciate someone who
performs that spectacularly." --J.W.