Thursday, April 11, 2013

04/11 (Masters) Quickie

As is pretty obvious, one of my fascinations is "win or fail" stakes -- teams and athletes for whom anything less than a championship is a failure.

That was the case with Louisville (and the Baylor women's team). That is the case with the Heat (if not quite the Thunder, because of the Heat). That is the case with Alabama football.

And, even more than the Heat, that is the case for Tiger Woods, as I lay out in today's Morning Win column for USA TODAY Sports.

The context of golf majors -- every golfer gets four chances to win one per year -- means that winning The Masters isn't do-or-die for Woods in terms of winning another major. He will get three more chances this year, and four a year from now until whenever he hangs it up.

But that doesn't mean that anything less than winning in Augusta isn't a failure for Woods. With the momentum he brings into the tournament, this year is "win or fail" more than any since before his personal life fell apart.

It used to be "Tiger versus the field," with the expectation that Tiger was going to win. Now it is "Tiger versus the field," with the expectation that he will fall short.

Tiger failing remains the most compelling story in golf and one of the most compelling stories in sports.

Give the column a read, if you would -- I nearly led with Kobe and his 47-point performance last night, because the Lakers trying to cling to their 1-game lead on the playoff 8-spot with three games to play is the best storyline of the NBA regular season. (And Lakers-Whoever in the first round of the playoffs will be the best storyline of the postseason, given that it is essentially a certainty that the Heat are going to roll to a title.)

-- D.S.

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