It's Not Only Skill That Makes Him Great

Arnold Palmer says Tiger Woods is the greatest competitor in the history of golf:

"Take 'em all, Jones, Snead, Nelson, Hogan, Player, myself, Jack. We all gave plenty to be good, but not as much as Tiger is giving. Golf is all that matters to him. Winning is his entire life.

"Jack went fishing. I got into the business of building golf courses. Player had his farm in South Africa. With Woods, it is golf and more golf. He is completely dedicated to the work ethic, more than any player I've ever known."

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Trivia time: Who holds the NBA Finals record for steals in a game?

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Welcome home: Mexico's national soccer team tried to slip back into the country quietly Monday after an 0-4 tour of Europe and Asia, but as players walked through Mexico City's airport under police guard, several hundred fans booed.

Some screamed "Burros!" at the players and "Resign!" at Coach Enrique Meza. There was also shoving and shouting by local reporters, infuriated at having been misdirected to an area away from the team's arrival.

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Wie wonder: Michelle Wie, 11, of Honolulu won Hawaii's top amateur women's golf tournament, the Jennie K. Wilson Invitational, by nine strokes last month and says her goal is to "play in the PGA and win lots of tournaments." Notice, she didn't say LPGA.

Says her father, Byung Wook Wie: "A friend of mine told Michelle, 'You're the next Se Ri Pak.' She was kind of infuriated. She wants to be the next Tiger Woods."

Her nickname from some of her sixth-grade classmates is "golfing geek."

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Thank goodness: Seven major league teams have balked at Fox Sports' new commercials featuring "Matt the Stall Guy," a character who talks baseball while sitting on the toilet.

The ads have been flushed by the Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and White Sox, New York Mets and Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.

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Any other tricks? The NHL's Vancouver Canucks have their first mascot, a purple Orca or killer whale that blows smoke out of its head. This beat out a lumberjack and Goalie Man, whose mask and long, Rastafarian-style hair scared children, the club said.

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Go for it: Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban, when asked by Fox Sports Net's Jim Rome about the possibility of surpassing his record fine total from this NBA season because of his newly signed deal to host his own TV show: "Hey, records were made to be broken."

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Heating up: From the Caught on the Fly column in the Sporting News: "The Spies say Pat's still Riley-ed 'bout that first-round flopperoo, but pay no mind to that look of defHeat Riles was wearin' during series aftermath. He got second wind [actually, Riles is 56, so Fly figures it's wind No. 4] and is getting his broom-n-mop ready for a housecleaning. Hmm . . . Pat wouldn't sweep Brian Grant and Eddie Jones to Seattle for the Glove and Nap-taker Baker . . . would he?"

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Looking back: On this day in 1989, the Detroit Pistons defeated the Lakers, 108-105, in the second game of the NBA Finals. Detroit won the title in four games.

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Trivia answer: Robert Horry, seven, while playing for the Houston Rockets against the Orlando Magic on June 9, 1995.

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And finally: John Kruk, a former Philadelphia Phillie first baseman-outfielder, on leaving the organization as a coach to work for Fox Sports Net:

"I enjoyed the coaching part. But I'm the first to say I'm doing it for the money. You hear people say it's not about the money? That's bull. I'm doing it for the money."

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