Mark Williams is the Tiger Woods of his sport.
Never heard of him? That’s because his sport is snooker, a variation of billiards played with 21 balls and no pockets.
Williams, 28, of Cardiff, Wales, won the World Snooker Championship on Monday, becoming only the third player to win the sport’s three major titles -- the U.S. Championship and the Benson and Hedges Masters are the others -- in a season.
Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry, defeated by Williams, 18-16, in Monday’s final, preceded him.
More snooker: WiIliams led in the championship game, 10-2, before faltering so badly, he said, it left him “absolutely bits.”
“At 11-8, it felt like I was playing with a different arm, I couldn’t feel anything,” Williams said. “I was happy to finish the third session 12-12 and take a few hours’ break.”
To relax, Williams said he played cards, then traded punches with a friend. The friend told Williams he was “bottling it” -- choking -- and need to “go out there and pot some balls.”
After that, said Williams, who earned $434,000 for his victory, “I felt a lot more relaxed. I was sitting in my chair singing ‘Delilah’ by Tom Jones to myself.”
Sounds like something Phil Mickelson might try.
Trivia time: When was the last time two Canadian teams played in the Stanley Cup finals?
Winning tune: The Detroit Pistons are among few teams to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a seven-game playoff series, and perhaps the only one to feel like singing the blues afterward.
The Pistons are 4-0 this season when rhythm-and-blues artist Anita Baker sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” and her latest rendition was Sunday, before the Pistons clinched their first-round series against the Orlando Magic, 108-93.
Wonder if she would sing for the Tigers.
One-liners: Jay Leno, talking about the Tigers’ coming series in Toronto against the Blue Jays:
“They’re worried about catching that SARS virus, but the team doctor cleared them to go. He said after watching them play, he realized these guys can’t catch anything.”
“Late Show” host David Letterman, referring to New York-bred Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide: “I believe it’s New York’s most famous gelding since Frank Gifford.”
Short explanation: Willie McCovey, nicknamed “Stretch” during his playing days, was honored at a ceremony Sunday. A bronze statue of his likeness was unveiled as the centerpiece of a park and San Francisco Giants’ history monument along the promenade across McCovey Cove.
Asked why his statue appeared taller than the one of Willie Mays outside Pac Bell Park, McCovey replied, “I’m taller ... that’s why.”
Trivia answer: 1989. Calgary defeated Montreal, 4-2, in a best-of-seven series.
And finally: Mike Price’s embarrassing golf weekend in Florida was summarized as a “rookie mistake” by Denver Post columnist Jim Armstrong.
“Somebody forgot to tell him the first rule of coaching in the SEC,” Armstrong wrote. “Cash only for girls and recruits.”
-- Mike Hiserman