Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
Golf: PGA Championships, at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Georgia; Thursday through Sunday, TNT and Channel 2:
The pairings committee for those who want to win the Wanamaker Trophy did their best to separate four-time winner Tiger Woods from no-time winner Adam Scott — the former will tee off on the 10th hole at 8:35 a.m. local time Thursday, about 40 minutes after Scott (and Woods’ former caddie, Stevie Williams) continues his victory lap from the WCG Bridgestone on the same hole. Woods is paired with ’97 winner Davis Love III and ’08 champ Padraig Harrington.
It’s the 20th anniversary of John Daly’s first major win. But as much as we’ll try to forget, many will bring up what happened at this event a year ago — Martin Kaymer won it in a playoff against Bubba Watson at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisc. But it only happened after Dustin “No Guts, No Glory” Johnson blew a one-shot lead playing the 18th hole in the final round when he drove it well right into a patch of sand where the gallery had been walking all week. It was ruled that he grounded his club in a bunker and was later assessed a two-shot penalty that left him out of the playoff and into a tie for fifth place.
The 26-year-old had to adjust his card to an 82, the highest score in the PGA Championship by a leader from after 54 holes since Fred McLeod shot 83 in the Golf Club of Chicago in 1911. It was also the worst score as Johnson professional.
Johnson seems to be pretty much over it — on his website home page (www.dustinjohnson.com), he’s selling T-shirts that read “What Bunker?” for $24.95. And there’s no where to hide here: He’s paired with Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia for the first two rounds, which are on TNT Thursday and Friday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). CBS has the final two rounds (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) on the weekend, with TNT on from 8 to 11 a.m. each day.
MLB: Dodgers vs. Philadelphia, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:
Cy Young winners Roy Halladay (14-4, 2.55, and 8-1 since May 20) and Cliff Lee (11-7, 2.89, who pitched seven shutout innings in a 3-1 win over the Dodgers on June 6 with 10 Ks) may put the fear of Phillies into the L.A. lineup the first two nights. But the starter on Wednesday afternoon (12:10 p.m., Prime Ticket) might be more unpredictably scary. Not Roy Oswalt or Cole Hammels. Try Vance Worley, the 23-year-old out of Long Beach State, who is a mere 8-1 with a 2.35 ERA, and the team has won all nine of his last starts going back to June 18. The game Tuesday (7:10 p.m., Channel 9) will honor Hall of Fame Duke Snider with a bobblehead, five months after his passing.
MLB: Pittsburgh at San Francisco, MLB Network, 7 p.m.:
Who’d have thought this three-game series could be an NL playoff preview?
MLB: Angels at New York Yankees, 4:05 p.m., FSW:
Since we can’t join A-Rod in Tampa for a poker game during his rehab from knee surgery — he’s not supposed to be back in the Yankees’ lineup until later this month — we’ll try to figure out who the Angels will use to replace Joel Pineiro in the pitching rotation sometime this week. Reliever Hisanori Takahashi seems to be the best option to face A.J. Burnett when the series continues Wednesday (4:05 p.m., FSW), and former Angels Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon is scheduled to face his old team on Thursday (10:05 a.m., FSW).
MLB: Detroit at Cleveland, 4 p.m., MLB Network:
More drama in the AL Central than we can handle.
WNBA: Sparks vs. Tulsa, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
This could have been a homecoming game for the Shock’s Marion Jones, but the former Thousand Oaks High star was released from the team about a month ago. The Sparks’ two-week home run continues Friday against Phoenix at 7:30 p.m., assuming all the X Games dirt has been sufficiently swept up from a weekend ago.
NFL exhibition football: Seattle at San Diego, 5 p.m., ESPN:
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll tweeted the other day: “Who’s got a submission for our 1st offensive play in our game vs SD next week? let’s go! send it in w/ the #SEAtweetplaycall tag!” He’s always competing, in a practice game that we at one time wasn’t sure was even going to happen. All the while, he’s still waiting for Nate Robinson to show up for a tryout that he insists he wants during the NBA lockout. This is the first day of exhibitions, with Baltimore-Philadelphia, Jacksonville-New England, Denver-Dallas and Arizona-Oakland.
MLB: Milwaukee at St. Louis, 5 p.m., MLB Network:
Not enough NL Central drama for us to appreciate.
Pro Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, 5 p.m., NBA TV:
At Springfield’s Symphony Hall, they’ll honor former Lakers assistant Tex Winter, Chris Mullin, Artis Gilmore, Tara VanDerveer, Teresa Edwards, Arvydas Sabonis, Herb Magee, Satch Sanders, plus Harlem Globetrotter Goose Tatum. Oh, right. And Dennis Rodman. The Hall (linked here) will never be the same.
NFL exhibition: Tampa Bay at Kansas City, 5 p.m., Channel 11:
Chiefs QB Matt Cassel gets to try out his real cool K-Swiss shoes. Just shut up and wear ’em. Day 2 of the exhibition openers include Cincinnati-Detroit, Miami-Atlanta, Pittsburgh-Washington and San Francisco-New Orleans.
MLB: Dodgers vs. Houston, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:
No more Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn or Jeff Keppinger for these Astros, who are 25-some games out of the NL Central and pretty much have been mathematically eliminated from any sort of personal enjoyment at this point. Before the weekend finishes with games on Saturday (7:10 p.m., Prime) and Sunday (1:10 p.m., Prime), keep an eye on the BaseballReference.com stat that measures how poor a team really can be. The Astros are an MLB-worst .375 in the “pythW-L%” category — that would be the Pythagorean Win-Loss Percentage, which is an estimation of the team’s win-loss percentage based on runs scored and runs allowed by the team. So pay no attention to their real W-L percentage, which last week was a far less impressive 327.
MLB: Angels at Toronto, 4:07 p.m., FSW:
Just to show Vernon Wells what he’s been missing north of the border. Jered Weaver is supposed to be back after his six-game suspension on Saturday (10:07 a.m., FSW) leading into Sunday’s finale (10:07 a.m., Channel 13) and the end of the week-long roadie.
Little League: West Regional semifinals, San Bernardino, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.:
Dodgers scouts are standing by. The regional final is Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN). The winner goes to Williamsport, Pa.
U.S. National Diving Championships, UCLA’s Spieker Aquatics Center and Dirks Pool, women’s platform final, men’s 3-meter final, 11 a.m., Channel 4:
USADiving.org’s website claims this event “will feature more stars than the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” starting with Troy Dumais (above) and five others who were part of the 2008 Olympic team. It’s the one sport where you don’t try to make a big splash, except UCLA’s $11 million swim facility will be doing so, hosting about 125 of the nation’s top divers going after 10 national titles and qualifying for the Pan Am Games later this year, as well as establish a platform for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. It started with Tuesday’s prelims. The men’s platform finals are Sunday (noon, Channel 4) followed by the women’s 3-meter and men’s synchronized 3-meter final (1:30 p.m., Universal Sports). UCLA’s Dashiell Enos (Studio City), Laura Winn and Annika Lenz are also competing.
NFL exhibition: Green Bay at Cleveland, 4:30 p.m., NFL Network:
More practice games today with New York Giants-Carolina, Buffalo-Chicago, Indianapolis-St. Louis and Minnesota-Tennessee. There’s a New York Jets-Houston matchup on Monday night.
IRL: At Loudon, N.H., 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:
Proving that New Hampshire has enough land to accommodate a race track and the homesteads of Daniel Webster, e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, Franklin Pierce and John Paul Jones.
NASCAR: Sprint Cup Helluva Good! Sour Cream Dip at Watkins Glen, N.Y., 10 a.m., ESPN:
Hampshire Sour Cream has nothing to do with New Hampshire? That’s a heckuva good question to ponder.