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JERRY CROWE

Tiger Woods is always great with a clench

Text messages from press row . . .

March 31, 2009|JERRY CROWE

We've seen them so many times before that we probably should be immune by now, but Tiger Woods' celebratory roundhouse fist pumps still raise goose bumps. . . .

Even with a big lead, Sean O'Hair faced a tall order Sunday, or as NBC's Johnny Miller noted of the difference between champion and challenger, "He's like the sun and you're like butter." . . .

It's hard to argue when Miller calls Woods "the greatest pressure putter that has ever played the game." . . .

A second-rate second unit could doom Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to second-best status again come June. . . .

Andrew Bynum would make a huge difference. . . .

If Pau Gasol is not getting enough touches within the Lakers offense, you'll never hear it from him. . . .

Blake Griffin fell short of the Final Four but left no doubt that he is the player of the year in college basketball. . . .

Rick Pitino's hiring at Arizona, if it happened, would shift the balance of power in the Pacific 10 Conference. . . .

It's a rarity these days when a team reaches a Final Four played in its home state, as Michigan State did this year, but John Wooden's UCLA teams won two of their 10 NCAA titles in Los Angeles and another in San Diego. . . .

This doesn't seem right: The final four in the NIT go to New York while the Final Four in the NCAA tournament go to Detroit? . . .

North Carolina has reached the Final Four for the 18th time, matching UCLA's record, but the two have met only once on college basketball's grandest stage, Lew Alcindor and the Bruins crushing the Tar Heels in the championship game in 1968. . . .

That game was played in the Sports Arena, where the Bruins won again four years later behind Bill Walton. . . .

This is not the way Mike Scioscia and the Angels envisioned heading into April, with three-fifths of their starting rotation on the shelf and Gary Matthews Jr. in a snit. . . .

Former Angel Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees is favored to succeed Dustin Pedroia as the American League most valuable player, according to odds posted at BodogLife.com, while Manny Ramirez is the No. 4 pick in the National League behind Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and Hanley Ramirez. . . .

Favored to win their divisions, the Angels are listed at 14-1 and the Dodgers at 20-1 to win the World Series. . . .

A caller to the USC ticket office last week was surprised to hear audio highlights featuring Emmanuel Moody, who left USC two years ago and helped Florida win the BCS title last season. . . .

Ex-USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett has played little in two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, but Coach John Fox tells the Charlotte Observer, "I saw big progress last year. By midseason . . . I saw a real change in him. The light definitely came on." . . .

Mississippi Valley State apparently wasn't a consideration for another receiver with a familiar name, Jerry Rice Jr., who says he will walk on as a freshman at UCLA next season. . . .

Jose Canseco is scheduled to speak Friday at 7:30 p.m. at USC's Bovard Auditorium, where questions about former Trojans All-American Mark McGwire as well as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, et al., doubtless will be raised. . . .

Reader Michael Bennett wonders if anyone other than Gail Goodrich won high school, NCAA and NBA titles in the same city, as Goodrich did in winning a City title at Sun Valley Poly, two NCAA titles at UCLA and an NBA championship with the Lakers. . . .

John McEnroe duped in art scam: You cannot be serious. . . .

Ducks prospect Nick Bonino helped Boston College reach the Frozen Four, where the Eagles will be joined in the semifinals of the NCAA men's hockey tournament by Vermont, Miami (Ohio) and Bemidji State, which is located in Minnesota. . . .

Eight teams from California received votes in this week's USA Today/ESPN college baseball coaches' poll, but none have USC or UCLA stitched across their chests. . . .

"Quantum Hoops," a critically acclaimed 2007 film documenting the Caltech basketball team's 21-year conference losing streak, makes its broadcast premiere Saturday at 10 p.m. on Channel 28 and repeats Sunday at 3:30 p.m. . . .

David Duchovny narrates. . . .

Asked Sunday on "60 Minutes" if he knew what "60 Minutes" was, LeBron James quipped, "It's an hour, right?"

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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