PGA Tour winner will be an ace

CHRIS STEVENSON, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

Vijay or Tiger? Ernie or Retief?

Lefty or Sergio?

And don't forget Mike.

There has not been a more anticipated PGA Tour season since maybe when Tiger Woods was a rookie back in 1997.

You have to go back to the early 1960s to find an era (Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player) when there were as many great players battling it out at the top.

Woods, of course, remains the linchpin.

Is this the year he finds a new winning form? He won two events late in the year and his work with teacher Hank Haney appears to have tightened up his swing and gotten his body and arms more co-ordinated.

There might never have been a time when there were as many players capable of winning majors.

All those factors are going to make this a memorable year.

In case you were wondering, this is the year Woods reclaims the No. 1 ranking he lost to Singh last year.

HEAR AND THERE: I had to laugh when I heard how indignant NHL players were when the owners took the players' offer of a 24% across-the-board pay cut and redistributed the cuts so the highest-paid players took the biggest hits. How dare the owners do that? But the players have no problem at all telling the owners how to split up their money by way of revenue sharing. Talk about hypocrites ... Bet the fans in Villach, Austria can't wait for Ethan Moreau to get there ... So, Vince Carter says he didn't really try while he was with the Toronto Raptors and people act surprised. Indignant. What? They weren't watching?

REVELATIONS: Defensive lineman Noah Cantor might have been a guy who could have helped the Renegades down the road, but the Ottawa native opted to sign a two-year contract extension with the Grey Cup champs in Toronto rather than try the free-agent market after next season. "If I only have a couple years left to play football, I want to actually enjoy them," he said. "And the most fun I've had playing is in Toronto."... You know it hasn't been a good year for the NHL when a Google search gives you 435,000 hits on "nhl lockout," 267,000 for "nhl bertuzzi" and only 190,000 on "nhl lightning stanley cup."

SPECULATIONS: There are many bothersome things on television that don't involve Ashlee Simpson. The sponsor's VP of marketing on golf telecasts, for one. Listening to some flack -- when I could be watching some golf -- makes me want to buy the sponsor's product less, not more ... You will see the Renegades with a different look next season. Their home sweaters will remain basic black, but the cut of the sweater and the colour of the numbers (from white to red, most likely) will change. Given their losses over the first three years, red numbers are fitting.

LEMME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT: One of the most remarkable things about the world junior championship is Sidney Crosby, 17, lived up to the hype. That's saying a lot ... Somewhere near the top of the Renegades' free-agent wish list should be linebacker Carl Kidd ... Saw in the Sun the other day that USC's win in the Orange Bowl over Oklahoma was a "statement game." Yeah, and the statement was: "The BCS blows."

JUST WONDERING: Not a bad gig for Alonzo Mourning, huh? The guy was traded to the Raptors in the Carter deal, refused to report and now sits in Florida collecting $31,815 US a day not to play. The Raptors haven't suspended him. Wonder how retired teachers (whose pension fund has a big stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Raptors) feel about that? ... What happened to Ty Tryon? He joined the PGA Tour as a teenager. Now? He's preparing to go the Canadian Tour qualifying school next month in Florida.

NAPKIN NOTES: Looking ahead to 2005: In an effort to boost scoring, another one of those hockey summits recommends goalies not be allowed to touch the puck in front of the net.

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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