Even Without Victory, Tiger Proves He's a Winner

Welcome back to the Clubhouse Report.

A few tournaments and no trophies for Tiger Woods, but I think it's his finest hour as a professional golfer. Here's why:

He didn't throw a single Paul O'Neill-style tantrum. He didn't blame a tough U.S. Open course or an insanely smothering crowd in Westchester for his struggles. He made statements you would hope a Little League coach would be pounding into his kids in times of trouble.

After an all-too-human round, he would say "I tried hard, that's all I can ask from myself. I'm proud of the way I battled even though my mechanics were off."

Wow! In an era when parents are coming to blows on sandlot sidelines and corruption ravages college sports to see and hear the world's most famous athlete show class and perspective in defeat is like a tall glass of Gatorade on a sizzling Arizona summer day.

Maybe his dad is right when he said his son will be bigger as a statesman than golfer.

Jenny's Back

Win or lose at Wimbledon, the story of the sports year is the stunning success of tennis star Jennifer Capriati. I saw the raw emotion of her first Grand Slam in Australia, then the dominance in winning her second at the French Open in Paris. This from a 24-year-old who just a few years ago was closer to prison than a championship medal.

What's most heartening is her apparent closeness with her family. You may remember her dad became the poster boy for the sports-obsessed parent of the early 1990s. Jennifer excelled on the court in her early teens, only to rebel, leave the sport and show up on the police blotter by the age of 17.

Today dad cheers and Jenny wins, and they both embrace while fighting back the tears.

Ring 'Round the Title

Congratulations to the judge who handed Don King and Hasim Rahman the loss they deserved in court, while giving Lennox Lewis the rematch he earned.

Rahman was a feel-good story in boxing for about a day after stunning Lewis with a thundering right in South Africa, thereby becoming heavyweight champion of the world. But instead of bringing the sport back into the mainstream, he was dragged back into the ditch by shunning his promoter, evading the rematch clause in the contract and inking a deal with King.

The judge is making Rahman's next match a rematch, nixing his bout with David Izon in China. He blew millions by showing no loyalty to Cedric Kushner, a promoter who got him a title shot after losing two of his last three fights! Now he has an angry Lewis, no tune-up bout and a real negative karma.

I may be gullible or just a crazy optimist, but I'm buying the new and improved Mike Tyson. He seems contrite and focused in recent interviews and I give full credit to his Prozac. His proposed match with the winner of Lewis-Rahman will set pay-per-view records. By the way, he's all but set to take on Shannon Briggs in August.

That's your Clubhouse Report. See you at the water cooler!