- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

HE SAID WHAT?

“Great players make it happen, and your average players don't. … You see Tiger make the putt, see all the big stars make it happen. That's why they are where they are and we're all down here.” - Kenny Perry after his playoff stumble cost him the Masters

TAKE YOUR PICK: Will the Nationals finish with the worst record in baseball?

Yes - As the only winless team in the majors after the first week, Washington already has taken up residence in the basement of the National League East. Climbing out of that hole — over a group that includes the defending World Series champion Phillies, loaded Mets and early co-leaders Marlins and Braves — already looks like a long shot.

No - There's no reason to panic just yet. The Nationals scored the third-fewest runs in the majors last season, but that problem should fade thanks to the presence of a true slugger in Adam Dunn. The team needs either Austin Kearns or Lastings Milledge to return to the living at the plate, but Dunn, Cristian Guzman and Ryan Zimmerman give the team some nice offensive pieces. The pitching staff, particularly the rotation, is still a work in progress, but building a franchise takes time.

Our take - The Nationals won't finish with the worst record in the majors… only because Houston is even worse. Washington's roster arguably features fewer coveted players than any in the league; it's Dunn, Guzman and a ton of spare parts. Washington desperately needed a hot start to build momentum and hope. Instead, its season is already a developing disaster.

TWT SIX: RECENT CHOKES IN GOLF MAJORS

1. Jean Van de Velde, 1999 British Open - The Frenchman needed a double to win the British Open and played the final hole at Carnoustie like someone with a 30 handicap.

2. Scott Hoch, 1989 Masters - Needing only a 2-foot par putt to defeat Nick Faldo in a playoff, Hoch never even touched the hole.

3. Phil Mickelson, 2006 U.S. Open - Seemingly en route to his third straight major, Lefty fanned his drive on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot and made double bogey to hand the trophy to Geoff Ogilvy.

4. Colin Montgomerie, 2006 U.S. Open - Monty's meltdown probably deserves to rank ahead of Mickelson's because he managed to make double bogey on the 72nd hole from the center of the fairway.

5. Greg Norman, 1996 Masters - Norman took a six-stroke lead on Faldo into Sunday's finale and closed with a meltdown 78 to lose by five.

6. Kenny Perry, 2009 Masters - Leading by two strokes with two holes to play, Perry finishes bogey-bogey and then misses both greens in the playoff.

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