Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Tuesday, January 13, 1998

'Bows, Broncs, Martin have cases to prove

IT was a weekend that tested the credibility gap, resulting in the following questions:

n How good is the University of Hawaii men's basketball team? The Rainbows' credibility took a big plunge when they lost their road opener at San Diego State. Somehow, amazingly so, they didn't drop out of sight in the Top 25 polls. So they have a chance to redeem themselves and protect their long-sought ranking with victories over Southern Methodist and Texas Christian, even if they're playing at home.

n How good are the Denver Broncos? They have another chance to redeem themselves in the Super Bowl XXXII, despite overwhelming odds. They're 0-4 in Super Bowls and are representing the AFC, which has lost 13 straight to the NFC champion.

n Is Casey Martin's game only good as his golf cart? And what is the PGA Tour going to do to protect the integrity of the game?

Coach Riley Wallace must be breathing a sigh of relief, knowing that despite his Rainbows' 81-72 loss to the Aztecs, they're still ranked.

Yes, he was a little surprised. "They gave us a second chance, no question. Win Saturday, we've got a chance to stay there," Wallace said.

Good word of mouth by Dick Vitale, who has said Hawaii is for real, Roy Williams of Kansas and Indiana's Bobby Knight obviously helped. The hype that got them recognition proved enough to carry the Rainbows for at least one defeat. They can say bye-bye to the polls, though, if they lose to SMU Saturday.

Nobody goes unbeaten in basketball these days. Every team will have a bad game or two in its system. And here's hoping that the game last Saturday was one of them for the Rainbows. They certainly played ugly and lost even uglier.

Eric Ambrozich, Michael Robinson and Erin Galloway were caught flat-footed by the more aggressive Aztecs under the boards. And for Galloway, it was surprisingly so. The "Helicopter" never left the launching pad when it came to getting rebounds.

"They weren't boxed out or anything. They were just standing around. It was just a lack of effort. We're going to work on that," Wallace said.

As for the Broncos, from now to Super Sunday, you're going to read and hear about how Denver is not your typical AFC team. That the Broncos play smash-mouth football and John Elway will finally redeem himself. Again, seeing is believing.

Unfortunately, Green Bay has Brett Favre and Dorsey Levens to spark the offense and the Packers are already noted for their great defense. The oddsmakers have already installed Green Bay as a 131/2-point favorite. Even then, it's a sucker bet.

FINALLY, there's the matter of Casey Martin, who has sued the PGA Tour under the Americans With Disabilities Act for the right to use a cart in competition. Until a hearing on Feb. 2, he will be allowed to drive a cart. His winning the Nike Tour opener Sunday sent shock waves through the golf world.

A driver can help a golfer win a tournament. Nobody thought it would be a driver of a golf cart.

No offense to Martin, who has a legitimate disability claim, according to Mililani reader James Beat. While it's admirable that Martin wants to play on the PGA Tour, he's only hurting the integrity of the sport if he wins his suit. Using a cart gives him a distinct advantage over the other players, who have to walk.

Next thing you know, someone - me, for example - might want to sue the PGA Tour for the use of a golf cart to ride along and watch Martin play. Besides, what if it rains? Do we have to stay on the cart path?

Seriously, I hope the judge presiding at the federal court hearing on Martin's suit is a serious golfer. The decision would be the right one, which is no.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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