Special on sweet-swinging Jones hits the middle of the cup for CBS

There is a marvelous sequence in Sunday's CBS documentary, "The Life and Times of Bobby Jones" (Channel 13, 2 p.m.), in which the swing of the man many consider to be the greatest golfer of all time is shown again and again.

It's an ode to perfection, delivered over the swirl of "The Nutcracker Suite," with every swing delivered precisely the same way, with the knees bent and the stroke beginning and ending at the same points.


Even if you've never flung a club in anger or knocked down a putt from 65 feet, the beauty and honesty of Jones' game, as told through the narration of actor Sean Connery, are intoxicating.

The producers' selection of Connery, a native Scotsman and golf historian, is indicative of the hold Jones has over the sport, since the Scottish, who invented the sport, don't always cotton to strangers who tackle their hallowed game.


The special is based on a book written by Sid Matthew and includes footage not seen before on television. It's a moving hour for duffers and nongolfers alike, and a great primer for the Masters, which starts next week at the Augusta (Ga.) National course that Jones, who won 13 majors, helped design.

The O's are back!

The early Orioles ratings story is quite an impressive one. Tuesday's home opener garnered a 16.6 Nielsen rating, a dramatic improvement over last year's 9.6 rating, and the highest rating for an opening game among the big-league teams that have appeared on an over-the-air carrier.

Meanwhile, thanks in no small part to the wider distribution of Home Team Sports in this area, Wednesday's Orioles game did a 7.6 rating in the Baltimore region, the third-highest ever, behind the numbers for last September's games at which Cal Ripken tied and broke the consecutive-games mark.

Roundball roundup

So, the college hoops season is over, and the withdrawal pangs have already hit. Fear not, for basketball has not completely vanished.

After "Showtime" at 2: 30 p.m. Sunday, NBC (Channel 11) brings along an NBA doubleheader, with San Antonio meeting the Los Angeles Lakers in the opener and Orlando and Chicago doing battle in the second game.

Actually, there will be a college game of sorts, as the U.S. women's national team, unbeaten in its current series against top college and international teams, will take on a team of college seniors, led by Georgia's Saudia Roundtree and Connecticut's Jennifer Rizzotti, tomorrow in Atlanta (Channel 2, 1 p.m.)


Reaching the goal

For years, we've been hearing about the impending return of big-time professional soccer to the United States, and now it's here.

A brand-spanking-new effort, Major League Soccer, kicks off tomorrow as D.C. United (yes, United) travels west to meet the San Jose Clash (ESPN, 8 p.m.) in the league's first game, and the first of a 35-game package on ESPN and ESPN2.

By the way, Home Team Sports will air 19 United games, starting with next Saturday's road match against the Columbus Crew at 11 p.m.

Who thought up these nicknames, anyway?

Off the beaten track


ESPN premieres a new outdoors show, "Men's Journal," based on the magazine of the same name, tomorrow at 11 a.m., in which hosts Steven Santagati and Dawn Heusser tackle mountain biking, cattle roping, kayaking and snowmobiling.

Tomorrow's NBC schedule includes a semifinal match at the Family Circle Cup women's tennis tournament at 2: 30 p.m., with the final Sunday at 1 p.m. After tennis tomorrow, the network has the U.S. Olympic boxing trials from Oakland, Calif.

CNN will take the wraps off two shows, with the season premiere of "Baseball '96" with anchor Bob Lorenz set to be unveiled at 11: 30 a.m. tomorrow, and the debut of "Pro Golf Weekly" at 7: 30 a.m. on Sunday with the talented Jim Huber at the helm.

Both shows will have Sports Illustrated writers in analysis roles, in advance of the all-sports news channel the two entities are planning. Golf reporter Jaime Diaz will join Huber, and baseball writer Tim Kurkjian, a former Sun staffer, is set to team up with Lorenz.

A programming note

This column will be dark next week, but here's an early reminder that the Masters will get a full ride with first- and second-round coverage on USA at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.


CBS will run highlights on Thursday and Friday nights at 11: 35, then pick up with a third-round telecast next Saturday at 3: 30 p.m. and the final round one week from Sunday at 4 p.m.

Pub Date: 4/05/96