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Tiger Woods' try for major win highlights sports weekend

By Matthew Mochow, CNN
Tiger Woods struggled in the first two rounds of the US Open golf championship.
Tiger Woods struggled in the first two rounds of the US Open golf championship.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tiger Woods tries to win first major championship since 2008 at US Open
  • Arizona State favored to win college baseball's World Series
  • Brazil and Italy in first-round World Cup games this weekend
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- With the Los Angeles Lakers repeating as NBA champs, the sports world changes seasons. The US Open concludes at historic Pebble Beach this weekend. The College World Series opens in Omaha, Nebraska, for the last time at Rosenblatt Stadium. Countries try to advance to the knockout round in the World Cup in South Africa, and could a major-league pitcher be named MVP for the first time since 1992?

LeBron James, Alex Ovechkin and Tiger Woods are at or near the top in their respective sports, but all have been hit with hard times recently. James' Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the NBA playoffs despite having the best record in the regular season. In the hockey playoffs, Ovechkin's Washington Capitals were knocked out in the first round after having the best record as well. Woods is ranked No. 1 in the world but could lose that ranking if he doesn't improve his play.

Woods struggled in the first two rounds of the US Open, 10 years after he dominated the 2000 Open on the same Pebble Beach course, winning by a record 15 shots.

The man who could take over that No. 1 ranking didn't exactly blow the field away, either. Phil Mickelson, who won the Masters this year, struggled out of the gate with his putter. He started the weekend a shot behind Woods and tied for 66th at 4 over par. Mickelson was frustrated at times and spent time on the putting green after his opening round.

The US Open is historically tough, and low scores are hard to come by. Lucas Glover won last year with a 4-under-par total. In recent years, Geoff Ogilvy (2006) and Angel Cabrera (2007) have come away with US Open victories with scores of 5 over par.

Halfway across the country, the top eight teams in college baseball invade Omaha this weekend for the College World Series. Clemson, Arizona State, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Florida, UCLA, Florida State and TCU make up the field.

Since 1950, the series has been held at the landmark Rosenblatt Stadium, but this will mark the final year it is played there. A contract has been signed to play at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha starting in 2011, and attendance records are expected to be set in the final year at Rosenblatt.

Arizona State is the favorite going in, with a solid offense and one of the best closing pitchers in college baseball. TCU is making its first appearance in the series, and the Horned Frogs have all donned Omahawks, their version of the mohawk, in hopes of taking home the title.

In soccer, Friday's U.S. comeback to salvage a 2-2 tie with Slovenia has been probably been the most dramatic game in the group stage of the World Cup

One of the favorites, Spain, lost its opening round game; no team has won the World Cup after losing the first game.

Greece had never won a game in World Cup play but pulled out a 2-1 victory over Nigeria. Germany hadn't lost an opening round game since 1986, but after top forward Miroslav Klose was ejected, Serbia notched a 1-0 victory.

Powerhouses Italy and Brazil play this weekend. The Brazilians prepare for the biggest matchup left in group play, facing Portugal on June 25.

The Los Angeles Lakers' victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night for the NBA Championship closes the door on the 2009-10 season and ushers in what will be an off-season of major change in the league.

For the Celtics, star guard Ray Allen's contract is up, defensive coach Tom Thibodeau is leaving to take the Chicago Bulls head coaching job, and head coach Doc Rivers may step down.

The back-to-back champ Lakers have fewer question marks after taking home their 16th title. Stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol aren't going anywhere, but there are questions over whether head coach Phil Jackson will return. Jackson, who has won a record 11 championships as a coach, says he will make a decision soon.

The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan breaks down Game 7. The L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke talks about how this title differs from all the others.

The attention in the NBA will now shift to the draft and the much-ballyhooed free agency season, where stars like James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have an opportunity to switch teams.

Phenom rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals takes the mound Friday night. But even with all eyes on him, the best pitcher in baseball right now is Ubaldo Jimenez.

He doesn't get the headlines like Strasburg, but Jimenez may do something that hasn't happened since 1992: win the league MVP as a pitcher. The Colorado Rockies' offense has not provided much help, but he has earned his league-leading 13th win this year.