Tom has high hopes for the next week in local sports

The Accenture Match Play Championship golf tournament and the Tucson Rodeo will be in town next week, so there will be strangely dressed humans from South Tucson to north Marana.

I will now perform a public service. Match-play golf is a fascinating format. Unlike the usual tournaments, where all of the golfers play 72 holes or so, and whoever has the lowest stroke total wins, match play is like the NCAA Tournament. Golfers go 1-on-1 with the winner advancing. That winner is determined by who wins the greater number of individual holes.

Say Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are paired against each other. Woods shoots a four on each of the first two holes. Mickelson shoots a 13 on the first hole and a three on the second. The total number of strokes is irrelevant; each has won one hole. The match continues until one golfer has an insurmountable lead. If, after 16 holes, Mickelson has won eight holes, Woods has won five, and they have tied three, Mickelson has a three-hole lead with two holes to play, so he wins, 3 and 2. If they complete 18 holes, and one guy has a one-hole lead, they say he won, 1-up. If it's tied after 18, they keep going until somebody is 1-up.

Obviously, the worst somebody could lose is 10 and 8. That's an ass-whuppin' of monumental proportions.

I can't help you with rodeo scoring; nobody knows how that works.

Here are the some of best things that could happen during the next 10 days:

· Woods, who doesn't dominate match play like he does stroke play, makes it to the finals and wins, sinking a 60-foot putt on the third extra hole against the backdrop of a brilliant Arizona sunset. All the Chamber of Commerce guys who sold their souls to the devil would never once regret their decisions.

Of course, there's always the chance that Woods goes out in the first round, hops on his plane and flies to Brunei, where he accepts $27 million to give the sultan's 52nd son a putting lesson.

Personally, I expect it to rain; I wouldn't mind it. The thought of all those people back East bundled up against a blizzard watching that Arizona sunset on TV is unsettling. I hate the fact that Arizona is the fastest-growing state in the nation. We should have closed the gate after Lute Olson moved here.

People want a wall between us and Mexico; we should build one between us and New Mexico. The hell with worrying about people crossing the Rio Grande. Our problem is with people crossing the Colorado.

· One of those People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals dorks protesting at the rodeo accidentally gets a bite of a hot dog from El Guero Canelo. I'm not really sure how they're made. I think it's a hot dog wrapped in bacon, deep-fried, then smothered with toppings and salsa. Some buzz-kill doctor would probably tell you that if you shaped it like an arrow and fired it directly into the heart, it probably wouldn't do much more damage than if it was eaten, but what a way to go!

I have a friend who watched the movie Soylent Green and liked the fact that Edward G. Robinson was able to choose the time of his peaceful death. My friend says that in his future society, everybody will be able to choose the time and method of death. He plans on being hickeyed to death by Halle Berry. While eating an El Guero Canelo hot dog.

So anyway, this PETA dork eats the hot dog and suddenly learns that food can have flavor. His gray skin gets some color; the corners of his mouth turn up; and he realizes that the bulls in the rodeo have a great chance of throwing a cowboy across the arena and then stomping on his groin. Not a bad deal.

And when the bull gets old, we could always use him to make kosher El Guero Canelo hot dogs.

· Two marching bands rumble at the Tucson Rodeo Parade. How cool would that be? We could have Guy Atchley do the play by play. "The Catalina Foothills horn section is advancing on the flank as the Sabino drum line sets up a defensive perimeter. Wait! They're all slipping in the horse hockey. Oh, the humanity ..."

· Officials from the Arizona Department of Transportation, who reportedly ignored the pleas of local officials to delay the start of the freeway-widening project until after the Gem and Mineral Show and the Rodeo, announce that the massive construction project won't take as long as had previously been announced.

"We'll just all work really hard to get it done," says the press release that was written by a former reporter from a daily paper who now makes six figures on the public dime. "We just threw out that number of three years, because it was the first thing that popped in our heads. We almost always say three years; it sounds good. We should be able to get it done in 18 months, or two years, tops. And it'll be bitchin'."

We can dream, can't we?