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Jim Souhan

Columnist | Sports
Phone: 612-673-4503

Jim Souhan is a sports columnist for the Star Tribune. He has worked at the paper since 1990, previously covering the Twins and Vikings.

Souhan was Sports Editor of his high school paper at Vianney in St. Louis. He wrote and edited for the Missourian at the University of Missouri, where he earned a journalism degree with an emphasis on American literature.
Recent content from Jim Souhan
Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve made it to the league semifinals last year with a lineup that will only be better in 2021.

Souhan: A-Rod buying an NBA fixer-upper (and a WNBA powerhouse)

A note to Alex Rodriguez: Your job will not be merely elevating the Timberwolves. Your job will be supporting the Lynx.
Hideki Matsuyama’s scorecard was the only thing prettier than the scenery this past weekend in Georgia.

Souhan: 10 reasons why the Masters is still the world's best golf tournament

The course, the history, the risks and rewards — Augusta National and this special week in April are unbeatable.
Hideki Matsuyama raised his arms in triumph after putting on the champion’s green jacket for his victory at the Masters on Sunday.

Souhan: Hideki Matsuyama's Masters victory is a breakthrough for Japan

A golf-loving nation finally secured its first men's major championship, and at Augusta National no less.
Will Zalatoris tips his cap after putting on the 18th hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament on Sunday, April 11, 2021, in Augusta

Signs of greatness for Will Zalatoris — and an ominous sign, too

Runner-up finishers at the Masters have rarely gone on to a green jacket.
Masters champion Bubba Watson tees off on the 14th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in 2014.

Souhan: Morning at the Masters

Augusta, Ga. — Good Sunday morning from Augusta National Golf Club. It's pretty close to perfect here right now (8:22 Central) - 64 degrees with…
Hideki Matsuyama, who hasn’t won on the PGA Tour in four years, will try to become the first Japanese man to win a golf major.

Souhan: Matsuyama looks game for run at green jacket on Sunday

After shooting a 65 on Saturday, Hideki Matsuyama will have the weight of a nation on his shoulders Sunday at the Masters in the final round.
Xander Schauffele during the third round of the Masters

Final group on Masters Sunday 'all part of the process' for Schauffele

Xander Schauffele finished in a tie for second at the Masters in 2019, behind Tiger Woods, and has finished in the top 10 at a major seven times since 2017.
Justin Rose looks over his par putt on the first hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National, Friday, April 9, 202

Promising golfers lurk below top 10 at Masters as rain threatens third round

The last pairing - Justin Rose and Will Zalatoris - doesn't tee off until 1:20 p.m. Central.
Justin Rose looks over his par putt on the first hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National, Friday, April 9, 202

Souhan: The pack closes in on Justin Rose at the Masters

Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau are among those who made moves Friday at Augusta National.
Will Zalatoris hits from the fairway on the 13th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament on Monday, April 5, 2021, in Augusta, Ga

Little-known Will Zalatoris surges up Masters leaderboard

The 24-year-old American is in a tie for second, continuing a rise up the golf ranks since last September.
Justin Rose at the 13th tee Friday at the Masters.

Midday at the Masters: Justin Rose comes back to the pack

The first-round leader struggled on the front nine Friday, allowing some big names like Jordan Spieth and Tony Finau to gain ground.
Rory McIlroy hits out of the rough on the sixth hole during the first round of the Masters

Souhan: So-called favorites stray early at Masters, may not survive cut

Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy, among other big names, struggled Thursday and might not make it past Friday at Augusta.
Justin Rose and his caddie David Clark react to his second shot on the eighteenth hole during the first round of the Masters.

Morning at the Masters: Will Rose keep the lead this time?

Justin Rose built quite a lead in the first round but has led after four first rounds at Augusta without winning.
Justin Rose chips out of the bunker on the 15th hole during round one of the Masters

Rose grabs the lead at the Masters with a 7-under 65

Justin Rose, back under the guidance of his swing coach, birdied seven of his last 10 holes after an eagle at No. 8.
Rory McIlroy on the sixth hole, which he bogeyed in the first round Thursday.

Midday at the Masters: The greens are fast and tricky

The weather is ideal — mostly sunny, with temperatures creeping into the 80s. The biggest names go off late in the day.
Lee Elder waves with Gary Player before the ceremonial first tee the first round of the Masters.

Souhan: Seeking to overcome its history, Masters opens by honoring Lee Elder

Elder, 86, was the first Black player to participate in The Masters, in 1975, and his presence is the latest sign that Augusta National is trying to distance itself from its discriminatory past.
Bryson DeChambeau, left, talks with Phil Mickelson on the 10th tee during a practice round for the Masters

Souhan: DeChambeau and Mickelson? A great pairing for the Masters

Big-swinging Bryson DeChambeau and sage veteran Phil Mickelson got together Wednesday at Augusta. Their differences are obvious. Their similarities are more interesting.
Cameron Champ

Georgia voting law brings mixed reaction from those at the Masters

Some responses were muted, but Black golfer Cameron Champ voiced strong opposition.
Jordan Spieth runs across the tributary to Rae’s Creek to the 13th green during his practice round for the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

Souhan: Spieth practicing patience to emerge from 4 years of struggles

After youthful success was followed by an extended slump, Jordan Spieth is back at the Masters with a win in hand and surrounded by familiar people.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament on Tuesday.

McIlroy looks to Masters to end majors slump

Rory McIlroy pointed to Tiger Woods' trophy case for perspective.
Maple Grove players were dejected after losing during overtime to Eden Prairie

Souhan: This state hockey tournament brings unique pathos to the losing sides

Four championship games in one day in an empty Xcel Energy Center on Saturday introduced a unique combination of urgency and quiet to the tournament, but the pathos really began on Friday night.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli talks to players before a spring training game against the Braves on March 22 in Fort Myers

Souhan: Twins build camaraderie, despite the masks and social distancing

Developing relationships and even holding meetings gets complicated for teams in the COVID era, and players and executives reacquaint themselves with simple pleasures such as the sound of fans returning to the ballpark.
Kyle Garlick claimed a Twins roster spot for Opening Day once the club determined Alex Kirilloff needed more time in the minors.

Garlick provides spring surprise by making Twins' Opening Day roster

Caleb Thielbar beat out Derek Law and Brandon Waddell for the last pitching spot.
About 100 days after Kirby Puckett woke up unable to see clearly, the Twins’ 10-time All-Star announced his retirement in July 1996. His wife, Tonya

Souhan: The morning Kirby Puckett woke up with blindness, 25 years ago, changed everything

The Twins superstar was still at the top of his game when everything changed the morning of March 28, 1996.
Manager Rocco Baldelli’s winning percentage with the Twins is .617, and he’s winning without always healthy players, or a superstar, or a high pay

Souhan: Running the Twins, Baldelli always has his eyes on the long game

Twins manager has succeeded in large part because of his emphasis on the big picture in a business where every decision is fraught with risk.
Byron Buxton has gotten plenty familiar with the padding on the outfield walls at Target Field over the years, such as on this play last year when he

Souhan: For the love of Buxton, add extra padding to outfield walls

The Twins center fielder keeps crashing into them, and better protection could serve him well.
Which would you rather have: Sixteen more days of Alex Kirilloff in the big leagues this year as an unproven rookie, or a full year of Kirilloff in hi

Souhan: Silly rule makes sending Kirilloff down right move for Twins

Major League Baseball's service-time rules are so silly that the Twins spent this week refusing to admit that they made a sound decision.
Players warmed up before the Stanford-Utah Valley State game in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday in San Antonio.

Souhan: NCAA contempt for women's basketball shows in weight room debacle

When NCAA women's basketball players showed up in San Antonio, they were reminded that they are afterthoughts.
Frannie Hottinger

Souhan: Want Minnesotans to cheer? Look to a Pennsylvania school

Lehigh University won the Patriot League tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA women's tournament. The team has six Minnesota players on its roster.
A look at Lehigh's Minnesota connections

A look at Lehigh's Minnesota connections

The Mountain Hawks are seeded 13th and open up against West Virginia on Sunday. This is what coach Sue Troyan had to say about the six Minnesotans on the team.
University of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle

Souhan: If not now, Mark Coyle, when will you diversify U's leadership?

Coyle needs to hire a coach who will be a distinct upgrade from the fired Richard Pitino. And he knows this might be his last chance for a while to hire a person of color.
Richard Pitino took over the Gophers job after several coaches turned down then-AD Norwood Teague, and he performed as well or better as he should hav

Souhan: Pitino should be thought of as an overachiever. Here's why.

Hired before he was ready, Richard Pitino was asked to compete with the titans of the Big Ten when he should have been apprenticing for one of them.
Chris Williams, top, organized a U11 team he helps coach for a group photo following their last game of the season Saturday night. Williams talked to

Souhan: They haven't met, but a north Minneapolis doctor thanks Matt Dumba

Chris Williams was the rare youngster in his neighborhood who felt drawn to hockey. To paraphrase NBA coach Doc Rivers, he loved the game, but the game did not love him back.
The Vikings released tight end Kyle Rudolph earlier this week.

Souhan: Vikings' mistake was in overvaluing Rudolph

When the Vikings signed Kyle Rudolph in 2019, he was three years past his high-water mark as a receiver. As such, they carry a $4.35M dead cap hit by releasing him.
Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards

Souhan: Under all that losing is a potential bright future for Wolves

The Wolves right now are a bad team playing as badly as ever. But assuming that their losing ways are predestined ignores the realities of modern sports.
Former Lynx guard Renee Montgomery is a team owner and a face of the WNBA’s social justice mission.

Souhan: More than talk, ex-Lynx guard Montgomery effects change

Renee Montgomery, who played for the Lynx from 2015-17, is part of the three-person team that bought the Atlanta Dream, making her the first WNBA player to move into ownership.
Some golfers and fans paid tribune to Tiger Woods on Sunday: They included Tommy Fleetwood and Cameron Champ (lower left), Sebastian Munoz (top left),

Souhan: They can wear red, but golf at a loss without Tiger on Sundays

The final round of Sunday's tournament brought back memories of a Tiger Woods moment that was all about stars of his magnitude.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins still has two years and $66 million remaining on his contract.

Souhan: Cousins is the Vikings' quarterback, for better or for worse

The rumors of Kirk Cousins potentially being traded away from the Vikings are out there. But unlike up to 18 other teams in the NFL this offseason, the Vikings won't be making a change under center.
Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov

Souhan: Kaprizov already proving to be best reason to watch Wild

Kirill Kaprizov is not just good. He may be transformative. He may be changing the way the Wild looks and plays.
A vehicle is towed away from the site of a crash involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angele

Souhan: Whether star-crossed Woods golfs again is unimportant

If he never plays again, Tiger Woods will remain the most compelling American athlete of the past 20 years for making golf history while bouncing between heroism and villainy.
Ryan Saunders talked to players during a time out earlier this season.

Souhan: Timing is bad, but firing Saunders an inevitable decision

Ryan Saunders was hired because of who he was instead of what he had done. Then he was never put in a position to succeed.
Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon spoke to his team before Sunday’s match at Nebraska. McCutcheon said of his team’s first loss: “Hard to

Souhan: Even Gophers volleyball can have an off day

Despite losing to Nebraska, watching the Gophers was a reminder of what a dynamic sport volleyball is, and what a pleasant counterpart it is to so many other sports.
This Lynx team, including Napheesa Collier, isn’t as spectacularly accomplished as the ones led by Maya Moore, but it is deeper.

Souhan: Championship-caliber Lynx keep doing non-Minnesota sports things

Minnesota sports fans are accustomed to the same pleas from local teams: Rebuild. Patience. Future. But the Lynx have not taken this path.
One of Target Field’s many great sights: A National Anthem flyover

Souhan: Don't worry about the postseason . . . until the postseason.

Some advice for fans: Pack away those negative thoughts for now and look forward to when we can gather again at Target Field and watch entertaining baseball.
LeBron James of the Lakers dunked the ball in the first quarter Tuesday night at Target Center.

Souhan: 'GOAT' debate. LeBron makes case again in win over Wolves.

The Greatest Athlete of All Time is a category created to create debates, not end them. Those who think it's LeBron James could enter Tuesday's game as evidence.
How local players such as (clockwise from upper left) Danielle Hunter, Kirill Kaprizov, Byron Buxton and Karl-Anthony Towns fare will go a long way in

Souhan: A dozen dreams of better times for Minnesota sports teams

Better times are ahead, and in sports as well as life, better times require health and normalcy. Here's a list of what could make 2021 an uncommonly good sports year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LV

Souhan: NFL predictions for 2020 were correct except on a few ...

Once again this NFL season, this columnist was correct about everything. Well, almost - er, maybe not.
On Thursday, Marcus Carr’s game-winning shot gave the Gophers their most important victory since they beat Michigan 75-57 on Jan. 16.

Souhan: Take it to the bank. Carr epitomizes Gophers at their grittiest.

Call Marcus Carr's winning shot vs. Purdue lucky if you must, but the junior point guard paid for it by enduring hard fouls and floor burns.
Connecticut freshman guard Paige Bueckers, after 14 college games, is even more precocious than Lindsay Whalen, and even more productive than Maya Moo

Souhan: Bueckers is an athlete like few others. You gotta watch.

Paige Bueckers, the UConn freshman from Hopkins, already is a can't-miss superstar. Like so many great athletes before her, she appears to be unique.
Now both Vikings coordinators — Adam Zimmer (left) and Klint Kubiak — are sons of former head coaches.

Souhan: Vikings' hiring of younger Zimmer, Kubiak is part of problem

If you're a coach and the son of a coach, those family connections come in handy. Just look at the Vikings, who are an example of a problem in the NFL.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw a pass while in the grasp of Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett during the second half of Super Bo

Souhan: Mahomes still has Brady as the measuring stick for greatness

After Sunday's loss, Patrick Mahomes would need to win six more Super Bowls to tie Tom Brady, the only quarterback to have ever won more than four.
Longtime Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham landed on the open market and went from backup to starter on the Vikings’ 1998 team that went 15-1.

Souhan: Freedom of quarterback movement can be fascinating; why limit it?

Many teams wanting to change quarterbacks may have to wait until the salary cap hit on their quarterback is reduced in a year or two. Who does this system benefit?
Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco was penalized with an 80-game PED suspension for a positive test in 2018.

Souhan: If Twins didn't reward drug cheaters, would that really be better?

Should the Twins stop signing players who have been caught using performance enhancing drugs? That would be an admirable stand — and also get the entire front office fired.
Souhan: Simmons, Buxton will improve Twins by leaps and dives

Souhan: Simmons, Buxton will improve Twins by leaps and dives

When Byron Buxton and Andrelton Simmons are on the field together, every ball hit anywhere near them will become an object of suspense and entertainment.
Patrick Reed won the Farmers Insurance Open by five shots Sunday, but irked golf analysts and many of his peers over a rules interpretation he receive

Souhan: Is Reed a Ryder Cup hero or PGA Tour zero?

Patrick Reed's rule-bending reputation resurfaced over the weekend while he won the Farmers Insurance Open.
Lynx coach and GM Cheryl Reeve has taken advantage of a deep free-agent market.

Souhan: Lynx get in on the 'fireworks' in the WNBA offseason

Some of the WNBA's best players will be wearing different uniforms in 2021, and the Lynx will sign at least three free agents
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, left, speaks with President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey last July.

Souhan: Falvey values flexibility in players, contracts in reshaping Twins

In these unpredictable times, Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey is always looking for the pieces to an ever-changing puzzle.
Point guard Ricky Rubio is shooting a career-worst 37.7% from the field since his return to the Wolves.

Souhan: Most thrive after leaving Wolves, but Rubio came back worse

Wolves fans should not have mourned Ricky Rubio's first departure, nor his second when it comes. He's a bad fit.
Souhan: The GOAT meets the Kid in the Super Bowl

Souhan: The GOAT meets the Kid in the Super Bowl

Tom Brady, 43, will face 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes in two weeks in Tampa.
Hank Aaron lacked the flamboyance of many sluggers, but his whip-like swing produced 755 home runs.

Souhan: Hank Aaron overcame hatred to reach historic heights

Hank Aaron, who dealt with hate mail and death threats, showed toughness and perseverance in his Hall of Fame career on and off the ballfields.
So far this young season, Joel Eriksson Ek is tied for second on the Wild in points and tied for first in plus-minus.

Souhan: Eriksson Ek should get next tryout as Wild's No. 1 center

Joel Eriksson Ek's developing game could be the best bet to get the puck on the sticks of goal-scoring threats Zach Parise and Kirill Kaprizov.
Ryan Saunders is young, at 34, but he has yet to prove he can coach a team into a contender in the NBA.

Souhan: Let's be clear. The problem with the Wolves is not Ryan Saunders

In a normal season, the Wolves' 3-9 record might be justification for making changes. In 2021, this would be the wrong time to bow to fan anger and fire Saunders
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second half against Baltimore.

Souhan: Vikings absent, but Minnesota connections have big weekend in the playoffs

Scoring, playing solid defense and making key decisions on the sidelines, Vikings and Gophers connections played key roles all weekend in the NFL.
Gophers guards Tre’ Williams (1) and Jamal Mashburn Jr. (4) celebrated after beating Michigan on Saturday.

Souhan: At .500 over rugged stretch of schedule, Gophers basketball has reason to be optimistic

The skill set the Gophers' men's basketball team showcased against Michigan on Saturday should hold up well the rest of the way in the Big Ten.
Wild defenseman Mathew Dumba, right, leaps into the arms of left wing Kirill Kaprizov, second from right, after an overtime goal against the Los Angel

Souhan: Kaprizov offers hope for Minnesota's ever-disappointed sports fans

Minnesotans have gotten excited about foreign players before only to be let down. Will this time be different with Kirill Kaprizov?
Souhan: Parise-Suter? Time for Fiala-Kaprizov to become Wild's go-to stars

Souhan: Parise-Suter? Time for Fiala-Kaprizov to become Wild's go-to stars

The Wild has had talented players in the past. But never two players like Kevin Fiala and Kirill Kaprizov who have such elite skills and speed to create goals.
Gophers guard Gabe Kalscheur (shown earlier this month against Ohio State) has been mired in a horrific shooting slump.

Souhan: Kalscheur's shot is pure, but he can't buy a basket for Gophers

The Gophers have no one else who can do what Gabe Kalscheur does when he's at his best — make treys, be productive without dominating the ball and play outstanding perimeter defense.
Kevin Warren in 2019. The former Vikings executive has come under fire during his tenure as Big Ten commissioner.

Souhan: Amid challenges, Big Ten's Warren stays true to his upbeat self

The former Vikings executive maintains a positive outlook despite being bombarded with criticism for how he has handled the pandemic.
San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon runs drills with forward Rudy Gay before the team’s game against the Lakers on Jan. 1.

Souhan: How WNBA players past and present keep proving their power

This weekend, former WNBA star Becky Hammon will coach at Target Center as an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs. Another former WNBA point guard found herself nodding in approval.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer (right, with safety Harrison Smith) got career years from several offensive skill players, but his defense was decimated by

Souhan: Zimmer's optimism must be tempered

Assuming better defensive health is fair. But so is assuming less good fortune in terms of offensive health, which is worrisome because of the Vikings' lack of quality depth at wide receiver, offensive line and quarterback.
Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson makes a catch as Lions outside linebacker Jahlani Tavai, left, and cornerback Amani Oruwariye defend during the

Souhan: Where would Vikings be without rookie sensation Jefferson?

Is Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson the NFL offensive rookie of the year? And did he have a better rookie season than Randy Moss turned in?
Kirk Cousins

Souhan: Will Cousins have big game vs. Lions?

The quarterback has been excellent of late, but the Vikings have missed the playoffs in two of his three seasons.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer

Souhan: A string of December failures threatens to put Zimmer on notice

Mike Zimmer is in the midst of negative trends that extend beyond this season. He has entered his past three Decembers with contending teams carrying championship aspirations. The past three Decembers his teams are 5-9.
Souhan: The sports hero of 2020 is the activist athlete

Souhan: The sports hero of 2020 is the activist athlete

Black and women athletes especially laid themselves on the line for their causes over the past 12 months.
Saints running back Alvin Kamara scores his sixth touchdown of the game, tying an NFL record.

Souhan: Sad performance by Vikings in a city usually teeming with joy

As their team bus glided from an empty stadium into New Orleans' dark and empty streets Friday night, all the Vikings had to show for this season was excuses.