Tom Jones was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied English at the University of South Florida from 1982 to 1986.
He began his writing career with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1985. He then went on to work for the St. Petersburg Times from 1987 to 1991, the Tampa Tribune from 1991 to 1996, the St. Petersburg Times again from 1996 to 2000 and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from 2000 to 2003. He then rejoined the St. Petersburg Times for a third time in his career in 2003, where he worked ever since.
Jones has spent most of his career covering the NHL, including being a beat writer for more than 15 years of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Minnesota. Wild. He also spent two years on the Tampa Bay Rays beat. He then become a columnist at Times starting in 2007. Jones has won several national and state writing awards, including a top 10 game story in the nation in 1998 as named by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Over the course of his career, Jones has covered the Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, baseball and hockey all-star games, the NCAA basketball tournament and the Frozen Four.
Jones lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Patty, and sons, Sam and Andy.
With over two decades of reporting on professional and collegiate sports for the Tampa Bay Times, through performance and work experience in journalism and broadcasting in television and radio, Rick Stroud has cultivated an impressive list of sources and utilized his knowledge to produce an outstanding body of work in both print and electronic mediums.
During his career, Stroud has reported on national sporting events including 22 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball Playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud’s stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. The stories for which Stroud won second place for Best Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press Sports Editors, led to sanctions against both Gators programs.
Since 2004, Stroud has appeared as an NFL Insider for ESPN2’s First Take and is a regular contributor to ESPN’s SportsCenter, NFL Live, Outside the Lines and Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to NFL Network’s Total Access.
Stroud becan covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League in 1990. Since then, the Bucs have undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum. They also celebrated a Super Bowl XXVII victory. His reporting was referenced in Tony Dungy’s best seller, Quiet Strength, particularly because it was Stroud who informed Dungy of the Bucs’ plan to replace him with Giants Super Bowl coach Bill Parcells.
A former Div. I-A baseball player at Arkansas , Stroud brings a unique perspective to sports reporting. During the NFL lockout in 2011, he also served as one of the Times’ beat writers responsible for covering the Tampa Bay Rays.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jack Nicklaus says there's no reason to be alarmed: Rory McIlroy is probably frustrated with his game and his adjustment to new equipment.
McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world and defending champion at the Honda Classic, caused a stir this week when he walked off the course after eight holes at PGA National when he was 7 over for the second round. He told reporters he was "not in a good place mentally," and an hour later issued a statement attributing his withdrawal to a sore wisdom tooth.
He signed with Nike during the offseason. In three starts this year, McIlroy has missed the cut, lost in the opening round of the Match Play Championship and withdrew from the Honda Classic after 26 holes.
"Rory is so talented," Nicklaus said during a visit to the NBC Sports booth at the Honda Classic. "He's a good kid. I think he's a little frustrated, and he's frustrated at himself right now. He's probably not playing his best, and he also has a set of golf clubs that he's having trouble getting used to, and one sort of plays off the other. He'll be fine. When Augusta rolls around, he'll be fine."
McIlroy plays out of The Bear's Club, which Nicklaus built as his home club for South Florida. The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland seeks advice from Nicklaus whenever he sees him. Nicklaus said he last spoke to McIlroy last Monday.
"He was struggling a little bit with his irons," Nicklaus said. "But he felt confident of it. I said, 'Don't worry about it. You're too good of a player. Your clubs will not make that much difference.' Maybe it's easy for me to say."
Nicklaus said he once played three different sets of clubs depending on whether he was in America, Britain or Australia. He played in an era when a smaller golf ball was used specifically for the British Open, which he won three times and was runner-up seven times.
"I was able to go back and forth, back and forth. It wasn't that big of a deal," Nicklaus said. "Maybe the guys today, maybe they're so used to having one thing. I always feel like it's your talent that plays, not the golf club."
McIlroy had said at the start of the week that his swing was more of a problem than his new clubs.
Johnny Miller, the NBC analyst and two-time major champion, said McIlroy should not have walked off the course in the middle of the round.
"John, if he had waited five more minutes he wouldn't have done that," Nicklaus replied. "I think he's a good kid. He tries to do the right thing. Unfortunately, that probably wasn't that time."