A Grip on Sports: As the world questions whether Phil Mickelson can win another major tournament, golfers in this region gear up for another season
A TIP ON SPORT • What’s the old saying about spring? A young man’s thoughts turn to golf? That’s awesome? And young women too, of course. Green grass, white sand and blue water, all calling your attention, your time and your golf balls. Spring (and summer and fall) in the interior northwest. It is a great place to play the game.
• Next weekend includes Memorial Day. The unofficial start of summer. And the golf season launch weekend. In reality, however, it started weeks and weeks ago, depending on your ability to handle the bad weather.
What will you find this year during the golf season in our region? Well the courses will be a little different. And one of them, closest to me, in fact, will have a different name – although that’s a work in progress. These are the topics covered today in the SR’s annual golf section, included in a Sunday newspaper that is currently wrapped in plastic in my driveway.
We attack the sports section every morning via the computer, a big desktop computer that has its roots in the previous decade, no matter what we called those old years. Today we got to read about the changes caused by the wind in the courses in the area (by Jim Meehan) and the changes happening just down the road (by Gene Warnick). There’s also Jim’s story about local PGA pro Joel Dahmen, a son’s appreciation of a recently passed golf legend, and a father’s appreciation of his daughter’s presence on the tournament. course – although Madison McCord’s “appreciation” only lasts so long.
Oh, and let’s not forget, the usual list of all the courses in the area with prices and how to make a start. This part is useful all year round.
• On the other side of the continent, the best players in the world are trying to win a major championship. And a 50-year-old keeps them all at bay, at least as the last day approaches.
Yes, Phil Mickelson still runs the PGA, although the chasing cast is pretty deep.
Mickelson will play this morning (afternoon in South Carolina) with Brooks Kopeka, who is a hit back and probably the player that everyone is really worried about given his recent history. Louis Oosthuizen leads a trio of South Africans in contention, with fellow pro Kevin Streelman also lagging below par.
But golf fans – on and off the course – are likely in favor of Mickelson, the 50-year-old guy from San Diego who is trying to become the oldest person to win a major. Older, even, than Old Tom Morris, who won his last British Open in 1867 at the age of 46.
Heck, not too long ago we had stood frozen watching Tom Watson, 59, attempt to win the British Open in 2009. He missed a shot at Turnberry, losing to Stewart Cink.
Will the same happen to Mickelson today at the Kiawah Island Ocean Course? Or will Lefty hold it together for another 18 holes? You will have to watch to find out.
WSU: Around the Pac-12 and college sports, it looks like we know who Stanford will debut as quarterback next season. … The people of Colorado feel like they have had a decent year despite the challenges. … Aside from UCLA and Arizona, which are one win away after playing, every other Pac-12 school still alive in the softball regions must win twice today. Washington, Oregon and Stanford are on the verge of being eliminated. … Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens has some thoughts on the past 15 months or so.
Gonzaga: The latest high school player to sign with the Zags is gearing up for his first season, training in Seattle? That’s where Nolan Hickman comes from, although like a handful of Washington players, he spent his basketball season in another state so he could play through the winter. He spent some time this week talking with Jim Meehan, who has this story on the incoming guard. … The baseball team rallied to defeat the USF 6-5, closing in on the West Coast Conference title and, perhaps, hosting an NCAA regional.
EWU: At least now Lynn Hickey knows what future to prepare for Cheney for. The Eastern Washington athletic director told Ryan Collingwood she is grateful to the Eagles for staying in Division I, but she knows there are challenges ahead.
Preparations: Saturday was full of high school events. Dave Nichols has a roundup to pass on.
Indians: Dave was at Avista Stadium last night as Spokane rallied after five runs to defeat Everett 7-5. It was the Indians’ fourth victory in five games. The series finale is tonight.
Shock: The Massachusetts Pirates played the role of generous host, returning the ball three times in the final quarter. This helped Spokane to a much needed 34-26 victory. Ryan has more to this story.
Browsers: The M’s were also generous to the Padres last night, although San Diego, which has the best record in baseball, doesn’t need it. Three mistakes led to a 6-4 loss, the Mariners’ fifth straight loss. … As they slowly sink into western LA, once again one has to wonder if they will ever really change their fortunes. … A few emergency launchers were dropped from the COVID-19 list.
Depth sounders: Stefan Cleveland, like all good goaltenders, is a patient person. He waited a long time for his chance. … Portland won last night but lost another player.
Storm: It took overtime, but Seattle rallied for a win over host Dallas.
• We have a busy day, so don’t tell me who wins the PGA. This will be my evening viewing, if the DVR is doing its job. Until later …