A GRIP ON SPORTS
We're going in a different direction today, one you'll see off and on as the weather warms – and the local sports news thins. We spent much of yesterday afternoon glued to the television, watching a heavyweight fight, though the guys on the screen weren't boxers. It was a knockout though. And it was the best action of the weekend, though I don't believe anyone involved broke a sweat. Read on.
• By the way, in case you're wondering, I feel much better today. Well, at least better. Sleeping a lot can do that for you. … Anyhow, back to yesterday's must-see TV. It was the golf from Pebble Beach. I tuned in mainly just because I love to watch golf on that course. It's one of the few televised places I've actually played on, though it was a long time ago and my golf swing – and my waistline – was something I didn't mind showing off. That's not the case anymore, but when Kent and I played there the last time, it was just a couple weeks after Tom Watson had held off Jack Nicklaus in the U.S. Open and the course was in tremendously hard shape. (And it was a heck of a lot cheaper to play than it is now.) Anyhow, I will always remember how well I played and how beautiful the ball looked as it flew toward the Pacific Ocean from the seventh tee (though, if I remember right, it landed in the beach, the kind that's on most every course in America). So each year when the Pro-Am (or the occasional U.S. Open) is played at Pebble, I tune in. It's a chance to reconnect with a fond memory – and to see if Carl Spackler will show up (he usually does). Yesterday was no different. I DVR'ed the final round and, after a cut-the-fever nap, got up and watched Phil and Tiger go at it. Maybe I was also hoping Tiger would reconnect with his lost game as well, striking the ball on a rope toward the flag, dunking 27-foot birdie putts like LeBron does on the court, fist-pumps a-flying through the afternoon mist. But it was not to be. Like my ability to control a 3-wood, Tiger's skills in the clutch have faded away, replaced by a timidity that was never in evidence before his troubles. And Phil seemed to know it. Like a boxer seeing a glazed look in his opponent's eyes, Phil attacked, sending drivers down the middle, backing up wedges to within inches and, as is usually the case, sealing the win with long, lazy downhill par-save putts. Yes, there were other golfers on the course, but Sunday was all about Phil and Tiger. About one guy who used to have as George would say, “hand” in the relationship. And how that hand is now possessed by the other guy. The awkward-looking-at-times, softer-built, privileged kid from San Diego. If someone had told you five years ago, this would be the case, would you have believed it? Me neither. But that's the case. And it made for some great television. … If any of that whet your appetite for something different, like good writing, we have that for you as well. Just follow the links in these two sentences and you'll come upon stories detailing the day's events and columns about the showdown. … Now it's time to get into the local scene – and there's a poll below.
• Washington State: As the Cougars were headed home from Oregon – Bud Nameck tweeted a photo from the Portland airport early yesterday morning – there is little in the way of WSU news. Though Christian Caple has some, along with the Pac-12 links, on his morning post. … We have a couple of links we want to pass along, including another big day by Klay Thompson. He seems to be finding his way in the NBA. … Also, there is at least one Pac-12 president that wants to see a playoff. … And the Arizona Wildcats are headed to the Northwest with their eyes on a first-place showdown with UW. That can't be a bad thing for the Cougars, can it?
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan looked back at the Loyola-Marymount win with this blog post yesterday morning. … Jess Brown took a look at the local women's college basketball weekend in this post, starting with the Zags.
• Eastern Washington: Jim Allen did the same with the Eagles, though he was looking back at a loss and ahead to the Big Sky stretch run.
• Seahawks: It's nice to see an NFL story with Seattle roots. It's about rookie receiver Doug Baldwin, who is setting down some roots of his own.
• NBA: We bring you this column from the Sacramento Bee, just to use as background for today's poll. After all, if Seattle is to build a new arena and entice the NBA back to the city, someone else is going to lose their team. Just wondering how you feel about that.
• Sounders: If you want to see Seattle in action this summer, you can start buying tickets today.
• Olympics: The boxing trials are getting underway and John Blanchette has this feature.
• That's about it for today. It is Monday after all. After the NFL is put to bed, the news can become a bit thin. We're not on the radio until Wednesday, but we'll be out and about covering prep sports for the S-R this week. Until later …