A GRIP ON SPORTS
No writer's block today. The subject of today's column is obvious. Read on.
• Why are there no great golf movies? OK, “Tin Cup” was OK, but it was ruined by the stupid scene in which Kevin Costner puts all those – spoiler alert – balls in the water. That scene just didn't make sense to me. Anyway, most golf movies are either too weepy, heck, almost religious in nature, or played for laughs. Yes, I know “Caddyshack” is a funny movie, maybe the funniest sports movie of all time, but it's not a great film. Can I recite about 10 lines from it? Sure. If it's on TV do I sit down and watch it? You bet. But it's not a great movie. It's greatly entertaining but it's not great. One would think there would be a great drama befitting one of the most dramatic sports out there. (Sorry, but “Follow the Sun,” the Ben Hogan story, isn't great mainly because, as an actor, Glenn Ford is as stiff as Hogan's 1-iron.) Maybe it's because real life on a course is dramatic enough. Take yesterday for example. It's a Friday at the Masters, a tournament supposedly made irrelevant this year due to Tiger Woods' absence. But as each of the name golfers, guys like Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy, made their way through the final few holes, there was plenty of drama. Would they make the cut? Would Phil's long streak of playing on the weekend at Augusta live on? Would Rory survive another day of hitting the ball 30 yards too long on a couple holes? (Seriously, the guy needs a new caddy. If the guy can't tell the difference between a 6-iron and a 9-iron – which is what it seemed like a couple times – he's got to go.) Phil failed, Rory didn't. And the Friday was complete.
• That leads into my favorite weekend of the year. Masters weekend. When I was younger, there were many years I was traveling around the Northwest playing fastpitch softball during the weekend and I missed the live broadcast of the tournament. But I never failed to program the VCR for Sunday. Which is why I still have a tape of Jack Nicklaus' charge on the back nine in 1986 (pictured), though it's a bit grainy after repeated viewings. Today, Moving Day as it's called, I'll be sitting in front of the TV, waiting to see if Rory can get his yardages right and if Bubba Watson can play exacting golf once more. And tomorrow? I'll watch tomorrow, that's for sure, no matter who is in contention. It's the tournament I watch, not the golfers. It's the drama of a late Sunday charge, the pathos of the missed short putt, the joy of putting on that kind-of-ugly green jacket that brings me back year after year. And if the tournament is bereft of drama? Then, when it's over, I'll just pop “Caddyshack” into the DVR and laugh until my putter falls to the floor.
• WSU: A big win for the Cougar baseball team yesterday, when they posted a Mom's Weekend win over highly ranked Oregon State. … Jacob Thorpe had some football coverage yesterday despite the absence of practice – the Cougars will scrimmage today – with a blog post Q&A with players and a live chat with you folks. … It's Saturday so I can pass along the weekly mailbag from ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog. Thanks Ted.
• Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have a crucial WCC baseball series this weekend but it didn't start well.
• EWU: Today's spring preview from Jim Allen covers the quarterbacks and the battle to back up Vernon Adams.
• Whitworth: For the first time in years, the Pirates have a new football coach and a new system. Tom Clouse has a story on the changes this spring at Whitworth.
• Chiefs: The schedule for the WHL Western Conference finals between Portland and Kelowna is set. It starts next Friday in Kelowna.
• Shock: AFL newcomer Portland is in the Shock's division, so that makes tonight's game at the Arena that much more important. Jim Meehan has an advance.
• Preps: There are a lot of prep sports in the spring. Tennis is one of them and correspondent Steve Christilaw has a notebook.
• Seahawks: San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick denied accusations of wrongdoing being leveled in Miami. … Arizona made the most high-profile moves over the offseason of anyone in the NFC West.
• Mariners: When the M's exploded for some runs in the seventh inning and took a 6-0 lead over the A's, social media began to be filled with folks who wondered if this was really the team the franchise had been building toward. I bit my tongue. Too early to get too excited, I thought. Then the A's scored four runs in the eighth against the M's bullpen and I felt a bit vindicated, presuming they would score three more in the top of the ninth and wipe away Felix Hernandez's outstanding outing. But I was wrong. That was last year's M's (and the year before that and the year before that and … you get the picture). This year's team does feel a bit different. But I'm not going overboard just yet, not after another typical Felix outing against the A's resulted in a 6-4 victory. I'll wait until the starting pitching is healthy and the weather warms a bit to see if this team can compete. … It's been 20 years since a few falling tiles changed Seattle's sports landscape.
• Before I sign off, I want to wish my bride, my life partner, my best friend and my mentor a happy birthday. Yep, they are all one person, my wife Kim. The first three descriptions are obvious, but if you don't think she's been a mentor to me, you should ask anyone who knew me when I was young about my temper. Talk about shaving off rough edges. Anyway, happy birthday Kimmy. And to the rest of you folks, we'll be back here Sunday. Until then …