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It’s still only July but golf’s majors are about to be over

Jason Day, who finished at 20 under, kisses Wanamaker Trophy after winning PGA Championship for long-awaited victory in major. (Associated Press)
Jason Day, who finished at 20 under, kisses Wanamaker Trophy after winning PGA Championship for long-awaited victory in major. (Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Of all the major golf tournaments, the PGA is the one with the least cachet. The Masters has its course, Augusta National. The U.S. Open has its reputation, the toughest test in golf. The British Open, or “The Open,” has its history, inexorably tied with the history of the game. But the PGA? Read on.

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• Well, it is the last major of the year. Glory’s last chance, as a TV network once called it. But the PGA isn’t in the same category as the rest of golf’s majors. Maybe it’s because it is usually held in August – it is in July this year because of the Olympics, which will include golf for the first time in decades – and everyone is trying for their own last chance of summer glory. Or maybe it’s because of all the majors it seems to be the one with the oddest winners. Anyone remember Y. E. Yang? Or Shaun Micheel? Or Rich Beem? They have all won this major since the turn of the century. This tournament was Jason Dufner’s major. And Keegan Bradley’s. Mark Brook’s. Bob Tway’s. But that’s been changing some recently. Jason Day won last year and Rory McIlroy won his second in 2014. Tiger Woods won his fourth, and last, PGA in 2007 at Southern Hills. (As an aside, my son was playing a baseball tournament one year in Tulsa, so I drove around Southern Hills just to see it. It was August and it was so hot, I couldn’t imagine playing a round of golf in the heat and humidity, let alone walk four in a weekend. Of course, my son was playing baseball in the weather, but he was like 13 or 14 and didn’t know better.) Maybe the PGA’s resurgence is because the venues seem to have been picked with more care. Some of the choices in the 1980s and 1990s were made to reward PGA professionals from around the nation. Bellerive CC in St. Louis, Shoal Creek, Kemper Lakes, Oak Tree. All hosted the PGA in that period. Fine courses, sure, but not the caliber of courses used these days. Ballusrol Golf Club in New Jersey is hosting this week. Last year it was Whistling Straits, one of the jewels of the modern courses. Jack Nicklaus’ course, Valhalla, hosted two years ago. The PGA has made the field stronger as well, limiting the number of club pros who compete. That’s sad in a way, sure, because it is club pros that support the organization with more than money. They are the heart and soul of the U.S. game, teaching, nurturing, growing it. But major tournaments demand the best players in the world. As many as possible. The PGA has that these days. And it is has the glory.

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• WSU: I have to get one of these bobbleheads.

• EWU: An institution is closing in the Big Sky. Robin Selvig has retired as head women’s coach at Montana. I don’t remember anyone else ever coaching the Griz, and I’m old.

• Indians: Since winning the North Division first half title, the Indians have yet to lose a NWL game. They won 7-5 over Tri-City last night at Avista. Josh Horton has the game story and a blog post on a former Indians groundskeeper. ... Everett rallied in the ninth inning and overcame Vancouver. ... Eugene won again, thanks to its all-stars.

• Shadow: The organization’s women have figured out a winning formula that Jim Allen shares with us in this story.

• Mariners: A 10-1 loss always sounds bad. And yesterday’s was. It was a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third when I turned the game on. Before I got comfortable, it was 3-0 Pittsburgh and I gave up. James Paxton looked like I felt, uncomfortable. ... The newest member of the pitching staff also got roped. ... Taijuan Walker seems ready for a rehab start.

• Seahawks: How important is Michael Bennett? ... Tyler Lockett had to overcome some fears to be successful. ... If you are in your 30s or 40s, you may have had a Costacos Brothers poster on your wall.

• Sounders: A day after firing their coach, a guy with a long resume and tenure, relatively new general manager Garth Lagerwey signs an attacking midfielder as the team’s newest designated player. Coincidence? Or did Lagerwey setup the old coach, Sigi Schmid, for failure? We will probably never know.

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• One last thought on the PGA. You may not know this, but up until 1957, it was a match-play tournament. It changed then, as TV loves stroke play. But Sam Snead’s three wins all came in match play format, as did Ben Hogan’s two. The most PGA Championships? Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus with five and Tiger Woods with four. None of that trio will ever win another. By the way, the PGA is on TV today. And the computer. If there are any typos in the items above, blame it on that. I was multi-tasking this morning. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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