Let's be honest. The golf out at Cedar Ridge CC was not as intriguing as it has been in past years. Yet, there was still a certain allure to the LPGA's yearly stop in Tulsa.
The low round for the week registered a mere 4-under-par 67. Compare this to record numbers a year ago. The course played elongated and soggy. The unpredictable weather reeked havoc all week long.
Having said that, the event itself still delivered the goods. A Sunday leaderboard jam-packed at the top. Granted, the names were not the usually suspects but a fight to the finish nonetheless.
The week leading up to the final round was outstanding as well. Here's hoping the weather conditions caused golf fans to stay home. I would hate to think the dip in attendance (as far as I could tell) was not a sign of Tulsa's fair-weather fans losing interest in the SemGroup Championship.
It never gets old seeing the crowds gather behind the 18th hole. Youth, teens, grandparents and lesbians -- you name the group and they were gathered behind the ropes hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite female.
I almost feel sorry at times for the less popular golfers. No one asks them for an autograph and the few who do -- likely have no idea whom they are asking.
The staples of the tour wade through the little hands rewarding those for coming out to watch. How someone like Natalie Gulbis can radiate her stunning smile all-the-while signing every ball, hat and towel baffles me.
After Saturday's round, Paula Creamer could be found rolling pink golf balls on the practice putting surface. The sky's low ceiling and rolling clouds could not keep the Pink Panther from honing her short game.
At one point I found myself following Lorena Ochoa. The Mexican sensation currently ranks number one in the world.
One of her playing partners was Virada Nirapathpongporn. What a great name.
Too bad I don't get paid for using big words. Perhaps it was the weather, but I was shocked to see only 100 or so spectators following Ochoa.
Then again, maybe I shouldn't be surprised. An elderly gentleman watching the Ochoa group asked me, "Which one is Ochoa?" Her group at the time included Nirapathpongporn and Candie Kung.
The international group hailed from Taiwan, Thailand and Mexico. Really, he couldn't figure out which one was Mexican?
This is still Tulsa, Oklahoma.
One more Ochoa note. She obliterates the ball off the tee. Her drives consistently flirts with 270. ESPN's course correspondent, Charlie, followed the group. His shirt saturated in sweat - I asked him if he needed a towel. Good thing it wasn't sunny all week.
Wunderkind Morgan Pressel won her first tournament earlier this year. It also happened to be a major tournament. The 18-year-old prodigy qualified for the U.S. Women's Open at the tender young age of 12.
She laughed her way around the course. The entire time snacking on food and cutting up with her caddie. The pony-tailed phenom wore big earrings and a gaudy watch. Only 50-75 spectators walked with her group, much to my dismay.
She even enjoyed the interview sessions following her opening round. "This was my first time playing with Laura Davies and it was a treat. She is so nice and it was so much fun to be out-driven by 50 yards."
The trees leaned on Saturday and Sunday. The threat of rain dampened the enthusiasm for all except the horde of onlookers at 18. The savvy group showered all participants with affection and appreciation.
They were treated to a playoff between Juli Inkster and Korean Mi Hyun Kim. Kim was able to hold off the charging Inkster. The course played long but one of the shortest hitters on tour took home the Championship.
From Fillies to Ponies
This past weekend also saw the 133rd running of the funny-looking hat parade. Queen Elizabeth received more airtime than the horse race itself. Congratulations to Street Sense.
The best thing about the Kentucky Derby, aside from betting, is the horses' names. I think I would name my entry That Horse. Coming down the stretch it's That Horse.
The fastest time at the Derby still belongs to Secretariat. The record-setting time of less than two minutes occurred back in 1973. That's some kinda stride.
Why is this record so untouchable today? Was Secretariat on the juice? Not likely. Track and field, baseball and others continually watch records fall by the wayside.
The answer seems obvious. Horse racing is pure and everything else we watch is tainted with HGH and 'roids. How long before a rogue owner or trainer injects their horse with undetectable performance enhancers?
And This . . .
The last 'great' boxing match went down in Vegas like many expected. With no real super bouts on the horizon, we can only hope Tony Holden Productions brings some exciting matches to an arena near us. Tommy Morrison anyone?
Finally, it seems as though the Tulsa Sports Commission has made a much anticipated bid. Later this month, Big 12 officials will meet in Colorado Springs. They will decide the location for the 2009 Big 12 basketball tournament.
Although the cities up for consideration have not been officially named -- it is believed Tulsa is competing against Oklahoma City, Dallas, Omaha and Kansas City.
This is a rather ambition move by the TSC. Trying to secure a tournament for a building not yet erect. Here's hoping the officials do not name the host site past 2009.
Tulsa needs more time to manicure the downtown arena area before making a serious bid. At this point the chances for the '09 event can be summed up by Aerosmith. "Dream On"
Finally, the PGA Championship is coming this August. Get ready for blowout coverage coming to an Urban Tulsa Weekly near you.
August. Get ready for blowout coverage coming to an Urban Tulsa Weekly near you.
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