Can you feel it? They're making their way ever so close to Tulsa. The big hitters of the PGA are a pitch and a putt away from tackling the years' final major at Southern Hills.
Golfers are trickling in for practice rounds as the excitement slowly shifts from who's in the field to who's going to hoist the coveted Wanamaker Trophy. (By the way, be sure to check next week's column for local sports personalities' picks.)
We'll get into the 89th PGA Championship in a moment. First off, I attended the Talons game this past weekend. Here are a few off-the-wall thoughts on the festivities.
The pre-game tribute to Drillers coach Mike Coolbaugh was heartfelt. After a moment of silence, Talons' co-owner Henry Primeaux led a rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."
Normally, I would chastise Primeaux's singing ability but I was advised against it due to the circumstances in which he was singing. You're mine next time, Henry.
You gain an enormous level of appreciation for the kickers in af2 when watching them live. Former OSU standout Luke Phillips handles kicking duties for Tulsa.
Goal posts are only nine feet wide, as opposed to more than 18 feet wide in the NFL. The NFL is full of grotesquely inaccurate kickers. How come these teams don't take a flier on a guy who drills a bull's eye from 40 yards? Baffling.
I took my kid to the game. She had an absolute blast. This was her first football game and one she will not soon forget.
Her highlights? Well, the nachos of course. Once she realized the elevated decibels in the Convention Center, she ran with it. "Go football game!" was her favorite cheer.
Unfortunately the hair follicle-challenged guy in front of us wasn't as amused. She's three for crying out loud. Get over it, grumpy. He also dove across three chairs to catch a towel in front of another kid. Nice guy indeed.
One note that probably goes unnoticed by most--the kickoff coverage team is phenomenal. They consistently stop the opponent inside the five-yard line.
There were two football-throwing contests. Let's just say these guys set men back 50 years with their noodle arms. Nate Hybl would have been proud.
Also, the guy running amuck with the t-shirt launcher was a little too proud of his efforts. Easy there my man--it's just a t-shirt launcher.
Final game note. There was a marriage proposal at halftime. Again, there was a marriage proposal at halftime. Life is full of uncertainties but I can 100 percent guarantee you this: If I had proposed to my wife at halftime of an af2 game, "the kid" wouldn't be here to enjoy Tulsa sports with me, if you know what I mean.
The Talons won. They finished the year with a superb 14-2 record. The playoffs start this Saturday night with a home game. Visit HYPERLINK "http://www.tulsatalons.com"; www.tulsatalons.com for more information.
Golf with your Friends
The current trend in media is to have a couple of guys argue over mundane topics. I'm going to raise the bar. I will now argue with myself. I will list several of the world's top golfers and make a case both for and against them winning the Championship. Here goes.
Tiger Woods. 2004 was the last year Tiger failed to win a major, so he is due in '07. But, he is spending more time changing diapers than practicing wedge shots into elevated greens.
Phil Mickelson. The monkey has been thrown from his back and beaten over the head with three major championship trophies. Some say "Lefty" is still suffering mentally from his wayward tee shot at the '06 U.S. Open, which cost him his 4th major.
Jim Furyk. He may be playing the most consistent golfer on tour coming into the Championship. His swing is too funky for Tulsans.
Ernie Els. The smooth swinging South African finished a quiet 4th at the British Open and is rounding into top form. Back ailments have kept him out of active competition recently.
Adam Scott. His swing is cloned from Tiger Woods and he tied for 3rd at last years Championship. He only has four top 10 major finishes to his credit.
Padraig Harrington. He is coming off an outstanding performance capturing the British Open at Carnoustie. Still on cloud nine and not exactly back-to-back major winner material.
Vijay Singh. He finished tied for 7th at the '01 U.S. Open. Put him in the final pairing with Tiger and he will crash harder than Lindsay Lohan coming off a coke high.
Sergio Garcia. He finished 2nd at the British Open behind Harrington. He should have beat Harrington at the British Open.
Luke Donald. He finished tied for 3rd at last year's Championship. But he only has two PGA tour victories and, like Garcia, tends to play better for his country in the Ryder Cup than for himself in majors.
Retief Goosen. In case you forgot, he was victorious the last time Southern Hills hosted a major. The guy's been struck by lightning twice.
Rory Sabbatini. The fiery South African is one of few golfers to call out Tiger Woods publicly. His game isn't quite at the same level as his temper.
Stewart Cink. He famously three-putted his way out of a playoff at the '01 U.S. Open after a solid week of golf. He's Stewart Cink.
Charles Howell III. He has a victory on tour this year. His best major finish was a tie for 10th back at the '03 Championship.
Scott Verplank. Course experience and the crowds will be on his side. He hasn't been able to grab the first elusive major and time is running out for the ex-Poke.
Hunter Mahan. He recently fired a course record 62 at the Canadian Open. His 76th and 115th rankings in putting and sands saves are below average.
Boo Weekley. This guy allegedly fought an orangutan back in the day. He allegedly fought an orangutan back in the day!
We'll take more swings at the Championship next week. Do you have your tickets? Visit www.pga.com/pgachampionship for more information.
Welcome to Tulsa!
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