Tuesday, July 9, 2013.
Former Boise State star Graham DeLaet is headed to his first major—and what a major it is. “Just got email from R and A and I officially made the field for the British Open!” DeLaet tweeted yesterday. “So pumped!” And why not? This is second only to an invitation to the Masters. DeLaet is worthy; he’s 23rd in FedEx Cup standings and has won over $1.5 million this season. “R and A” refers to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which runs the British Open. His No. 67 standing in the Official World Golf Rankings is what earned him an entry. This year’s Open will be played at Muirfield in Scotland beginning a week from Thursday.
DeLaet’s accomplishment couldn’t be better timing for junior golf in Saskatoon. That’s where he’ll be Thursday, hosting the Graham DeLaet Charity Golf Tournament. The event is a joint initiative between Golf Saskatchewan and DeLaet, a past Golf Saskatchewan member and two-time Amateur Men’s Provincial Champion. Considering he lives in Meridian now and plays out of Spurwing Country Club, DeLaet needs to host one of those here.
The Albertsons Boise Open has scored with its two local sponsor exemptions for the 2013 tournament in two weeks. One goes to Moscow’s Chris Williams, who just finished his reign as the world’s top-ranked amateur to turn pro. Williams has played in two PGA Tour events, making the cut in the Travelers Championship and missing at the Greenbreier Classic. The other exemption goes to Meridian’s Joe Panzeri, who has carved a nice niche on the Canadian Tour. Panzeri was one of just three players to make the cut in all eight Canadian events in 2012, finishing eighth on the Order of Merit. He finished second at the Canadian Tour Championship, only because winner Eugene Wong eagled the 72nd and final hole. Both Williams and Panzeri played college golf for the Washington Huskies (Panzeri also played for the University of San Diego).
There will indeed be a new video board in Bronco Stadium this season, although it’s unlikely to be ready for Boise State’s home opener against Tennessee-Martin September 7. The second game versus Air Force or the third game against Southern Miss are more likely targets. This board will be almost five times larger than the current one, the screen of which disappears in direct sunlight. Not a problem with the new model, which measures 37.2 feet tall and 58.8 feet wide, or 2,187.4 square feet. It’ll feature the latest high-def imaging, and it will be visible, sitting on the roof of the new Bleymaier Football Center in the north end zone. So what to do with the old board? Well, if the old 50-yard-line logo from the blue turf could fetch $7,000 at the Boise State Auction, what could the old video board bring in from some well-to-do donor looking for a backyard centerpiece?
This year’s captains for the Bronco Football Summer Classic, the benefit softball game this Saturday for the First Tee of Idaho, were on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra the other night. The offensive captain, quarterback Joe Southwick, talked about trying to defend the Home Run Derby title he’s won the past two years. The defensive captain, nickel Jonathan Brown, declared that his unit has a secret weapon. Who could it be, pray tell? Even I needed a little prodding. How about a guy who has never yet worn a Boise State football uniform. Who is pretty good at baseball. Who was drafted by a big league club last month. Who is from Fruitland. This Home Run Derby could be interesting.
Former Boise State star Quintin Mikell has equity in the NFL in the form of experience, leadership and savvy, and that may yet earn him an extension of his career. According to Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com, the Carolina Panthers have been talking to Mikell, and a deal could be done soon. The Panthers are a mish-mash at one of their safety spots—Mosher describes it as “one decent starter (Charles Godfrey) and a bunch of guys duking it out for the other spot, an undrafted rookie (Robert Lester), an overmatched special teamer (Haruki Nakamura), another team’s draft bust (Mike Mitchell) and other less-known commodities (roll that around in your head for a second).” Writes Mosher, “Mikell would probably vault to the top of that heap quickly, which says more about the heap than Mikell.” Methinks he’s selling the 10-year veteran short.
The Boise Hawks’ first batter of the game was a good omen last night. David Bote led off with a home run, and the Hawks picked away from there on the way to an 11-3 romp over Tri-City that snapped a five-game losing streak. Boise got some help from the Dust Devils, who issued nine walks and committed five errors. The hitting star was Danny Lockhart, who went 3-for-4 and knocked in two runs. Also, Yasiel Balaguert ended a six-game streak without an RBI, as he drove in Shawon Dunston Jr. with a long single in the fifth inning. It was Balaguert’s 23rd RBI of the season—his league lead in that category is now three. Now the Hawks can enjoy their second scheduled day off of the season (not including two rain-out days). They open a five-game series at Vancouver tomorrow night.
Turns out the L.A. Dodgers’ trade for former Boise Hawk Ricky Nolasco did have a tie-in to Stephen Fife. Nolasco will replace Fife in the Dodgers’ rotation, as the Borah High grad has been placed on the disabled list with shoulder bursitis for the second time this season. You would hope Fife has a roster spot waiting for him when he’s healthy. After his first stint on the DL, Fife came back with four quality starts and a 2.20 ERA. Nolasco will make his L.A. debut tonight.
I ran into TCU (and former Nevada, Stanford and LSU) basketball coach Trent Johnson at Les Bois Park on the 4th of July. Johnson was paying a quick visit to old friends in town. He’s blown away by how the place has grown since he played for Boise State from 1974-78 and started his coaching career as an assistant at Boise High. Johnson left LSU for TCU last year, just in time for the Horned Frogs to move to the Big 12, and the introduction was rude—a 2-16 conference record and 11-21 overall. But the Frogs did have a stunning 62-55 win over No. 5 Kansas. “It only counted as one (win),” said Johnson. Then he smiled and said, “It should have counted as 12.” Johnson says TCU is fully committed to his program with dollars and resources. “I told my wife, Jackie, we’re not moving again,” he said.
The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League starts Friday, while the Orlando Summer League is already underway. Six Idaho Stampede alums are active in Orlando, led by Justin Holiday, last season’s leading scorer. Holiday was called up to Philadelphia at the end of the season and is playing for the Sixers’ entry in Orlando. Nolan Smith, assigned to the Stampede by the Blazers last season, is playing for the Celtics, while JuJuan Johnson is representing the Pistons and Justin Harper is on the Pacers’ roster. From the 2010-11 Stampede season, there’s Cedric Jackson with the Heat and Chris Roberts with the Jazz.
This Day In Sports…July 9, 2011:
With questions swirling about his viability as a player at the age of 37, Derek Jeter makes a statement as he becomes the first player to reach 3,000 hits while wearing Yankee pinstripes. Jeter’s milestone came on a home run, part of a 5-for-5 day that included the game-winning RBI in a 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay. Jeter, in his 17th season with New York, accomplished the feat at home before a sellout crowd of 48,000 adoring fans. It was the first five-hit game at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)