Thursday, May 23, 2013.
This season is shaping up to be Graham DeLaet’s best yet on the PGA Tour. First, look at his bottom line. It’s only May, so DeLaet’s chances at a second straight million are pretty good this year. He collected $174,200 after tying for 10th last weekend at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. The former Boise State star has made $811,384 in just 14 events this year after earnings of $1,051,951 in 2012. DeLaet is approaching $3 million for his career, which started impressively in 2010 only to be interrupted by a back injury in 2011.
It’s been an unlikely path for DeLaet, from the frozen plains of Saskatchewan to Boise, where golf and winter are not entirely synonymous. If he had grown up in, say, Boca Raton and played college golf at Florida, DeLaet’s success on the PGA Tour might be more plausible. But here he is, No. 54 in the FedEx Cup standings, one spot behind Bubba Watson and two behind Jim Furyk. DeLaet and the PGA Tour move 31 miles this week to Fort Worth and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial beginning today.
Don’t look now, but Boise State’s season opener at Washington is exactly 100 days away. What happens from here? Summer conditioning, player-run practices, fall camp, one public scrimmage that should tell us a bit more than the spring game, the shakeout of the two-deep, and kickoff in the renovated Husky Stadium. Should the Broncos perform the way most expect them to, it’ll be the 15th year of Boise State’s Golden Era.
Brian Urlacher’s retirement from the Chicago Bears stirs up memories of his 1999 visit to Bronco Stadium during his senior year at New Mexico—which was also the first year of the aforementioned Golden Era at Boise State. Before becoming the Bears’ All-Pro middle linebacker, Urlacher was the Lobos’ monster free safety who also got spot duty at fullback. It was an interesting time at Boise State. The Broncos would finish the 1999 season 10-3 with their first Big West and Humanitarian Bowl championships, but when New Mexico came to town they were 1-2.
The 20-9 win over the Lobos was one of the launching pads for what we see from Boise State today. New Mexico scored first on Urlacher’s eight-yard touchdown catch out of his fullback spot. But that would be UNM’s only TD of the game. It was also the game that turned on the “Fidler Fake,” so named by Bronco coach Dirk Koetter with a nod to then-special teams coach Dan Fidler. Greg Sasser was the up-man in punt formation, took the snap and faked a handoff between his legs. Sasser froze there for a second, then stood up and scampered 39 yards for the clinching score.
KTVB’s Jay Tust reports that Tommy Smith’s contract with the Cleveland Browns appears to have been a phantom. The former Boise State linebacker’s agents at KLASS Sports maintained that Smith signed with the Browns, but now they say Cleveland’s offer was then pulled. So Smith is still looking. Elsewhere, dismissed Bronco safety Lee Hightower has confirmed that he has committed to Houston. And at Nevada, the Mackay Stadium field will be named after newly-retired coach Chris Ault, appropriately enough.
There’s still local baseball to follow before the Boise Hawks get started next month. Treasure Valley Community College has qualified for the NWAACC Championships this weekend on the campus of Lower Columbia Community College outside Vancouver, WA. The Chukars debut in the eight-team junior college tournament tonight against Everett Community College. TVCC's roster features 24 players who hail from somewhere along the I-84 corridor between Ontario and Twin Falls.
Yannick Hanfmann of USC made quick work of Boise State’s Andy Bettles in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Singles Championships yesterday. Hanfmann broke Bettles’ serve in the first game of the match, setting the tone in his 6-2, 6-4 victory. Bettles, the 11th Bronco to qualify for the individual championships, finished his season at 30-10 overall, including a 23-6 dual mark playing No. 1 singles for the Broncos during the spring season.
Twenty Boise State athletes are set for competition at the Division I Outdoor Track and Field West Preliminary Championships in Austin beginning today. They’ll be entered in 22 events. The 20 Broncos in the preliminary meet equals the most in school history, with the previous standard set in 2007. Jordin Andrade is the highest-ranked Boise State representative, currently No. 5 in the 400-meter hurdles. Andrade told KTVB this week his goal this week is to be an All-American. Also, Daveon Collins ranks sixth in the 200-meters and 15th in the 100-meters.
The NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships begin today in Marion, IN, with the College of Idaho represented by its largest contingent ever—six men and nine women. Mountain View High grad Hillary Holt, who has already qualified for the U.S. Championships next month, is the star of the group. Holt is the holder of the fastest 1500-meter time ever posted by a female in the state of Idaho, the 4:11.68 she ran in beating a star-studded field at the Oregon Twilight meet in Eugene.
Back to the golf world: the College of Idaho’s Trish Gibbens shot a 79 for the second straight day and is tied for 35th midway through the NAIA Women’s Championships in Lincoln, NE. The Caldwell product has to place in the top 40 after today’s round to qualify for the final 18 holes tomorrow. And Quail Hollow pro Jim Empey tees off today in the Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. Thirty years after his successful college career at USC, Empey is still qualifying for those prestigious tournaments.
This Day In Sports…May 23, 1958:
Wilt Chamberlain passes on his senior year at Kansas—but not to go to the NBA, which wouldn’t allow him to play in the league until his college class graduated. Chamberlain thus signed with the Harlem Globetrotters and toured with them for a year before joining the Philadelphia Warriors.
(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.)