Monthly Archives: September 2011

Willie Bloomquist: Perfect teammate finds his perfect team

You gotta feel good for Willie Bloomquist, who is expected to be starting at shortstop for the Arizoan Diamondbacks when they open the NLDS against the Phillies.

The Port Orchard native has been lambasted by critics throughout his career. One goofball named him one of MLB’s 50 worst players of all time. The guy’s an idiot.

There’s a reason Bloomquist has been in the major leagues for 10 seasons. His versatility and hard-nosed approach is what makes him so valuable.

He is the perfect guy for the Diamondbacks, as this guy writes.

Without him, the Diamondbacks might not have won the NL West. When Stephen Drew went down at shortstop, Bloomquist step in and the D-backs didn’t miss a beat. He hit .266 (which is two points above his career average) with 20 stolen bases. He had 350 at bats this season, which is the second-highest total of his career.

Bloomquist joins Poulsbo’s Aaron Sele as the only player from Kitsap County to play in the postseason. Sele helped the Texas Rangers and Mariners get to the playoffs.



Husky Invite: Rain reduces field, turns Gold Mtn. tourney into 18-hole event

The Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational was the victim of bad weather on Monday. Play never got started and the tournament has been reduced to an 18-hole tournament. Six (or possibly) eight of the 16 teams will tee off at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga, Pepperdine, Fresno State and Santa Clara are playing for sure. BYU and UC Davis were on the bubble when I left the course.

BYU said if it could not change its flight and get its players back to Provo, Utah, in time to go to class on Tuesday that it would stay and play. UC Davis was still trying to decide.

The teams that opted out: USC, Oregon, Oregon State, Long Beach State, Pacific, San Diego State, SMU and Texas A&M.

By opting out, they have the option of picking up another 54-hole tournament along the way. NCAA rules only allow teams 24 competition days.

UW coach Matt Thurmond said there are no one-day 36-hole tournaments available.

The other reason to opt out: A bad day could put the team in serious trouble when it comes to college golf’s rating system. For instance, if USC would have stayed and finished 10 strokes back of Washington, that’s like finishing 30 strokes behind because it’s pro-rated as if it’s a 54-hole tournament.

“I didn’t see any value to canceling it because there are teams that are here that want to play,” Thurmond said, “but at the same time it puts a lot of pressure on one round. It’s the equivalent of playing a football game in one quarter … It’s a different format. But it still counts in our sport so let’s play.”

Thurmond and former Husky great James Lepp, founder of Kikkor Golf, did win an impromptu corn hole tournament that was held in the Olympic Room. They somehow lost twice, but managed to get in the finals, where they took out current Huskies Charlie Hughes and Chris Williams.

Scott Alexander, the director of golf at Gold Mountain and volunteer assistant coach, grabbed me as a partner and we didn’t get out of the first round.



UW Invite at Gold Mountain: Williams, Pan, Hughes gives Dawgs a strong top three

Here’s a story you’ll find in Monday’s print editions. And it will be online at later today.

By Chuck Stark
BREMERTON – Led by a Walker Cup player, the most decorated recruit in school history and an unsung player with big-time potential, the Washington Huskies are optimistic about their prospects for the 2011-12 season.
Washington kicks it off by hosting the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational, a 54-hole tournament on Monday and Tuesday at Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course.
“It’s nice to start out on a course you know well and play well,” Husky coach Matt Thurmond said of the Bremerton city-owned layout, which has become a home away from home for Washington. “We’re not guaranteed to have a good week, but things are certainly stacked in our favor.”
Course advantage or not – Washington hosted 2008 and 2010 NCAA regionals on the Olympic Course — there’s reason to believe the Huskies would be among the favorites on just about any track.
“Our top end has the potential to be better than any team we’ve ever had,” said Thurmond. “The big question on this team is at the bottom end. How will our four and five players play and do we have a six and seven who can fill in when needed?”
The top end is headed by Chris Williams, who in two years has established himself as one of the best players in Husky history.
Williams, the 20-year-old junior from Moscow, Idaho, won the Phil Mickelson Award as the NCCA’s  top freshman two years ago, and was a first-team all-Pac-10 selection as a sophomore – but filled with renewed confidence and a hot putter, his game took off over the summer. It took him all the way to Aberdeen, Scotland, where he was part of the U.S. Walker Cup team.
Williams qualified for the U.S. Open (during a sectional qualifier on the Olympic Course), and U.S. Amateur, won the Sahalee Players Championship and Pacific Coast  Amateur and when he kept shooting low numbers, it was impossible to ignore how he was playing.
“This summer was a real summer of maturation and settling in to be a great, great player,” Thurmond said of Williams.  “I think he’s segueing into having a great year. I think he’s ready for that.”
Williams is rated the No. 3 player on Golfweek’s Preseason Players to Watch list behind UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay — Williams’ foursome partner in the Walker Cup – and Oklahoma State’s Peter Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur champion.
Cheng-Tsung Pan is listed No. 3 on Golfweek’s Freshman to Watch list behind Texas’ Jordan Spieth – who won the U.S. Junior Amateur at Gold Mountain in July – and Patrick Rodgers of Stanford.
Pan grew up in Taiwan, and was a phenom at a young age. He enrolled at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.,  when he was 15 – the same year he became the youngest gofler reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur since Bobby Jones.
He’s the most high-profile recruit during Thurmond’s 11-year tenure at Washington.
“No question,” the UW coach said. ”He’s a 5 star.”
Pan ranked as high as No. 4 in Golfweek/ world rankings in June after finishing  No. 11 in 2010. He qualified for the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur this summer, was a semifinalist in match play at the Western Amateur, a prestigious tournament that draws the best field in amateur golf on a yearly basis. Pan was medalist of the Western Am in 2009 and  2010 and seventh in 2011.
“He’s pretty small in stature, but very efficient with is driver,” Thurmond said of Pan. “He’s got decent length but he’s not a bomber.”
Pan hits a lot of fairways and greens, and is unflappable on the course, said Thurmond.
“He doesn’t have explosive accuracy,” Thurmond said. “Chris Williams is explosive accurate. He can knock flags down all day. Pan’s always 15, 20 feet. He’s just really consistent and he’s way beyond his years as a chipper and wedge player.”
Charlie Hughes was a little known recruit “who screamed potential when we signed him,” Thurmond said of the Maple Ridge, British Columbia golfer. B.C. has been a mother lode for the Huskies over the years, producing NCAA champ James Lepp (who heads Kikkor Golf, the tournament sponsor for a second straight year) and former world No. 1 amateur Nick Taylor.
Hughes is coming off a sophomore year in which he had five top-10 finishes, including a victory at the Bandon Dunes Invitational. His stroke average (72.18) for the season was the 10th best in UW history.
While Williams and Pan are the bigger names, Thurmond’s hoping the twosome will motivate Hughes, a second-team all-Pac-10 selection last year.
“He certainly has the potential to be at the very top of college golf. As good as he is, he’s still got room for a lot of improvement,” Thurmond said. “Having Chris and Pan will only help Charlie. It will be hard to take the No. 1 spot from Chris, but I those guys in theory could all be No. 1.”
Trevor Simsby and Corey McElyea, sophomores from Santa Cruz and Carlsbad, Calif., complete the Husky lineup. McElyea played in 10 tournaments as a freshman; Simsby played in five events last year. Both had decent summers, joining Williams, Hughes and Pan in qualifying  for  the U.S. Amateur.
“They’re good players, but they’re not yet accomplished players,” Thurmond said. “They were up and down as freshman … you hope and believe they’ll be much more mature as sophomores.”

Larry Iverson of Kalispell, Mont., brothers Gerrit and Ty Chambers of Hockinson High in Brush Prairie, and Yifan Liu, a walk-on from China, will play as individuals on the Cascade Course. Their scores will not count toward the team scores.
San Diego State, which won seven tournaments a year ago and returns its entire team, is among the contenders  along with defending Pac-10 champ USC, Texas A&M, Oregon (which won the St. Mary’s Invitational last week), Oregon  State, and Long Beach State … Pepperdine is the defending champion, winning at Washington National in Auburn a year ago. … Washington State’s Kyle Hurt, a sophomore from Bainbridge, tied for 17th at Cougars’ Palouse Collegiate Invitational last week at the Palouse Ridge Golf Course in Pullman. … Former UW assistant Garrett Clegg is the first-year head coach at WSU. … A&M’s Cameron Peck, the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur  champion and top-ranked junior in the country that year, is from Olympia.  … Pre-tournament  festivities will be held tonight after the practice rounds are complete. Corn hole, the popular bean-bag toss game, and ping pong will be part of the fun. … The Huskies got in some practice holes at Gold Mountain on Thursday, played a full round Friday and stopped by Washington National for some more practice before going to the UW–Cal football game on Saturday. … Gold Mountain director of golf Scott Alexander is a volunteer assistant coach for the Huskies.

When: Monday (36 holes), Tuesday (18 holes), tee times 7:30 a.m. both days
Where: Gold Mountain Golf Club (Olympic Course)
Teams: BrighamYoung, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Long Beach State, Oregon, Oregon Staste, Pacific, Pepperdine, San Diego State, Santa Clara, SMU, Texas A&M, UC Davis, USC, Washington, Washington State.

Missed ferry, missing credentials adds up to a day on the couch

Living in West Sound, a lot of you who travel to Seattle to watch the Huskies, Mariners, Sounders or Seahawks have probably experienced what I did this morning.

Just missed the ferry, so I had to drive around.

Pain in the you know what. Some days it’s OK, but after a late night of Friday night high school football, I was kinda looking forward to catching a little nap on the way over to the Cal-Washington game.

Turns out I also forgot my press credentials, so I ended up turning around at the first Gig Harbor exit and headed home. Decided to stick it out on the couch.

Here’s the column.

It’s kinda nice to be home now instead of trying to line up a ferry or drive back around. I guess it works both ways, huh?

I focused most of my column on Keith Price, the UW quarterback who was lights out once again for the Dawgs.

Greg Bell, who writes for the Husky online site, tweeted that Price, who has thrown 14 TD passes in four games, needs one more to move into the Huskies’ all-time top 10 list. And he’s got EIGHT regular season games left.

Crazy, huh?

Troy Kelly withdraws with knee injury

Troy Kelly withdrew from this the Nationwide Tour’s Soboba Classic, which started today in San Jacinto, Calif., because of a knee injury.

Bob Kelly, his dad and proprietor of Kelly’s 19th Hole in Chico, said his son was getting his left knee examined by a doctor later today. Kelly suffered the injury last week while playing in the Boise Open. He played through it and tied for 51st. He thought he would be able to get through this week’s tournament, but wasn’t able to.

Kelly’s No. 3 on the tour money list ($242,204) and, though it’s not official, he’s already locked up a top-25 finish, which will earn him his PGA Tour card for 2012.

There’s four more regular-season Nationwide events before the Tour Championship at Daniel Island, S.C., Oct. 27-30. The top 60 players earn spots in the $1 million championship tournament.

Kelly was looking forward to this week’s event, which he could drive to him from his home in La Quinta.

Break out the cornhole game, the Husky Golf Invitational is coming

The Kikkor Husky Golf Invitational will be played Monday and Tuesday on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain.

It’s a chance to watch some really good golf and get in a few games of ping pong or cornhole. Husky coach Matt Thurmond and volunteer assistant Scott Alexander, the director of golf at Gold Mountain, know how to throw a golf tournament.

Cornhole? It’s a bean-bag toss game. Great fun. But keep the bean bags (which are filled with kennels of corn) away from the crows. I left a set of bags outside this summer, and the crows feasted on ’em.

Back to golf: Chris Williams of Washington, a member of the U.S. Walker Cup squad, leads the Huskies. The Huskies have had a lot of great players — O.D. Vincent, Troy Kelly, Brock MacKenzie, James Lepp (founder of Kikkor Golf), Nick Taylor — and Williams, the kid from Idaho, might turn out to be the best of the bunch. He was 2-1 in his Walker Cup matches earlier this month and is coming off a remarkable summer of golf.

Williams and Kelly share the Olympic Course record. Kelly shot a 65 during a U.S. Open sectional qualifier; Williams equaled it during the NCAA West Regional in 2010. Williams qualified for the U.S. Open at Gold Mountain a year ago.

Cheng-Tsung Pan, a freshman who is one of the top-rated amateurs in the country, will be making his Husky debut. Charlie Hughes, a junior coming off a solid season, is another top stick for the Huskies.

Defending Pac-10 champ Martin Trainer of USC and teammate Anthony Paolucci, the nation’s top recruit, will also be on display.

So will Cameron Peck of Texas A&M,  a former U.S. Junior Am champ from Olympia.

The local favorite will be Kyle Hurt, a redshirt sophomore from Bainbridge who is now playing for Washington State.

Garrett Clegg, former assistant at Washington, is a first-year coach at WSU. Good luck to Clegg in his new gig.

Casey Martin, the Eugene, Ore., native who sued the PGA Tour (and won) for the right to ride a cart while playing in tournaments, is now in his sixth year as coach of the Oregon Ducks, who won the St. Mary’s Invitational this week in California.

Wonder when the Ducks are going to break out some wild NIKE golf attire? Something to rival the football uniforms perhaps? Could the golf establishment handle it?

Maybe shorts will green and yellow pinstripes or a neon shirt?

Here’s a list of teams that will be participating: BYU, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Long Beach State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pacific, Pepperdine, San Diego State, Santa Clara, SMU, Texas A&M,UC Davis, USC, Washington, Washington State.

Thirty-six holes on Monday; the final 18 on Tuesday. Stop by. It’s free.

ProRodeo raffle to help Coreys; congrats in order for announcer Randy Corley and Purple Cowboy Wines are raffling off a pair of Gold Buckle seats for the Dec. 4 performance of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegasto help Clint Corey and his wife, Diana, with the mounting costs of Diana’s cancer treatments. Clint, a Central Kitsap grad and 1991 world bareback champion and Hall of Fame cowboy, grew up in Silverdale and is now living in Oregon. His parents, Coleta and Nick Corey, founded the annual Corey Day at the Farm for special-needs children. They’ve been giving back for over 40 years.

Now’s a good time to give back to the Coreys.

Each raffle ticket is $25. The winner gets the two tickets plus airfare and lodging to Vegas. To participate, go to and click on the “Send Money” link. You will be asked for an e-mail address where you want the money directed; type in, add your e-mail address in the next box and follow the instructions from there.

In happier rodeo news, Silverdale’s Randy Corley, is a finalist, once again, for Pro Rodeo’s Announcer of the Year award. He’s a 10-time winner and anybody’s who’s attended a performance at the local Kitsap Stampede knows why.

Robbie Hodges, the comedy act at this year’s Stampede, is also a finalist. So is Haley Schneeberger, the efficient and likeable rodeo secretary who tracks the results, gets the cowboys paid and keeps everyone happy.

Here’s the list of 2011 Year-End Award nominees.
Announcer: Wayne Brooks, Lampasas, Texas; Randy Corley, Silverdale, Wash.; Mike Mathis, Lufkin, Texas; Andy Stewart, Collinston, La.; Bob Tallman, Poolville, Texas.
Bullfighters: Travis Adams, Gary, Texas; Kenny Bergeron, Iota, La.; Clay Collins, Garland, Texas; Dusty Tuckness, Meeteetse, Wyo.; Cory Wall, Burlington, Colo.
Clown: Rudy Burns, Smithdale, Miss.; John Harrison, Soper, Okla.; Keith Isley, Goldston, N.C.; Troy Lerwill, Payson, Utah; Cody Sosebee, Charleston, Ark.
Comedy act: Ash “Crash” Cooper, Senlac, Saskatchewan; John Harrison, Soper, Okla.; Robbie Hodges, Buchanan, Ga.; Keith Isley, Goldston, N.C.; Mark Swingler, Austin, Texas.
Dress Act: Tomas Garcilazo, Oak Hills, Calif.; Jason Goodman, Mount Pleasant, Texas; Jennifer Welch Nicholson (Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls), Exeter, Calif.; Jerry Wayne Olson, Auburn, Neb.; John Payne, Shidler, Okla.
Secretary: Linda Alsbaugh, Alamosa, Colo.; Sunni Deb Backstrom, Congress, Ariz.; Edie Longfellow, Hermiston, Ore.; Mildred Farris, Addington, Okla.; Haley Schneeberger, Ponca City, Okla.
Stock Contractors: Beutler & Son Rodeo Company, Elk City, Okla.; Classic Pro Rodeos, Waskom, Texas; Harry Vold Rodeo Company, Avondale, Colo.; Sankey Rodeo Company, Joliet, Mont.; Stace Smith Pro Rodeos, Athens, Texas.
Small Rodeo Committee: Athens (Texas) MDA Benefit Rodeo, Crystal Springs Ranch Rodeo (Clear Lake, S.D.), Elizabeth (Colo.) Stampede Rodeo, Goliad County Fair PRCA Rodeo (Goliad, Texas), Mesquite (Texas) Championship Rodeo
Medium Rodeo Committee: Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo (Abilene, Kan.), Deadwood (S.D.) Days of ’76, Rooftop Rodeo (Estes Park, Colo.), Cattlemen’s Days (Gunnison, Colo.), Ogden (Utah) Pioneer Days
Large Indoor Committee: Rodeo Austin (Texas), National Western Stock Show & Rodeo (Denver), Southwestern Exposition & Livestock Show (Ft Worth, Texas), American Royal Rodeo (Kansas City, Mo.), San Antonio (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo
Large Outdoor Committee: Caldwell (Idaho) Night Rodeo, Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo, Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up, California Rodeo Salinas, Rodeo of the Ozarks (Springdale, Ark.)

Sunday links, thoughts and a James McMurtry plug

LOOKING FOR a silver lining in Seattle’s 24-0 loss to Pittsburgh? The Seahawks’ defense, for the second straight week, showed signs at times of being pretty good. The offense, meanwhile, didn’t even make it past midfield until the fourth quarter. I don’t think WR Sidney Rice (Jay Glazer of FOX reported that Rice has a torn labrum) would make a difference at this point. And neither would Matt Hasselbeck, who’s playing good and looking comfortable in Tennessee. Until Seattle’s offensive line figures it out, points are going to be tough to come by. And if offensive tackle Russell Okung is healthy, then we might be looking at a major bust. In addition to being penalty-prone, the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft has stunk it up in the first two games.

STEVE RUDMAN OF SPORTSPRESSNW.COM writes this about Seahawks’ sad-sack offense: “At this risk of offering this thought prematurely (just two games), the trend is not only not looking good, it’s smacking of historically inept. The Seahawks are averaging 186.5 total yards per game. In 1992, when they went 2-14, that offense averaged a franchise-low 210.9 yards per game.”

GUESS WHO leads the NCAA in touchdown passes? Yep, the UW’s Keith Price, who has 11 TD passes. I’ve seen enough already to believe that Price is a better college quarterback than Jack Locker. But will those gimpy knees hold up for the rest of the season? Imagine how productive would he be if he was able to move around like he can. When healthy, he’s a big-time running threat.

COACHES ON THE HOTSEAT? Put UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt on the list. Except for the final four games of 2010, Washington’s been a below-average defensive team under Holt. You can find UW postgame interviews with Holt and others on Ryan Divish’s blog at the Tacoma News Tribune here.

IF I HAD A HEISMAN VOTE, right now it would go to Kellen Moore, Boise State QB from Prosser. He’s coming off a 455-yard, 5-TD game against Toldeo. Moore and the Broncos are ranked No. 4 and poised to make another run for the BCS Championship game. Will they get there? Will Moore win the Heisman? Probably not.

IT’S LOOKING more and more like the Pac-16 will become a reality with Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State signing on. Check out Sunday’s story in the Austin-American Statesman. The move toward four 16-team Super Conferences continues to make sense.  Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced Sunday that they are moving from the Big East to the ACC, giving the ACC 14 teams.

HALL OF FAME QB Terry Bradshaw will be the guest speaker at Habitat for Humanity’s Raise the Roof fundraiser on Friday at the Kitsap Sun Pavilion. Because of Bradshaw they’re expecting as many as 1,500 people. The goal is to raise $200,000, or about five times more than they raised a year ago. Tickets for the black-tie event are $90 per person ($700 for table of eigth). Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at:$70

BREMERTON HIGH’s looking for a new baseball coach. Rob Tomlinson coached the last two years but his son, Kaden, is no longer in the district, having moved to Arizona.

RANT!: How can Philip Rivers of the Chargers complete 29 passes for 378 yards and none of them to All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates. Rivers, you’re killing my fantasy team!!!

McMURTY TIME: I’ve heard him in Austin at SXSW, I’ve heard him at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle and now y’all can hear Texan James McMurtry on Bainbridge Island. The acclaimed singer/songwriter is playing at the Treehouse Cafe Thursday at 8 p.m.. Here’s a sample of what you might hear.

Pac-16 expansion links and other stuff

If you believe everything you reads, it seems only a matter of time before the Pac-12 becomes the Pac-16. Texas is the key to the possible expansion, but it sounds like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are ready to take the leap. With Texas A&M headed to the SEC, Texas Tech would be the fourth school. Texas has also been linked to the ACC but some. And others think the Longhorns will become the new Notre Dame and play an independent schedule.

You could break the Pac-16 conference into two eight-team divisions: The old Pac-8 (Oregon schools, Washington schools, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA) and the other division would be comprised of the Arizona schools, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma schools and two Texas schools. Problem is everyone wants to play the LA schools because of recruiting.

If Texas isn’t part of the equation, maybe BYU would be a possible option?

Here’s some scheduling options from Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman.

Here’s an interesting story from the Coaches Hot Seat blog. And here’s what Bud Withers of the Seattle Times wrote about possibile expansion.

A panel of ESPN writers believe expansion is inevitable.

Quick Hits

What are the odds of this happening? The numbers of the first three winning horses at Belmont on Sunday? 9, 1 and 1.

Here’s my story on Troy Kelly, who is winding down a successful Nationwide Tour season. He’s in Boise this week, trying to secure his first victory. Currently No. 3 on the money list, he’s locked down his PGA Tour card for 2012.

The Seahawks lost starting fullback Michael Robinson to an ankle sprain last week at San Francisco. The injury to a player most of us known nothing about illustrates just how thin and inexperienced the Seahawks are, and partially explain why they’re 14-point underdogs this week at Pittsburgh. Read Art Thiel’s take on the Hawks here.