Category Archives: Troy Kelly

What they’re writing, saying about the U.S. Open, Chambers Bay



Here’s what some people are writing about the U.S. Open and Chambers Bay:

Jordan Spieth won a U.S. Junior Amateur championship at Gold Mountain Golf Club in 2011, and he won the U.S. Open on Sunday at Chambers Bay. Jeff Graham of the Kitsap Sun writes about it.

One of the feel-good stories of the week was Kitsap’s own Troy Kelly, who finished with a 1-under 69. I followed Kelly around and talked to him and his brother, caddie Ryan Kelly, after the round.

In the end, the controversial tournament was decided by nerves and the best player won, writes Cameron Morfit of

Here’s what Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press wrote about on Sunday.

Mike Davis heard all of the complains, but the USGA’s executive director said the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay was a big success. Here’s Paul Ramsdell’s story about it in the Seattle Times.

The 115th U.S. Open was the “first completely made-for-TV major championship in golf history,” writes Dave Sheinan of the Washington Post.

Chambers Bay hogged the spotlight, and that’s not right, writes Christine Brennan of USA Today.

Can Spieth buck history and win the Grand Slam? 

Chambers Bay wasn’t so tough, according to this Golf Digest report.  Check out these numbers.

Golf Digest’s list of winners and losers, or birdies and bogeys.

Veteran golf writer Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times had this take on the U.S. Open and Spieth’s victory.

Art Thiel of writes about Jordan Spieth and his caddie, Michael Greller, and the things swirling through their minds during the mind-humbling final half hour of the U.S. Open.

Billy Horschel took shots at the USGA following his final round, and here’s Adam Lewis’ take for Horschel loved the spectacular beauty of Chambers Bay, but said it was a disappointing week because of the conditions of the green.

For Dustin Johnson, it was a choke, plain and simple, writes Chris Case of USA Today.

ICYMI, here’s Gary Player’s rant about Chambers Bay a couple of days ago. It’s worth listening to if you haven’t heard it.

Chambers Bay designer Robert Trent Jones not ready to get into a debate with Gary Player.

Chris Kirk took a sextuple bogey on No. 1 Sunday. For those of you counting, that’s a 10.

Here’s some quotes from the Open:

Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 champion who closed with a 67, finished a few hours before Spieth. Assessing Chambers Bay, Ogilvy told the New York Times: “You have to move the ball both ways and you have to use your brain, which is a rare thing in modern golf and something we’re not very good at, I don’t think. It’s going to be a class act of a player who wins, and really that’s all you want.”

“It has been a strange atmosphere because [fans] can’t seem to get close and on some holes, there aren’t any. I watched Phil Mickelson tee off at the first today, and then people won’t see him until the second shot on the second hole, because you can’t get down the first. From a fan’s point of view, it must have been even a harder trek than for us players.” — Lee Westwood.

On Friday, Henrik Stenson said it was “like putting on broccoli.”

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy begged to differ Saturday. “I don’t think they’re as green as broccoli. More like cauliflower.”

Sergio Garcia on putting at Chambers Bay: “Obviously, luck is always a factor in golf, but this is pushing it a little bit,. This is beyond luck. Sometimes it’s hope. Some putts you hit and you hope it’s going to take the right bounce right or left . . . It just doesn’t feel right.”

Chris Kirk shot 78 to finish 21-over, last among those who made the cut, then tweeted: “The U.S. Open is a great tournament with incredible history. The USGA should be ashamed of what they did to it this week.”

Dustin Johnson, the disappointed runner-up: “You know, I played well today. I did everything I was supposed to do. I hit the ball really well, and I’m proud of the way I handled myself. I just really struggled getting the ball in the hole today. I didn’t think I was hitting bad putts; I thought I hit them pretty good. They just weren’t going in.”


Does Chambers Bay deserve another chance to host a major?

Golfers are already on the course for the final round of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Will this be the final time the course hosts a major professional golf event?

The place has been heavily criticized by players and golf analysts for the poor conditions of the greens and by the fans for the poor viewing areas.

I walked the place Thursday, Friday and Saturday as a spectator, and it’s tough going. The terrain makes it difficult to walk and all of the sand dunes, most of them off limits to fans, make it difficult to watch. The sight lines are non-existent on some holes and unless you’ve  plopped down in one of the grandstands, you can’t get close to many of the players.

Still, the uniqueness of the place, the beauty of it all, is stunning.

Would I pay $110 for a ticket if the U.S. Open came back? Not if they keep things the way they are. The USGA says it’s worried about the safety of fans, which is why it keeps fans off of the slippery hillsides and dunes. There are ways to get around that. Build some paths up those hills, cut out some amphitheatre-like seating some of the larger hills that have fantastic viewing areas.

Put some ropes up closer to the fairways and let the fans get closer to the players. There are certainly ways to make it more fan-friendly. The USGA blew it this time around concerning the fans.

And there are certainly ways to fix those greens. Some have already been re-done since the 2010 U.S. Amateur was played at Chambers Bay. Players rave about the greens on No. 7 and No. 13. Re-do the others. Give the players a unique test of golf, but let them put on greens that are as beautiful as the surrounding Puget Sound area. Because of the terrain and the slopes on the greens, the USGA can still make sure that the winning score will be closer to even par than -20.

So going into Sunday’s final round, I’ll be back at the course, but this time I’m working. There’s no cheering in the media center, but I’ll be pulling for the local guy, Central Kitsap Troy Kelly, to have the round of his life (he tees off at 10:29 a.m.), and I’ll be looking forward to what the USGA has to say about the future of Chambers Bay.

Will this be the course’s swan song with big-time golf, or is it just the beginning?


Gold Mountain’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ have arrived

“The Stars of Tomorrow.”

That’s what they billed the U.S. Junior Amateur when it came to Bremerton’s Gold Mountain Golf Club in 2010.

I’ve mentioned this before, but Gold Mountain’s had its share of young stars pass through over the years, whether it was a USGA national event (Junior Am or 2006 U.S. Amateur  Public Links) or NCAA tournament (Husky Invitational or NCAA regional).

By my count, there’s 11 players left in the field of 75 at the U.S. Open who have competed at Gold Mountain, including co-leader Jordan Spieth, the 2010 U.S. Junior Am champ, and Troy Kelly, the Central Kitsap grad and former UW golfer now living in Steilacoom.

The others: Dustin Johnson, Jamie Lovemark, Beau Hossler, Cheng-Tsung Pan, Luke Donald, Billy Horschel, Kevin Chappel, Keegan Bradley and Morgan Hoffman.

Kelly, by the way, tees off at 8:47 a.m. on Saturday. He carded rounds of 72-73 and made it into the field with 15 others when amateur Nick Hardy bogeyed his final hole on Friday. It’s the first time Kelly has made a cut in a major. He played previously in the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst and at the 2012 British Open.

Kelly has been playing on a major medical exemption for most of the last three years. He has seven PGA Tour starts left after the US Open and unless he changes plans, he will play at the July 2-5 Greenbrier Classic, where he lost a three-hole playoff to Ted Potter Jr. and placed second in 2012.

Golf: Kelly, Jonson bid for U.S. Open spots; U.S. Open Trophy, City Amateur at Gold Mtn

Troy Kelly and Carl Jonson will try to play their way into the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay on Monday.

They will be among 50 players gunning for three spots in the 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Tumble Creek Club in Cle Elum.

Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad now living in Lakewood, has battled injuries on the PGA Tour. The former NCAA runner-up when he was at Washington qualified for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, N.C., in 2005. His best finish on the PGA Tour was a second at The Greenbrier Classic in 2012. He also played in the British Open that year.

Bainbridge’s Jonson, who just completed his senior year at UNLV, made it through local qualifying earlier this year. He was the Washington State Golf Association Men’s Player of the Year in 2014 and qualified for the U.S. Amateur that was played in 2010 at Chambers Bay.

Washington All-American Cheng-Tsung Pan, recent runner-up at the NCAA national championship, is also in the field. He’s qualified for two U.S. Opens, including 2013 when the sectional qualifier was also at Tumble Creek.

Another former Husky, Richard Lee, is also entered. Lee, a past Bremerton City Amateur champion, has had some success on the PGA and tours, but hasn’t played this year because of an injury.

Brent Zapp, head pro at Chambers Bay, will try to qualify to play in the national championship on his home course

You can find the complete pairings and tee times here.

U.S. Open Trophy Tour at Gold Mountain

The U.S. Open Trophy Tour stops at Gold Mountain on Saturday (June 6). It’ll be there from 1-3 p.m.

Golfers are encouraged to take a photo with the trophy and share via social media using #usopenforall and #lexusgolf to have a chance to win two tickets to the final round of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

City Am June 6-7

The annual Bremerton City Amateur, a 36-hole tournament, will be held Saturday and Sunday at Gold Mountain.

Golfers will play the Cascade Course on Saturday, and the Olympic Course on Sunday. Here’s Saturday’s pairings and tee times.

Mercer Island’s Charlie Kern, who finished his college career at William & Mary last month, will be back to defend his title. Kern’s best finish this spring was a tie for third at the Redhawks Invitational in April at Chambers Bay.

Bainbridge teen Sam Warkentin, who won a Class 3A state championship recently, and Olympic College standout Adam Barker are among the contenders. Past champion Scott Fenske and Devin Loudon, who won the 2014 Kitsap Amateur, also also entered.

Kenyan Fanslow from Tacoma, an NWAC standout while at Olympic College, is also in the field. He’s now at Northwest Nazarene and was the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year.

Another way to get to Chambers Bay

The Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce announced that it will run a shuttle to Chambers Bay for the U.S. Open. Cost is $30 for a roundtrip and reservations are required. Read about it in this Tacoma News Tribune story.


Golf notes: Seattle Golf Show, Snorting Elk, Free golf, U.S. Open practice round tickets & more

The golf show, the golf show

Sunday is the final day of the Seattle Golf & Travel Show at CenturyLink Field Event Center.

Cost is $14 for adults with youth 17 and under free.  Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Go to this website for more information.

Snorting Elk

The annual Snorting Elk tournament, held at Kitsap Golf & Country Club, drew a full field with 20 more golfers with handicaps of 0 or less. The field is probably the best for any tournament held on this side of the water.

Congratulations to Randy Grosz, a former Kitsap member now living in Portland, for putting it all together every year. Somebody from Oregon won with a 4-under 67. We’ll try to get complete results.

Free golf

In case you missed it, you can play Port Orchard’s Village Greens, an executive course run by Kitsap County Parks & Rec, for free on Monday, March 9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 871-1222 for information. PGA Club pro Ron Weir is also staging free clinics (12:30-1:30 p.m. full swing; 1:30-2:30 p.m. short game).

Practice round tickets available for U.S. Open

Tickets for the four rounds at the 2015 U.S. Open, being held at Chambers Bay in University Point on June 18-21, have been sold out, but you can still buy tickets for the practice rounds.

For $100, you can buy a gallery ticket for all three practice days (June 15-17). They are free for active-duty military and children 12 and under who are accompanied by an adult ticket holder.

For more information to to purchase tickets online, visit

U.S. Open qualifiers

The Home Course in Dupont (May 11) and Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla (May 12) will be the only state courses hosting 18-hole local qualifiers for the  U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. They are two of 111 local qualifying sites across the country.

Pros and amateurs with a handicap 1.4 or lower are eligible. The top scorers at the local  qualifiers advance to play in sectional qualifiers, which take place June 8 in a 36-hole format at 10 courses around the country. Japan and England will host international sectional qualifiers on May 25.


UCLA’s Erynne Lee, a senior from Central Kitsap, tied for third individually and helped the No. 5-ranked Bruins to a second-place finish at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate in Baton Rouge, La. Lee finished at 1-under 215, moving up to No. 48 in the Golfstate collegiate rankings and dropping her scoring average to 72.9 in 18 rounds. The Bruins and Pepperdine co-host the Wave Classic March 2-3 at the El Callabero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif. No. 3 Washington is the highest-ranked team in the field.

UNLV’s Carl Jonson, senior from Bainbridge, shot 75-75-76 and tied for 49th at the John Bruns Collegiate in Hawaii. Jonson’s scoring average is 73.6 after 18 rounds. His best finish this season has been a sixth. The Rebels host the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters on March 9-11 at Southern Highlands Golf Club in Las Vegas.

Troy Kelly update

Central Kitsap grad and former UW golfer Troy Kelly has missed the cut in all four PGA Tour tournaments he’s entered this year. Still on a major injury exemption, Kelly has six tournaments left to earn $563,111 or 353 FedEx Cup points to maintain full-time playing privileges.

And finally, some linkage

ICYMI, Kitsap Golf & Country Club is opening its doors to the public beginning April 1. I wrote about it earlier this week.

Tiger Woods still No. 1 when it comes to earning money off the course, but the gap is closing, according to this Golf Digest story.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune wonders if Tiger Woods will be ready for the U.S. Open.

Jimmy Walker leads the PGA Tour money list with $2,281,345 in winnings. Ryan Moore of Puyallup is currently No. 10 and former Husky great Nick Taylor, a Canadian, is No. 26. Here’s some others: No. 42 Andres Gonzales (Olympia/UNLV), No. 61 Alex Prugh (Spokane/UW), No. 75 Spencer Levin (No. 75, grandfather was a Bremerton High grad/New Mexico); No. 94 Michel Putman (Tacoma/Pepperdine), No. 122 Andrew Putman (Tacoma/Pepperdine), No. 184 Kyle Stanley (Gig Harbor/Clemson).



Quick hits from the desert: Troy Kelly, Joey Dean, Seahawks, questions & more

Some quick hits on a Tuesday night from Super Bowl country:

TROY KELLY is entered in this week’s Humana Challenge, the PGA Tour event in La Quinta,  Calif. Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad now living in Tacoma, still has PGA status because of a Major Medical Extension he received after going through knee surgery in the 2013 season.

Kelly has 10 starts and needs to make $563,133 or 353.837 FedExCup points to retain his status. I’m not positive, but I think Kelly has to use those 10 starts this season. He missed two PGA cuts earlier in the fall, and took some time off to give an aching body some rest after not playing well. Kelly cashed in just two of nine Tour starts in 2014.

Kelly, now living in Tacoma, was based out of La Quinta for a few years and is familiar with the Nicklaus and Palmer courses at PGA West.

In case you missed it, Bob Kelly (Troy’s dad) operates Hackers Bar & Grill at Madrona Links in Gig Harbor.

JOEY DEAN is MCing the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet at Kiana Lodge on Saturday (11 a.m. social hour, dinner and program at noon). The 1984 Olympic High state championship baseball team is among the teams being inducted. Dean was in the class of ’83 at Oly and played football and baseball. He’s also got some motorsports history and, of course, remains one of the most popular singer/songwriters in Kitsap County. Nice for Joey to give back to the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable, the non-profit that puts on the annual HOF shindig.

PLAYED SOME GOLF Tuesday in Gilbert, Arizona, where the weather was outstanding (76 degrees), and the company even better. The golf game? I’m not talking about mine, but Glenn Carden hit ’em straight and far while shooting a 78 at Western Skies Golf Course.

SOME OF US DEBATED this question on Twitter Sunday night: What’s the greatest game in Seattle sports history. Was it the Seahawks unbelievable NFC Championship comeback victory over the Packers on Sunday, or the Mariners’ win over the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALCS in 1995?

For me, it’s the football game. It was stunningly, mind-blowing, coming from 12 down with 3 minutes left to win the way they won after playing so poorly on offense. I’m a baseball guy but to be in a position to win back-to-back Super Bowls trumps what Edgar, Junior, Randy and Lou’s Boys did on that magical night in the Kingdome.

What do you think?

IF YOU COULD SPEND an evening with one Seahawk, who would it be? Russell Wilson? Marshawn Lynch? Richard Sherman? Earl Thomas? Jon Ryan? Pete Carroll? Who’s your guy?

PETER KING of writes that the Seahawks need to feed the Beast if they want to win Super Bowl 49. I couldn’t agree more.

QUICK, NAME the only team to beat the Seahawks and Patriots this season? Yep, Kansas City.

BROADCASTER BILL WALTON called the Pac-12 basketball game between Utah and Arizona in Tucson on Saturday. Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic tailed Walton at the Pac-12 Networks crew before and during the game.

At one point, Walton wished Muhammad Ali a happy 73rd birthday and shared a favorite Ali quote: “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can surely make something out of you.”

ANOTHER PAC-12 BROADCASTER, MIKE MONTGOMERY, got a call from former South Kitsap athlete and Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote recently. “He said, ‘You’ve got a face for radio’ and hung up,” said Montgomery during a recent broadcast. Heathcote and Montgomery, the former Stanford and Cal coach, are both part of the Montana coaching tree. Heathcote, 87, is still living in Spokane, and remains an avid follower of Gonzaga and college hoops.

I WROTE ABOUT ASHLI PAYNE, sophomore guard at Umpqua CC, last month. I’m glad to see I didn’t jinx the Olympic High grad. She’s eighth in the 32-team Northwest Athletic Conference in scoring (17.28 points), sixth in rebounding (8.83), ninth in assists (4.28), 10th in free-throw shooting (82.3%) and 20th in steals (2.13). You can see why her coach, Dave Stricklin, thinks she’s the best player in the NWAC.





Troy Kelly starts 2014-15 PGA season with 1-under 71

Troy Kelly got his 2014-15 season off to a decent start, firing a 1-under 71 at the Open. The Central Kitsap grad was one of the early starters and was tied for 41st as I write this, but there are still several players on the course (Silverado CC-North) in Napa, California.

Here’s the deal for Kelly: The 36-year-old, now living in Tacoma, has 12 starts left on a major medical extension to collect $563,133 or 353.837 FedExCup points to retain his PGA Tour status. He has just one top-35 finish in 54 PGA Tour starts, and he tied for first, losing a playoff to Ted Potter at The Greenbrier Classic in 2012. That got him a spot in the British Open.

Kelly couldn’t keep the momentum going, then he missed 11 months, recovering from knee surgery. He made just two of eight cuts on the Tour and missed cuts in both PGA events he played last year.

Chip shots: Kelly birdied three of his last four holes on Thursday, but also had bogeys on No. 14 and 16. … Andres Gonzales of Olympia, a grad, is leading the Open with a 6-under 66. … The tour moves to Las Vegas next week for the Shiners Hospital for Children Open. You can follow the Open here.

The Jet, Willie, Seahawks, Hammel, World Cup & more

Here we go, in no particular order:

Dude can fly: James (The Jet) Jones is up to 14 steals (he’s been caught once) through Tuesday and considering he didn’t get his first one until May 1, that’s pretty impressive. Michael Saunders led the Seattle Mariners with 13 steals a year ago. Ichiro (438 steals during his time in Seattle), Jose Cruz (290) and Harold Reynolds (228) are Seattle’s all-time leaders in steals, but the M’s have never had a lot of speed guys. Willie Bloomquist (71) ranks No. 11 in steals in franchise history. Jones, if he’s as good as I think he might be, could pass Willie in the summer of 2015.

Speaking of Willie: The South Kitsap grad is hitting .278, and get this — the M’s are 18-7 when he starts (through Tuesday). That’s the stat that matters, right?

Sherm shuts up: Richard Sherman’s never been at a loss for worlds, but he reportedly isn’t speaking to the media, upset with the Seattle Times because the newspaper published the address of his new home. Got to side with Sherm on that one. Some things don’t need to be printed, and that’s one of ’em.

Speaking of Seahawks: Sherman, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have all been nominated for ESPYs. 

World Cup fever: Portugal’s late goal in extra time against the U.S. in the World Cup was a punch to the gut, but it didn’t take long for me to get over the 2-2 tie. I’m really looking forward to see how Jurgen Klinsmann’s boys do against Germany on Thursday (9 a.m. ESPN). Klinsmann is a former German star, a legend in his country. He played on West Germany’s 1990 World Cup championship team and coached the 2006 German World Cup team. Germany is now coached by Joachim Lowe, a protege of Klinsmann. The U.S., which needs a tie to move on to the round of 16, has five players who grew up in Germany. This one promises to be emotional. I can’t wait.

Speaking of soccer: How ’bout those Pumas? Kitsap’s soccer club is 6-0-4 and has opened a seven-point lead in the Northwest Division of the PDL. Coach Andrew Chapman, the Olympic High grad who has turned Peninsula CC into an NWAACC power, seems to be making all of the right decisions. The Pumas are one of six unbeatens in the 64-team league. Kitsap won a national title in 2011, and it looks like the Pumas are going to make another serious run this summer.

BlueJackets bashing: Kitsap’s summer college baseball team, the BlueJackets, are off to a good start. Kitsap’s 8-5 and just a half-game back of Bellingham in the Western Division of the West Coast League (through Tuesday). They boast the No. 1 (Danny Woodruff, .453) and No. 3 (Alex Bush, .395, 2 HRs, 15 RBI) hitters. Woodruff’s an outfielder from Creighton who played in just seven games as a freshman. Bush is a 6-foot-6, 255-pound first baseman/DH who just graduated from high school in Turlock, California. He’s going to be a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. Kitsap’s second in hitting (.296 average) and eighth in pitching (5.46 ERA) in the 12-team wood-bat league.

Hammel report: Jason Hammel, the 2000 South Kitsap grad who is having a fine season (6-5, 2.99 ERA, 91 Ks, 20 BBs, 96.1 IP, 1.017 WHIP) for the Chicago Cubs, continues to be linked to the Mariners. This report says the Cubs and M’s have had serious talks, and that Chicago wants RHP Edwin Diaz, Seattle’s third-round pick in the 2012 draft, to be part of the package.

Minor league report: Brady Steiger (South Kitsap/WSU/Lewis-Clark St.) hit his first home run as a pro over the weekend. He plays for the Class A Staten Island Yankees. … Drew Vettlesen (Central Kitsap) wrapped up an eight-game rehab stint with the Auburn Doubledays. He was 4-for-4 on Friday and hit .318. The outfielder, who broke a bone in his hand when hit by a ball in April, is back with the Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators (Nationals) of the Eastern League. He was 2-for-3 with a stolen base on Tuesday. … Aaron Cunningham (South Kitsap/Everett CC) hitting .258 with no homers and 20 RBI for the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) of the Pacific Coast League.

Back on the tee: Troy Kelly, the Central Kitsap grad whose 2013 golf season was derailed by a knee surgery after playing in just 10 PGA Tour events, is resuming his comeback. He played in four events earlier, but made just one cut and wasn’t satisfied with his game, so he returned to Tacoma to work on it. There might be some rust when he plays in this week’s tournament in Newburgh, Indiana. He’s using it as a tuneup for the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic the following week in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Kelly’s got fond memories of Greenbrier, where he shot 6-under 63 in the third round in 2012 to get into contention. He closed with a 66 and wound up losing a playoff on the third hole to Ted Potter. Kelly plans to play four straight weeks. He’ll head to Illinois for the John Deere Classic in Illinois after the Greenbrier Classic before returning to Boise, Idaho, for another stop. … Kelly’s brother Ryan, his caddie, finished second in the Tacoma City Amateur over the weekend.

Coming Friday: I’ll be writing about “The Legend” later this week. That would be 83-year-old Buzz Edmonds, a three-time winner of the Kitsap Amateur, nine-time club champ at Kitsap Golf & Country Club and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I chatted with Buzz and some of his golfing buddies earlier this week. The story will publish Friday.

Nice sendoff: South Kitsap’s three-sport star Logan Knowles, who is headed to the Naval Academy to play baseball, wrapped up his high school career by going 2-for-4 with a home run, double and 4 RBI in the consolation game of the Washington State All-State Baseball Series in Yakima. His home run was the only one hit during the weekend.

Recommended reading: Charlie Pierce, who writes for Grantland,com, among other outlets, weighed in on the O’Bannon vs. NCAA trial that is going on. He writes:

” … If you are a college athlete, you must — willingly or unwillingly — help the NCAA and its member institutions keep faith with Coca-Cola. One of the ugly moral truths about all our sports is that athletes represent one of the categories of Americans who can be legally and publicly treated as commodities, and nowhere is that truth more obvious, and more ugly, than in college athletics, where the athletes are not only forbidden from profiting from their own commodification, but also required to help the institutions they represent to profit from it. Then they have to hear the people who profit most from the commodities who play ball for them tell a judge that they’re doing it only for the athlete’s own good. This trial is about the NCAA’s desire to maintain that arrangement forever. Unless you’re afflicted with a kind of moral myopia, this is no less than grotesque.”


Tuesday ramblings and notes: Heathcote, Hammel, TyBaum, Erynne/earthquake & more

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE champion Wichita State enters the NCAA Tournament unbeaten and seeded No. 1 in the Midwest region. The last time a Missouri Valley Conference team entered the tournament unbeaten was 1979, when Larry Bird and Indiana State was grabbing all of the headlines in March.  The No. 1-ranked Sycamores didn’t come away with the title, though.

“Somebody beat them in that championship game,” said Jud Heathcote during a conversation Monday. “It’s been so long, I can’t remember who is was.”

The 86-year-old Heathcote was joking. The South Kitsap grad who grew up in Manchester was the coach of the Michigan State Spartans that year. The Spartans, with a gangly point-guard named Magic Johnson, beat Bird and the Sycamores in the most-watched game in college basketball history.

Heathcote, who lives in Spokane and has season tickets to Gonzaga games, will be in the stands this week when Michigan State plays its first-r0und East regional game on Thursday. Sparty faces Delaware at Veteran Memorial Arena in Spokane. My weekly Thursday column will center on Heathcote, who is still funny as ever and still consumed by the college game.

JASON HAMMEL OF THE CHICAGO CUBS starts Tuesday night in Surprise, Ariz., against the Texas Rangers. It’ll be just his second Cactus League start, but the right-hander out of South Kitsap High hasn’t been inactive. He’s started a “B” game and went six innings last Thursday against Cubs minor leaguers.

“My first year with the (Orioles), because Florida Spring Training is all (American League) East, I didn’t pitch in a big league game until we’d been through two or three rounds of cuts,” Hammel told  “As long as I can get my work in and make sure I’m building the arm strength, I’m OK.”

WAS HOPING ONE-TIME Olympic College basketball coach Ken Bone would get over the hump at Washington State, but too many injuries and lack of depth were his undoing. Seattle U might be a good fit for Bone if Cameron Dollar gets the axe, and it’s been suggested that he might. A lot of people forget that Bone was 77-49 in four years at Portland State, taking the Vikings to the NCAA Tournament his last two years. Bone was 254-97 in 12 years at Seattle Pacific.


Glad to see I didn’t jinx Tyler Baumgartner with this column. The Central Kitsap grad, a senior outfielder at Oregon, was 5-for-11 in a three-game series against USC. Baumgartner was 2-for-5 with a bases-clearing double in a 7-2 series-clinching win on Sunday. He’s now hitting .400 through 19 games. …. Former North Kitsap  and Washington State athlete and ex-professional baseball player Jared Prince is an assistant with the South Kitsap baseball team. Prince, who is living in Tacoma and working toward his masters in education at the University of Puget Sound, was also an assistant with SK’s football team. He’s doing his student teaching at South. … Bremerton’s Marvin Williams has missed 12 NBA games this season because of various injuries. The Utah Jazz are 0-12 in those games. His numbers (9.5 points, 5.1  rebounds) aren’t eye-popping, but the 27-year-old forward has become a solid all-around player and leader for the young Jazz.  … I was always impressed with Denise Baxter, who announced that she is retiring at Central Kitsap as the girls basketball coach. Her teams always played hard and she had a no-nonsense approach and she didn’t seem to let those bothersome parents (you know the ones) get in her head. Central Kitsap’s lucky to have had her around for 20 years.  … Bremerton High grad Jack Evans passed away recently in California. Evans was a member of the 1953 Bremerton High baseball team thet was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame. … Former Kitsap Pumas goalkeeper Liviu Bird is now writing about soccer for, among other outlets. Here’s  his story on the Toronto FC after the 2-1 win over the Sounders. … Central Kitsap grad Troy Kelly plays in the Tour’s Panama Claro Championship in Panama City this week. After a tie for 23rd in Chile, he missed the cut by two strokes in Brazil last week. He plays in the Louisiana Open in Broussard, La., next week, then returns to the PGA Tour, teeing it up in the Houston Open, April 3-6. … Central Kitsap alum Drew Vettleson got a couple more at bats in a Grapefruit League game for the Washington Nationals. He’s 0-for-3 in two appearances with the big club this spring. … UCLA junior golfer Erynne Lee, a Central Kitsap grad who was picked to play in the Curtis Cup, tweeted this from Los Angeles on Monday:  “Woke up from a nightmare by an earthquake just now. #frazzled #homesick” … Keep your eye on Ben Tamm, hard-throwing  freshman pitcher at Everet CC. The North Kitsap grad was named MVP of fall ball and has got off to a good start for the Trojans.

Monday musings and notes …

Let’s get to it …

Good news for the Seahawks and their fans: Defensive lineman Michael Bennett reportedly turned down more money to  sign a four-year deal with the Seahawks. That’s a big signing as the versatile Bennett was a big part of the NFL’s best defense. He was Seattle’s best pass rusher. What’s the next priority, wide receiver Golden Tate or defensive linemen Clinton McDaniel or Tony McDonald? Tate’s such a good fit, at receiver and as a punter returner, and I still don’t think we’ve seen the best out of him. If he’s willing to take a lesser deal to stay, why not?

34-0: Haven’t paid much attention to NCAA hoops this season, but it’s hard not to pull for unbeaten Wichita State.  They got to the Final Four as a No. 9 seed a year ago. They should be a No. 1 seed this year. If the Shockers run the table, they would be 40-0.  Talk about March Madness.

Willie Bloomquist update: Willie was 3-for-3 on Sunday and seemingly fitting in with the Mariners like a glove. The veteran utility player from South Kitsap is going to be a McCormick Woods Golf Course on April 10 to help raise money for a new scoreboard at the South Kitsap baseball field, which will be re-named for the late, great coach Elton Goodwin. The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable is hosting the event. More details — time, cost, etc. — later this week. Meanwhile, Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer wrote about Bloomquist on Sunday.

More Mariners: I know it’s only spring training, but lots of young Mariners are having solid camps in Peoria. Cole Gillespie has caught my eye. Former Oregon State outfielder is hitting .533 (7-for-15) with a double, triple and 7 RBI. He can play left or right. Hit .300 and .308 at Triple-A Reno in 2011 and 2012 with brief MLB duty with Arizona. He spent parts of 2013 with Giants and Cubs. If Corey Hart isn’t ready to go full-time at the start of the season, or if Michael Saunders doesn’t produce, could there be room for a solid, all-around guy like Gillespie? He’s 29. Maybe it’s his time?

Hot, hot hot: Olympic College’s Greta Coleman, sophomore from Kingston, is 9-for-13 in her last three games, all OC victories. She has had four doubles and seven RBI in that stretch, including a game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh against Southwest Oregon on Sunday when she ripped a line shot to RCF on an 0-2 count. Coleman and Alexa Eckonomakis are transfers from Shoreline, which dropped its program for a year after going through coaching changes.

Nice RAC: Olympic College’s softball had an opportunity to play at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey on Sunday. Four fields with turf infields and grass outfields. (There’s also six regulation soccer/football/rugby fields). Best complex around. Wonder if the Kitsap rec departments or school districts will ever get one  turfed field for baseball or softball. We’re so far behind you wonder if we can ever catch up.

Troy Kelly birdied three of his final four holes on Sunday to tied for 23rd in the PGA Tour’s Chile Classic in Santiago, Chile. Nice effort after being out of competition for a year. Kelly plays three more Tour events — in Brazil, Panama and Louisiana — before returning to the PGA Tour at the Houston Open.

Black and red and winning: Did you see who broke out his red shirt and black pants on Sunday while winning a PGA Tour event? Yeah, Patrick Reed, the latest young gun. This Reed guy might be the real thing. He’s 23 and he’s already won three tour events. And he’s pretty confident, too. Pretty confident? Hell, he’s Larry Bird/Muhammad Ali/Richard Sherman on grass. Read this New York Daily News story to get a flavor.

More golf news: UNLV’s Carl Jonson, a junior from Bainbridge, tied for eighth and helped the Rebels win the Collegiate Masters at South Highland Golf Course in Las Vegas.  Jonson shot 4-over 70-78-72—220 and tied for eighth individually in a tournament that featured the toughest field of the season.

The Fat Drug: Nothing to do with sports, but this New York Times story is pretty enlightening.

MLB at-bat: Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson got into a spring training game with the Washington Nationals on Saturday. He was 0-for-1 at the plate.

Interview on deck: Scheduled to talk to Central Kitsap grad and Oregon Duck outfielder Tyler Baumgartner on Tuesday. Baumgartner’s off to a great start. Hope we don’t jinx him.