I wonder if half the people at the 17th hole stadium at the Air Capital Classic even know they’re at a golf tournament?
I don’t know whether or not Aaron Watkins will assume the role of the home favorite, but the former K-Stater starts today’s third round with a two stroke lead. It’s the seventh time that Watkins has played in this event and he admits that he’s comfortable here, of course, he admits it wishing he was a little less familiar.
Watkins was on the PGA Tour last year and, at age 31, would like to be a more permanent fixture there. Lack of course knowledge at the next level has hurt his confidence and that’s what he trying to regain in Wichita. When you talk to players on this tour about their game’s it’s interesting how few talk about their swings, or putting. It’s almost always the mental side of the game they point to as needing to improve and Watkins is a prime example.
On the bag---
A few years ago Wichita State head basketball coach Gregg Marshall was on a bag at the then Wichita Open. This weekend his son Kellen is looping for Glen Day, who just made the cut at -2.
When Tom Gillis isn’t irritating tournament officials with his blasts on Twitter, he’s worth listening to on an array of subjects. The 45 year old is a veteran of the PGA and European Tours and is making his first trip to Wichita. He’s already taken some shots at Crestview Country Club via social media and is a remarkably candid guy which, for me, means he’s a remarkably refreshing guy.
Amongst the things he talked about at length yesterday was the influx of talent into the game of golf. He traces it back to the season that Tiger Woods had back in 2000, claiming that Woods ‘made it cool’ to play golf.
“That’s why we have so many guys who look like linebackers out here”, Gillis said. “Tiger brought an awareness of fitness to the sport that we’ve never had before”.
Speaking of Tiger, he’s coming back to the tour for the first time in three months next week, giving a big shot in the arm to a sport that simply isn’t as interesting or compelling without him
It’ll be interesting to see---
---how Gillis is reacted to today as he plays in the final pairing with Watkins. On Thursday he tweeted, “Never been to a course with a higher opinion of themselves. crestview c.c.”. He’s sure to hear it at 17, but I get the sense that’s the kind of stuff that feeds him, after all, gives who give it out better be ready to take it back.
With the first pick---
The Cleveland Cavaliers probably won’t go with Joel Embiid now that he’s having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. The oft-injured KU star suffers from a really bad case of timing, but beyond that one wonders if he isn’t another Greg Oden in the making. Some are saying that it will be four to six months before the center can get back on the floor, so anyone taking him now is pretty much making a pick for the year after next.
Ugh, consecutive losses drop the Royals out of first place. Over 38,000 watched as the usually reliable Greg Holland gave up two runs in the ninth to lose to Seattle. It’s only the fifth time all season that the Royals have scored at least four runs and lost. It’s not often that pitching is the culprit in KC, but James Shields and Holland had tough nights against one of the most improved teams in the Big Leagues.
There’s so much good will in Kauffman Stadium right now, you’d hate to see anything disrupt it. But there always seems to be a sense of the other shoe waiting to drop with this organization. Maybe the Shockers can bring them a little luck today. For the first time ever its Wichita State day at the K, Fred Van Vleet, Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton will all throw out the first pitch. Talk about changing the culture, when was the last time that Kansas City even recognized something from Sedgwick County, let alone invited it to join them?