Hard luck Wildcat, Football Coaches Headwear, Pac-12 Stadium Updates and more. . .
The Buchanan Report feels the need to send some love and good Karma to former U of A golfer, Jim Furyk. Furyk had the World Series of Golf Championship in Akron, Ohio boxed up and was in the process of putting a neatly-fitted bow on top of the wrapping paper, having led the tournament for 71 holes. Unfortunately, Furyk was reminded that game can be a cruel game, even to one of its top ambassadors.
Not so surprisingly, Furyk split the middle of the 18th fairway with his tee shot and had what appeared to be a harmless 7-iron to the pin; fairway-green-two putt victory. A change in the wind took his well-struck approach shot just past the greenside bunker into the heavy rough, leaving him with a very difficult, downhill shot to the pin. Furyk mishit the pitch shot, which barely carried the bunker and left him chipping for par from the fringe. His fourth shot left him above the hole with a tricky, downhill putt to force a playoff with Keegan Bradley (who slammed home a 15-foot par putt seconds earlier), but Furyk ran it past the hole in a putt that was as bad as a Alex Zendejas extra-point try.
Furyk had a similar outcome in the recent U.S. Open, having led the last two rounds until hooking his drive on 16 at Olympic Club. Let’s all think good thoughts for good old Jim as he competes this week in the diabolically difficult Pete Dye design at Kiawah Island, S.C. in the PGA championship, the final major of the year. If anyone is due, it’s Arizona’s Furyk! My pick is the stoic Jason Duffner, who has been hot of late, and may have the temperament to handle the rigors of the Ocean Course.
By the way, I had the pleasure of meeting Keegan Bradley’s father, Mark, about a month ago while on a trip to Jackson, WY, playing an enjoyable round at a Robert Trent Jones layout, the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club, where the elder Keegan is the pro. No, unlike Gdazzo or the Fizz or whatever he is calling himself today, I didn’t shoot 72. (I did play from the tips, because it is unmanly to play from the white tees) I admit to being dazzled by the Tetons and the incredible scenery, and I would have been pretty much at even par had it not been for a moose that had wandered onto the course, picking up my ball in his teeth and galloping off, which ruined my 15th hole. We’re not talking Bullwinkle. Moose are huge, and can attack when they are riled. I wasn’t going to chase down a ProV 1 and risk being gored. What was next, try a Grizzly Bear running after us on 17. You’ll understand if I say I was playing defensively, wondering whether there was really enough juice in the golf cart to complete 18 holes. Seriously, after golf, the white water rafting trip down the Snake River was like, well, a walk in the park. Which is what golf is supposed to be, right?
Speaking of contradictions, am I the only one who thinks wearing a golf visor is wrong, whether you’re playing golf or coaching football? I mean, Brad Snedecker and Keegan Bradley – both great golfers, look kind of goofy wearing a visor. And don’t even get me started about Mike Stoops trying to re-create the Oklahoma visor look at Arizona. I never trusted it. I don’t care if you’re the “ole ball coach,” or instructing Pee Wee footballers; wear a visor and you create all kinds of confusion. A real football coach wears a baseball style cap, got it?
As the guru of style, I must ask; who designed the weird USA logo for some of the Olympic teams? This just doesn’t work with the angular lines of the track and field and the basketball unis. And to add to the fashion controversy, you probably heard that the great designer, Ralph Lauren, apologized for the fact that the outfits he designed for the Opening Ceremonies were made in China? And with his apology, he vowed that next time, he would make sure they were made stateside. When the next summer Olympics roll around, right about 2015, I’m thinking Ralph Lauren shouldn’t be hanging by the phone much because unless he’s under a long-term contract my guess is Tommy Hilfiger gets the next crack at Team USA unis.
Four or five days into Arizona’s fall practice, there are still many unknowns about the Wildcat football team. As you’ve seen, media time is limited and compared to camps past, so far, a lot of answers to the questions fans have haven’t been answered. In my view, the reason for this could be twofold. First, the answers haven’t emerged yet, and probably won’t until the official game week preparations heading into the season opener on September 1. Second, and playing devil’s advocate here, perhaps this staff learned something from its experience at Michigan, deciding to delegate what they feel they want to out to the media? Whatever the case, we are moving, inexorably, toward one of the most interesting seasons in the modern era of Arizona football.
Talk about integrating himself into the local community, last night I saw Rich Rodriquez’s first local commercial endorsement in a TV ad for Qualified Mechanical Contractors, an air conditioning/heating contractor. By contrast, in eight years, I remember exactly [u]one[/u] television ad for Mike Stoops, a spot for a local Credit Union.
If Tom Hanks were here he'd be saying, "There's no visor wearing in football!"
Pac-12 Stadium Update
Half the schools in the Pacific-12 Conference are in the active construction phase or have ambitious plans to expand and modernize their stadiums, or both. The spotlight today is Martin Stadium, in the Palouse, the smallest of venues among conference schools with a seating capacity of 33,000. Washington State has nearly completed an $80 million addition that added a new press box area, and 1800 club seats.
This year Martin will be enclosed more, which should produce even more sound in a venue that Sports Illustrated ranked as one of the toughest places to play college football. It hasn’t been recently, as the Cougs have been down somewhat, but that is bound to change with the arrival of Mike Leech.
The next phase of the project, to begin after this season, is the build out of a football operations facility. Sound familiar? To complete the facility 2,000 seats will be temporarily removed for this project. However, eventually, additional and projected builds could see Martin Stadium’s attendance rise to 41,000.
When you get a chance, check out WSU’s logo. It’s officially my second favorite Pac-12 team logo as it relates to color scheme and overall design. The morphing of the Cougar into “WSU” is a smart design, and their silver and crimson colors stand out, which is exactly what you want to have happen in a logo.
As I wrap this up, 22-year old Wildcat track star Georganne Moline just qualified for the 400 meter hurdles, coasting to the finish line to qualify for the finals. I’m proud. Shamefully, though, I had never heard of Moline before seeing her in these Olympic Games. But now that I do know her: BEAR DOWN, Georganne!
Steve Buchanan is a regular contributor to WildcatSportsReport.com.