2015 US Open at Chambers Bay – Enough to Bring PGA to Northwest?

2015 US Open

We are less than two months from the US Open being played at the picturesque Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington.

What I can only hope is that the pro golfers who come here will like the course and endorse it to bring a regular tournament to the Seattle area.

With all of the great courses that we have here in the Seattle area, I cannot believe the PGA doesn’t have a stop here.  And the last time the LGPA played here was in 1999 at Kent Meridian Golf Club in Kent, home of the Safeco Classic from 1982 to 1999.

While the US Open is definitely a feather in Seattle’s cap, it needs to be one of the best US Open’s ever played.  By doing so, sponsorship will be easier to come by and if enough money is made, it will be an easy choice for the PGA to add a stop here.

But the biggest challenge will be the golfers themselves.  If they find the course challenging and enjoyable to play, that would go a long way to getting a yearly stop.  Chambers Bay needs to find that fine balance between challenging play and good scoring.  Pro golfers don’t want to win a tournament by shooting only a few strokes under par.

If this year’s winner can shoot 10 under or better, then there is a chance we can get a regular stop here within 5 to 7 years.

I’ve played Chambers Bay only once.  I’d play it again but the greens fees are a little bit out of my price range.  And they have only gotten higher with the distinction of the US Open being played there.  Can’t say that I shot particularly well but then again, I also was a different golfer back then.

There has been some greed that has reared it’s ugly head around this tournament.  Once example is a woman who has rented a 5-bedroom home near the course for $2,000 a month for the past eight years, received an eviction notice to leave the premises by 5 o’clock April 30th.  This renter has done nothing wrong, kept the house in good shape and paid her rent on tie every month.

Why the eviction?  Simple greed.  The owner of the home has offered the place online for the week of the tournament for $38,500.  That’s $14,500 more than what would be made for an entire year!

Here is a link to a story if you wish to read more:  Renter Evicted for 2015 PGA US Open

Look, I don’t mind a person cashing in to make some money.  But something could have been worked out.  Like telling the renter they need to vacate the premises for the week…and once the tournament is over, they can come back.

The owner of the property sees a chance to cash in…and I suspect the owner will double the rent after the tournament if a pro happens to stay there.  Imagine if Jordan Speith  rented the place?

But with new opportunities comes changes.  I think more good than bad will benefit the Northwest.  Big money is coming in to be spent and the immediate area will cash in on it.

I just hope this US Open will show the PGA and the rest of the world that it’s time the Northwest have a regular tournament here.

Seattle Mariner Fans – Relax Will Ya? It’s Just The First Week!

No Need To Panic Yet...Mariners are just getting warmed up!
No need to panic yet…Mariners are just getting warmed up!

After Felix Hernandez’s opening day gem, the Seattle Mariners went on to lose three straight games.

Reading articles and posts of fans who respond to them, as well as listening fans who call in or test to sports radio shows, I get the sense that this city is having a panic attack.

I suppose some of that can be attributed to all the hype that has been heaped upon the Mariners with many folks predicting they will go to the World Series.  Even I made the bold prediction they will win 93 games.  I still stand by the prediction and I am not going to change it after only seeing them play five games.

This is baseball.  This game has highs and lows that are going to occur during the course of a 162 game season.  Granted, it would have been nice to have the Detroit Tigers or Kansas City Royals 5-0 start.  But last time I checked, no major league baseball team has gone undefeated.

This Seattle Mariner team is going to be in the thick of it.  And let’s all remember they need to do well enough to make the playoffs, where every team, regardless of what they did during the regular season, start the playoffs with an 0-0 record.

Mariners are stacked with a good, solid pitching rotation, anchored by Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez and two veteran pitchers in J.A. Happ and Hisashi Iwakuma.  Also in the mix are two young rising starts in Taijuan Walker and James Paxton.

The bullpen, one of the best in baseball last year, is back with essentially the same staff of Danny Farquhar, Charlie Furbush, Yoervis Medina and closer Fernando Rodney.  New additions Carson Smith and Tyler Olsen will only make them stronger.

The line-up is stronger despite what folks think of the first five games.  Gone is Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak, Nick Franklin and Kendrys Morales all who were supposed to bring the pop the Mariners have been so desperately seeking.

Mariner front office made the commitment last year to Robinson Cano and that signing told Mariner fans they wanted to build a winner.  GM Jack Zduriencik, who had been under fire, had to breathe a lot easier when the team won 87 games last year.

This year, they deepened their commitment and started to build around Cano.  The signed budding superstar third baseman Kyle Seager to a long-term contract and brought it last year’s home run leader Nelson Cruz from the Baltimore Oriels.

The rest of the team is pretty solid with Dustin Ackley and Logan Morrison.  They are still a little weak in right field with the platoon of Justin Ruggiano and Seth Smith.  And I am still not convinced that Austin Jackson is the true lead-off hitter they need.  He’s more of a number two guy but as of right now, Mariners don’t have a solid lead-off guy they can depend on so Jackson is it.

The point of all this?  This town cannot expect the same type of energy each and every game as they do for Seahawk games.  If they do, then the Mariners will be done before June.

What we can do is keep supporting them and understand that it’s a long season and anything can happen.  And I suspect there is some magic in this team that will surprise all of us.

Keep the faith and relax…The Mariners are going to be just fine.

Beer Thinker Prediction – Seattle Mariners Win 93 Games

Seattle Baseball

On Monday, the Seattle Mariners open their 2015 season against the Los Angles Angels of Anaheim.  It’s really the first time in many years that I am officially excited to see how this team does.

Last year, with expectations low, a new manager and one very high-profile free agent signing of Robinson Cano, many predictions were the Mariners would finish no better than .500 with yet another season of no playoff hopes.

Manager Lloyd McClendon, newly hired from the Detroit Tigers staff, had other thoughts.  I’m pretty sure he endeared himself to Mariner fans when he stood up for Robinson Cano when a Yankee official commented on Cano’s hustle.  “What’s he doing talking about my player?” has to go down as the best response to the uncalled criticism.  It was almost Piniella-esque!

With the guidance of McClendon and the leadership of Cano, the Mariners came within one win of getting into the playoffs.  Felix Hernandez had a record setting year and Kyle Seager proved himself to be one of the best all-around third baseman in the league with some great defense and clutch hitting.

You have to think the Mariners are going to do better this year.   They finally have an official big-bopper in the #4 spot in Nelson Cruz and the line-up is pretty much set.  I have concerns over the lead-off spot as well as getting offense from the shortstop position.  Defensively, the Mariners are going to be one of the better defensive teams in the majors.

I was listening to the Danny, Dave and Moore show on ESPN’s 710 Sports in Seattle on the way home from work.  They were doing a segment on bold predictions for the Mariners.  It got me to thinking just how many games the Mariners will win this year.

Jim Moore’s prediction is they will win 100 games this year.  Personally I think that’s a bit far-fetched but you got to admire Moore’s spunk.

Mariners went 87-75 last season and were in the playoff hunt until the last day of the season.  With the pitching they have and a much more dependable lineup, I think the Mariners will go 93-69.

As for other predictions, such as the number of home runs Cruz will hit or if Felix will win 20 games, I don’t really want to go there.

What I want to see is that the Mariners play good, solid baseball, score more runs than the other team and get into the playoffs.

If Nelson Cruz hits only 20 home runs but gets 120 RBI’s, I’m fine with that.  In fact, if Cruz, Cano, Seager and Mike Zunino all get 20 home runs each and drive in at least 80 runs each, I’d be more than happy with that production.  And it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that could occur.

I believe this team is going to be special this year.  With 3 bona-fide superstars in Cano, Cruz and Felix along with some superstars in the making such as Seager, Zunino, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, the Mariners have few weak spots.  Add to that players in supporting roles in Dustin Ackley, Austin Jackson and Danny Farquhar only makes them a solid and deeply talented team.

They still need to play the games and with McClendon, he won’t allow them to get to full of themselves nor let them wallow when things aren’t going well.

93-69 has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Go Mariners!