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For What It's Worth: PGA finish, Royals Rising & the NBC Finale

By Bruce Haertl, bhaertl@kwch.com
Published On: Aug 11 2014 05:39:24 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 11 2014 05:40:42 AM CDT
Bruce Haertl: For What It's Worth...
WICHITA, Kan. -

Ricky Fowler finished fifth, second, second and third in this season’s four major golf tournaments, completing one of the greatest forgettable seasons of all time.

Three in a row---

Not only is Rory McIlroy the fourth fastest of all time to win all four of the majors, he’s also won three straight tourneys of which two have been majors. Phil Mickelson made a nice run in Louisville yesterday, but McIlroy is starting to build something akin to invincibility—or at least unshakability. His calm at such a young age can already be mistaken for maturity, which, after four major wins you’re bound to have. Rory knows how to win them now; he’s bound to win a bunch more.

As for Fowler, at the age of 25, he emerges as the young American most likely to challenge McIlroy. He wears garish colors, straight-billed hats and sports the hint of a moustache he still may not be able to grow. His game is solid and his nerve is steely, but so far he hasn’t had enough of either to beat McIlroy—compete with him? Yes. Beat him? No.

Fowler, who played down the turnpike at Oklahoma State, was very gracious in his remarks afterwards, but, for the first time, he admitted that coming up just short really stung him. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a motivator that will be for him before next season.

Seven in a row---

Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop, or do you firmly believe? The Royals are a half game back of the division lead and a game and a half up in the wildcard after a seven game win streak has them to a season best ten games over .500.

The Royals have lost just once since the trade deadline which they passed by with nary a flutter, inactivity that was blasted by most, including me, but that, so far, has worked out famously. General Manager Dayton Moore said at the time that guys already in the lineup simply had to start producing better and, what do know-- it’s happening.

KC stole a major league high seven bases in Sunday’s win over the Giants, Alex Gordon has now homered in three of his last four games. Billy Butler, who many Royal’s fans were ready to boot, has re-booted his season and how about giving manager Ned Yost a break while you’re at it? His ‘stay patient and positive’ wore thin on a lot of fans, but over the last couple of seasons the Royals have won twenty more than they’ve lost. No, it hasn’t yet netted a playoff, but you can’t deny the progress and Yost deserves some of the credit.

I know, there’s a long month and a half of the season left and the A’s come in with the game’s best record for four big games this week it’s still easy to be fatalistic when it comes to KC. But the Royals have changed the narrative, they’re no longer a fringe team for the wild card---they’re bearing down on a division and you can bet that the Detroit Tigers have taken notice.

NBC Championship---

Don’t the Santa Barbara, CA Foresters and Seattle Studs play in every NBC final? It certainly seems so. The Californians, with only one returning player from a year ago, won their fifth title in nine years to end a tournament that was resurgent for the NBC.

Tournament Director Kevin Jenks is deserving of a lot of the credit as his unshakable enthusiasm, ‘can-do’ attitude and his ability to listen were lauded by participating coaches all tourney long. There are still challenges; even is winning the NBC, Santa Barbara still lost money coming to Wichita---that’s an issue. Of course, wanting to increase incentives is different that finding the funding to do so, but Jenks again has the arrow pointed up at the NBC and that’s great—because 80 years of tradition has to be cultivated.

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