A Grip on Sports: If you have the time today, it’s probably worth it to check out the A.L. West standings and the golf on TV

A Grip on Sports: If you have the time today, it’s probably worth it to check out the A.L. West standings and the golf on TV

A GRIP ON SPORTS • If we didn’t have prior plans, we would spend today glued to our TV set, watching the PGA Championship. Not just because we love sitting in the Laz-e-Boy, snacking on Skinny Pop and oohing and aahing at shots we could only dream about hitting. But because of the tournament’s leaderboard. And it’s moving day.


• Three players are already 10-under-par at a Valhalla course that may be tough to get to but, with the wet conditions in Kentucky, pretty easy to access with a wedge in hand. Not for us, certainly, even when were young, practiced incessantly and had a single-digit handicap – for about three weeks. But for these guys? The current crop of young, fearless – thanks, Tiger, for that legacy – and strong players? Sure.

Xander Schauffele, the San Diego kid who holds the hated title of “best player to never have won a major,” seeks to shed it after breaking the PGA record of -12 after two days. Colin Morikawa, who grew up on the I-5 corridor as well (in La Canada, Calif.), is trying for his third major title, shooting a 65 Friday and vaulting into second at -11. He’s a stroke ahead of Sahith Theegala (a big hitter, that Theegala, to paraphrase our hero, Carl Spackler), another Southern California standout who played his college golf at Pepperdine.

If those three 20-somethings products of the Golden State’s sunshine were way ahead, today would still be interesting. But there are four guys at -9, including jailbird Scottie Scheffler and LIV inmate Bryson DeChambeau, and three others at -8, most notably Viktor Hovland, who jumped up the board Friday with a 66.

Brooks Koepka, who owns three PGA titles already, Justin Thomas, the Louisville kid, Rory McIlroy and Tom Kim, the youngster who took a televised mud-bath during last year’s tournament, are also in the top 25.

No matter who has the best weekend – hey, even career Grand Slam-seeking Jordan Spieth is within shouting distance at -4 – the stories Monday morning should be worth reading.

• If you want to watch today you can on ESPN early this morning (with some trying to make the cut, as Friday’s round was delayed enough by the early morning fatal accident that some players were still on the course), then on CBS starting at 10 a.m. We will only catch parts, as we are in the L.A. Basin to celebrate our mother-in-law’s 90th birthday tonight at Dodger Stadium, which tells you everything you want to know about the family we married into more than 40 years ago.

• Despite being just 5-5 in their last 10 games, the Mariners have actually built a 1½-game lead in the American League West. But if the way they’ve played recently continues, it won’t last. Not the way Houston is playing.

The Astros have pulled with four games of the M’s with an MLB-best six-game winning streak. In the past couple weeks, Houston has jumped from last place into third in the West, leaving the Angels and A’s in their wake. Next in their sites? The defending World Champion Rangers. And then the Mariners.


WSU: If you were wondering which of the 10 turncoat Pac-12 schools were best positioned to thrive in their new homes, Jon Wilner has the answer for you. It’s Utah. In the Big 12. … Oregon’s baseball team defeated Washington State again Friday. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, we missed this recently, but Wilner see the NFL’s schedule creep as a huge threat to college football’s long-term financial stability. … It wasn’t all that long ago, as John Canzano points out, that a private equity firm offered the Pac-12 $1 billion – said with an Austin Powers’ accent – for a small stake in the conference. One has to wonder what would be the condition of the conference today if the CEOs had said yes. … OK, back to on-the-field stuff. Washington added a JC offensive lineman as it prepares to play in the deep trenches of the Big Ten. … Utah always seems to have another great defender ready to step in. … What? Colorado could have three NBA draft picks? And the Buffs didn’t win the conference? … Utah has changed its staff a bit. … So has USC, which has added a Washington tinge with a couple hires. … Only two of the Pac-12’s seven schools in the NCAA softball tournament lost Friday, Utah and California. Washington, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona all won. … Arizona State didn’t make the tournament and needs to improve before entering the Big 12. … The baseball regular-season title will be decided today in Tucson, as Oregon State blew out Arizona last night to set up today’s winner-take-all game.

Gonzaga: Emmanuel Innocenti signed his financial aid agreement with Gonzaga this past week. That locks him into the school, at least as much as anyone can be considered locked-in these days. Theo Lawson has the story on the Tarleton State forward who will play in Spokane next season. … There is an opening on the women’s basketball staff, though the main assistants are still on board.

EWU and Idaho: Around the Big Sky, Northern Colorado was overpowered by host Oklahoma State in the NCAA softball tournament. … Idaho State’s men added another player.

Preps: Mead’s relay team broke the school record in the 4×100 to highlight Friday’s District 8 3A meet at Central Valley. Greg Lee was there and has this story on the big-school track district meets. … Dave Nichols has a roundup of Friday’s other district events.

Indians: Dave was also out at Avista last night, where Spokane dropped another game to visiting Vancouver, this one 7-3. The Indians are still in first place but the overall Northwest League standings are getting tighter. … Elsewhere in the NWL, Eugene defeated host Everett 5-3 and Tri-City got past visiting Hillsboro 4-3.

Mariners: We knew this would be a tough road trip. It had a rough start, as Bryce Miller got roughed up by Baltimore early on in a 9-2 defeat at Camden Yards. … As we said yesterday, Andres Munoz pitches angry. And that’s good. … Cal Raleigh is considered baseball’s best at framing pitches, though what catchers do these days wasn’t considered framing to our generation of catchers (and still isn’t). But because the current practice is to catch the ball as close to the hitter and then pull it back into the strike zone as quickly as possible, it comes with a risk of injury. … The bullpen should add help soon. … Julio Rodriguez climbed the fence again to take away a home run.

Seahawks: Seattle opens OTAs this weekend. It’s another chance to see how different the Hawks work under coach Mike Macdonald.

Storm: Seattle rallied but lost to Minnesota in double overtime. Would the score have been different if the league office had gotten its act together and had the promised charter flights available? We will never know.

Sounders: Leo Chu is out for 3-to-4 weeks with an injury.

Golf: All the eyes may have been elsewhere, especially in the morning, but Schauffele finished the day where he started, atop the leaderboard. … Scheffler’s arrest and subsequent 66 was big news, even in non-golf circles.

Preakness: The second leg of the Triple Crown goes off today at about 4 p.m. PDT. Will Mystik Dan win again? If not, then who? A Bob Baffert horse?


• There will be a bunch of family gathered in a Dodger Stadium suite tonight to wish Kay a happy 90th. We will say this about our mother-in-law. She is the best. Not just the antithesis of the Hollywood mother-in-law, but just a great mom and grandmother and, in the past couple years, a great-grandmother. She grew up in the L.A. area as the daughter of a single mom, met Kim’s dad when he was a Marine and married in the early 1950s. Fred left us more than a decade ago – damn cancer – and Kay has lived by herself ever since. Her favorite way to spend her evenings during spring, summer and fall? Watching the Dodgers play. (If it isn’t playing mahjong.) Which makes tonight the perfect gift. Until later …

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