Thursday, July 17, 2014.
Tyler Aldridge is back home as the Albertsons Boise Open tees off today at Hillcrest Country Club. Aldridge, a former Boise State golfer who hails from Nampa, has been playing on PGA Tour Canada this season. He has made four cuts in five tries and has one top 25 finish, but he's earned only $3700. It's been a rollercoaster. The highlight of Aldridge's career was in 2009 when he played 17 events on the PGA Tour and 11 on the Web.com Tour. Combined that year he made more than $92,000. Aldridge experienced a downshift the following season—then he ramped up again in 2012 when he first went to Canada.
Aldridge won the 2002 PGA Junior Championship at the age of 17. But it was playoff loss at the Idaho Open three years later that gave him the confidence to give pro golf a serious shot. He earned his Nationwide Tour (now Web.com Tour) card in 2008, and his PGA Tour card in 2009 following an 11th-place finish at Q-School. He last played the Albertsons Boise Open in 2012, tying for 67th.
By my count, there are three former tournament champions entered in the Albertsons Boise Open. One is last year's winner, Kevin Tway, who has struggled on the PGA Tour this year with only $145,000 in earnings. The 2009 champ, Fran Quinn, and popular 2002 winner Jason Gore also tee it up. Also in the field is Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer, who returns to the scene of his much-celebrated professional debut five years ago. Saunders has had a solid season—he ranks 32nd on the Web.com Tour money list with almost $88,000 in earnings.
Graham DeLaet has hit the wall in his last three majors. Today he's playing in the one major in which he has made the cut—the British Open at Royal Liverpool. The Masters and the U.S. Open were not kind to the former Boise State star. He missed the cut badly in both and was a combined 18-over in those two tournaments. DeLaet also missed the weekend at last year's PGA Championship after finishing 83rd at the 2013 British Open. At least he'll be rested—he hasn't played since the Travelers Championship four weeks ago.
Last year it was all about quarterbacks going into the Mountain West football season. This year not so much. But Boise State's Grant Hedrick got a boost yesterday when he was one of 39 QBs—and four from the Mountain West—named to the watch list for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. Some may most remember Hedrick's end zone fumble against Oregon State in the Hawaii Bowl last December or his pick-six at San Diego State. But those two missteps mask some pretty good numbers. Playing primarily the second half of the season, Hedrick totaled 1,825 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. His 69.0 percent completion mark ranked fifth nationally in 2013, and his 150.0 pass efficiency rating ranked 23rd. Hedrick was also the Broncos' second-leading rusher with 277 net yards.
ESPN.com's Michael Rothstein started his preview of the 2014 Detroit Lions Monday, and he (no surprise) says Kellen Moore's future with the club will be decided during training camp. Just another year at the office for college football's winningest all-time quarterback. New coach Jim Caldwell has added former Missouri star James Franklin to the QB mix behind Matthew Stafford and Dan Orlovsky.
"The third spot, right now a competition between Moore and Franklin, could be one of the more underrated battles in camp," writes Rothstein. "Moore has more experience than Franklin, an undrafted rookie, but has yet to play in a regular-season game in his first two seasons in the league. Detroit won't keep both of them, but could definitely hold on to one. Franklin didn't take a single team snap during spring workouts but Caldwell said the majority of his action will come during camp and preseason games. If he handles that well, he could make the roster (or practice squad). If not and the Lions want a third quarterback, they'll stick with Moore or search for another arm."
The Boise Hawks were in a pickle in the seventh inning last night, about to see their three-game winning streak come to an end as they were trailing Spokane 4-1. That's when the Hawks started picking away, making it 4-3 on an RBI double by Jeffrey Baez and a run-scoring single by Rashad Crawford. Then there was the eighth. Spokane had a chance to get out of a jam when Jason Vosler hit a double-play ball. But the relay was wild, two runs scored, and the Hawks took the lead. Boise would plate four more in the inning and went on to win, 8-4. It was the Hawks' first victory of the season when trailing after seven innings, and it clinched their fifth consecutive series win (they've won the first three games against Spokane with two to go). In the Northwest League first-half pennant race, Boise trails Hillsboro by one game in the South Division with three remaining.
ESPN The Magazine's annual "body issue" is out, the one that includes prominent athletes without their clothes on (and vital areas mostly covered). And there you will find Hilary Knight, the Sun Valley resident who has played on the U.S. Women's ice hockey team in the past two Winter Olympics. Knight's photo isn't as provocative as some—you do get a glimpse of her six-pack abs. The accompanying text notes that Knight gained 15 pounds for the Olympics, but that she "still felt feminine at 185 pounds."
Sports Illustrated is on its annual summer break, bridging two weeks with its "Where Are They Now?" issue. One piece features former Idaho Vandal and Olympic decathlon champion Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson, the subjects of Reebok's "Dan & Dave" campaign leading into the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials. The only reason it didn't continue into the Barcelona Games as planned is O'Brien was shockingly eliminated in the Trials. The story details the friendship that developed between O'Brien and Johnson that lasts to this day. And O'Brien mentions his initial flame-out academically at Idaho. He got a second chance at UI, and his career as a world-class decathlete took off from there. O'Brien redeemed himself for that crushing failure in the 1992 Trials, of course, with the gold medal in Atlanta in 1996.
This Day In Sports…July 17, 2012:
Stephen Fife becomes only the third native Boisean to make the major leagues, and his debut is a dandy. Fife was called up for a spot start for the Los Angeles Dodgers opposite two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay and allowed just one run on four hits over six innings. Fife left the game with a 2-1 lead over Philadelphia—he took a no-decision when the Dodgers ended up with a 2-1 loss. Fife was a member of the 1999 South Central Boise team that made the Little League World Series and helped Borah High to the 2005 state championship.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB's Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB's telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)