St. John’s University has always been known for its baseball and basketball programs, but I would bet most of it students and alumni were unaware it had a golf team. That’s quickly changed after Keegan Bradley’s PGA Championship victory at the Atlanta Athletic Club last Sunday. Bradley, who grew up in Vermont and could have been a professional skier, was a member of SJU’s Class of 2008.
Bradley was an unknown on the PGA Tour until last Sunday, and his victory could not have come at a better time for the association. Its next big tournament, The Barclays, is the only time you can see the world’s best golfers in the New York metro area, and it begins next Thursday. Tiger Woods did not qualify, and his absence always means less interest. Bradley should help bring out some folks who normally wouldn’t attend a golf tourney.
The PGA Senior Tour, now the Champions Tour, makes its lone area appearance starting today, Aug. 18, at the Westchester Country Club for the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship. Among the familiar names competing are Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara and Craig Stadler.
The U.S. Open gets underway at Flushing Meadows National Tennis Center on Aug. 29 but a number of excellent tennis players will be competing there next week for the handful of wild card slots. This is arguably the best value in sports because it’s free to watch these talented players compete for their chance to be tennis’s answer to Keegan Bradley.
Mets utility player Mike Baxter has gotten a lot of local press because he was born in Whitestone and graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School. What isn’t well known, however, is that he had a chance to be a college hero here. “I spent my freshman year at Columbia but I transferred after to Vanderbilt. It was a baseball decision. My parents, though, were not happy at the time,” Baxter told me with a smile the day he was brought up to the Mets from the Buffalo Bisons.
As per tradition, the Mets have endured another year of injuries that kept key players either off the field for long periods or not playing their best due to pain. But there’s finally good news on the health front. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey says his plantar fasciitis has dissipated. For months Dickey had a hard time putting pressure on his right heel.
David Wright was forced to play shortstop a couple weeks ago when Jose Reyes’ hamstring acted up again. He did not make an error. When I saw him last week I said to him, “Hey shortstop, you did not embarrass yourself out there!” “Not like when I play third base!” Wright replied with a hearty laugh.
New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries has gotten far more attention for being the fiancee of Kim Kardashian than for anything he’s accomplished in his NBA career. The couple is getting married on Saturday, and you can bet the event will rival William and Kate as a media circus. Kris won’t have to worry about the NBA lockout as he’ll be earning big bucks as a reality star on cable’s E!, the network that handles all things Kardashian.