Morikawa’s putts, A’s punches: not a bad weekend

© Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Art Spander

SAN FRANCISCO — Not a bad weekend for the old bay. On one, side Collin Morikawa was sinking putts. On the other, members of the A’s and Astros threatened to sink a few punches.

A major golf championship and a major league ballgame. Nobody in attendance at either location, although at Harding Park in the city, Steph Curry made it somehow. The guy does know the right people.

And how to make 3-pointers.

But who’s complaining? Nobody from the PGA of America, after a tournament in which fine young golfers and a fine old course were on display.

Twenty-five miles east, in a very old ballpark that in no way could be described as fine, the A’s were winning a ninth straight.

It had been a difficult few months for sports, and with the Pac-12 and Big 10 apparently delaying their football seasons until spring (which we know is baseball season), the difficulty will continue.

Thus we celebrate what is possible.

That would be the way Morikawa, a Cal grad in business, played down the stretch and the way Harding Park, an unpretentious public course now nearly a century old, held up against the likes of Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and, until the closing holes, Morikawa.

Every community finds pride in its sports facilities, ballparks, stadiums — excluding Oakland, perhaps — but the true way to judge a course is from the quality of those who have won there. Or lost there.

Down the coast, Pebble Beach has helped provide U.S. Open winners, Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Across the boulevard from Harding is Olympic Club, where the great Ben Hogan fell victim in the 1955 U.S. Open and 11 years later Arnold Palmer failed to hold a seven-stroke lead with nine holes to play and eventually was beaten by Billy Casper in a playoff.

Harding Park’s value, after reconstruction, was verified in the 2005 American Express tournament when Tiger beat John Daly in a playoff. Now here’s the triumph by Morikawa, who at 23 and already with a major appears en route to fame.

Not that he isn’t already famous. Unquestionably, he’s destined to be linked to Harding.

That Seth Waugh, the PGA’s chief executive, had high praise for Morikawa and Harding isn’t surprising. Everybody loves a winner. And you never hear golf officials berate a course on which their organization has held a tournament, major or minor.

That’s not the way business is done in golf, as opposed to baseball, football and basketball. The PGA would be happy to return to Harding. The A’s would be happy never to return to the Oakland Coliseum.

Yet without spectators for any sport in America, other than some NASCAR racing, maybe for the moment that is incidental.

For the A’s, what’s important is to keep winning. That idea works beautifully in any sport. The PGA Championship was every bit the spectacle that was anticipated.

We could watch, on television. We couldn’t cheer. As at all the other events, that is the norm.

Now and then, you would hear a yell or applause at Harding from a worker who understandably was carried away by a shot. For the most part, it was the unnerving silence to which we we have grown accustomed.

When the historic San Francisco City Championship is held at Harding each winter, sometimes people driving along Lake Merced Boulevard, near the 11th, 12th and 13th holes, honk as a player tees off.

It's as much an attempt to draw attention as to harass the golfers, like booing when in baseball a man comes to the plate.

The blast of a horn would have been okay at the PGA, if only to let the golfers know what everyone else knew: The PGA and Collin Morikawa gave us a lift. Not a bad weekend by the bay.

Comments

Golf

FEATURED
COMMUNITY