TULSA, Okla. - If the PGA Championship really wants to be included in the same breath as the other three major golf tournaments, I have two suggestions.
1) Never come back to Southern Hills in Tulsa.
2) Ask CBS to start showing a little more golf between commercials.
I have nothing against Tulsa. In fact, I really like Tulsa. Most people I've met here say they love it, and that doesn't include the people who get paid to say they love it.
One guy, a college student in his 20s, said he plans to retire here. Imagine that, knowing where you want to retire while you're in your 20s.
The Arkansas River runs through here, and there's a beautiful park that parallels it, following the contours of the river. People jog and ride bicycles through the park, past beautiful sculptures here and there.
My hometown, Jacksonville, Fla., doesn't like parks because developers can't make money off them, and city officials wouldn't know a sculpture from a scupper.
It's very green here, ringed by the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It's the birthplace of Route 66 and the home of Western swing.
It's said Tulsa is the cradle of culture and art of Oklahoma, which I assume is a compliment. You can drive a few minutes outside the city and see real cowboys and Indians, not the fake kind you see in Dallas It's like you're in the middle of "Lonesome Dove."
Tulsa is a good-sized city, with about 900,000 people in the whole metro area, but you rarely get the feeling of strangling congestion. There's plenty to do here, and plenty of room to do nothing, if you prefer.
But, Tulsa has one big drawback: Every year around this time, August inevitably shows up, bringing with it the sort of heat that would melt a monkey.
The heat has been all the talk here at the 89th PGA Championship, and with good reason. It descends on the city like a plague of locusts, devouring everything in its path.
The soft body of the golf fan was not meant to endure temperatures in the triple digits and heat indexes of 110 or more. I guess that's what the forecasters mean when they issue "excessive heat warnings." What they really mean is "Jesus Christ, it's hot. You got to be crazy to be out in heat like this."
Walk around the tournament and you see people staggering around like refugees from a great war. The most coveted viewing positions here don't involve seeing the players - they're based solely on shade. A good, shady spot here is prime real estate, and sometimes fought over.
The local paper has been running the number of emergency calls for fans with "heat-related illness." I've lost track of the count, maybe because I'm so damn hot.
"I feel like a lizard baking on a rock," said Wilma Lane, who, in her 60s, is a little too advanced in years to be jostling for shade. "We're too old for this. I guess we'll just watch it on TV."
The pros haven't complained much, but that's probably because they're trying to uphold the renowned, macho image of golfers. Some of them have, though.
"You constantly have to clean the sweat off your arms and hands and 15 seconds later, you're sweating again and it makes things tough," Sergio Garcia said.
So, the PGA of America has a couple of choices: Either get rid of August and move straight into September, or move the tournament somewhere cooler.
Again, I have a couple of suggestions on where to play this tournament:
2) Nome, Alaska.
As for CBS and its commercial-choked coverage, I don't really have any suggestions, other than to come up with a different economic system for the country.
The Masters does it, though, with its insistence on limited-interruption coverage. Then again, they're thinking clearly because it's April and the azaleas are blooming.
August 12, 2007
Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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