Sports Lounge.eps

Editor's note: The number of majors won by Tiger Woods has been updated to reflect 15 wins.

I watched way more of the U.S. Open golf tournament this past weekend than I would like to admit. But when the opportunity to watch any sport at its highest level presents itself, I find it hard to pull myself away from it.

My first take away from the event was, to quote a former PGA Tour commercial, these guys are good. Big shot after big shot, huge putt after huge putt, touring pros make the game look so much easier than it really is.

My second thought is much more complex because the game has certainly changed since Tiger Woods was in his heyday, staring down major championships while the rest of the field wilted in his presence.

Woods, once again, spent the four-day weekend grinding his way through his rounds, never quite making a move. More importantly, the rest of the field no longer simply acquiesces to the 15-time major winner because most of the young guns on tour now grew up watching Tiger and are not in awe of him.

The new-generation pros are as long off the tee — if not longer — than the previous generation, but what separates them from their predecessors is the fact that they are a lot more aggressive. Gary Woodland put the punctuation mark on his first major championship when he poured in a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to shoot four rounds in the 60s and finish at 13-under for the tournament and hold off Brooks Koepka, who came in as the two-time defending champ. Xander Schauffele finished third at the U.S. Open, has a second-place finish in The Masters this year, along with a top-20 finish in the PGA Championship. There are a dozen or so other players who are no longer content to simply lay up and take the safe route to the green. They are willing to gamble, to hit shots most previous pros would not even consider trying.

So you had players turning wayward tee shots into incredible scramble saves at Pebble Beach. Holing out from bunkers was almost the rule rather than the exception and, instead of simply lagging long putts up to the cup, these guys were looking to bury them from anywhere on the green.

While there is still a lot of attention on Tiger Woods, the future of the sport looks to be in good hands because these guys are really good.

***

Burlingame Intermediate Disc, the Ultimate Frisbee club from Burlingame Intermediate School coached by Daniel Haas and Dennis Clement, captured the Division I title during the 10th annual middle school state championship in Sacramento last month, besting nine other teams. BID outscored its opponents by a combined score of 43-7.

Like the Central Coast Section baseball and softball tournaments, the state Ultimate championships were affected by the late spring rains. Unlike those high school playoffs, however, the middle schoolers didn’t let the wet weather keep them off the field.

The tournament is sponsored by Bay Area Disc and Sacramento Ultimate Players Association, using official USA Ultimate rules, which featured 7-on-7 and games played to 11 points. BID came into the tournament as the No. 1 seed and lived up to the billing, cruising through a pair of pool-play games, posting two, 11-0 wins over KORE-El Cerrito and Marin Cougars-Corte Madera to move into the championship bracket.

BID surrendered its first points in its semifinal match against JR Meat X-Alameda, but easily moved into the championship match with a 10-3 victory.

In the title game, BID completed its dominance by beating Air Traffic Control-Oakland, 11-4.

***

And so it begins.

The start of the Little League All-Star season kicks off this week with the District 52 majors and minors Superbowls, along with the championship game of the Junior Division all-star tournament.

The main District 52 all-star tournaments begin this weekend.

The majors Superbowl and the Junior Division championship games are at 5:30 p.m. at Sea Cloud Park in Foster City. Half Moon Bay has already punched its ticket to the Juniors title game out of the winner’s bracket and will face the winner of Monday’s game between Menlo-Atherton and San Carlos.

The 9-10 all-star tournament is hosted by Redwood City Little League at Kiwanis and Mitchell fields at Red Morton Park.

The 10-11 all-star tournament is hosted by Alpine Little League in Menlo Park, with games played at Burgess and Ford fields in Menlo Park and Portola Valley, respectively.

The 11-12, or Majors, tournament is hosted by Palo Alto Little League, with games at Middlefield Park. This is the division that sends teams to the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

These tournaments all begin Saturday and will conclude July 3. To see the brackets for each tournament and for other information, you can go to the District 52 website at cadistrict52ll.org.

Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: nathan@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117.

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