Inside Sports for Sunday – February 19, 2006

OK, let’s all do this together. I’ll lead you in a golf clap session for the return of the PGA Grand Slam to Kaua’i for one more year.

Oh heck, never mind the humble intentions. I’ll just do a couple of fist pumps to go along with an Arsenio Hall “woof” cry, and why not throw in a Tom Cruise Oprah couch jump?

OK, I think that’s enough for now, but when November comes around, it’ll get even better.

After hearing the great news on Friday that the Slam would be played at the Po’ipu Bay Golf Course again, it was pure bliss.

I mean, if you don’t get excited for this, then you’re as bad as Kapa’a traffic.

It’s the only professional sporting event held on the island and it’s not a small deal.

Kaua’i gets a treat once a year to see some of the best athletes in the world competing in our own backyard.

After the completion of last year’s Slam, it was uncertain whether the PGA would come back for another installment of the made-for-TV event.

It was rumored that the Caribbean, Las Vegas, and even the southern part of the U.S. were seriously interested in hosting the Slam.

I thought Vegas was going to steal the Slam away, with its glamor and glitz appeal.

However, Kaua’i received an early Christmas present by getting to host the Grand Slam for the 13th consecutive year.

Before working for The Garden Island, I never attended a PGA Grand Slam, but I’ve gone the past two years and as long as I’m on the island and the event keeps coming back, I’ll never miss it.

The Thanksgiving holiday without the Grand Slam preceding it could be compared to the turkey day without the bird.

We’re used to crowding the south side of the island in late November, just to get a glimpse of Tiger Woods and company.

But even if Woods isn’t present, it’s still a great spectacle, just because it’s our only chance to see professional golfers live and in person on the island.

Myles Shibata, chief operating officer of Kawailoa Development, the owner of the Po’ipu Bay Golf Course and Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa, deserves a host of pats on his back for his tireless efforts to bring the Slam back to where it truly belongs.

And I mean it when I say it belongs here, because there’s really no better setting for the event.

Even Tiger Woods, who basically owns the Slam, wants it to stay here. Asked what he felt if it moved elsewhere, he responded by saying that, “I don’t see any reason why they should move (the event) because it is such a wonderful place.”

I’m also happy for our junior golfers, who will get another chance to see and meet their idols.

For some of them, it’s a once- in-a-lifetime chance to see Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, and more.

And for the youths, it’s worth a million bucks to just watch the pros, let alone interact with them throughout the threeday event.

It’s certainly great news for the entire island. I don’t care if you don’t like golf, it still affects you in one way or another.

Let’s just say we’re lucky, but since the PGA chose us over Vegas, we get the chance to roll the dice this time.

OK, now I’ll start my golf clapping. Feel free to join in!

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