UH hosting conference championships; reflecting on Tiger’s Masters win

  • Nick Celario

University of Hawaii’s men’s golf team will make an unusual third appearance on Kauai this season.

After hosting the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational in October on Kauai’s North Shore and then hosting the John A. Burns Intercollegiate at the Wailua Golf Course in February, UH will return to Wailua to host the Big West conference championships. The two-day tournament begins April 29.

“Nine schools in the Big West, and everybody’s in,” said Hawaii men’s golf head coach Ronn Miyashiro in February during the Burns Intercollegiate in Wailua. “Everybody plays, and whoever wins goes to the NCAA Championships.”

He added: “The schools are on rotation. Every school hosts, and it just so happens this is our year. When we looked at our opportunities to host on Oahu, and there weren’t too many for us. So, we went to the next best thing. We got a really good event on a very, very good golf course here on Kauai during the regular season. It made sense for us to try and see if we can come back here.”

And though it’s uncertain, UH senior and Kapaa High School alumnus Bryden Salvador could possibly play once more on his home course before his collegiate career ends. But Miyashiro said he’d have to earn that spot.

“He gets a chance to try. The difference is that in the Big West Championships, only five guys play,” Miyashiro said. “So, he’s going to have to put in the work to get in that lineup for that week, and see if he can finish his career basically on his home track.”

So, here’s hoping that Salvador does earn that spot and competes on his home island one last time.

FYI in case you didn’t see, UH is seeking volunteers to help with the tournament. If you’re interested, contact Stephen Bidne at bidne@hawaii.edu.

Staying on the subject of golf, everybody this week has been talking about this Tiger Woods guy. Heard of him?

It seemed every golf expert and fan, including Woods himself, wrote him off believing he would never return to what he once was — the most dominant player in golf and one of, if not the most, polarizing figures in sports.

He’s scratched and clawed his way back, and Woods is once again atop the mountain after winning the Masters last weekend in Augusta, Ga.

After a horrendous fall from grace when news broke of his adultery, after years of dealing with injuries and surgeries, and after years of playing uncompetitive golf — sometimes embarrassing golf by his standards — he’s once again the darling golf.

Everywhere you read, watched and listened, everyone lauded Woods’ comeback — even in outlets not necessarily related to golf or even sports.

Joe Rogan, comedian and UFC commentator, talked about Woods in his podcast.

I saw that brief video on YouTube of his podcast show talking about Woods. He said something along the lines of, loving a success story, but even more, loving a guy who messes up his life and gets it back together.

I couldn’t agree more.

I feel the most powerful moment of Woods’ victory in Augusta, more so than his celebration on the 18th after clinching his fifth Masters championship and 15th major championship, is the image of him embracing his son in similar fashion to when Woods’ celebrated with his father when he won the Masters his first time.

It was truly one of those “pictures are worth 1,000 words” kind of things.

Whether he’s truly back to the old Tiger remains to be seen.

Whether he will break the record for most majors won — 18 by Jack Nicklaus — too, remains to be seen. But I’m sure a lot of people will now relentlessly talk about that possibility now until Woods plays his last hole.

But there are some stories that transcend sports. Tiger’s win at the Masters is undoubtedly one of the most memorable stories of 2019.

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Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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