Bohls: Austin poised to make up its mind on the fate of soccer — finally


While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:

1. So we are assuming — or praying — that the City council will vote for or against soccer for Austin. Resolution, please. I don’t deny that other use of the 24-acre McKalla Place might generate substantial more money for the city, but why hasn’t it already? The land has sat empty for almost 24 years and brought in no money. On the contrary, Austin bought the land in 1995 for $1.4 million and spent almost $5 million to clean up the toxicity of the property. If the council votes against Precourt Sports Ventures at Wednesday’s meeting, it is incumbent upon it to maximize the property for lost revenue inside a year. Develop it quickly. Or give north Austin its own parkland. Or all this fuss was over nothing. I favor the Columbus Crew coming to Austin so that Ohio town can focus on Save the Urban. It could well be Austin’s last chance to land a top-level professional sports franchise.

2. The winner of the second annual Dan Jenkins Medal for Excellence in Sportswriting is the inestimable Dave Kindred, who is so well-respected in his field that he has his own parking spot at Augusta National. Kindred, who has written 11 books and columns for three newspapers, will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at an Austin banquet on Sept. 21 to be emceed by NBC Sports’ Mary Carillo. Senior Sports Illustrated writer Chris Ballard was chosen by a panel of 13 journalists, including this typist, as the winner of Best Sportswriting of 2017 for his searing profile of Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams and the tragic death of his wife. Hankies are a must when you read it. Both have long been two of my absolute favorite writers. Dr. Michael Butterworth, director of the Center for Sports Communication & Media, calls Kindred “a standard-bearer for sportswriting for nearly half a century.” He said Ballard’s piece “beautifully captures the humanity of sports and its ability to forge relationships.”

3. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, when asked whom he studied this offseason, said he watched a lot of tape on Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Derek Carr. “I admire Drew Brees’ accuracy and Brett Favre’s ability to win,” Ehlinger said. “Derek Carr has a very similar build like mine. I do like the way he stands in the pocket and delivers the ball.”

4. Like many of you, I was transfixed by the mesmerizing play of Tiger Woods, but I was just as impressed with his comments about his two kids when he said, ”I don’t want to talk to them about (golf) this week. They’re not really interested in it because they’re interested in starting school, and they’re nervous about starting school. So that takes far more precedence than me playing a major.” … Champion Brooks Koepka referred to Woods as the greatest golfer ever, but someone should remind him that title belongs to Jack Nicklaus until Tiger passes his 18 major titles. Remember, Nicklaus had 19 runner-up finishes in majors to Woods’ seven. Oh, and Jack came back on the final day to win eight of his majors, and Tiger’s yet to do it.

5. Ben Kern told me Tiger didn’t ask for any driving tips last weekend at the PGA Championship, but he should have. Kern, a 34-year-old pro at Georgetown Country Club, hit 45 of 56 fairways to rank second in the field. That went a long way toward Kern becoming the only club pro of the 20 entrants to make the cut — just the third in the last seven PGAs — and finishing tied for 43rd. “As good as he hits the ball, I was not surprised,” his boss, general manager Patrick Buhrmann said. “He’s a humble guy, but very confident in his abilities.” Kern, a former golfer at Kansas State, was driving home from St. Louis on Tuesday instead of flying back on a private jet. “Maybe if I got Koepka’s check,” Kern joked. “It was some of the best ball-striking I’ve ever had.” So certainly his rates for lessons are going up. Buhrmann said no, but the golf shop has fielded four or five calls about membership and lessons, “and one guy wanted to buy the hat Ben was wearing.” Well done, Ben.

5. Turned in my ballot for the preseason Associated Press college football poll, which will be released Monday. I won’t reveal my No. 1 until then, but I do have five Big 12 teams in my Top 25. … Best name in college football this year? It has to be LSU cornerback Greedy Williams, who had six interceptions last year. … Coolest summer job by football players had to be that of Minnesota defensive ends Jerry Gibson and Winston DeLattiboudere. They worked at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory as security guards and got to feed the giraffe. … I’m not a fan of Landshark Tony, the new mascot for Ole Miss. I prefer my mascots more snuggly than scary for little kids.

6. If you’re gearing up for your fantasy draft, I think everyone’s rookie favorite in Saquon Barkley. That said, his quarterback, Eli Manning, may be close to being done after two really bad seasons. The Giants’ offense scored just 28 touchdowns in 16 games last year. And Barkley just tweaked a hammy. I love Sony Michel, but that Patriots backfield caucus scares me.

7. About halfway through Verne Lundquist’s entertaining new book, “Play by Play.” I learned he struck out 14 times in a row playing youth baseball and was cheerleader his senior year in high school. His mother still calls him by his given name, LaVerne, but the world and Bowling for Dollars enthusiasts know him by Verne since station manager Bob Gifford at WOC in Davenport, Iowa, refused to let him on the air with that gender-confusing name.

8. Love summer football magazines. Street & Smith projects Texas in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon. … Great to have back Bryce Love for another season, but it’s amazing to think that with his 3,127 yards, he’s still almost 4,000 career yards behind NCAA rushing king Ron Dayne’s 7,125. Is that an unbreakable record? … I had a nice conversation with Barry Switzer recently about Baker Mayfield, and the Sooners legend told me he spoke to a Frank Broyles Award luncheon in Fayetteville recently and told the audience, “I know no Arkansas policeman would ever run down one of my quarterbacks.”

9. “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” may have been the best of this series. Don’t go to the bathroom during the helicopter scene or the hellacious restroom fight. Gave it 8 ducks.

10. Crazy prediction: The NFL rookie quarterback who will make the most starts this year is the Jets’ Sam Darnold.



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