Gene Frenette's sports smorgasbord: potential new home for golf HOF, Jaguars draft, UF chasing big recruit
When PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was non-committal in his public address at The Players Championship to keeping the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine beyond 2023, it sent an unmistakable message that its days there could be numbered.
If the WGHOF moves after a quarter century in St. John’s County, one logical destination could be a place that deserves consideration as the golf capital of the world – Palm Beach County.
Just Jupiter alone is home to five of the world’s top-10 golfers — Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa — as well as four-time major champion Brooks Koepka. Oh, yeah, and Jupiter Island is where the 757th-ranked player in the world, Tiger Woods, has a residence.
Besides 12 of the world’s top 50 players living in Palm Beach County, seven retired golfers or Champions Tour players — Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Raymond Floyd, Ernie Els, Nick Price, Bernhard Langer and Greg Norman – with 42 combined majors between them also reside there.
It’s pretty obvious the PGA Tour is seriously exploring an alternative plan for the WGHOF headquarters. So if a move from St. Augustine is inevitable, it makes total sense to move to a place where nearly all of golf’s living royalty are close by to help promote the Hall, which figures to attract more visitors in Palm Beach County.
Furthermore, with the PGA of America soon moving its headquarters from Palm Beach Gardens to Frisco, Tx. in the coming months, the Hall of Fame could fill the void and at least keep part of golf’s rich history in Florida. . . .
Listen up! State teams set for draft:
Trading up to No. 1
While many believe the Jaguars would strongly consider trading out of the No. 1 spot for an adequate return, it’s only been done six times in NFL history. In 2016, the Los Angeles Rams made the biggest leap by coming up 14 spots to take the Tennessee Titans’ top pick to select quarterback Jared Goff.
The other trade-ups to No. 1 were by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001 to pick QB Michael Vick, the St. Louis Rams in 1997 to take OT Orlando Pace, the Cincinnati Bengals in 1995 to select RB Ki-Jana Carter, the Dallas Cowboys in 1991 to pick DT Russell Maryland and the Indianapolis Colts in 1990 to take QB Jeff George.
Jaguars Draft Trivia: If the franchise selects Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson with the top pick in the NFL draft, he would become just the second Big Ten player to be taken in the first round by the Jaguars. Who was the other?
Small O-line club at top
As much as the Jaguars need an offensive tackle, only four have surprisingly been taken with the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NFL draft.
Two of them, Ron Yary (1968, Minnesota Vikings) and Orlando Pace (1997, St. Louis Rams), made the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The others were Jake Long (2008, Miami Dolphins), a four-time Pro Bowler, and Eric Fisher (2013, Kansas City Chiefs), a two-time Pro Bowler who made $70 million with KC and is a free agent after the Colts declined to sign him to a second contract.
Potential Jaguars headache
With Deebo Samuel demanding a trade, BetOnline.ag has established the Indianapolis Colts as the favorite at 9-2 to land the San Francisco 49ers offensive weapon.
That wouldn’t be welcome news for the AFC South rival Jaguars. Last season, the 25-year-old Samuel touched the ball as a receiver/runner 136 times for 1,770 yards (13-yard average) and 14 TDs. He ran it eight times for 79 yards and one TD against the Jaguars.
If the Colts land Samuel, who is more dynamic as a receiver, that’s going to be more restlessness for Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, who already has running back Jonathan Taylor to worry about. Going to the Kansas City Chiefs, who the Jaguars play in 2022, to fill the void left by Tyreek Hill's departure is another potential scenario. My guess is the 49ers like Samuel too much to trade him unless somebody provides a king’s ransom.
Mincy brings good vibe to JU
The momentum for Jacksonville University basketball keeps building under first-year coach Jordan Mincy, who received three separate standing ovations Wednesday night at the team banquet.
That’s what a coach gets when he delivers a turnaround 21-win season, his team reaches the ASUN tournament championship game and the school rewards him with a 10-year contract extension.
Now if the Dolphins shocked the college hoops world on November 7 by upsetting Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, then JU might have to consider plans to erect a Mincy statue outside Swisher Gym.
Florida chasing key big man
In the never-ending pursuit of players from the transfer portal, Florida basketball coach Todd Golden is bringing in 6-foot-10 and former Morehead State star Johni Broome for a visit this weekend.
Broome, who averaged 16.8 points per game, 10.5 rebounds and was third in the nation at 3.9 blocks, is one of the top remaining transfers available.
Though Broome is from Plant City, the home state advantage for the Gators could be negated by the power lineup of big-name schools also in the mix for his services. UF is going up against the likes of Auburn, Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, Memphis, Gonzaga and Houston.
With Florida losing 5-star prospect Malik Renau this week to Indiana, as well as 6-9, 230-pound Jalen Reed from Los Angeles decommitting, landing Broome would help soften the blow.
College hoops losing star quality
With the surprise retirement this week of Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright, on top of Duke Mike Krzyzewski riding off into the sunset, college basketball lost more than two legends with a combined seven national titles and 17 Final Four appearances. The sport lost gold standards for running programs the right way.
Hate Duke as much as you want, but Coach K is probably the greatest coach of all time. As for Wright, he will go down as one of the most underrated and classiest coaches in history. Looking at the active coaches still out there, none other than maybe Michigan State's Tom Izzo have the combination of achievement and comportment to match those twin coaching giants. . . .
Gators’ MLB pipeline
When former Florida catcher Mark Kolozsvary went in as a late-game replacement Wednesday for the Cincinnati Reds, the 2017 seventh-round draft pick became the 26th player in the past decade to make his MLB debut who played under UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan.
Considering there are only 78 players in Gators’ history to reach the big leagues, that’s a pretty impressive number. The first O’Sullivan player to suit up in MLB was Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Maronde (third round, 2011 draft) on September 2, 2012.
Exclusive hit club
When Detroit Tigers first baseman/DH Miguel Cabrera gets his 3,000th hit, he will join one of the most exclusive clubs in Major League Baseball history. He’d be only the third player to also have 500 home runs and a minimum .300 career batting average.
Going into Friday’s game against the Colorado Rockies, the 39-year-old Cabrera has 502 homers and a .310 BA.
The other players reaching that trifecta standard are Hank Aaron (3,771 hits, 755 HR, .305) and Willie Mays (3,293 hits, 660 HR, .301). Had Babe Ruth not spent his first four seasons being mostly a pitcher, his 2,873 hits would have easily surpassed 3,000 to reach the gold standard in those three categories. The same goes for Ted Williams (2,654 hits) missing three seasons due to World War II military service. . . .
Jaguars trivia answer: In the 1996 draft, the Jaguars made what remains their only Big Ten player selection in the first round when they selected Illinois linebacker Kevin Hardy with the No. 2 pick.
Gfrenette@jacksonville.com: (904) 359-4540
Gene Frenette Sports columnist at Florida Times-Union, follow him on Twitter @genefrenette