Bigger than St. Andrews?

“As Canada’s highest-ranked professional, the weight of a nation is on his broad shoulders each week.” “As Canada’s highest-ranked professional, the weight of a nation is on his broad shoulders each week—especially this week at the RBC Canadian Open.” So began Adam Stanley’s cover story at yesterday. Graham DeLaet just finished his first major of the year, the Open Championship. And he has another coming up, the PGA Championship three weeks from now. But the former Boise State star and Weyburn, Saskatchewan, native tees off in something just as big today. “This is a major for us (Canadians),” DeLaet said. “But I don’t really feel extra pressure from the fans in here, it’s more support. It’s just such an awesome week.” The tournament starts this morning at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario (and also includes former Bronco Troy Merritt).

DeLaet talks a lot about non-golf things in the story, as he is wont to do. He and his wife Ruby, who he met while playing at Boise State, are expecting twins later this fall—the first DeLaet offspring. He has a home in Meridian, but in Stanley’s piece he calls Arizona home, although he acknowledges he bleeds Boise State orange-and-blue. “It’s going to be important for me to keep that ‘Canadian’ in them somehow,” laughs DeLaet. Stanley writes that “DeLaet’s megawatt smile has attracted a legion of Canadian fans, young and old. It’s impossible to walk the grounds of Glen Abbey without seeing a number of fans wearing DeLaet’s red Puma gear.” He’s borderline rock star up north. “It’s kind of like Mike Weir has passed on the torch to the next group of (Canadians) coming up,” said DeLaet’s caddie, Julien Trudeau.

Idaho State coach Mike Kramer’s interwiew on KTIK’s Idaho SportsTalk started innocently enough yesterday, with the requisite question about the Bengals being picked to finish third this season by Big Sky media. “We look at it as an award and a responsibility,” said Kramer, whose team is coming off its first winning season since 2003. The Bengals finished 8-4 with a 6-0 record in Holt Arena in coach Mike Kramer’s fourth year. They had gone 14-75 in the previous eight years. This season ISU hopes to have a new starting quarterback rolling by the time it hits the blue turf against Boise State September 18 to replace star Justin Arias. Kramer expects it to be junior college transfer Michael Sanders.

Mixed in, however, was some incendiary stuff regarding college football in the state. What has changed the recruiting dynamic for Idaho State? “The rise of Boise State,” said Kramer. “That made Idaho chase them, and the University of Idaho has abandoned the state of Idaho.” Kramer peeled off a slew of in-state names who have become key Bengals. “The U of I has walked away from guys good enough to play for them, and they’re playing for us now,” Kramer said. “And we’re winning games.” Kramer was clearly sidetracked—and appeared to be enjoying it. All this from a University of Idaho graduate. “As an alumnus, as a four-year starter there, they have lost their footing in the sport of football,” said Kramer, who added the Vandals should be playing in the Big Sky. Doesn’t get much more incendiary than that.

While it may be “watch list” season, it’s also “cart before the horse” season. ESPN Stats & Info has this from the Football Power Index: the college football team with the best chance of going undefeated this season is Ohio State at 22.6 percent. Second? Boise State at 8.9 (followed by Baylor at 8.3 and TCU at 7.0). Well, we’ll know soon enough how solid those prospects are, with the Broncos facing Washington and BYU out of the gate.

It’s been just over a week now since Arkansas’s top-rated high school running back, Damarea Crockett of Little Rock Christian, committed to Boise State. streamed an interview with Crockett from a Little Rock TV station, and one comment struck me. A lot of players and programs pay lip service to “it’s like a family” sentiments. The Broncos have hung their hat on that since the Dan Hawkins days, and it’s very real. Said Crockett, “You know they really have that family bond that only a couple of college football teams have and I just loved it.” Makes you believe it really is different.

The momentum from Tuesday night’s rally didn’t carry over for the Boise Hawks, and the result was a 9-7 loss to Spokane last night at Memorial Stadium. The Indians scored three times in the first inning and kept the Hawks at arm’s length the rest of the way. Spokane punished Boise pitching with four home runs, two of them from Ladarious Clark. The Hawks did make it interesting with a three-run ninth inning, but as it is, their season record drops to 12-22. Tonight they begin a three-game home series against Hillsboro, the first time they’ve faced the Hops this year.

Former Hawk Josh Donaldson has returned to Oakland this week for the first time since his shocking trade to Toronto during the offseason. Donaldson has not wavered since leaving the A’s, leading all American Leaguers in votes for the All-Star Game this month and batting .292 with 22 home runs. But he misses the quirky club by the Bay. “I have zero animosity about anything,” said Donaldson. “I have very good feelings about being here. I want to be able to show the fans how I play again. I want them to continue to have good memories of me being here.’’ Toronto and Oakland have split the first two games of their series—Donaldson has gone 4-for-9 with two RBIs. One other note: Bishop Kelly grad Josh Osich, who has allowed nary an earned run in 7 2/3 big league innings, was nevertheless optioned to Sacramento by the Giants yesterday.

Other goings-on: What would it be like if the FC Nova Nationals could plunk in a goal at the U.S. Youth U19 Girls Youth Soccer Championships in Tulsa, OK? The Nova Nationals played their second straight scoreless draw at the tournament yesterday, this time versus Tampa Bay United Premier. The Meridian-based club now has two points in round-robin play and is in second place. The Nova Nationals next take on the leaders, Gretna Prima Green of Nebraska, this afternoon. And Mountain View High star Destiny Slocum recorded a rebound, an assist and a steal in 15 minutes as Team USA routed Argentina 89-39 in the round of 16 at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Russia yesterday. The Americans face Canada in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

This Day In Sports…July 23, 2012:

After almost 12 seasons as the face of the Seattle Mariners franchise, Ichiro Suzuki is traded to the New York Yankees at the age of 38. It happened as the Yankees were coming into Seattle to start a three-game series, and Ichiro suited up in pinstripes that night, one day after unknowingly wearing a Mariners uniform at Safeco Field for the final time. Ichiro, who joined the M’s in 2001 at the age of 27 after nine years as a superstar in Japan, holds the major league record for hits in a season with 262 in 2004. He’s also the only big leaguer to record 200 hits in 10 consecutive seasons.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)