Golf’s pitch count is getting up there

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Y.E. Yang threw out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers-Los Angeles Angels game Saturday night, continuing a longtime trend of golfers taking the mound, if not throwing things to the ground.

Just the other week, Arnold Palmer threw out the first pitch at a Pittsburgh Pirates game as part of a celebration for his 80th birthday. From the senior tees just in front of the pitcher’s mound, he threw a golf ball, and then a baseball down the center of the plate.

Amazingly, it was the first time Palmer had ever thrown out a ceremonial first pitch, which means he finally joined a club already featuring famous pitchers Brit(tany) “And Run” Lincicome, Michelle “Foul Territor-” Wie, “Front” Ryo Ishikawa, Andy “Two Opens are better than Two Outs” North, Paul “Watch Me Throw” Azinger and Rocco “I Need a Trade to” Mediate.

“Three-Run” Jack Nicklaus, too.

New York Yankees fan Lucas “I’d Rather Wear A Golf” Glover tossed out the first baseball at a Yankees game this summer after he won the U.S. Open, said he was “shaking like a dog,” then spent most of the week getting booed by fans at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.

From the picture, Yang, who lives in Southlake, Texas, looks as good as I’ve seen any golfer during a major league wind-up. I haven’t been able to find video, but according to one Rangers Twitterer, he “threw a strike on the ceremonial first pitch.”

Hardly surprising. After the PGA Championship, we all know about Yang’s uncanny ability when it comes to pitching. Or was that a chip?

Anyway, this increasing pitch count really makes me wonder why the PGA Tour hasn’t caught on in the honorary starter category, currently owned by the Masters, which next year will feature both Palmer and Nicklaus on the first tee.

I know it’s Augusta-Nationally more difficult to get someone to hit a tee shot at 7:07 a.m. rather than 7:07 p.m., but I can think of a golf tournament or two with enough B-list celebrities to fill in the gaps. I also know it’s more difficult to hit an opening drive rather than throw an opening pitch, but I would bet a Bethpage Black greens fee that even Mariah Carey would hit it farther than she threw it that one time in Japan. (She threw it straight down.)

Just keep the gallery behind the tee and the cameras running. readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.