SPORTS & MORE: U.S. OPEN & KEY WEST’S NEW BASKETBALL COACH

Dexter Butler

I watched a lot of sports shows last weekend to see what I could learn about the new LIV Series of professional golf, and I, of course, tuned in to the U.S. Open, being played in unseasonably cool weather outside of Boston. 

Early on, there was mention of a lot of things I already knew about LIV. But what interested me most came from the mouth of Michael “The Caddy” Collins, who was on ESPN’s First Take show. He said the price of getting on the Korn Ferry Tour, golf’s beginning tour, was atrocious unless you were a very good golfer. He said the entry fee is $6,500. The cost of getting to the first four tournaments, to the Bahamas (twice), Panama City and Bogota, Colombia, would come to $30,000, according to Collins, as golfers pay their own way to tournaments.

I didn’t hear much mention of LIV, which is paying huge inducement fees to big-name players who defect from the PGA Tour. 

But Sunday was also Father’s Day and I am a father six times over. I heard from all of the children plus a few in-laws, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. And, believe me, listening to my kin is much more enjoyable than watching golf on TV. But back to the U.S. Open and golf in general.

With no former PGA and now LIV golfers or Jordan Spieth in contention at the top of the leaderboard for the U.S. Open, my Sunday pick became Scottie Scheffler, who led until maybe 4 p.m. Sunday, when Matt Fitzpatrick took over. Then my choice became Will Zalatoris. You will note that all of my choices are from the United States. No Brits. No Matt Fitzpatrick, although he spends more than half his time in the United States. Both Scheffler and Zalatoris missed, let’s say, 20-foot putts at the 18th. Zalatoris’ putt missed by an inch or so. On 18, Fitzpatrick put his second shot into a wicked sand trap. It seemed he was  in deep trouble, but he pulled it out and into a reasonable position to sink his last putt. Fitzpatrick called his own bunker shot “one of the best shots of all time,” thus saving writers the effort of describing it in later years.

His victory putt sent Fitzpatrick’s father and mother into dances and hugs.

And the victorious golfer seemed to be hugging everyone in Massachusetts. Fitzpatrick’s caddy, Bill Foster, celebrated his first grand slam tournament win with tears.

AND NOW FOR A LOCAL SPORTS ANNOUNCEMENT, which I am stealing from Facebook: Dexter Butler – son of Bill Butler, the man for whom the floor of Bobby Menendez Gym at Key West High School is named, and Anita Butler – has been named head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Key West High School. He succeeds Chris Ellis, who coached for one year before resigning and returning to St. Louis.

I have been a fan of Dexter’s since he was playing shortstop for the Conchs and when he later played for the University of South Florida and Nova Southeastern. At Key West, he was captain of both the baseball and football teams. He graduated from Key West in 2004.

When he returned to Key West, Butler, 36, worked at First State Bank, Wells Fargo and Iberiabank before teaching sixth grade and American History.

Dexter and his wife, Maria Castillo, are the parents of little Viviane, born Oct. 27, 2021.

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Veteran sports columnist Ralph Morrow says the only sport he doesn’t follow is cricket. That leaves plenty of others to fill his time.