T.J. and J.T. highlight the ACC | NevadaAppeal.com

T.J. and J.T. highlight the ACC

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com
T.J. Oshie signs an autograph for a fan following the first round of the American Century Championship on Friday.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

STATELINE — Trades are commonplace in any sport, and when a star is traded away, emotions can run high.

That was the case when T.J. Oshie was dealt from the St. Louis Blues to the Washington Capitals on July 2.

One of Oshie’s biggest fans was 5-year-old Libby Lu, who had a meltdown when she found out her favorite player was leaving. She ran into a closet and cried and cried, and cried some more. It was shown on the monumentalnetwork.com web-site, and was seen by more than 300,000 viewers. She told her mom that she couldn’t root for Oshie anymore because he was on a different team.

Oshie and the Caps caught wind of it, and the team sent Lu a Capitals jersey and sweatshirt, both with Oshie’s name on the back.

Lu was interviewed by ESPN on July 5, and she got a pleasant surprise. She was able to speak on the phone with Oshie and even got an invitation to swim in his new pool, and she wore an ear-to-ear grin when she received her new gifts.

Crisis over.

“That was great of the Caps’ organization to do that,” Oshie said. “They got wind of it and we sent her gifts.”

Oshie, an Olympian, admits he had mixed feelings when he first heard about the trade.

“When I first heard about the trade I was kind of shocked even though I knew it was a possibility,” he said after scoring 10 points in the first round of the 26th annual American Century Championship. “I had a lot of pride playing for St. Louis, and when that happens you feel you let the team down. St. Louis deserves a Stanley Cup.

“After a few days, I was all excited about the trade. They are a great organization.”

Oshie wouldn’t be human if he didn’t get psyched about playing with Alex Ovechkin, considered one of the top two or three players in the world.

The young right-winger was happy with his first-round effort at the ACC. He finished with 10 points, which equaled his 54-hole total of a year ago. He capped Friday’s round with a nice birdie at the par-5 18th.

“Last year was extremely difficult,” Oshie said. “They had me playing with Joe Sakic and Jeremy Roenick, and that made me nervous. They were idols to me. I was keeping Joe’s score, and I told my caddie to tell me what Joe scored because my hands were shaking so much.

“This year was much better. Playing with Steve (Young) and Herm (Edwards) was great. They were really laid back.”

COURSE STATS

The toughest hole in Friday’s first round was the par-4 14th which plays 411 yards. It played to a 4.879 average and yielded just four birdies all day.

The easiest hole was No. 8 which, according to the program, played to 443 yards. It played to a 4.274 and gave up 12 birdie.

All told, there were six eagles on the day, two on the short (315 yards) 11th, and one each on Nos. 4, 10, 16 and 18.

TIMBERLAKE IS SOLID

Crowds are up this week, and the players say a lot of that can be attributed to the appearance of actor/musician Justin Timberlake, who scored 15 points on Friday.

“Let’s take our hat off to Alfonso Ribeiro and NBC and American Century and Mike Milthorpe and all those guys who went out and got a guy who is actually putting his stamp on golf,” Billy Joe Tolliver said. “He’s transcending his own business and his entertainment side, and he’s giving back to the game.

“And going up against the British Open, where Jordan Spieth is trying to win three in a row, you gotta have a huge name like that. I think it was a great pull. And my hat’s off to Justin for agreeing to come here and play. I hope he enjoys it and I hope he comes back every year.”

Wagner is happy to have another entertainer in the field.

“It’s awesome,” Wagner said. “He’s a member at Lakeside in L.A., and I’ve been a member at Bel-Air for 25 years, and it looks like he’s going to join there. I met him the other day. He’s a great guy. He can swing. He’s probably a legitimate 3 or 4 handicap, and loves golf. He’s really social and he’s one of the guys. He’s very easy to hang out with. And it’s really a big, big plus for this tournament, I think.”