I was in a cabin on a lake in western Minnesota most of last week, so I missed the PGA Championship. We avoided TV for the most part, but I did want to see us on TV. Quail Hollow looked stunning, and Charlotte looked good.
Somebody said the tournament was the biggest sports event in Charlotte history. I can’t go that far.
In 1993, the Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics played at Charlotte Coliseum. Charlotte led the best-of-five series two games to one. Nobody, no fan, no coach, and no player, wanted to return to Boston. The series had been tense and draining in every way.
Alonzo Mourning hit a 17-foot jump shot with 0.4 seconds left to give the Hornets a 104-103 victory and the series. The Hornets jumped on Mourning, who scored 33 points. And if the ushers hadn’t done their jobs, fans would have, too.
In 1997, the Panthers hosted their first playoff game. Those were the Dallas Cowboys out there, the Cowboys of quarterback Troy Aikman, receiver Michael Irvin and running back Emmitt Smith. All three are in the NFL Hall of Fame.
The Cowboys led 3-0, and would never lead again. The Panthers won 26-17.
If the Panthers make the playoffs this season, and if the Hornets win a playoff series to advance to the second round, I contend that both would be bigger than the PGA.
I get it. The tournament was huge. But it belonged to everybody.
The Panthers and the Hornets belong to us.