Tournament golf can be heroic or tragic, a play of forces in which players and spectators alike may experience drama equal to that on any stage. BOBBY JONES
Kevin Casey for Golfweek.com reports on the decision to allow the BYU women to play their third round before the first round of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship due to the school's no-competition-on-Sundays policy.
While it's not Eric Liddell or Sandy Koufax on the sports spectrum, it's still a fascinating situation that has led to some consternation.
“I find it interesting that people are coming up with these scenarios (for us) at NCAAs, and it’s like, ‘How do you know?’ ” Roberts said. “You’ve never seen a team in this situation.”
When it comes to college golf, Roberts is spot on. The situation on-hand has never before come about in either the men’s or women’s game.
BYU has a strict no-competition policy for its student-athletes on Sunday, as the university, affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Provo, Utah, cites the fourth commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” in explaining the no Sunday play. For BYU, Sunday is a day of rest, and, according to its bylaws, the NCAA must accommodate this Sunday exception – even if it means altering an NCAA Championship schedule.
Brentley Romine with the story of Division II Barry University barring its golf team from practicing at Trump Doral because the school's mission statement clashes with the campaign rhetoric of the resort's owner.
Forget your political views for a moment, and note that Trump Doral was providing some free golf to a Division II school. In an era when more and more clubs sadly close their doors to local college and high school teams, it's pretty impressive that a high end resort course was still providing some free golf to a Division II school.
Anyway, coach Jimmy Stobbs tells Romine that he has no opinion...well, not really...
“We were very appreciative of the opportunity to play on the outstanding courses that aided in the player development. Barry University administration has an issue with Mr. Trump that now affects the golf team in many ways.
“I will keep my opinion of the decision to myself, but for the record, my wife and I both voted for Mr. Trump in the Florida primary, and we will again in the general election.”
Eben Novy-Williams' Bloomberg story on Under Armour paying Yale $16.5 million annually over 10 years to form a partnership suggests they are not letting up in any way, with the suggestion that golf continues to be a big part of their thinking.
From the story:
So what’s in it for Under Armour? The Yale brand, said Under Armour Vice President of Sports Marketing Ryan Kuehl, who cited the powerful alumni network, its global footprint and its elite student body.
"The number of young people around the world who aspire to attend Yale University is mind-boggling. That aspirational positioning made the deal worth it," Kuehl said.
Add that gem to the jargon HOF! Oh, the golf component:
Under Armour may be particularly interested in Yale’s golfers, who are likely to keep playing long after they graduate. Yale’s golf course was recently rated the best university course in the country by GolfWeek magazine; Under Armour sponsors Masters champion Jordan Spieth and is building its golf business.
He played golf at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has funded scholarships, but a $10 million gift from retired Raytheon Chairman Bill Swanson and his wife Cheryl is the largest in school history. And perhaps in college golf history?
David Middlecamp reports.
Swanson was a member of the Mustangs golf team and earned his degree in engineering, which he put to use during a 40-year career at Raytheon. Raytheon is a “technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity markets throughout the world,” with 2014 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, according to the release.
The endowment provided by the Swansons will fund new scholarships, focusing on engineering and first-generation student-athletes. It also will “support participating in better national tournaments, more robust travel and recruiting budgets, and improved equipment and gear for the men’s and women’s teams,” according to the release.
Ryan Lavner files an excellent GolfChannel.com piece on Stanford's Maverick McNealy taking a brief golf reprieve after winning three of four fall events. That brings him within two individual titles of the school record held by Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers, leading to national intrigue for a measely school mark. There is also McNealy's assertion he might not turn pro after college, giving hope to what's left of that weird societal subset viewing the act of choosing to remain an amateur golfer on par with curing cancer and rescuing dogs from burning buildings.
Regarding McNealy's incredible summer and continued great play in the fall, Lavner writes.
How McNealy has been able to summon the goods while teetering on the edge of burnout can be traced back to smart preparation and an extensive journal that documents every practice session, round, tournament and year.
One entry in particular stands out, from his first fall tournament last year.
In the lead for the first time in his career, McNealy realized he had 2 ½ hours to kill before his final-round tee time. He can eat only so many breakfasts, and hit so many balls, so he developed a stretching routine that he has used ever since. For a half hour, in the hotel room or in the locker room, McNealy throws on his headphones and listens to music that slows down his internal tempo.
During that quiet time, he puts the next few hours in perspective: What do I need to do today? What does this round mean to me? Who am I playing for? The answer to the last question, always, is his teammates.
“It feels like everything slows down in my mind,” he said. “Physically, it feels like I’m getting ready for somebody to punch me in the stomach. There’s a tense feeling. And then there’s an intense focus on the target.”
Golfweek.com's Kevin Casey's story about Justin Thompson committing to SMU for 2017 is of note for a few reasons. Mostly that Thompson is a two-time cancer survivor (Casey details Thompson's battle) and that he's a pupil of Jordan Spieth instructor Cameron McCormick.
But there is also the idea that the program, hit with a virtual death penalty by the NCAA and Bryson DeChambeau dropping out, might scare off prospective recruits.
So far it sounds like they are not slowing down in the signing department.
It's fitting that someone who has already gone through so much adversity will soon enter a golf program beset by sanctions for the near future. When asked about that potential hurdle to committing, Thompson felt that by the time he gets on campus most of the sanctions will have dissipated, and the fact that the current players and coaches weren't involved in the violations swayed him to minimize their importance.
Besides, if something were to go awry, Thompson has already had plenty of experience in that department. And it's only made him better.
“With the cancer experience, you learn about having courage, having faith and that there’s a plan for everything," Thompson said. "I’m stronger and more mature as a person than had I not gone through it.”
The NCAA's sanctions of SMU golf get to the heart of what so many struggle to reconcile with the modern day NCAA--student-athletes unfairly punished for the actions of adults.
And after watching Golf Central's coverage of SMU's postseason golf ban, impacting the current individual NCAA and U.S. Amateur champion, the assertive and convincing comments of former coach Josh Gregory to Golf Channel's George Savaricus will likely only increase disdain for the NCAA as an enforcement agency. (Or you may think he's lying...).