Steve Elling wonders if UNLV junior Seung-su Han, who has made it through three stages of Q-School to reach the finals, is beginning a wave of college golfers entering and potentially leaving school early if they qualify.
"I think you might see more and more guys with the financial resources take a run at it," said [Dwayne] Knight, whose team is ranked No. 33 nationally by Golfweek. "But if you don't allow them to chase their dream, you'll never get the top players, like Adam Scott."
Scott, a fixture in the top 10 of the world rankings, played briefly at UNLV before turning pro. As with Duke and North Carolina basketball, college golf could increasingly become a sport in which programs sign blue-chip players in hopes of keeping them in school for a mere year or two. If college coaches balk, turning pro out of high school will continue to gain popularity. To wit, Kevin Na, Sean O'Hair and Ty Tryon all turned pro before they graduated from high school and eventually made the PGA Tour, skipping college altogether.
Bailing on college in mid-semester isn't an academic ideal, but without getting preachy, many top players look at college as a means to an end, anyway. So let's not wax nostalgic about motives. Golf was lucky to have lasted this long with only minimal professional temptation.
"Rarely does anybody in any walk of life have the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream," Knight said. "In the end, you have got to support the dream."