The biggest buzz on the Texas Christian University campus all fall was the Horned Frogs’ football team. Rightfully so.
After all, the gridiron squad finished off a 12-0 regular season Nov. 28 with a 51-0 victory over New Mexico.
That kept the Horned Frogs No. 4 in the final BCS standings and guaranteed them a spot in the Fiesta Bowl, where TCU’s magical season came to an end Jan. 4 with a 17-10 loss to unbeaten Boise State.
But there’s another team in Fort Worth that earned a No. 4 national ranking in the fall. The TCU men’s golf team holds that position in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings heading into the spring season.
Overshadowed by the football team? Of course. Still, golf is a high priority at TCU, and members of the golf and football teams have a strong relationship.
“The golf team definitely gets its share of recognition and is getting more and more, especially by the teachers and students,” Travis Woolf, the lone senior in TCU’s starting five, said before the Fiesta Bowl. “Right now it’s a little harder (getting noticed) when you have a football team that’s undefeated.
“Most of the golf team knows a lot of the football players because they’re in the weight room when we are and we mingle with them. They’re always following how we do and talking to us. They know when we’re doing well. . . . We’ve kind of been feeding off each other all fall.”
Bill Montigel, in his 23rd season at the TCU helm, acknowledges that his team gets its fair share of attention.
“You’d really be surprised,” he said. “Golf is a really, really big deal here. It’s huge in the Fort Worth area, especially because of all the history we have here, with people like Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson and all the others.
“I mean, it was a big deal last season when we won our conference, and it was a big deal when we finished ninth (four strokes shy of making the Elite Eight match-play field) at the NCAA Championship. And it was a real big deal this fall when we won The Prestige.”
TCU’s 16-shot victory at PGA West in Palm Desert, Calif. – where the Horned Frogs dispatched highly ranked teams such as Stanford, Washington, UCLA and USC – was its second consecutive in the event. The Frogs tied for eighth at the Ping/Golfweek Invitational and finished seventh at Isleworth in their other two fall starts.
Daniel Jennevret, a freshman from Sweden, had the strongest fall – earning medalist honors at The Prestige – and is 22nd in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Woolf, a Fort Worth native, is ranked 36th, his season highlighted by a seventh at The Prestige and a T-13 at Isleworth. And Johan de Beer, a sophomore from South Africa, ranks 76th and finished third at The Prestige.
Portus Gad, another Swedish freshman, had a strong fourth-place showing at the Ping/Golfweek event. Junior Tom Hoge, who tied for third at the NCAA Championship and was an honorable mention All-American last season, junior Scott Roudebush and sophomore Eli Cole also have contributed this fall.
“I think we all are a little more mature, and our team camaraderie is really good this year,” Woolf said. “Everyone is working hard to improve their game as well as in the weight room. We just really seem to be coming together as a team.”
As did their football counterparts. The difference is, the TCU golf team – if it can continue its momentum in the spring – still has a chance at a national title.