I am in favor of anything that promotes college golf.
When I learned today that the Reno-Tahoe Open, a July stop on the PGA Tour, is going to grant the individual winner of the Stanford U.S. Intercollegiate a sponsor exemption, I thought to myself what a great idea. To my knowledge, this is a first.
We have seen the NCAA champion receive exemptions to various events, but none of those was guaranteed.
Of course, this will only make winning the event hosted by Stanford at the Stanford Golf Course in early April mean a little more than just putting a trophy on your desk at home.
Wouldn’t it be great if the people at Augusta National would acknowledge the NCAA champion and give that player a pass down Magnolia Lane? Some have said that will never happen now that the individual portion of the NCAA Championship is only 54 holes.
I still say, Why not?
All of this also makes me recall an idea I have shared with many over the years. With all of the talk about the upcoming NFL Draft and the lottery talk that surrounds the NBA Draft, imagine if the PGA Tour had a college qualifying event?
It would be very simple. In early June, have a collection of graduated players or players who are turning pro gather somewhere for a 72-hole event, with the winner or a selection of top finishers earning some sort of status for the remainder of the year on the PGA Tour or the Nationwide Tour. Wouldn’t this be something that could give the tour a lot of attention, not to mention college golf?
Maybe the PGA Tour does not need a publicity boost. Maybe it’s just that I am the biggest college golf fan out there and I am the only one who thinks this would be cool … I don’t know.
Wait a minute, another idea: A college qualifying event could be huge for another tour that could use some attention – the LPGA tour.