OOLTEWAH, Tenn. – Well, here’s the shocker of shockers: Wrong Ron strikes again in picking the winner of the men’s NCAA Division I Championship. Don’t do a quick panic. All that means is once again, I lived up to my name.
From before the first shot of the 2009-10 season was ever hit, until just prior to this year’s finals, when the “official” pick comes out, my choice was Washington to win the big one.
However, just like last year – when I picked Georgia, and the Bulldogs got knocked out in the match-play semifinals, or like when I’ve picked just about anybody over the years – I came up on the short end.
For those of you keeping track – and I know there are some, since I hear about it often enough – I’ve been picking who I think will win the NCAA Championship for some 25 years. I’ve been right just three times: 1995 with Oklahoma State; 1998 with UNLV; and 2003 with Clemson.
Washington gave me hope when it qualified for match play. And the Huskies made it exciting as their match against Oregon went down to the 18th hole with the final pairing.
But in the end, it wasn’t to be. The Ducks’ Eugene Wong made sure I’d be wrong. The sophomore won 1 up over Nick Taylor, who missed an 18-foot birdie try that would have sent the match to extra holes, and Oregon scored a 3-and-2 victory.
For now, though, all I can say to Washington coach Matt Thurmond and his Huskies is, sorry, guys. I really thought “we” could pull it out this year.
Well, there’s always next year. And I’m already feeling good about that because the NCAA finals will be played at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., which just happens to be the site of my last right pick in 2003.