SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Ever since O.D. Vincent started wearing ties at UCLA, the Bruins have been known for doing things a little differently.
This year, the team has numbers displayed on its bags and uniforms. It’s not necessarily a new theory – the Vanderbilt women’s team tried it a few years ago – but one that is rarely used.
The numbers are displayed on UCLA players’ bags and clothing.
UCLA head coach Derek Freeman said he added the numbers to give his players a sense of “ownership” over their performance. “Not only do they think, ‘I’m a UCLA golfer,’ but ‘I’m No. 10’ or ‘I’m No. 4,’ ” Freeman said.
Instead of viewing themselves as anonymous members of a team, the Bruins are unique individuals striving for a common goal; this leads to a sense of accountability.
Some players simply chose numbers they like. Others chose numbers with a back story. Here are the numbers from UCLA’s starting six at the Gifford Collegiate Championship.
• • •
Patrick Cantlay – No. 4 (favorite number)
Mario Clemens – No. 24 (Clemens is a big Kobe Bryant fan)
Connor Driscoll – No. 7 (favorite number)
Pontus Widegren – No. 23 (his old hockey number)
Gregor Main – No. 234 (birdies on a par-3, par-4 and par-5)
Pedro Figueiredo – No. 10 (Figueiredo, who’s Portuguese, is a big soccer fan. No. 10 is often worn by a team’s top goal scorer)
Alex Kim, who’s playing as an individual, chose No. 47, as in AK47.
Freeman is No. 212. Why? The team’s mantra is ‘212 Degrees,’ the temperature at which water boils. Since water cannot boil at 211 degrees, the implication is that one degree – the degree that pushes water to its boiling point – makes a huge difference. It’s an attempt to motivate players to put in that small, incremental increase in effort.