Sure, college sports play a smaller role in Los Angeles than in the towns of the SEC, but the rivalry between USC and UCLA can’t be dismissed. The two campuses are fewer than 15 miles apart. It’s a long-standing grudge that divides one of America’s great cities. And it will be on full display at the NCAA Championship.
Golf rivalries are more muted than those that take place on the gridiron, but there’s one certainty. “We want to win and beat them as badly as they want to beat us,” said USC head coach Chris Zambri. “We get along, but I think the rivalry definitely extends to golf.”
The Trojans are the hosts for this week’s NCAA Championship, though UCLA is located fewer than six miles from Riviera. The Bruins captured their first NCAA Championship in 1988, at a USC-hosted NCAA Championship at North Ranch Country Club in nearby Westlake Village. UCLA added another one 20 years later. The Trojans are still seeking their first NCAA title.
The teams’ top players – UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay and USC’s Steve Lim (both pictured below) – have traded the course record at Los Angeles Country Club, which is located six miles from Riviera and has the same architect, George C. Thomas. Cantlay shot 63 at LACC last year, a round that Lim bettered by a stroke in USC’s qualifying for its season-opening event.
Here’s a tale of the tape of the two Los Angeles-based programs:
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Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 3
Overall record: 117-24-1
Pac-12 finish: 4
Regional finish: 3rd, Bowling Green Regional
NCAA titles: 1988; 2008
NCAA individual titles: Kevin Chappell (2008)
Pac-12 titles: 5th
Top player: Patrick Cantlay, No. 16 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. The sophomore is No. 1 in the R&A’s World Amateur Ranking and recently won the Hogan Award
Major championships by alumni: Corey Pavin (1995 U.S. Open)
Top alumni: Corey Pavin, Duffy Waldorf, Scott McCarron, Steve Pate, Tom Pernice, Brandt Jobe, John Merrick, Parker McLachlin, Kevin Chappell, Jay Delsing
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Golfweek/Sagarin rank: 4
Overall record: 113-31-0
Pac-12 finish: 3rd
Regional finish: 1st, Ann Arbor Regional
NCAA titles: None
NCAA individual titles: Scott Simpson (1976, 1977); Ron Commans (1981); Jamie Lovemark (2007)
Pac-12 titles: 19
Top player: Steve Lim, No. 24 in Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. Lim won the Gifford Collegiate Championship in October, beating Cantlay by one stroke.
Major championships by alumni: Craig Stadler (1982 Masters); Scott Simpson (1987 U.S. Open); Al Geiberger (1966 PGA); Dave Stockton (1970, ’76 PGA)
Top alumni: Al Geiberger, Dave Stockton, Scott Simpson, Craig Stadler, Brian Henninger, Mark Pfeil, Sam Randolph, Dave Stockton Jr., Jamie Lovemark, Kevin Stadler, Hunter Mahan (one season before transferring to Oklahoma State)