Four reasons to look forward to spring golf
As we remain deep in the middle of a college golf lull, here are four reasons why I can’t wait for the spring to start already:
1.) The youth movement. When you look at the top 10 individuals in the Golfweek/Sagarin Men’s Rankings do you notice how young these guys are? Five of the top 10 are freshmen or sophomores, and the list only includes one senior (Diego Velasquez from Oregon State). Providing the one-two punch atop the rankings are Oklahoma State’s Peter Uihlein and Alabama’s Bud Cauley, both sophomores. Everyone knows that these two individuals are great, but are they the best we will see this spring? Morgan Hoffman will also be in the mix for the Player of the Year race, but how do you settle the Best-Player-in-Stillwater debate? Heck, Trent Whitekiller is ranked No. 14 in the country! All I can say is I can’t wait to get to the Big XII Championship … I mean the Honors Course for nationals.
2.) Oklahoma State vs. ? I know, I know. All the talk always seems to focus on Oklahoma State, but can you blame me? Let’s break down the rest of the top 5 and compare them to the No. 1 team in the country. Let’s see if you’ll buy one of them after this sales pitch.
Stanford is No. 2 in the country. Yes, Conrad Ray has an outstanding team and perhaps the only team to really give the Cowboys a run so far this year. Stanford finished fourth at Olympia Fields which was only four shots behind the second-place Cowboys. At the Prestige, they finished second behind TCU, followed by a third at Isleworth (five shots back of Champs Oklahoma State), and closed the fall with a three-stroke victory at CordeValle over the Cowboys. All in all, Stanford showed they can hang tough, but will they continue to get better in the spring? Yes, only a few shots separate them now, but we will have to see who worked harder during the break in a few weeks.
The No. 3 team in the country is Florida. I would love to give the Gators credit and say they will be there at the end. However, this team is just too young and inexperienced for me. What they did at Isleworth was amazing, and I can assure you I am not saying they are a fluke. However, when you look at the top 10, do you believe they are the third best team in the country? TCU will enter the spring No. 4 and just like their football team, they are BCS Busters. The Horned Frogs play an extremely tough schedule and aren’t afraid to play anyone, anywhere. After all, they did win the Prestige at PGA West. I just wonder if this team has any other believers other than this blogger and the folks at Kincaid’s in Fort Worth, Texas. Closing out the fall ranked No. 5 was FSU. It seems like every year we talk about the Seminoles, but when it comes time to play in the post-season we are left asking, “Where’s Florida State?” They have the talent and blueprint for a team I would not want to see in match play, but can they make it out of regionals?
3.) Auburn is the new USC. You are probably wondering what I mean by that. Well, whenever you hear me talk about the “Big 3” in women’s golf this spring, I’ll be referring to UCLA, ASU, and US … wait a second, I mean A-U-B-U-R-N. That’s right, Auburn! These Tigers are the best team in the East and maybe in the country. Candace Schepperle and Cydney Clanton are perhaps the best one-two punch in women’s golf, but will they get some help from their teammates come spring? Perhaps the War Eagles can prove that the West Coast dominance is finally starting to shift back to the East.
4.) Jennifer Song. As far as I’m concerned, if there is a tournament with USC and Jennifer Song in it, I want to be there. USC played in four tournaments in the fall. When Song was in the line-up they won one and finished fifth in the other. One important thing to mention, though, is she won both of those tournaments as an individual. She has a perfect record entering the spring, and she may be just as good if not better to watch than that Amanda girl that used to play at Duke.