NCAA Championship heading to Riviera, AAC
The next generation of touring professionals will get an early taste of major-championship venues.
Two of golf’s most acclaimed courses will play host to upcoming NCAA Division I Men’s Championships: Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., in 2012 and Atlanta Athletic Club in 2013.
Also, the NCAA awarded the Division I Women’s Championship to the University of Georgia Golf Course for 2013.
Riviera and Atlanta Athletic are familiar to PGA Tour players. Riviera, home to the Northern Trust Open, has played host to a Tour event since 1973. Atlanta Athletic was the site of four major championships – the 1976 U.S. Open, 1981 and 2001 PGA Championships and the 1990 U.S. Women’s Open. AAC has been awarded the 2011 PGA.
It’s a continuing trend for the showcase collegiate event. Last year, the NCAA men played at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. This year, they were at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn. Next year, it’s on to Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.
“Over the last several years, the sites have improved, and they’re going to places that have hosted majors and have a lot of history,’’ said Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler, whose school will be the host of the 2013 event at AAC. “That’s a big deal to the players.”
Kurt Schuette, the director of golf at USC, calls it “a great move for the NCAA.’’
“All of the teams that compete to win a championship are trying to prepare their players for the next level,’’ Schuette said, “and there is no better way than to do this on championship venues. It seems to be tougher for us out West to get a championship site, and we are just thrilled that Riviera Country Club wanted to and allowed us to host.’’