Ringler: 2010-11 season needs a little excitement
Friday, May 20, 2011
BRYAN, Texas – I have been strolling around the Traditions Club for a couple of days now, and I’ve been pondering at length what is going on here. What is the story at this year’s NCAA Women’s Championship? Heck, what has been the story this year in women’s golf?
Could it be that after just two years of match play at the men’s championship that I’m already spoiled?
I remember two years ago when I was at Inverness Club for the men’s championship I watched the final match between Arkansas and Texas A&M and I ran to get into position to see Texas A&M’s Bronson Burgoon hold off Arkansas’ Andrew Landry and give the Aggies their first national title. I had never before broken into a jog, let alone a run, at a college golf tournament.
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Who could forget Georgia knocking off Oklahoma State in the opening round that same year with Georgia’s Brian Harman and Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler trading blows all the way to the end? The memory of seeing Fowler shed tears after his loss showed just how much that moment meant to Fowler. Then there was Michigan upsetting USC after Lion Kim took out Matt Giles. Kim spent the day being out-driven by Giles.
And of course last year was the year Augusta State won the title by beating top-ranked Oklahoma State. It was the second straight year the Cowboys had easily won the stroke-play portion, only to fall in match play.
There have been numerous memorable moments in the past two years with the introduction of match play at the men’s championship.
With all of those moments, the excitement and drama packed into a few days at the men’s championship, it seems the women’s championship has become, dare I say . . . boring?
Think about it.
The top-ranked team, USC, is out of contention after two rounds, as is No. 3 Alabama. Oh, the disappointment and the buzz kill for two programs that many thought could win it all this week.
With Duke not making it to the finals for the first time since before three regionals were put into play, the Big Three (which also consisted of Arizona State and USC) is clearly no more. Many will attribute it to parity and how much depth there is in college golf. I used to preach that it was coming, but parity has brought boredom with it. Give me Duke versus the West Coast powers and then mix in Purdue.
So, what do we have at the halfway point this week? We have the Boilermakers in position to make a run at a repeat. And to spice it up, wouldn’t it be that much better if it comes down to UCLA and Purdue grinding it out, much like we saw last year with the Boilermakers knocking off USC to win the title?
It would not be fair to leave LSU or Texas A&M out of the conversation.
The Tigers are in the mix with freshman Austin Ernst’s 6-under 66 carrying the load. Ernst vaulted into the lead, but LSU will need Megan McChrystal to perk up if they want to join the Purdue/UCLA party.
With Aggie golf fans roaming around the grounds, there is no doubt that if Texas A&M were to get involved, it would bring the desired atmosphere. (I’m not sure the rest of the college golf world could handle the “WHOOP” chants we hear after every Aggie stroke.)
Overall, this year has lacked a real buzz in the women’s game, both the team and individual side. Who is the future LPGA star playing college golf this week? The best candidate to carry that 2010-11 season torch is Arizona State’s Carlota Cignada, but she has hardly been the star of college golf this year.
We need a spark, an injection of excitement. We need something to kick this thing into gear. Hopefully it will come in the next two days.