2013 Cal or 1982 UCLA? Let's take a closer look . . .
Thursday, June 6, 2013
California was on the wrong end of the semifinal match with Illinois on June 1 at the NCAA Championship.
It would be a long afternoon of thinking about the season that was -- but they didn’t dwell on it too much though. They thought of the good that came out of the season rather than the loss to the Illini.
Let’s recap Cal’s 2012-13 season:
• The team won 11 tournaments in 13 starts (11 is the new modern-day record)
• They lost to four teams throughout the season (New Mexico, TCU, UNLV and Illinois)
• The starting five – Max Homa, Brandon Hagy, Joel Stalter, Michael Weaver and Michael Kim – all won an individual title this season (10 in 14 events)
• Won the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Championship
• Homa became Cal’s first NCAA medalist
• Cal finished the season as the No. 1 team in the country as well as the No. 1 player in the country (Kim)
With all of that said, the 1981-82 UCLA team had a similar season. That team was lead by Hall of Fame coach Eddie Merrins, Corey Pavin, Jay Delsing, Mickey Yokoi, Steve Pate and Duffy Waldorf. The Bruins won 13 times in 20 starts, with five straight including the Pac-12 title.
To clarify, that team, who carried upwards of 20 players on the squad, would play in three different tournaments with three different teams.
Of course, UCLA, as well as Cal, were the favorites heading into the NCAAs. Cal fell short in the semifinals of match play at The Capital City Club, while UCLA finished sixth at Pinehurst.
It’s hard to say who was the better team, and whomever you ask, they’ll tell you their respective team.
Merrins told Golfweek in May, “Often times, they were under more pressure in the practice rounds than they were during the tournaments… You asked how good was that team? Well, our starting five for NCAAs was so deep that year we left Steve Pate and Duffy Waldorf at home.”
“I’m a little bias, but I think it was the best college season ever,” Kim said. Kim, a sophomore, won four times and was awarded the Jack Nicklaus Award.
Added rising senior Hagy: “It was a great year. It was the best year in college golf history, not even close. Alabama won the National Championship, but we beat them . . . every time we played them, we beat them so it’s the greatest team that has played college golf.”
Next year, four of the five Cal players – Homa graduated – will return to try and finish what they started this year and maybe get the redemption Alabama experienced this year at NCAAs.
Only time will tell, but Hagy thinks its possible for another run like 2012-13 season.
“Yeah, absolutely. We have a few guys that can fill in very nicely so we’ll just take it from there. We can definitely finish where we left off this year,” Hagy said.
So, who had the greatest season or team of all-time? That's still up for debate, but Cal definitely had a season for the record books.
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