Canon Claycomb had nearly every top program vying for his commitment.
Those programs – Alabama, LSU, Vanderbilt and Texas among them – seemingly had it all: great facilities, great coaches, great recruits; everything a 16-year-old like Claycomb could dream of when he heads to college in 2020.
In the end, it came down to what felt the most right. On Tuesday, Claycomb made it official by verbally committing to Alabama.
“I visited a bunch of schools, and I saw a lot of the same things that I saw at Alabama,” Claycomb told Golfweek via phone from Lake Nona (Fla.) Country Club, where he now lives.
“LSU had an amazing golf course. Texas had amazing golf courses. Legends at Vanderbilt was amazing. Everywhere I looked at had great facilities and coaches. … But I felt the place where I was going to get the most support and get the most ready for the Tour was Alabama.”
Claycomb made three unofficial visits to Alabama, the final one during the weekend of the Alabama-LSU football game. He loved Old Colony, Alabama’s home course. He meshed well with the recruits, including 2018 signee Prescott Butler, 2019 commit Tyler Lipscomb and 2020 commit (and future roommate) J.P. Cave. And he felt coaches Jay Seawell and Jon Howell could get him ready for the next level.
“I felt like I blended the best there,” Claycomb said.
Claycomb, originally from Bowling Green, Ky., hopes to be the next Alabama great from the Bluegrass State. Justin Thomas of Goshen won a Haskins Award and an NCAA title in two seasons with the Tide, and he now is starring on the PGA Tour, winning five times last season, including the PGA Championship, en route to Player of the Year honors.
Claycomb, ranked eighth overall by Golfweek and No. 2 in the Class of 2020, has that kind of potential. At just 15 years old, he made the inaugural Junior Presidents Cup team last fall. Shortly after, he captured his first AJGA invitational, the Ping Invitational at Karsten Creek, and followed with a runner-up finish in his next invitational, the Rolex Tournament of Champions.
Most recently, he traveled to Australia to compete in the Australian Master of the Amateurs and played his way into the final group, entering the final round in third place. He got aggressive trying to track down leader (and eventual champion) David Micheluzzi and shot a closing 76, dropping to sixth place.
“It was an awesome trip,” Claycomb said. “It was a really good learning experience, seeing how those guys picked apart a golf course. … I have not regrets. If I did it again, I’d stay aggressive.”
Claycomb will next compete in the Jones Cup, a prestigious amateur event later this month in Sea Island, Ga. He’ll followed with AJGA starts at the CB&I Boys Invitational, Thunderbird International Junior and Haas Family Invitational.