Bruce Heppler, Georgia Tech
Dave Jennings, Central Alabama
Bud Marsee, Broward CC
John Means, Colorado State/Army/Minnesota/Idaho
Jim Owen, Oglethorpe
Guy Spears, Eaton Golf Pride
Thomas Trueblood, Michigan
Between the six coaches, the group won five national titles, more than 30 conference championships and dozens of All-Americans. Spears earned his spot via the contributors category after working for Eaton for 25 years as a sales manager and Director of Special Programs/Collegiate Golf for the company.
Trueblood, who coached the Wolverines from 1901-35 and was a coach or professor at the university from 1884-1951, will be inductee posthumously
Which is the better tournament, the U.S. Collegiate Championship or the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational?
I get that question every now and then, and my answer usually gets a poor reaction because it tends to sounds smug.
I then try to explain myself. Which is your better child? Which do you like better vanilla or chocolate ice cream? There is no right answer because they're all pretty darn good.
I then play one last card: Does one have to be "better?"
The skyboxes and caddies at GC of Georgia—and this year an exemption for the individual winner into the Web.com's Air Capital Classic in Wichita, Kan.—give this tournament an aura. The challenge course and the curious spectators at Isleworth CC—tour pros watching their alma maters with a unique rooting interest—give that tournament a cache. If you're a participant in either event, consider yourself lucky. They're both college golf at their best.
Now if we can only get them to hold their events on different weekends.
TALE OF THE TAPE
U.S. Collegiate Championship
GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga.
Host: Georgia Tech
Defending champion: Georgia Tech (+10/874) by one stroke over UCLA; Stanford's Patrick Rodgers (-7/209) by four strokes Washington's Cheng-Tsung Pan, Auburn's Michael Johnson and Oklahoma State's Talor Gooch
Field: Auburn, Clemson, Duke, East Tennessee State, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Kent State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Wake Forest, Washington
Golf World/Nike Golf participants: 2 top-5 teams, 5 top-10, 10 top-25s
Statistical quirk: There are twice the number of Pac-12 schools playing in the tournament than SEC programs
Skinny: The Yellow Jackets have won two of the three times since the event has moved to the fall. Their home course advantage is real and they're having an impressive fall so it's hard not to think they're going to prevail this weekend.
Isleworth Collegiate Invitational
Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla.
Host: UCF and Texas Tech
Defending champion: California (+4/868) by two strokes over New Mexico; California's Michael Kim (-4/212) by one stroke over New Mexico's James Erkenbeck and Alabama's Justin Thomas
Field: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida State, GRU Augusta, Illinois, LSU, New Mexico, North Florida, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, UCF, UNLV, Vanderbilt
Golf World/Nike Golf participants: 2 top-5 teams, 4 top-10, 8 top-25s
Statistical quirk: It's the first and only time this spring where Alabama and California will be competing in the same event.
Skinny: There are some very good teams in the field, but I think a two-school race—Crimson Tide and Golden Bears—will ensue. Who wins? Flip a coin when I did I had it come out for Alabama.
There's a couple things that might stand out to you when you see the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Division I men's coaches' poll.
1) The usual suspects hold the top spots.
2) An awful lot of schools have already won tournaments this fall.
The second item is what makes the first one more palatable to me. The level of play in the men's college game has been impressive through the first two months of the season, with 13 of different schools having won tournaments. Now, maybe they are the traditional programs we've come to expect claim space in the top 25, but that so many of them have proven capable of winning speaks well to the potential for a competitive spring campaign.
Or Alabama and California might just keep winning and make this a two-team race for a title.
With that ... off to the top 25 for Division I, II, III, NAIA and NJCAA.
I promise there is some surprise in the latest Golf World/WGCA women's Division I coaches' poll. It's just not with team that's ranked No. 1.
USC returns to the top spot, winners of its first two fall events and in the middle of a school-record five-tournament win streak dating back to last spring. However, the Trojans weren't the only school to receive first-place votes.
Indeed, where the interesting news comes from this time is that five other programs in addition to the Women of Troy had at least one coach pick them as the best team in the land.
See for yourself ...
Where the heck did the fall season run off to?
Maybe it's just me, but I felt like the 2013-14 campaign kicked off only a few days ago. The reality of the calendar, however, says otherwise as there there are only a handful of tournaments remaining before the winter break hits.
Indeed, by next Tuesday when the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational wraps up, there will be just four Division I women's tournaments left where there is more than one school in the top 25 of the Golf World/WGCA coaches' poll competing (Landfall Tradition, Stanford Intercollegiate, Alamo Invitational and the Pac-12 Preview).
Similarly on the men's side, come next Tuesday there will also be just four events with multiple ranked schools from the latest Golf World/Nike Golf D-I coaches' poll: U.S. Collegiate, Isleworth, Gifford, Royal Oak.
Long story short—blink at your own risk. The fall might be over when you open your eyes.
Forgive me for channeling my inner Yogi Berra, but it's feeling like deja vu all over again in college golf.
The headlines from this week were that the California men claimed the title at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational (photo below courtesy of Cal athletics) and the USC women won at the Windy City Collegiate.
Sounds familiar doesn't it?
I say this without any judgement. It doesn't matter to me who really wins the events, I'm just rooting for the good stories.
I'm not exactly sure I'd characterize how things played out at the Windy City as a "good" story but it became an interesting one down the stretch. The top-ranked Trojans had the tournament in hand during Tuesday's final round at Northmoor CC in Highland Park, Ill. Doris Chen shot a one-under 70, Karen Chung a one-over 72, Kyung Kim a 73 (the first time she hadn't broken 70 this season) and Annie Park an even-par 70. It meant USC had outpaced runner-up Oklahoma State by seven strokes and would break its school record for most consecutive victories with five dating back to last spring.
However, everything changed when it was discovered that Park, the 2013 NCAA player of the year, mistakenly signed an incorrect scorecard, writing down a 4 when she shot a 5 on the 10th hole. Immediately upon learning of her mistake, and knowing she would be disqualified, Park asked her coaches whether it might cost the team the title.
With Park's 71 thrown out, the team had to count Gabriella Then's 76. Even with the extra five strokes on USC's final-round score, the Trojans still walked off with a two-stroke triumph.
It will certainly be a lesson learned for Park moving forward, as she will no doubt be particularly careful when adding them up in the future. Whether the DQ, however, will have a different kind of impact down the road is still to be determined. Park would have had a top-five individual finish in the event, which would have helped her when post-season honors are determined next spring. Instead, the DQ could effect her ranking for the year, making it a costly mistake even if it didn't change the outcome of the team competition.