The fall's biggest weekend of college golf
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.