LAS VEGAS—During her induction speech into the Women's Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame Dec. 10, Washington's Mary Lou Mulflur managed, intentionally or otherwise, to put things into perspective about the current state of college golf.
Amid lively discussions over the last few months, some of which spilled over into this week's WGCA annual convention, about the specifics of the NCAA Women's Division I Championship when match play is incorporated to determine the team champion in 2015, Mulflur used her three decades of experience overseeing the Huskies women's program to put the debate into context.
"We're arguing about TV," Mulflur said. "Think about that for a minute. Think about how far we've come that we're arguing about TV."
Indeed, it says much about the growth of the college golf that the conversations during the WGCA gathering at Planet Hollywood centered primarily around changes precipitated by one of the world's most prominent cable sports networks wanting to devote more airtime to the sport. It's a far cry from the days not that long ago when schools were begging just to offer a full complement of scholarships and adequate practice facilities.
College golf has the honor.
LAS VEGAS—There is no mistaking the interest level in college golf compared to the professional tours. Still, for what the collegiate game’s fanbase lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Consider the presenters scheduled to speak to those who oversee the country’s college programs the next three days the Golf Coaches Association of America and Women’s Golf Coaches Association national conventions at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will deliver this morning’s keynote address, offering lessons she has learned from golf—she backs a women’s tournament at Stanford and is on the USGA Nominating Committee as well as being one of Augusta National’s first female members—as they relate to leadership and teamwork.
Preceding her will be Golf Channel president Mike McCarley detailing the commitment the cable network has to expand its coverage for what it sees as an undercovered niche.
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan is slated to attend the women’s convention to discuss the ties the tour has to college golf, and officials from the NCAA and USGA also will host discussions at both.
Even if college golf doesn’t have a large general following, those within the industry appreciate its import in developing the game’s next generation of stars.
From Golf World Monday's Dec. 9, 2013 issue
California'sdominance in the fall, winning or sharingthe team title in all four fiveof its starts, made the Crimson Tide Golden Bearsthe easy choice as the No. 1 team in the final Golf World/Nike Golf Division I coaches' poll. Jay Seawell's Steve Desimone'ssquad claimed all 22 21first-place votes to be the unanimous choice to close out the first half of the 2012-13 season.
Calas the top team in the land are Barry Nova Southeastern, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Oglethorpe, Wayland Baptist Texas Wesleyan, Odessa and South Mountain, each squad earning the No. 1 ranking in the Division II, III, NAIA and NJCAA D-I and D-II polls. Wayland Baptist and Odessa are Texas Wesleyan isthe only new school to sit atop the ranking in any of the polls.
For a look at all the schools in the final fall rankings ...
Of course I say this in jest. Talking to some coaches of teams chasing the No. 1s in each of the divisions, they appreciate the level dominance their opponents have shown in the fall. Yet at the same time the chasers believe they have played well enough that on any given week they could be victorious over all comers.
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for USC and what they've accomplished," said UCLA women's coach Carrie Forysth. "But I think we are confident that our team is capable of winning every tournament we enter. That hasn't changed this fall."
With that, here are the final fall polls. Read into them what you will as schools gets some rest before the spring season calls.