Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village Golf Club

The Loop

Nothing Small about Illinois coach's game

December 19, 2007

There has been a running joke the past few years regarding Illinois men's coach Mike Small and how his game has been better than any of his Illini players. It becomes a hard point to refute, however, with Small being named the PGA of America's professional player of the year for a second straight season.


The 41-year-old has become the most dominant player in the history of the Illinois PGA section, winning six Illinois PGA titles and four Illinois Opens. He finished tied for second this year at the PGA Professional National Championship, and while missing the cut at the U.S. Open in June, he did finish T-69 at the PGA Championship in August at Southern Hills.

Seriously, when you look at Small's scoring average in PGA Tour events the past few years, it's easy to see how he could be considered the Illini's real No. 1 player.

Small                        Illinois' team stroke average

2007    76.5 (6 rounds)         75.8 (2006-07 season)

2006    71.4 (27)                  75.1

2005    74.3 (8)                    Not available

2004    72.5 (6)                    74.9