News & ToursApril 20, 2010

SEC/ACC championship redux

Taking a little time to let this weekend's conference action soak in, I had a few quick thoughts:

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  • Not sure I've seen a team make an attitude adjustment quite like the Georgia men, the now two-time defending SEC champs. Let me correct that, I'm not sure the perception of a team has changed so quickly. At the start of the spring, many people (including myself) had written off the Bulldogs from contending in the SEC, let alone at the national level. They lost All-Americans Brian Harman and Adam Mitchell to graduation, then watched Hudson Swafford have to take a medical redshirt due to a shoulder injury. Credit coach Chris Haack and assistant Jason Payne for rallying his bunch, infusing the team with January newcomer Bryden Macpherson and getting Russell Henley, the newly minted SEC medalist, for finding new ways to win.

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*  It's hard to find a better person than Mic Potter, so watching his Alabama women's squad claim its first SEC title in school history was a feel good moment for a university and a good man. Potter had a tremendous career as coach at Furman, spending more than two decades there and earning a place in the NGCA Hall of Fame along with 10 conference championships. But he took a risk five years ago when he accepted the Alabama job. In hindsight it looks like a no brainer; moving to the SEC would seem to be a step up. But changing jobs later in life after such a long, successful run with the Paladins was no easy decision. He could have stayed put in South Carolina and no one would have said anything. Congrats then for taking a chance. Glad it paid off.

  • Buried—rightfully so—by the headlines from the Alabama women's title was the fact the Crimson Tide finished last at the SEC Men's Championship. There is an explanation, however, in that the team was without its top player, first-team All-American candidate Bud Cauley. The sophomore who is turning pro at the end of the season, was playing in the PGA Tour's Verizon Heritage Classic this past weekend, having earned a sponsor's exemption by winning the Players Amateur last summer. It's hard to begrudge someone for wanting to play in pro event, but it's a little disappointing to see Cauley leave his teammates to fend for themselves in Sea Island. __Jay Seawell'__s crew deserved better. Adding insult to injury: Cauley missed the cut at Harbour Town.

  • Looking for a sleeper at the NCAA Women's Championship? Consider Dianne Dailey's Wake Forest bunch. A second straight ACC title might make it hard to keep the Demon Deacons under the radar, but they'll not be far from home should they advance to nationals, which are being held at CC of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.

OK ... here is the updated Championship Master Schedule. Titles up for grabs today include Big East (men and women), Big West (W), Conference USA (W), Missouri Valley (W), Southern (M/W), Summit (W) and West Coast (M/W).

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