News & ToursJanuary 9, 2011

This Week's Syllabus: Early January edition

FAB FIVE__

My look at the top five teams in the country right now

MEN

__[#image: /photos/55ad7371add713143b424ec7]|||Thumbnail image for Oklahoma-state-logo-latest.jpg|||

1. Oklahoma State (Last edition: 1)

Peter Uihlein closed out 2010 in style with a victory at the Dixie Amateur. While it's going to be hard for him to top last year, I wouldn't put it past him.

Spring opener: The Amer Ari Invitational, Mauna Lani North, Kohala Coast, Hawaii, Feb. 2-4

Thumbnail image for UCLA logo 2008-09.gif

2. UCLA (3)

Still impressed with the way the Bruins closed the fall, the 11-stroke comeback in the final round changing into a 13-stroke victory. Deep squad has lots to look forward to in the spring.

*Spring opener: *The Amer Ari Invitational, Mauna Lani North, Kohala Coast, Hawaii, Feb. 2-4

Thumbnail image for Alabama logo.gif

3. Alabama (2)

Lots of talent in Tuscaloosa, what with four different players posting top-20 finishes in the fall, but also lots of expectations after two victories, a third and a fourth.

*Spring opener: *Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar CC, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 20-22

Thumbnail image for Florida logo.gif

4. Florida (4)

Bank Vongvanij's second-place finish at yesterday's New Year's Invitational suggests he's ready to continue the momentum from the fall.Michael Furci's T-4 showing is an added bonus.

Spring opener: Jacksonville Invitational, TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Feb. 1-2

Thumbnail image for Iowa logo.gif

5. Iowa (5)

I'm sure many are still trying to figure out what to make of the Hawkeyes. Four wins tells me they're for real. Interestingly, Mark Hankins' squad doesn't play a multi-day, stroke-play tournament until April 2-3.

Spring opener: Big Four Match-Play Championship, Scottsdale, Ariz., Feb. 5

WOMEN

Thumbnail image for Alabama logo.gif

1. Alabama (2)

I look at this a lot like the Alabama men's football team. The Tide came off a disappointing end of the season loss to Auburn, only to bounce back in convincing fashion versus Michigan State at the Capital One Bowl. For the women's golf team, its 11-shot second-place finish to UCLA at the Pac-10/SEC Challenge likely will serve as a bit of a wake-up call that winning an NCAA title isn't going to be easy. But it is out there for them should they put in the work.

Spring opener: Lady Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar CC (River Course), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 13-15

Thumbnail image for UCLA logo 2008-09.gif

2. UCLA (1)

It's hard to knock anything the Bruins did, particularly after closing out the fall with two victories. The only reservation would be whether the nice momentum Carrie Forsyth's team had built can carry over into the spring.

Spring opener: Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes GC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 14-16

Thumbnail image for USC logo.gif

3. USC (4)

While winless in the fall, the Trojans had plenty to be happy about. Transfer Lisa McCloskey played like anything but a newcomer and senior Lizette Salas remains among the most underrated golfers in the country.

Spring opener: Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Palos Verdes GC, Palos Verdes, Calif., Feb. 14-16

Thumbnail image for LSU logo.gif

4. LSU (3)

The Tigers will need more of the same from Megan McChrystal (68.89 scoring average) come the spring, but have the depth to back her up. Best thing for LSU fans might be the fact that the team has an SEC rival in Alabama to serve as extra motivation during the second semester.

Spring opener: Central District Invitational, River Wilderness GC, Parrish, Fla., Feb. 21-22

Thumbnail image for Purdue logo.gif

5. Purdue (5)

A pair of Boilermakers have enjoy success during the winter break. Paula Reto claimed the Dixie Amateur title last week after Alex Stewart won the Arizona Silver Belle Championship Dec. 30.

Spring opener: Lady Puerto Rico Classic, Rio Mar CC (River Course), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Feb. 13-15

__STAT OF THE WEEK

__5

Number of NCAA D-I golf championships (1976, '92 and '98 men's; 1987 and 2008 women's) held at the University of New Mexico GC, which could be closed after the school found the facility to be $4.6 million in debt. The school's Board of Regents is expected to make a decision about the course in April.

__RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

__Feels like the only thing longer than waiting for the spring golf season to start during the winter break is waiting for the national championship football game to finally be played.

__

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

__* Speaking of the BCS National Championship game, both Oregon men's coach Casey Martin and Auburn men's coach Nick Clinard have tickets for contest in Glendale, Ariz. No surprise that both coaches are predicting their school's team will be victorious. The two have yet to make a friendly wager on the game as of last week, although Clinard said that he intended to text Martin when he got to the desert.

"I've never been to a championship game so it will be kind of fun to see what it is all about," said Clinard, who got to about 80 percent of the Tigers' home games this fall.

Martin's rooting ties have a unique twist. During the 2009 season, he served as the Ducks unofficial uniform coordinator, picking what the team wore for each game from the myriad of options available through the school's deal with Nike. This season, however, the apparel maker took over the duties from Martin.

  • The USGA seems inclined to move up the traditional dates of the U.S. Amateur one week on the calendar, in part after hearing college coaches and player lament about how having the championship held in the last full week in August is starting to overlap with the first days of classes at several universities. However, according to senior director of rules and competitions Mike Davis, the association's executive committee is waiting on the PGA of America to announce when it will be holding the PGA Championship in 2013 and beyond before it makes an adjustment to the U.S. Amateur schedule that might create any overlap between the two events.

"If the PGA Championshpi was not going to be that [same] week, I really think the USGA would move [the Amateur]," said Davis, who noted that until then the association is in a "holding pattern."

It wasn't just collegians that had make inquiries about moving up the date of the Amateur. So too did the USGA's TV partners, according to Davis. "Television actually came to us," he noted, "and said, 'You know what, we think we would get more people watching the U.S. Amateur if we moved it a week early." <!-- /* Font Definitions / @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} / Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} -->

More from The Loop