As a service to our membership, I will now take your hand and slowly guide you away from the worries of less-than-tall quarterbacks, players in crimson, and old men in black and white stripes. Golf is the salve we need, or at least a temporary distraction. This is that distraction.
Fall sports are underway across the country, but really mostly across the southeastern United States. And golf is one of those sports the University of Georgia student-athletes are allowed to compete in. After shutting things down in early March, real-live competition is taking place and we have some Bulldogs strutting their stuff.
On the Women’s side, the squad traveled to West Point this week. The West Point that is in Mississippi, and near the Hudson that is not a river but is a combo gas station/juke joint. Playing in The Ally, the ladies started slow but climbed the leaderboard each day finally finishing fifth overall behind winner South Carolina, and LSU, Auburn, and Ole Miss. See, the “conference only” competition also extends to the other sports. But hey! We beat Tennessee (again), Florida, and even Alabama!
A couple of weeks back, the season officially got underway at The Blessing Collegiate Invitational (I have no idea where they get these names). The BCI kicked off the golf season with all 28 SEC golf teams (men’s and women’s). Played in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the women did not get off to a great start, but did improve their scores each day to eventually place fifth. Home team Arkansas really ran away with this one, as knowledge of your home course is a significant and distinct advantage in collegiate golf.
The men also played in the Blessings, their only live action so far this academic year. Paced by All-American Davis Thompson (4th in individual standings), Coach Haack’s troops really never got anything going, and their 11th place finish in a 14 team field was far below expectations. With Thompson and Junior Trent Phillips, both highly decorated junior and collegiate golfers, the Bulldogs should be in contention literally every time they tee it up.
In the professional ranks, we are seeing some strange things this fall, mostly due to the schedule. Several spring events were not canceled, merely postponed and are now being competed or imminently so. You already know that Georgia’s own Hudson Swafford captured an emotional 2nd PGA Tour title a few weeks back. Did you know that former Georgia players have combined for 32 Tour wins since 2010? The next closest collegiate program over that span is Coastal Carolina at 21 - and every single one of those wins are from Dustin Johnson.
The next week in Mississippi, Brian Harman and Chris Kirk both made the cut but didn’t necessarily finish very high (3 other former Bulldogs didn’t play the weekend). Two weeks ago the Tour moved to Vegas for the Shriners Hospital Classic, and yes they drove ridiculously small golf carts in tight circles in formation during the round. The results were a little better for our boys, as Brian Harman tied for 13th, Russell Henley tied for 27th, and Sepp Straka tied for 43rd (Mitchell, English, and Swafford all missed the cut).
Since the Tour happened in Vegas, the Tour stayed in Vegas to play the CJ Cup this past weekend. Normally this is held in South Korea, but international travel isn’t especially beneficial these days. So it was moved to the ultra-exclusive Shadow Creek Club - which you might have seen for the Tiger/Phil charity match two years ago where Phil won $10 million for just playing 18 holes. Anywhoo, this time around it was a full four round event and Georgia’s own Russell Henley led after 3 rounds. Between a ho-hum 2 under par final round, and a furious charge by Jason Kokrak, Henley finished 3rd along with Harris English in 10th place and Brian Harman T28.
This week is the Zozo Championship, also moved (from Japan to Sherwood Country Club in southern California). This is famous for being the 82nd and career-tying win for Tiger Woods. And it will be his first action since missing the cut at the US Open in early September. But it also includes 6 former Bulldogs, all Tour winners unto themselves: Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Bubba Watson, Kevin Kisner, Harris English, and Brendon Todd.
Next week is the Bermuda Championship where Brendon Todd is the defending champion and started an unlikely climb back towards golf’s elite. The Tour then moves to Houston as a warm-up for the November 12th Masters in Augusta. So lot’s going on in the world of golf, and your Bulldogs are well represented. I hope this soothed your nerves and made you forget that their are questions under center, that MacIntosh was injured Saturday, that our receivers are dropping passes, and Mac Jones showed everyone a blueprint of how to score on the Georgia defense. You’re welcome.
And as always...