Oklahoma State put together one of the most-dominating seasons, finishing it off with a national championship last week, won at Stillwater’s Karsten Creek.
Who knew we’d still be talking abut the title this week? After all, it’s not college football, where we argue and bicker and “remember when” each game, season and play forever. It’s not even college basketball, where players and coaches can be heroes who are timeless and still topical – like Eddie Sutton and Hollis Price.
This is college golf, yet here we are.
Two seasons ago, Oregon won the title on its home course. Last year, the Sooners won in Illinois and this season, OSU won on its home track. Certainly, there’s no denying, familiarity with playing at home helps – it does in every sport – but in golf, knowing the elements matters a bit more. It doesn’t mean, OSU is less-deserving a title. It was the best team all season, ranked No. 1, won 10 tournaments, won the stroke play portion of the national title and then won three match-play competitions, including a 5-0 blitz of Alabama in the title match.
OSU was clearly the best team. So, why the controversy? Well, golf isn’t like football or basketball where dimensions of the playing field aren’t uniform. It’s enough of an advantage, apparently, that PGA golfer Brandt Snedeker commented and Oklahoma golfer Brad Dalke mused on what it would be like if the championship was at a neutral site.
Doesn’t really matter their reasoning, what matters is, people are talking college golf. Now, the key is to keep it that way. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are two of the best in college golf and both should be among the best again next season. Time to capitalize. Golf is an individual sport by nature, so the team aspect sometimes feels forced, but we’ve seen at the national tournament that match play can work. It’s fun to watch and an easy way for fans to get behind players who aren’t exactly household names like they are in football and basketball.
Let’s see what Dalke would do against OSU in a regular-season match play event at Karsten. Let’s see how Oklahoma State’s Matthew Wolf would fare with a bunch of Sooner fans lining the fairway at OU’s Jimmie Austin Golf Club. I’d wanna know. I’d also like to watch. In addition, it would be an event no one else in college golf is doing. It’s made for TV and it would be talked about.
College golf is at its all-time high in popularity right now, so let’s get OU vs. OSU on the course together as much as possible. Why not a Ryder Cup style competition – once in Stillwater, once in Norman – each season? If you want to see crowds, want to generate some talk and want to draw fans and grow the game, there’s nothing better than putting two schools on display.
You think fans are bad at Gallagher-Iba when a Sooner shoots a free throw, it would be amazing what could happen if Dalke was lining up a putt on the 17th green.
Bedlam Ryder Cup? Yes, please. If not now, when?