Editor’s Note: This article is a part of the new Stick and Hack series “What If?” In this series, we speculate and question what the PGA Tour would look like under different circumstances. Photo courtesy of PGA of America.
Think about big-time major college football before the dreary days of the pandemic.
Here’s what you had:
Huge crowds filling – indeed, overflowing — cavernous stadiums. Fans reaching high levels of exuberance – some of that exuberance enhanced by adult beverages. Thousands wearing their team colors with pride. Tailgate celebrations across packed parking lots. The smell of fried chicken wafting across the landscape.
For many, this atmosphere represents the height of the fun that surrounds competitive sports.
What if it could be delivered to golf?
Wait. Not the blaring of pep bands. No cowbells, please. But some of the noise and energy? Yeah, bring some of that.
What we’re talking here is competitive golf mixing pros and amateurs with the aura of the alma mater thrown in.
Here’s how it would work – a PGA (and/or LPGA) tour player would be paired with the best golfer from his or her alma mater. Justin Thomas would play with a current Alabama player. Dustin Johnson would be paired with a current Coastal Carolina student.
Although most amateurs probably would be selected from the school’s golf team, that wouldn’t necessarily be the case everywhere. And some schools don’t have golf teams. Why not pick the football team’s cornerback who wields a mean driver?
What about pros from outside the United States who didn’t attend a U.S. college or university? Let them pick a player from a school that isn’t already represented.
The teams play in an alternate-shot format.
This could be fun.
Fans would be encouraged to wear their most colorful (and even outrageous) school clothing. Just imagine you’re going to a football game. Wacky colors (see: Rickie Fowler) already are acceptable for golf events – just take it to a higher level.
Players would be dressed in identical shirts and pants, with school logos and names prominent, of course. Let’s don’t argue here about possible conflicts with clothing sponsors. Just do it.
The fun could be stretched to the golf balls – gold for Notre Dame, red for Alabama, burnt orange for Texas. Oregon? Crazy colors there. This might prove a bit disconcerting for the pros, but give it a go. It’s a one-off, fun thing.
The polite part of golf would be cast aside here for just a day. No yelling during a player’s swing, please, but otherwise throw in a good shout for the team wearing your colors. Think Ryder Cup fandom cranked up one more degree.
The amateurs couldn’t play for money, of course, but imagine the honor associated with a college player holding a sparkling trophy alongside Brooks Koepka or Bubba Watson.
Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.
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