Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Golf: The NCAA Tourney A La Wayne

One of our loyal readers, Wayne G, actually attended the NCAA Golf Tournament. He has been kind enough to share his experience for your benefit. Not many of us get to attend college golf tournaments, so here's a great first-hand account. Everything below the line is Wayne's own words:


Before I post a RECAP of my day at Owings Mills to see TECH play in the Second Round I must mention the following......

One must understand that the NCAA Men’s final Golf Tournament is simply the best, most fair (not always the most exciting) sports tournament in America (and that includes all sports on all levels).

5 Men, all except 1 (1 assistant coach is allowed inside the "ropes" to follow the team - often just one player), are "islands unto themselves" - playing golf with 2 other individuals from other schools, no caddie, often no real knowledge of the course - out there with no referees, no clocks, no horrendous calls - just simply man against himself or against the course (whichever you like) or against both of those and nature (rain) all trying to do their individual share to help the TEAM. This is not "Match play" when you lye 2 over par on a hole and your opponent (or you) says to pick the ball up, this hole is over, NO WAY DUDE - finish the hole get that 6 instead of a 7 - it may mean something. You see the final tally after the 4th day could be 1134 total strokes to 1135 strokes - each stroke is crucial. The only leniency - the high score each round is dropped to allow for 1 poor round.

Now that we have established that this event has ZERO excuses I may log the following:

Friday June 3, 2005

9:30 Leave Northern New Jersey (the land of near zero interest in college sports) and start the 3.5 hour journey to Owings Mills, Maryland for the Second Round.

11:15 Stop in Delaware for a Cinnabun and coffee (Yummy)

12:50 After driving 5 miles through a beautiful rural road I arrive at the course approximately 40 minutes after first TECH player has teed-off. Parking is $5.00 and a Jitney picks me up and we head up the hill toward the clubhouse.

12:55 Arrive at Main Clubhouse area - breathtaking architecture - people and players milling about, players practicing on the putting green, others practicing at the driving range - all wearing their respective school colors. Schools were paired together at the driving range (TECH was with WAKE) - (UGA with DUKE - figures!!!). The main scoreboard is being filled-in by hand by a local pro ( I quickly see that the UGA is still in the lead - yuck)

1:25 My fellow TECH alum buddy Thomas arrives from DC raring to go - we pick up a couple of sandwiches and drinks and we head out and start our search for TECH players.

1:40 We arrive at the end of the 8th hole (par 3) and soon the 5 straight threesomes that include TECH start coming through - Larsen, Barbarosa, Thompson, Song and Castro.

2:15 We finish watching all 5 players make pars! - Tech's assistant coach is with Barbarosa, no one is with Larsen or Thompson, Song's girlfriend is following him around the course, while Castro had a small contingent of family and friends. After each player made his par my buddy and I each mildly yell GO TECH or GO JACKETS and the players take notice by smiling or tipping their hats (N. Thompson was particularly appreciative). We take 5 minutes to talk to Roberto Castro's mom - very, very nice woman and we also briefly chat with Chan Song's girlfriend - she is likewise very friendly (from St. Simon’s Island). We tell Coach Heppler of our "success" (hee, hee) in helping the Jacket players make par and he asks us to stay right there until all the players play through as a good luck charm (Who says golf isn't a superstitious game?) - which we did and as I said all did make par.

3:15 We basically repeat the same concept at the end of the 15th hole -
unfortunately not with the same results - 3 bogies out of 5 if I remember correctly. While here we meet a Mr. Martin who is this elderly gentleman who is a big TECH golf fan and we chat for a few minutes and tells us what a fine group of men this bunch is and how well they represent TECH.

4:30 Time to go - TECH still out on the course doing very well - but we had tickets for the National vs. Braves game in DC.

Final Note: When we got to my friend Thomas' house later that evening after the baseball game we go to the Internet and find out that TECH had climbed to third place and had the BEST round of any of the 30 teams (+1 as a team). Even though we knew we really had nothing to do with Tech's success (remember what I preached about how each "man is an island") we felt that we were there and even if it was for just a moment after 2 of the 18 holes we gave each TECH player (regardless if the had bogeyed or not) a round of applause and a quick "GO JACKETS" and just maybe for a few fleeting moments we reminded the players that they play for GEORGIA TECH and that they are YELLOW JACKETS!!!!


Wayne Guskind
Class of 1984
Masters of Architecture