BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
It doesn't take the football field to raise the adrenaline of the Michigan Wolverines & Ohio State Buckeyes athletic programs.
During the weekend of March 27-29, the FAU Owls hosted the Inaugural Golf Spring Break Championship at Gleneagles Country Club in Delray Beach.
Including FAU, there were 14 schools which participated in the event. They included Wisconsin, Iowa, Marquette, Eastern Michigan, Memphis, Missouri, Notre Dame, St. Johns, Northern Illinois, Illinois, Northwestern, Michigan and Ohio State.
Of these 14 schools, seven played in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament & two were in the NIT. The Wolverines and Buckeyes were in this year's NCAA field but it's no secret that their epic battles have been on the football field.
While Notre Dame's football program wouldn't take a back-seat to anyone, even the Irish's rivalry games don't match the intensity of a Wolverines verus Buckeyes clash.
Ohio State's prize Golf alumnus is the legendary Jack Nicklaus. Ohio State's Coach Jim Brown is retiring after 36 seasons and said when FAU Golf Coach Angelo Sands invited him to participate in this tournament, he was pleased and jumped at the opportunity to take his team to South Florida.
He added having Michigan in the field made the trip even more meaningful but said this tournament is a great opportunity for the Owls to network with Ohio State to play against each other in other sports especially football.
“When Michigan and Ohio State are in the field, it kind of gets your blood flowing and yes we very much so want to beat them on the golf course,” Brown said. “I think we're getting $600,000-700,000 per game but we're scheduled so far out. It's a big pay day when you come to Ohio State and play football if they can work it out. I think it's a good possibility. I know from my experience here, I'll tell them everything I can about it.”
Michigan Coach Andrew Sapp said the Wolverines were proud to be invited to this tournament and noticed one major difference facing Ohio State.
“On the golf course, we're not hitting anybody,” Sapp said. “It's not quite as intense plus we may not be paired with Ohio State. But I've known Coach Brown for a long time and I've got great respect for him. He's done a lot for college golf in the Big 10 by winning National Championships and producing a lot of tour players. There isn't as much hatred as there is with the football programs. But the kids do like to play Ohio State because they've had one of the finest programs in the Big 10 for the longest time so it's obvious that we like to raise our games to. When we play them on the golf course there will always be a little bit of ribbing going on. There is definitely passion between us.”
Michigan finished second in this tournament while Ohio State was fifth. FAU's ninth place showing was ahead of Notre Dame, Marquette, Missouri, Northern Illinois and St. Johns.
But Sands was gleaming at the possibility that this tournament will only enhance the growth of the athletic department.
“The Football helps the Golf, the Golf helps Baseball and Baseball helps this and that's what this is all about,” Sands said. “Everybody working together and going in the same direction and that's to make FAU better tomorrow than it is today. It's all about creating networking, making contacts and building relationships. Now we have a relationship with 13 major universities and I'm sure that our athletic department will foster these relationships not only as Golf as concerned but all of our sports.”
Scott Morganroth can be reached at Scottsports33@aol.com.
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