Badger men's golf coach Michael Burcin contributed this blog from his duties as caddy for UW senior Jack Watson who is participating Aug. 11-17 in the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship in Atlanta
I begin the US Am week blog from 35k feet on my way to Atlanta, while also thinking about former Badger Ryan Helminen who, with a solid round today, can make the cut at the PGA Championship at Valhalla. Also adding to the success of our alums is Craig Brischke who competed in the US Senior Open a few weeks ago. It is fitting that there are such exciting things going on these last few days of summer as we prepare for another campaign of Badger Men's Golf.
The last two months were highlighted by strong summer play throughout the roster....and coaching staff! Sophomore Ben Skogen competed in the US Pub Links earlier this summer, Thomas O'Bryan finished these last few weeks with an under par stroke average for the summer. Assistant coach Robbie Ziegler finished second at the WI State Amateur, and Jack Watson played well nationally as well!
The Wisconsin State Open still awaits in two weeks and we look for good showings there as well. The aforementioned Jack Watson has one more small event left...hence, on to Atlanta!
Atlanta Athletic Club awaits Jack as the US Am week begins on Monday. The USGA does a terrific job of having prime facilities on the championship schedule and this coming week will be no different. Atlanta Athletic Club most recently hosted the 2011 PGA Championship in which young Americans Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner battled until Bradley took home his first major championship. AAC has been the host for 10 previous premier events of which there have been several PGA Championships, Ryder Cups, US Open, US Jrs., a US Women's Open, and a World Cup. Atlanta is a tradition rich golf town with the roots of Bobby Jones being there, so venues are a plenty in this part of the country.
A few years ago the NCAA made a rule adjustment allowing coaching staffs to caddy for each player once a calendar year in a national championship or major championship. This is where my small role in the week begins. I look forward to a week of heat and humidity and the opportunity to watch Jack cap off his successful summer.
After filling yardage books with numbers, lines, and club choices on Saturday and Sunday, I am excited about a long week of watching, while "keeping up and shutting up" .....always a good suggestion for good caddies. It is an honor to be asked to carry a bag in the prestigious event and even more fulfilling to loop for one of our own Badgers. I think its a sign of where our program is going and the type of players we are getting here and are on their way to being successful Badgers.
The US Am is a terrific celebration of amateur golf. ts a week filled with parents, coaches, equipment representatives, giants of our industry, and players reflecting on the recent summer of amateur golf while anxiously awaiting to see who can clinch the title and a trip to the Masters. I will do my best to offer some insight from inside the ropes of the most sought after amateur golf title in the world. When you are enjoying the 80 degree days in Madison from the Union Terrace, think of Jack and I as we sweat through another golf shirt, and enjoy a wonderful walk around Atlanta Athletic Club.