UW Health Sports Medicine 
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

U.S. Amateur Scoring

ATLANTA, Ga. --  I am writing after three days of delayed baggage, delayed parents, lots of rain, and one hard golf course. Jack Watson's week started with a practice round on Saturday with rental clubs where we decided on wedges and a putter on the back nine. The regular flex shafts were not ideal for Jack or the 7,500-yards of Atlantic Athletic Club. 

Sunday meant another wet golf course and a reintroduction to his own clubs as they arrived late Saturday night. It only took this one bag 30 hours to get from the ticket desk to the destination...Flying is fun! 

Today, we began the US Amateur and Jack was one of 312 of the best amateurs on the planet. The AM is a interesting mix of young kids, successful college players, guys wrapping up their amateur careers and looking ahead to pro golf, and mid-ams that are trying to find lightning in a bottle and take down the younger guys who now dominate the majors of amateur golf. 

We played the Highlands Course at AAC, which hosted the 2011 PGA Championship. With almost every par 4 being 450-510 yards, it is one of the most demanding tests of tournament golf I have seen.  

I was walking this morning gaining a huge appreciation for what a tour player does to that type of setup. It was even more remarkable to see the course record scorecard of Steve Stricker on the walls of AAC. A 63 on the same route we walked this morning is a unbelievable round of golf!

Jack was certainly disappointed with his result today, but it was a great learning experience and I know he is motivated to come back strong tomorrow. We are set for 1:30 p.m. ET tomorrow off the alternate course, Riverside, which is very good, but not quite as demanding. Let's hope for a dry pattern of weather between now and tomorrow afternoon and a few shorter par 4s.  

Coach Burcin


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.

Coach Burcin 



Andersen's answer: You're on scholarship

Walk-ons have been a backbone of the Wisconsin football program since Barry Alvarez put an emphasis on the program when he arrived in Madison in 1990. Since then, 76 players that walked onto the team at UW have gone on to be awarded scholarships. Well, make it 77. 

Head coach Gary Andersen added another member to that list Sunday as the Badgers gathered for a team meeting on the eve of their first practice sessions of Fall Camp 2014. At the end of a trivia game -- bucket hats were the prize for correct answers -- Andersen posed a question to sophomore long snapper Connor Udelhoven: How many walk-ons have earned a scholarship under the current coaching staff's watch?

Udelhoven missed the multiple-choice question (the correct answer is eight, well, now nine) but that had no bearing on Andersen's decision to add him to the ranks of the players on scholarship.

One for the defense, one for the offense


- Photos: Morning Practice  |  Afternoon Practice

The Badgers split up and went their separate ways again Tuesday for the second day of practices inside Camp Randall Stadium, with one group teeing it up at 6:20 a.m. and the other taking its turn at 1 p.m.

As was the case Monday, the 16-period practices were shorter than what the team would usually face in the first week of camp, but the split-squad approach actually allowed players to take part in more reps than normal. Both sessions followed the same script, with the offense and defense squaring off in a third-down pass skeleton competition to close out practice.

The defense won bragging rights -- and the right to watch the offense be subjected to a little extra running -- in the morning practice, with CB Sojourn Shelton's breakup of a Tanner McEvoy pass intended for WR Robert Wheelwright among the highlights. It was a different story in the afternoon, with the offense getting the last laugh thanks to a couple of connections between QB Joel Stave and WR Reggie Love during the first team's reps and a nice catch and run by freshman RB Taiwan Deal on a pass from QB Bart Houston to cap the No. 2 unit's turn.

The Badgers' starting QB contenders, McEvoy and Stave, switched spots on Day 2 after Stave got the morning call and McEvoy took the afternoon shift on Monday.

Wednesday brings another set of split-squad workouts but marks the team's first practices in "Badger Gear," a limited set of pads. The full pads come out Friday, something head coach Gary Andersen is anxiously awaiting if his post-practice tweet is any indication.

Happy new year: Badgers open fall camp

Photos: Morning Practice  |  Afternoon Practice

The month-long march to a much-anticipated season opener began Monday for the Wisconsin football team, which took the field at Camp Randall Stadium in shifts for the first practices of the 2014 season.

The 14th-ranked Badgers opened fall camp -- and, in essence, their preparation for No. 13 LSU -- with a pair of split-squad sessions aimed at maximizing the number of reps for each player. The divided approach will continue Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the Badgers strap on full pads for the first time on Friday.

The morning session's 6:20 a.m. start time meant football under the lights for the first group of players, who drilled for 16 periods with a number of their teammates who were slotted into the afternoon session on hand as spectators. "If they think that they can gain something out of a practice, then they can come in and watch it," UW head coach Gary Andersen said of the non-participating players. "If I was fighting for a spot, pretty good chance I'd be sitting in those stands."

"I like the schedule," he added. "I think it's great. The reps were fantastic."

One highlight came from freshman kicker Rafael Gaglianone, who went 5-for-5 on field goal tries to open the practice, including an on-the-money boot from 49 yards that had plenty of yardage to spare. "You're going to make me comment on a kicker after one day?" Andersen quipped when he was asked about Gaglianone's performance after the day's second practice.

"He hit them all and he was very confident," Andersen said. "He said, 'Don't worry, coach, I'll make them all.' It was good. I like it. It's better than saying, 'Coach, I plan on missing three today.'"

Also drawing strong reviews was freshman wide receiver George Rushing, whose exploits in the morning session included a one-handed catch he made despite losing a shoe while running his route, and afternoon participant Taiwan Deal, who Andersen is hopeful can take the role of No. 3 tailback behind junior Melvin Gordon and sophomore Corey Clement.

Mikkelson's Amazing Race Adventure

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In this week's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy talks about the upcoming season.

t's been a special four years for the Wisconsin Softball program, going from a 177 RPI team, to back-to-back seasons, finishing ranked in the Top 25, and advancing to the NCAA Regional Championship game.  Yet we are still far from becoming a legacy program.

Our greatest challenge will be overcoming the loss of 5 starters from 2013, and four more, All-Region athletes in 2014.  When you graduate that much success, and experience, new talent must emerge within your program and from your incoming freshmen.  We will need new leaders to step in and take starring roles in our program.  With so much youth and inexperience, we'll need a tremendous amount of leadership, patience, discipline and hard-work.  Yet character and team-work really can overcome a majority of our deficits. 

The greatest asset that Wisconsin Softball 2015 holds, is our character.  This team is filled with truly inspirational young women who care about their teammates, and are driven to achieve. It will take a tremendous amount of buy-in, selflessness, and maturity to weather the storm.  Are you prepared to face the challenges of this leap year?  This is the point in history where most teams on our path experience a great slide.  It is at this point of perceived prosperity, when the times are actually toughest.  Just as experience and success are graduating, most programs are lulled into contentment and laziness.  When we think we're more than we are, we fail to truly see our team and ourselves for who we are, and frustration sets in.  With frustration comes a lack of motivation, turmoil, and dissension. 

This is a critical year in the growth of Wisconsin softball.  Climbs and improvements are never linear.  As we work to become a legacy, championship program, there will always be two steps forward, and one step back.  The question is, how big are the steps forward, and how small can we make the steps back?  As we grow, and climb and achieve, there will always be minor regressions along the.  When winning outpaces recruiting, your team is bottom heavy with inexperience, and trouble naturally arises. 

The good news is, our staff truly believes we can jump this learning curve and survive and even thrive this trap year, through character.  If this group can be the most collaborative, hard-working, selfless, and purpose-driven team in the history of Wisconsin Softball, we just might thrive.  It's the "Why and the what" that will count this season.  Why do you play, what are you playing for, why Wisconsin, what are you fighting for, what drives you, why now?     

 We are excited to enter this journey with you.  This will be your greatest test of character as student-athletes.  Your mental toughness, confidence and composure will be challenged every day.  If you focus on caring for each other, playing for each other, being great teammates, doing things the right way, being purpose-driven athletes, you may surprise every team in the country, and become one of the most memorable teams in Wisconsin Softball history.

Dekker Shines, Courts "The King"

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Dekker_Guarding_Lebron_blog.jpgFollowing his recent standout performance at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy, junior Sam Dekker was one of 30 players invited to attend the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas this week.

From the look and sound of things, Dekker has taken full advantage of his most recent opportunity.

Vote Jump Around

- Vote for Jump Around

The Badgers have reached another final four -- and, this time, the result is completely in the hands of Wisconsin fans.

"Jump Around" has advanced to the semifinal round of the SiriusXM College Sports Nation Traditions Tournament, where it is facing off against Arkansas' tradition of "Calling the Hogs" -- the contest's defending champion from 2013.

Voting for the contest is taking place on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation Facebook page and runs through 11 p.m. (CT) on Sunday.

After holding a sizable lead early, Jump Around was staring at a deficit of roughly 2,000 votes as of Thursday morning. This over this? No way. So go vote!

California Dreamin' III

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Lauren Carlini at USA Volleyball

Hey Badger fans!

Sorry about the delay, but these past few days have been crazy! This will be my last update about training with the U.S. National Team. I will also be answering some questions that fans asked on Twitter about training at the end of this article.