April 15, 2013
• LISTEN TO BURCIN NEWS CONFERENCE
MADISON, Wis. -- Head coach Michael Burcin talked with the media about the Badger season and the upcoming Big Ten Championship April 26-28 at French Lick, Ind.
The following transcript was recorded at the regular Monday news conference on Monday, April 15, at the Camp Randall media room.
THE MODERATOR: Coming off their best performance of the spring, an eighth place finish at last week's Hawkeye Invitational, the men's golf team travels to French Lick, Ind., for the NCAA Championships on April 26th through 28th.
Head Coach Michael Burcin is here and will have some opening comments and then take questions.
COACH BURCIN: We played pretty well yesterday last round at Iowa. Had a couple of guys play well. John Gullberg recorded his career low round yesterday in college. Thomas O'Bryan had another good week for us. That gives us some momentum in Big Tens. We moved up the board, which is what we preach all the time. That's the right direction to go.
I think the guys are excited about Big Tens. We're going to do some qualifying this week and try to figure out who's going to go. Zach Balit, John, and Thomas are going. We're going to find two more to join them, and we're excited to get going.
Q. How much has that competition kind of helped everybody grow?
COACH BURCIN: From a qualifying standpoint? Yeah, it's good. I would love to qualify more this winter. It's been a little tough. To say the least. Just a little bit of anticipation.
No, I'd love to qualify, ideally, you've got a deep team with seven or eight guys that are interchangeable, and you can qualify and qualify and qualify. That's what you want. So we've had some guys just since we came and had some guys leave. So we don't have quite the numbers that we hope to down the road. So not the depth that we hope to have in two to three years, but I think it's good.
We have set some standards where, if you don't finish in the top 25, you're probably going to have to qualify unless you get picked. So just trying to raise expectations of what's expected around here.
Q. We hear stories from Steve Stricker about hitting balls in the range indoors when he's back home. How do you deal with it, with the team especially, as you mentioned, so much wet weather as we've had this spring?
COACH BURCIN: We have our 11,000-square foot training facility that opened in November, so that helps. That's one of the best facilities in the country. Couple that with the golf course and our short game area, we've got top five facilities in the nation. So that makes things a lot easier.
Certainly, we want to be outside. During the course of the spring, we make some trips to Florida and so on and so forth to play. It's that time of year. We were outside last weekend, this past week, and we played this week.
So it's that time of year where guys are starting to feel comfortable being outside, and you can't replace being outside in golf. If the weather is bad, we've got a really good situation with the facility out at the ridge.
We don't have any facility issues. We've got all we need.
Q. Thomas was the leader at the Big Ten Championship last year, and he's improved over a stroke from the previous year, his freshman year. Talk a little bit about how he's developed.
COACH BURCIN: Sure. Thomas has done a good job. I would think we beat on him pretty good. Thomas could be very, very good, but we have very high expectations for him.
He had an opportunity to finish in the top-10 yesterday and made some bogeys on the last three holes. We had some discussions about that. So we have to keep pushing on him. I don't think he realizes maybe sometimes how good he could be, and he certainly has made some strides.
I guess he's averaging 75 something. So we want him to be an All American. To be an All American, you have to average about 73. So he's got a ways to go. But the progression he's made from coming in we didn't recruit him. He was a freshman when we started. That's a big challenge for him.
He's been great. We're going to keep pushing him, and he knows that. But he's done a great job.
Q. Michael, has that new facility opened more doors for you? You were saying top five facility in the country. You would think so?
COACH BURCIN: Yeah, it's I don't know if I can find a word that describes how good it's been from a recruiting standpoint. In 2013 we've got a kid, the number one player from South Carolina coming, along with the top kid in state.
So years after that, which we can't talk about, are going to be very good. We haven't had we haven't had a player come through the facility that we really wanted that didn't commit, I'll put it that way. So it's made a huge, huge, huge difference.
Like I said, Iowa has just opened the building we looked at this week. When you start looking around at other buildings, like I said, the golf course, we have top five, top three facilities. From a recruiting standpoint, it's worlds of difference.
Q. The entire golf world has had a chance to weigh in on Tiger and what happened. What was your opinion on the way that all went down. Can you, or how would you be able to use that as a teaching moment for your guys?
COACH BURCIN: Teaching moment...it's funny, we had a little situation yesterday. Always call a rules official even if you think you know the situation, which he probably should have done. He got himself in a pickle by saying what he said in a situation like this.
What he did, I don't know. It's really hard to determine if it was incorrect by watching a videotape. That hole, there's some elevation change. So that divot looks two or three yards away. I've been in that spot. On TV you don't know.
But on the other hand, he sat in that press room and said, I took a drop two yards back because I liked that number more. Well, he was looking to gain an advantage, and he did. Well, that's not allowed. So he should have been DQ'd based on that.
The other area is what goes on behind the walls of Augusta National and the Tour, nobody knows. Some of my guys were really worked up about it. It's really hard to comment because you don't know.
Based on what he said, yeah, he broke the rule.
Q. Mike, you've talked about the hockey players watching some NHL game in order to see how certain players play. On a weekend like this, is that a technique you use and show some of your players, maybe some guys that play at the Masters, and see just how to approach things?
COACH BURCIN: Sure. We rushed home yesterday to watch the playoff at our facility. So we caught certainly the guys like to watch. We use it from a statistical point of view as well. Every week we put the Tour winners, their stats up on our board in the locker room for guys to look at.
What that typically tells you is those guys don't hit it as well as you think they can or do, but they chip and putt it unbelievably, and that's what saves them.
We use it kind of as a teaching point. The golf courses at this level are set up extremely difficult. We're going to go play Big Tens at French Lick, and it will be set up as 7,400 yards, and it will be blowing, and it's no different than what you see on TV.
In our sport, it's nice because you can really draw comparisons between what those guys are seeing and what we're dealing with. So, yeah, we use it every week. In many, many ways other than just watching. So helpful.
Q. Do you feel like you have the entire rule book memorized and know it in and out? How much do your players, you think, know in those situations what to do and what not to do?
COACH BURCIN: I don't have it close to memorized, I can tell you that, and I know my players don't, and Tour players don't either.
There's only 33 or 34 rules, but there's a book called the Decisions Book, and it's several hundred pages long. So, no, I would never admit to knowing everything. You've got to call the rules official in because that's kind of your saving grace.
We do talk to our guys about it. We do do some rules education here and there, but there aren't too many people in golf that have that book memorized. That happens all the time. It falls on Tiger. It's his fault, but that happens to a lot of guys. It's not that unusual.