April 23, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - For the Yale men's golf team, it all comes down to one tournament. An entire year of tournaments pales in comparison to what happened this weekend. When the Bulldogs step on the course at the Atlantic City Country Club to compete for the 34th Ivy League Championship, they will be competing for their 14th Ivy League Championship and a bid to the NCAA Championships.
The Atlantic City Country Club is no stranger to big events. Founded in 1897, it is said that the Atlantic City Country Club was the "Birthplace of the Birdie" and the site at which the term "Eagle" was coined. The course has hosted six USGA events and names such as Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Sammy Snead, Bob Hope and Arnold Palmer have all played the course. In 2008, the course was listed on GOLF Magazine's "Top 100 Courses You Can Play" rankings and it has also been named in the "Top 100 Classic Golf Courses" in the country. The beauty of the course lies just beyond its greens in the 170 acres of coastal setting. But Yale players will have little time for sightseeing as they will have to deal with fast, firm, and undulating greens.
The tournament will feature the eight Ivy League teams: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.
While Yale has yet to win a spring tournament, based on Golfstat.com rankings, Yale may be the favorite. Yale is ranked 171st, while rivals Harvard and Princeton are ranked 208th and 227th, respectively. Last year's Ivy League Champion Columbia is ranked ahead of both Harvard and Princeton in 201st. Penn comes in ahead of all three and behind Yale in 191st.
But history may not be on the side of the Bulldogs this weekend, as Princeton has won six of the last nine Ivy League Championships. While Princeton and Yale have dominated the championship going back to its inception in 1956, last year's title was won by Columbia and the year before by Penn. The Bulldogs haven't won since 2003, but they are hungry to turn that around.
The Bulldogs may be helped by the strong schedule they have played this spring. The Bulldogs opened their season at the Gopher Invitational, where eight of the 12 teams had competed in the previous year's NCAA Regionals and two had qualified for the NCAA Championships, with the University of Washington finishing seventh. At the Bulldogs' Macdonald Cup in the fall, they got to compete against Oklahoma, a top-100 team. Then the Bulldogs closed out the fall at the Sycuan Invitational in California, facing eight top-100 teams in the country.
The tournament will be played over three days with one round per day. It will begin on Friday, April 24.
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity