Par for the Course

The Georgia men's golf team recently won their 26th SEC title. It is the most by any SEC school and it's the most conference titles by any program at the university. The Bulldogs did not stop there, Chris Haack won SEC Coach of the Year for the 3rd time, Chris Kirk won SEC Player of the Year and Brian Harman won SEC Freshman of the Year. Later this month, Georgia will look to defend its NCAA title, but first head coach Chris Haack sat down to talk to me.


Dave McMahon -- Georgia just won another SEC title, this is the 5th with you as head coach, but this time your team had to hold on right to the end, what was that like?

Chris Haack -- Anytime you go into a tournament as favorites, there is also a little extra pressure. We knew we could do it and we were relieved we pulled it out.

DM -- Chris Kirk won SEC Player of the Year, he is on pace to break the scoring record at Georgia, what is different about him this year compared to his first 2 years here?

CH -- His golf game hasn't changed that much, but he is a lot more mature now. He also has a lot more experience now. A lot of the time young players tend to go out there and try to play well, it's the older players go out there to win tournaments.

DM -- A Georgia golfer has now won the SEC Freshman of the Year 3 times in the last 4 years, these aren't your typical freshman anymore?

CH -- No. These guys have a lot more experience. Brian Harman for example has played in the US Amateur, some PGA Tour events and the Walker Cup. The freshmen come here and they feel comfortable and they realize their expectations and go for it. Hopefully their early success will continue for their next 3 years here.

DM -- As defending champions, how hard is it for the team to keep focussed when everybody is after you?

CH -- We just have to remember we have been there before. Sometimes it's good that we don't win all the time because we get hungrier to win it again. We know at any given time somebody can beat us, so we have to always stay sharp and on our game.

DM -- What are the team's strengths on the golf course?

CH -- We are great ball strikers. Also if our short game and our putting is going well, it will be tough to beat us.

DM -- If your team had to make a 10-15 foot putt to win a tournament, which of your golfers would you want out there?

CH -- Kevin Kisner has made many big putts in big situations in the past. Chris Kirk has made them, too. Actually all of our golfers had many a big putt that has helped us in the past.

DM -- What about a big drive?

CH -- Probably Richard Scott or Brian Harman. They are so accurate.

DM -- What shot do you remember most from this year?

CH -- It was the 18th hole on the final day of the SEC's. Chris Kirk was in a fairway bunker and he used a 2-iron and blasted it out and it landed about 15 feet from the hole and saved par. To show you how tough that shot was, Kevin Kisner was also in that bunker and he ended up triple-bogeying the hole.

DM -- Who is in your dream foursome?

CH -- I would put Tiger in, Nicklaus and Palmer.

DM -- Have you ever played with Tiger Woods before?

CH -- I played with him several times and he was on my team when I captained the Canon Cup teams. He was only 14,15,16, and 17 back then.

DM -- Did you know he had IT back then?

CH -- Yes, you knew he was special even back then.

DM -- Thank you for your time and good luck repeating as NCAA Champs.

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