Alabama golf coach Jay Seawell wrote a painful letter to the organizing committee of the Carpet Capital Collegiate tournament.
He told them that the Crimson Tide, who have won the prestigious tournament three times, would be unavailable this weekend -- that three members of his team would be representing the United States and a fourth would be playing for Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup.
"I hate it that we're missing the Carpet Capital," Seawell said over the phone. "It's one of my favorite tournaments. It's a great place, the tournament has great a great heritage and it was a hard letter to write."
The Carpet Capital Collegiate will have 14 teams participating this year, including the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Even without Alabama, it remains one of the best college golf tournaments of the year, especially in the fall season.
The field is stacked with six teams in GolfWeek's preseason Top 20 and five of the top 12 teams in the nation. U.S Amateur runner-up Oliver Goss will be playing for Tennessee, which means the tournament has had the 2012 U.S. Am champ in Steven Fox of UTC and the 2013 runner-up participating in consecutive seasons.
That fact alone shows the strength of the field in the tournament known as the Masters of College Golf.
"The U.S. Am is the biggest tournament of the year, but I'm glad to be back in Knoxville," said Goss, who is a native of Australia. "This week, I'm going to do my best individually and hopefully help the team out."
Former participants in the Carpet Capital Collegiate include 54 players who have won at least one PGA Tour tournament. A handful of former participants, including Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson, have won major championships.
The most recent connection is former Texas golfer Jordan Speith, who tied for second last year. He chose to turn pro after the fall season and made it to the PGA Tour through sponsor exemptions, earned a spot on the President's Cup team and is expected to be the PGA Tour rookie of the year less than 12 months after playing at The Farm as a college kid.
"There won't be a PGA Tour rookie of the year [based on rules], but there are guys capable of that in this field," UTC coach Mark Guhne said. "There's a real good chance that the national champion will come out of this field."
"And I think there will be some guys who will make it on the Web.com Tour."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...