College golf could get a huge visibility boost from the pro ranks

Let's be honest; college golf will never have anywhere close to the following of the PGA Tour. Despite the future of the game playing nine months out of the year, the college game rarely gets the visibility it deserves.

Golfstat's tried in recent years to stream live video and audio from college tournaments, but big thing holding the sport back is that unlike the pro game, the main reason fans pay attention to a particular school in the first place is because they probably graduated from said institution.

For that reason alone, about the only time you ever get to see the college kids slinging their bags on national television is during the Walker Cup.

While college golf might receive very little visibility at the moment, that could be changing. Thanks to Pacific University men's coach Brandon Goethals, we could see the best players in the college ranks teeing it up on TV in a two-man-team pro-am in the near future.

As Golfweek's Ron Balicki wrote in a recent article, Goethals has been working on a tournament currently called "The Rivalry" that will pit some of the top golf programs in the country against each other in a tournament next November. The best part of all is that the two-team event will not only have the top players from 24 invited schools, but a famous pro on each team as well.

Bubba Watson (Georgia), Jamie Lovemark (USC), D.A. Points (Illinois), Chris DiMarco (Flordia), Bill Haas (Wake Fores), Todd Hamilton (Oklahoma), J.B. Holmes (Kentucky) and Ricky Barnes (Arizona) have reportedly committed to playing in the event.

Other names on the invite list include Tom Watson (Stanford), Rickie Fowler (Oklahoma State), David Toms (LSU) and Lucas Glover (Clemson).

Even better is that Goethals has already talked to the Golf Channel about showing both rounds of the event and so far, it looks like the network is on board.

He also has talked with officials at the PGA Tour and Golf Channel and said, "They were all in favor of it." He said there's a good chance Golf Channel will televise both days of the tournament. The event falls on the weekend after the PGA Tour's final Fall Series event.

Honestly, I think this is a fantastic idea. You not only get the chance to showcase 24 of the best college golfers, but also get the opportunity to bring a rivalry feel to the college ranks during the height of the football season.

There are apparently some hurdles that need to be cleared -- including securing a $720,000 purse for the pros -- but based on the interest and excitement the tournament has received, it looks like we could see college golf take center stage next year.

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