By Marco Salas, Sun Devil Communications Student Intern
As everyone returns from the break, the Sun Devil men’s golf program prepares to take on state rival Arizona in the second annual Coppers Cup at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Course in Maricopa Sunday to Monday (January 16-17). The Sun Devils will be looking to retain the cup after arriving last year, where the Sun Devils made a spectacular comeback.
If you’re not familiar with the Copper Cup, it’s a relatively new tournament, started last year by Southern Dunes General Manager Brady Wilson. The format of the Copper Cup is similar to the Ryder Cup, where it is team versus team, unlike other tournaments where it is an individual event. According to Wilson, this format allows both teams to prepare for a similar environment when they compete in the NCAA Tournament in May.
“The other thing is that college golf teams play a variety of tournaments, but almost all of them are stroke play or medal play where players count how many times they hit the ball. If you fast forward to the eight last teams in the NCAA championship at Grayhawk in June the last eight teams play match play so the cool thing about this tournament is that it gives ASU and Arizona a chance to play a little match play they can count on if they are the last eight teams in the domestic tournament.”
The idea for the Copper Cup originated last year when the Pac-12 canceled fall sports. Golf, which holds tournaments in the fall and spring, lost the value of a semester of competition, and Wilson thought it would be a great idea to catch up with the competition by creating an event for both teams.
“So last year we started the Copper Cup, because the schools had extra competition dates they could use that they normally didn’t have because they lost all the fall schedules. I knew everyone was just trying to find as many competition dates as they could in the spring, so I approached the two coaches to see if they would be interested. It was cool to get it from an idea. to the reality that it was last year and the proof is that they wanted to do it again,” Wilson said.
The experience for players will be equally exciting for Southern Dunes fans, as fans will have the opportunity to play on the same course as the players are playing.
“There are a number of tee times that will be available each day to play between groups because the teams play in the morning and then again in the afternoon. “It’s the ultimate day for golfers. You watch golf, play golf, watch golf again, and then do it again the next day!” Wilson said.
As this tournament gets underway, Wilson hopes to see other programs follow with their version of the Copper Cup.
“As a college golf fan, I would love to see other major college golf programs play their rival, in the same type of format. [of the Copper Cup]. It would be cool if there were a bunch of Copper Cups across the country. I’m proud that we were able to stumble upon something and create a model that everyone in college golf might want to try and replicate at some point.”