On Sunday evening, a day after its stunning upset at the NCAA championships, the Minnesota golf team convened at Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington for a previously scheduled awards banquet. "It's totally surreal, all these people and reporters," said sophomore Justin Smith, calling on a cellphone prior to the salad course. "I knew Gopher golf had a lot of support, but this is ridiculous." Marked for elimination only two months ago due to budget and Title IX considerations, the Gophers twice rose from the dead—grassroots fund-raising collected $1.2 million, ensuring their survival for the next two seasons, and then, at the NCAAs, a comeback over the final two rounds made them the first Midwestern team to win the national championship since John Cook led Ohio State to the 1979 title. Minnesota made its big move during a third round played in inclement weather, including hail and 30-mph winds that buffeted the Scarlet course at Ohio State. "Perfect playing conditions," said junior Matt Anderson, a onetime walk-on whose final-round 66 keyed the four-shot victory over Georgia Tech.
Cristie Kerr was dinged $1,000 last week for running afoul of LPGA rules—by half an hour. On Sunday, May 26, Kerr, who had skipped that week's Corning Classic, decided to get in a little practice at Stonebridge Country Club, site of the tour's next stop, the Kellogg-Keebler Classic. Kerr and Natalie Gulbis went out to play a nine-hole practice round at 4:30 p.m., and therein lies the rub. Tour rules prohibit members who have elected not to enter a tournament from playing the course of the next scheduled tournament until after 5 p.m. on Sunday. Gulbis was not fined because she had missed the cut at Corning.
Wondering what's become of Paul Gow, a promising rookie a year ago who has suffered a head-spinning decline in 2002? Suffering from recurrent dizziness that was misdiagnosed in January as vertigo, Gow, a 31-year-old Aussie, was prescribed Valium, which didn't exactly help his golf. "I was like, la la la, I'm five over par, it's cool," he says. "Now I know what it feels like to be Fred Couples." In March an allergist finally figured out that Gow's malady was an inner-ear infection that was disrupting his balance. Gow gave up the Valium and promptly made his first cut of the year, at the Genuity Championship in early March, but his play has been a downer since. Kemper was his 11th missed cut in 14 starts this year.