When the first whispers of athletic cuts were heard by members of the golf team, there were thoughts that their program could be getting the ax.
But in what a Temple spokesperson said was the toughest day in the school’s history, golf was not on the chopping block.
“I’m pretty sure everyone’s heart was in their throat,” said sophomore Brandon Matthews, who has set multiple program records at Temple. “Obviously, the golf team at Temple isn’t really a mainstream thing, so we were thinking we were one of the four main candidates to get cut. Our hearts were probably a little bit more in our throats then the football or basketball teams.”
With the decision in the rearview and the spring season looming, things are mostly back to normal.
“I think it’s just another day for a lot of us,” Matthews said. “For a little bit I think it made us all appreciate it a little bit more, because we could have basically not been on a team next year. Looking back, if they cut us, this would be our last semester ever for Temple University golf. I think it definitely made us appreciate it a little bit more, but as time went on, everyone kind of forgot about it and took it as another day.”
The Owls opened the spring season on March 10 at the Tiger Invitational in Opelika, Ala.
Despite an onslaught of winter weather that has impacted the Philadelphia area, the Owls have the luxury of practicing indoors whenever they want. Coach Brian Quinn has a golf academy open year-round in Conshohocken, Pa. But the lack of outdoor practice doesn’t come without consequences.
“That’s going to be a challenge for us,” Quinn said of the weather. “We’re used to having an opportunity to practice a little bit outdoors and getting some reps in. This year, we’ve been at [BQ Golf Academy] all winter long. Kids have been swinging, which is a good opportunity for them to practice out of that facility. Probably no other team in the Northeast has that ability to hit balls, where they can practice hitting balls indoors and the balls going out, so that’s a great opportunity for us and it does help us shake the rust off quicker than everyone else.”
The weather in Alabama was not a problem. The team will return home later this week.
“As of right now it’s not affecting anything dramatically different than it has in the past, but it’s definitely going to,” Matthews said. “We’re not going to be able to practice on grass until April 10 and that’s already halfway through our season. So we’re going to be hitting balls off mats into snow for a little while, when these other schools are hitting off grass and it’s not a problem at all.”
Temple spent spring break in Florida working out the kinks in order to prepare for the Tiger Invitational. The Owls will also travel to Virginia, South Carolina and New Jersey for tournaments this spring. The American Athletic Conference tournament will be held April 27-29 in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Chase Senior can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Chase_Senior.