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Some of the biggest names of the modern era, from Mickelson and Woods to Rahm and Koepka, are products of collegiate golf in the United States. Here, we take a look at the best US golf programs and their famous alumni.
The Arizona State Sun Devils golf team has won the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Championship – the top annual competition in US college golf – twice, in 1990 and 96. It has also won the individual NCAA title six times – awarded to the lowest scoring player. Phil Mickelson won three times (1989, 90 and 91), matched only by Ben Crenshaw. ‘Lefty’ has won five majors, including three Masters, 44 PGA and 10 European Tour titles.
Fellow alumni Paul Casey has three PGA and 14 European Tour wins, and Jon Rahm has three and six respectively. The ASU women’s golf program is the most successful in history with eight NCAA championships, the most recent in 2017.
The Stanford Cardinal golf team has won nine NCAA Championships, most recently in 2019, and crowned three NCAA individual champions. One of them being 15-times major winner Tiger Woods in 1996, who has amassed 82 PGA and 41 European Tour wins. Michelle Wie was part of the women’s golf program and went on to win five LGPA Tour titles and the US Women’s Open in 2014.
Talented prospect Albane Valenzuela, 22, is a former Stanford All-American who was twice the US Women’s Amateur runner-up and achieved second in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. She was due to graduate in 2020, but turned pro in late 2019 after finishing T-6 at the Q Series in November.
Stanford grad Maverick McNealy, 24, earned his PGA Tour card for the 2020-21 season after finishing fourth on the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour. In 2015, he won the Haskins Award for the best collegiate male golfer in the US, becoming the third Stanford University golfer to win it after Woods and Patrick Rogers.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have won 11 NCAA Championships, with more wins than any other US college in the last 25 years. It has produced 10 NCAA individual champions, including Charles Howell III in 1998, who now has three PGA Tour titles, and Matthew Wolff in 2019, who won his first PGA Tour title that year, becoming only the third player to win both in the same calendar year, with Woods and Crenshaw.
Fellow alumni includes Rickie Fowler, winner of five PGA and two European Tour titles, and Kevin Tway who has one PGA Tour title to his name.
Winner of two NCAA titles, the University of Georgia Bulldogs golf team counts Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Kevin Kisner among its alumni. Watson has won 12 PGA Tour titles, including two Masters and two World Golf Championships. Reed has eight PGA Tour wins, including the Masters and two WGC events, and three European Tour wins. Kisner has claimed one PGA Tour win and one WGC title.
The Illinois Fighting Illini golf team is yet to win the NCAA Championships, but it has produced two NCAA individual champions. Thomas Pieters won in 2012 and has now four European Tour titles. Fellow Belgian Thomas Detry also attended and now plays on the Challenge Tour where he won the 2016 Bridgestone Challenge, and the ISPS Honda World Cup of Golf team event in 2018 alongside Pieters.
Steve Stricker attended Illinois and won 12 victories on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Match Play in 2001. He will serve as captain of the US Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits in 2020.
The Texas Longhorns golf team has won three NCAA Championships and its most recent alumni of note is Jordan Spieth. In his first year he won three events, was named Freshman of the Year and went on to help his home-state team win the NCAA title in 2012. A year later, at the age of 19, he became the fourth youngest player ever to win a PGA Tour title at the John Deere Classic. He now has 11 PGA Tour titles, including three majors.
The Florida State Seminoles golf team is yet to win the NCAA title, but it’s one of just five colleges in the US to have had four alumni win majors. Its alumni has 58 PGA Tour wins in total. Brooks Koepka won three events and was a three-time All-American during his years there. He now has seven PGA Tour wins, including two US Opens and two PGA Championships. Jonas Blixt also attended and has three PGA Tour titles to his name.
The Alabama Crimson Tide golf team has won the NCAA Championships twice, in 2013 and 2014. Justin Thomas played on the 2013 team and as a freshman won the Haskins Award for the most outstanding collegiate golfer. He has so far won 12 PGA Tour titles, including the 2017 PGA, the 2017 FedEx Cup, and the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.