The Tigers are a good team, maybe a great team. They are loaded with talent, have the needed depth, and are coming off a three-win fall season. Head coach Larry Penley always has his team in the mix. Penley has been at the Tigers helm for 20 years, with his teams winning dozens of tournaments over the past two decades. Conference titles and regional championships have never been a problem at Clemson.
But there is still one thing missing - a national championship.
So how is it, a team who is consistently one of the nations best over the years has not reached the pinnacle of college golf? A variety of reasons could be given for the Tigers inability to capture top honors. Running into an unstoppable teamnot peaking at the right time of the yearor simply not playing good golf when it matters most.
Penley offers no excuses. In 2002 he took off his hat to Minnesota. In 2001 he praised Florida for its amazing play. Keep in mind this was the coach whose team finished third to the Gophers and runner-up to the Gators.
The list of All-Americans coming out of Clemson in recent years is as strong as any school in the nation. Jonathan Byrd, Charles Warren, Lucas Glover and John Engler have all honed their games under Penleys watchful eye. D.J. Trahan is the next superstar for the Tigers. Trahan returns to school for his senior season with one purpose in mind winning a national title. Penley says, D.J. has some unfinished business, he wants to win a national championship for Clemson University.
I believe Larry Penley wants to win a national championship as badly as his star player. Larrys roots run deep with the school. He played his college golf at Clemson and has overseen the program to national prominence. Penley is one of the good guys, and there are many who would like to see him win that elusive crown.
Who knows, maybe this is the year Clemson breaks through. Penley sure thinks its possible, this year in particular we have the talent, the leadership, the ball striking ability, and the motivation to win a national championship.
Clemson is in familiar territory, beginning the spring season as the nations No. 1 team. The question which remains to be answered, will the Tigers be the No. 1 team when it matters most.at the end May? Only time will tell.