Mike Lantry, 1972
We're already a few weeks away from the spring game and recruiting is in full swing. With two commitments under their belt the coaches are expecting a few more to come in before or during the spring game. Here's a look at a few visit reactions, upcoming visits, and general notes.
6'5", 228 lbs.
North Canton, Ohio
Appleby has been making his rounds across the country for unofficial visits. He took a trip out to Florida to see the Gators and then made his way up to Ann Arbor.
I wasn't offered on this trip, but we sat down with the coaches and they told me what they want out of me to get that offer. They said they want to see me at their camp and based off of that we'll talk about an offer. They told me that they've seen my film and that they really like me but they want me to camp before they offer.
Normally when you hear that from a prospect it's not good news. However, Appleby has the talent to eventually get an offer depending on what happens with Zeke Pike and Maty Mauk. The fact that Michigan hasn't offered isn't discouraging him.
With Coach Hoke we were just building the relationship and he told me they definitely think I'm a D1 quarterback. It's a challenge to me because I have all the confidence in myself and I'm excited to prove what I know I can do.
Austin got the full treatment from the coaches and felt that he got a good idea of who the new Michigan coaches are.
We met with the coaches and Coach Singletary. We went straight to practice and the players were popping around. They look like a whole new team, I definitely think they're on the right track. The overall enthusiasm and attitude was great. Everything they do is about beating Ohio State. I think the coaches were great, they were honest and genuine. It's hard to compare visits, but I'm definitely interested in Michigan.
I think Michigan would be in good position with Appleby if they were to offer. We'll see if that happens.
6'3", 220 lbs.
I brought up Antonio as a name to keep an eye on a few weeks ago. He hasn't been offered yet, but is planning on taking a trip to Ann Arbor this Saturday.
I'm really interested in Michigan. That was my favorite team growing up. I talked to Coach Hecklinski and they haven't offered yet, but they really like me.
Morrison is hoping for an offer this weekend, and if Michigan does offer they could vault into his top group.
I know the coaches from San Diego State, but I don't know too much about them. I have about ten offers right now but the schools I talk to the most are Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana. [Michigan] would definitely be in my top three schools if they offered. I don't really have a leader yet, but if Michigan were to offer they might be at the top.
There are already a good amount of linebacker prospects with offers that Michigan is in good position with. We'll see if Antonio does get offered this weekend, but I wouldn't be shocked if he wasn't.
6'4", 295 lbs.
Battle Creek, Michigan
Latta is a big prospect that hasn't started to pick up steam with his recruitment yet. He currently has offers from Wisconsin and Western. Some schools prefer him on the offensive line and some prefer defensive line. Michigan has shown interest in Kelby, and the new coaching staff has made that feeling mutual.
I like the kind of mentality the new coaches are bringing and starting to get. I like the style of ball they're playing, and I just want to see what kind of coaches they are and how we get a long.
Kelby hasn't picked up many offers yet so he isn't anywhere near making his final decision. He does have an idea of how it will play out though.
I want to have it down to three schools by the time football season comes around. I know Wisconsin will be in there and the other two spots are open. Michigan has a chance to be in there. I'll probably make my final decision at the end of the season. I'm really just looking for the style of play, if they can win, the coaches, the class I'd be coming in with, and the education.
Wisconsin is the leader for now, but Kelby has interest in finding out more about Michigan. Latta says that the Michigan coaches have told him they prefer him on the offensive line. They have quite a few offers out already to offensive linemen with around 4 committable spots left.
- If you missed it you can take a look at what QB Zeke Pike thought of his visit to Michigan here. Pike just took in Arkansas this past weekend, but Michigan has done a good job of getting in the conversation. Zeke plans on making his decision within the next few months and as of now Michigan has a great chance.
- Visit reactions from Minnesota OL Jonah Pirsig and Ohio TE AJ Williams are here.
- East Detroit TE Ron Thompson told me he will be making his decision within the next few weeks. He doesn't have a set date, just whenever he feels ready. Michigan is in good position.
- Ohio LB Kaleb Ringer will be announcing his decision on April 15th at 6pm EST. Michigan is in good position here as well.
- Michigan offered Texas fullback EJ Fatu (5'10", 235 lbs). His late father was Eddie Fatu, the WWE wrestler and his cousin is The Rock.
[Ed-M: Bumped because this is all important stuff. Photos: MGoBlue.com: all from March 30 practice. Click through to see, among other things, Urban Meyer on the sidelines.]
I want to start by wishing a Happy Birthday to Bo. Born this day in 1929.
I attended practice yesterday and here are some very random notes and observations.
I gravitate to the LBs because that's what I coach and I try to pick up new drills/techniques. Here are the 11 guys who were working with the LB corp: Cam Gordon, Brandin Hawthorne, Marell Evans, Kenny Demens, Isaiah Bell, Mike Jones, Jake Ryan, JB Fitzgerald, Paul Gyarmati, Brandon Herron, Jordan Paskorz. They were running a lot of basic drills because, quite frankly, this group has a LOT of work ahead of them.
- Cam Gordon is ALL of 6' 3". He's gotten taller since he was a senior in HS (I know because I stood next to him at a spring practice last year and I was definitely taller than him). He looks good, physically. He's added a significant amount of muscle and has real good pop. During one particular drill where the LB shuffles downhill then forms up on the "ballcarrier," Cam surprised the ballcarrier with an explosive pop. It was either Bell or Demens. Whoever it was felt it, I can promise you that.
- Josh Furman has sweet dreads. He's a good sized kid too and got a lot of reps
- Marell Evans got a lot of reps with the ones during the scrimmage. He seems very comfortable with his teammates and coaches.
- Jake Ryan's helmet is chipped all to hell, which tells me he keeps his head up at the point of contact and has a nose [Ed-M: Or more accurately forehead] for the ball. I thought Cam looked taller but they're both listed at 6'3" on the roster.
During the scrimmages, the defense moved around a lot, displaying multiple looks. Although they were running a 4-3, Mike Martin was lined up over the center (or shaded) most of the time.
Big Will and Q got a lot of reps (with the 1s and 2s). I think Will probably gets more coaching than any kid on the team. It appears to me that the coaches REALLY believe they have something special in Will if they can just coach him up and bring it out of him. He is a big kid with a lot of potential and could be scary good if he makes up his mind and puts in the work. BTW, Will talks a lot of shit. On one play, he pursued Devin to the sideline and out of bounds, gave him some lip, then smacked the ball out of Devin's hands. It was all in good fun and I think it shows that Big Will is feeling like he's an integral part of this team. BW is big but QW isn't far behind. These two have a chance to make a huge impact, if they simply learn to work hard and realize what they can achieve.
Curt Mallory is by far the most intense person on the entire field. He is working hard with the DBs.
It's obvious both sides of the ball are learning new schemes. Lots of mistakes and miscues. However, the intensity is there. Ryan Van Bergen is your vocal leader of the defense.
Here are the DBs I noticed getting lots of reps: Courtney Avery, Jordan Kovacs, Thomas Gordon, Floyd Simmons, Cullen Christian, Jared VanSlyke, Greg Brown, Marvin Robinson, Tony Anderson, and Al Backey.
- During one scrimmage, Jordan Kovacs dropped the hammer on an outstretched Je'Ron Stokes. It was a BIG lick, but Stokes held onto the ball and popped right up.
- Courtney Avery ran with the 1s all the time. He looks good although I think 5'11" is generous. I talked with his dad (Courtney Sr) for a while. Super nice family (mom and younger brother were there too). He said everything is completely different for Courtney and it's like starting over: Terminology, technique, alignment, philosophy, scheme.
- Cullen Christian has sweet tats on the back of both arms. Written in old english font with a 2 and C on the left arm and 4 and C on the right. (That's some Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporting, isn't it?)
- Speaking of tats, it's one thing I noticed we have a LOT of. There's some sweet artwork out there.
- Woolfolk and Floyd were off in the corner with a S&C coach, working their asses off. The coach had one of those punching dummies that the two players would take turns delivering two handed shivers in rapid succession.
Here's something I'm sure you'll all be fired up about: the 1st team D owned the first team O in Red Zone scrimmage. Three times in a row the D stuffed the O, including a 1st and goal from the 2 which resulted in a fumble, recovered by Herron. The defense was noticably more vocal than the O, but I don't think that means anything other than the O is doing a lot more thinking, rather than just playing.
It was quite evident that this was the first week of practice under a new system. On the other hand, the 2nd team O scored in one play (both passes to the right side) TWICE against the 2nd team D.
Offensively, Rocko Khoury was the center during the scrimmages, but Molk participated in the conditioning. I don't recall seeing Molk out on the field, but maybe I just overlooked him (shame on me).
Your first O line was (from left to right) Huyge, Barnum, Khoury, Omameh, Schofield. Lewan wasn't in pads. Second O line was Barnum, Khoury, Burzynski, Pace, Gunderson.
Every time I looked up, it seemed Drew Dileo was retunring a punt or kick. There was a decent amount of time devoted to special teams at the begining and end of practice, which I thought was, you know....... important (lol). Both kickers were lined up on opposite hashes (Seth on the right hash, Brendan on the left), starting with 27 yard kicks then moving back to 35 yarders. I will leave you with this....... they need more practice.
I didn't watch the offense all that much as I was trying to concentrate on what the defense was doing and who was on the field. However Denard is sweet. His smile and personality resonate from across the field. I honestly feel like we have been blessed, not with just a hell of an athlete, but a hell of a kid. That is all.
Finally, I had a chance to talk with Coach Jerry Hanlon for a bit. I haven't seen him in a LONG time, but he looks and sounds great. I'm surprised he still has a voice because he did a LOT of yelling back in the day. I remember one spring practice, for some reason, Coach Hanlon decided to coach from the press box, which was really odd. Nobody ever did that.. Anyway, we were going through a scrimmage or inside skele and all of the sudden, from WAAaaaay on high, this high-pitched, angry voice bellowed down from above. It brought practice to a screeching halt as everyone stopped what they were doing so they could take in the ass chewing Coach Hanlon's dished out to some poor linemen from 100 feet in the air. I guess you had to be there, but it was memorable.
These updates are a little late, but I tried to space everything out so it wasn't all one big bombardment. Here are two more updates from last week's junior day visit from Minnesota OL Jonah Pirsig and Ohio TE AJ Williams.
6'9", 300 lbs.
Blue Earth, Minnesota
Yes, Jonah is 6-foot-9 and he's from a place called Blue Earth. [Ed: Next time Tom talks to him I'll have him ask if he's got a pet ox and has been bewilderingly located in East Lansing of late.] Pirsig has racked up some big time offers--Auburn, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, MSU, Ohio State, and Wisconsin to name a few. He took in Ann Arbor this past weekend and got a chance to talk with his potential position coach.
Right away we had a meeting with Coach Funk. We didn't watch tape or anything, but he gave me some history of the coaching staff and what he's done with offensive linemen. He went over the depth chart and his coaching style. He said they'll be running pro style but they're going to still run Denard. I think I definitely fit in that offense. Coach Hoke was talking with my dad and me. We didn't talk much about football, just about random stuff like two guys.
Pirsig came up on a off practice day so they weren't able to watch any actual coaching. That may not have been a negative though as it gave him more time to interact with the coaches.
We went in the Big House and it was pretty overwhelming walking out on the field. They gave us some facts and told us that they're planning on adding about 10,000 seats eventually. We got a tour of the locker room and the training room. I think this visit helped Michigan because I was just talking to the coaches, and now I can put faces and personalities to the name.
Jonah said he wants to narrow things down pretty soon, but he's not exactly sure when that will happen. Like he said, this visit helped Michigan but I have a feeling they still have work to do.
6'6", 260 lbs.
Williams has put together a nice offer list himself with Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, MSU, NC State, and WVU among the programs interested. AJ journeyed up to Ann Arbor with his father and both seemed to like what they saw.
It was great. I love the facilities and the way the coaches welcomed us in. I went with my dad and he loved it too. He loved how the coaches showed me how I would fit in and how they were honest about everything.
Williams was also up on a non practicing day, but there's always plenty of things to see and people to talk to.
We talked to Coach Hoke and he is a great guy. I love how cool he is with just talking about life and how it's not all about football. He was having a good talk with my dad. I would say this trip was a solid 9, and it helped Michigan.
This visit really seemed to make an impression on both AJ and his dad. He's not sure when he'll make his final decision, but he said it will be either before his football season or before his basketball season next year. After this visit Michigan has put themselves in good position.
As we all know, there have recently been many scandals involving paying football players (Cam Newton, recruiting, OSU players selling gold pants, Tattoo-gate, etc). It's not just football players involved, either: we all know what happened with the Fab 5. Is paying sports players so bad though? We all know that universities make millions of dollars based on their football - and to a lesser extent basketball - programs. In addition, many players come from extremely poor backgrounds and must support their families and/or kids. Obviously, if we were to pay them, it would need to be legalized by the NCAA.
First, I know that many of you do not believe in paying sports players. Why pay them when they're already receiving a free education worth 200K? I would like to present an unusual but strangely compelling analogy between football players and PhD students. As an engineering PhD student, I've noticed many similarities between the two. Obviously the analogy isn't perfect but I consider it to be an interesting one.
- Both PhD students and football players provide more value to the University than they receive in direct compensation. PhD students draw grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars from companies (if you're an engineering or science PhD student) and the federal government. A good PhD student provides a lot of exposure for the University in the research community and in the news: when you read about some professor's science breakthrough in the Science section of the NY Times, keep in mind that the PhD students working for the professor are the ones who did 99% of the work. In compensation, the PhD student receives free tuition (sounds familiar?), and a minor stipend for living expenses. Obviously, we all know that football players generate way more money in athletic revenue and generate tons of exposure for the university: see the Doug Flutie effect. Also, would anyone not in Idaho have heard of Boise State University if it weren't for football?
- Both PhD students and football players get a free education. All PhD students do not pay for their tuition, either receiving funding through teaching (TA), research (RA), or an internal or external fellowship.
- The #1 job of PhD students and football players is not to do well in class. The #1 job of the PhD student is to do lots of research. Taking classes is mostly to learn some background information, although one or two classes will suffice for their research area. Of course, they need to take more classes to graduate. After the first few classes, all other classes are just for the sake of your own interest, to "make you a better person." Your advisor will also pressure you to spend more time on research and less time on classwork (assuming that you're not in danger of failing out). Obviously most coaches would rather their star football players focus on football rather than studying (assuming that they're not in danger of failing out).
As we can see, from a high level perspective, there are many similarities. The difference is that PhD students get a stipend, which varies based on the school and the location. Also schools may offer PhD students different amounts of money for their services based on how good they are. For example, an OSU PhD student choosing between OSU, MIT and Stanford will probably get a larger offer from OSU than one who just got into OSU. Stipends range between 15K to 30K a year, based on the department, school, and your attractiveness as a candidate.
Aside from these points, PhD students and football recruits share another similarity: recruiting visits. Obviously they aren't as lavish as the football recruiting visits, but schools still make an effort to wine and dine you, paying for your airplane tickets, hotel rooms, and gourmet food.
So if we wish to pay football students, how much money should they be offered? It shouldn't be too crazy: they're still basically amateurs, and frankly many smaller schools can't afford it. However, they should be paid enough to support themselves and possibly a family. Guess what? That sounds exactly like a PhD stipend! PhD stipends are already designed to support a student's living expenses and be able to just barely cover them if they already have a family. They are designed to be affordable for the school, competitive with other schools, and support the student based on the cost of living in the area.
Based on these facts, I propose that football and basketball student athletes be paid as much as the minimum PhD student stipend at the university (maybe multiplied by some value between 0 and 1 since athletes already have many aspects covered such as food). The stipend is enough to support them and encourages universities to pay their PhD students more money if they would like to raise the stipend for their sports players, thus fostering better research. The NCAA has said many times that student-athletes are students first, so now it's time for them to prove it or shut up. Making the football stipend based on some academic stipend is a good way to do it since it will improve the quality of graduate education as well as giving student athletes enough money to support themselves and their families back at home.
What if the school does not have a PhD program? An alternative strategy is to make the student athlete stipend based on the minimum professor salary. Here are some examples for what the student athlete salary can be:
Athlete Salary = A * (Teaching Assistant stipend)
Athlete Salary = B * (PhD stipend)
Athlete Salary = C * (Assistant Professor salary)
Where A and B are maybe between 0.5 and 1, and C is around 0.1 or so.
TLDR: Here's the main question that I'm posing: how do we distinguish between Div 1 basketball and football players from PhD students, in light of the fact that they both produce more value than what they receive?
[Ed: bump for Masters.]
For the last year and a half, one of the most exciting collegiate golfers in the Big Ten Conference has been Michigan Golf Team captain Lion Kim. In a little more than a week, Lion Kim is going to be, for at least for the month of April of 2011, the most famous Michigan athlete on Earth: as the reigning United States Amateur Public Links champion, Lion has been invited to play in the 2011 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club. He will be watched by a billion viewers on the Masters' worldwide telecast, and untold millions in his birthplace of South Korea.
Lion was born in Seoul, Korea and emigrated to the United States with his parents when he was barely a year old, first living in New Jersey where his father operated a New York area business, and then to Lake Mary, Fla., where he worked seriously on his competitive golf game before accepting a golf scholarship to the University of Michigan.
In the summer of 2009, the Michigan golf team barely qualified for the NCAA Division I Golf Championships to be held at the Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, the historic site of numerous USGA and
The 2009 NCAA D-I Championships marked a sea change for collegiate golf; a new/retro format involved team-match play with teams grouped into brackets as in the NCAA basketball brackets. (For non-golfers, “match play” is where two golfers play against each other, counting whether each hole is won or lost. The Ryder Cup is a well-known team-match play format. “Medal play,” on the other hand, is the format that most
The 2009 NCAA Golf Championship also marked a turning point for Lion Kim and the Michigan Golf Team. After having barely qualified, they proceeded to go to the semi-finals, including a thrilling victory over a highly-ranked
From then on, Lion Kim has become one of the best players in college golf. He qualified for almost every major amateur event last summer, and in five grueling North Carolina July days at the Bryan Park Golf Course in Greensboro, Lion Kim won the United States Amateur Public Links Championship. By tradition every year, the USAPL winner, as well as the United States Amateur finalists and the winner of the British Amateur, are all invited to the Masters Tournament at Augusta.
I spoke to Lion last year; he was gracious to talk for a while as he was practicing for the Western Amateur at the Skokie Golf Club just outside of Chicago. At that time, he was looking back with satisfaction on his Masters-qualifying win in the
AP: Lion Kim clinches his final match in the USAPL, 6 and 5.
Section 1: Lion Kim welcome to MGoBlog and thank you so much for taking some time to talk with us while you’re playing in the Western Amateur.
Lion Kim: Yeah, no problem.
S1: First of all congratulations on the US Amateur Public Links, but also congratulations for what really now has been a great run for you for going on for a little bit more than a year now. How does it feel to be a national champion?
LK: You know, obviously it is an amazing feeling; never did I think this summer that I would win one of the biggest Amateur golf tournaments in the world. Not just in the US but one of the amateur tournaments around the world and I just feel very honored to be named a national champion and at the same time it’s very humbling because I realize that, you know, with this success obviously there is going to be some expectations now, and I enjoy those types of pressures and am really looking forward for the challenge ahead of me.
S1: Your own game, Lion, seems to have gone to a new level, at the same time that the Michigan Golf Team’s collective game has gone to a new level starting back last year at the NCAA’s at Inverness. Can you talk about that stretch of time for us?
LK: Well, yeah, I mean since then I obviously gained a lot of confidence at NCAA’s and but you know overall just, I gained so much confidence in Michigan Golf Program and the coaches and in my teammates and obviously what we were able to do at Inverness Golf Club was amazing but at the same time, honestly in my opinion I was not really surprised because I knew our team was really capable of accomplishing big things like that and ever since then you know I personally gained a lot of confidence through that experience and I just knew actually that week that I am a good player and I really start to believe in myself and ever since then I just kept working hard and am just very lucky that all of my hard work paid off at the US Public Links Championship because obviously with that win, you know, I get some cool invites to
S1: Yeah it is going to be a very, very cool year for you coming up. Any particular memories from your time at Inverness? I was there, and I happened to be standing next to Bronson Burgoon when he hit that gap wedge shot on the last hole of the last match which was pretty exciting. What are your memories of Inverness?
LK: I guess I mean it is tough not to pick my shot on 17 to close out the deal against
S1: Yeah. How did it feel to play in that new NCAA format at Inverness?
LK: Well very exciting obviously. You know in match play, anything can happen and to be honest with you, we were a good team that year but we weren’t a great team and
S1: Jack Nicklaus was very excited about that format and he thinks it is a great thing for college golf. He thinks it is a great thing for young golfers that want to be better golfers to get that experience in match play.
LK: Yeah I mean, I definitely agree with Mr. Nicklaus. I think that if you become a good match play player, if you’re a great match play player, it really means that not only are you a good golfer but you are just mentally tough because in match play you just really have to be tough because how I like to think of the match play is when I see our opponent plays good, you just need to play great. And if your opponent plays great, you’ve just got to play phenomenal golf. There is nothing to it, you got to do whatever it takes to beat your opponent and you know, you just have to answer. That is the type of attitude I have in match play and again going back to what Mr. Nicklaus said, it makes you a better player I think, when you play a lot of match play events.
S1: Yeah. Did you meet him when you were down there at Inverness?
LK: Yes, I was very lucky enough to meet him at the player’s dinner and I also actually have a picture that I took with him at the player’s dinner and it is hanging up on my wall, the picture is hanging up on my wall in my home in New Jersey. A very special moment.
S1: Fantastic thing, to get a picture with him. Well you’ll never forget that. I have my own picture of me caddying for him in 1973 when I was a 17 year old and he was at the peak of his powers then. At that time he was a few years younger than Tiger Woods is right now, so yeah you will love that picture forever. But I will tell you, Jack Nicklaus is a Buckeye through and through.
LK: Yeah I understood that. That is why it made it sweeter to even go up to him and say that I am Lion Kim and I play for the University of Michigan and he almost did not want to take a picture with me, but obviously he is a great man and it was just a fun thing I got from a little rivalry feeling between Ohio State and Michigan.
S1: Yeah, what is it like playing Ohio State in golf matches?
LK: You know obviously, it does not get as intense as it does in football. But we all know that Ohio State and Michigan have the best college rivalry. Maybe, in my opinion, the best rivalry in sports period. I mean it is just a fierce rivalry, but in golf, I mean Ohio State knows that they want to beat us really bad and same with us we want to beat them very bad. But at the end of the day know that we are friends and will be a gentleman and shake their hands, whatever the result is.
S1: We hear a lot about recruiting in football and basketball, but talk to us a little bit about recruiting in golf and about your own recruiting.
LK: Yeah, well you know I am a guy from Florida and everybody asked me why would I go to Michigan, going up north to play golf. You know when people or my buddies ask me that question, I say look -- plain and simple Jack Nicklaus went to Ohio State, Luke Donald went to Northwestern, Steve Stricker went to Illinois and I could go on and name all of these great players that have played school up in the Midwest or just north and you know I tell them that weather really should not be a factor and I understand golf is an outdoor sport but you know if you are really dedicated to the game and if you are really passionate you are going to find a way to improve no matter what the weather is like. That is the attitude that I have and since my first American home had been in New Jersey, I have seen the weather before and it was not really a surprise for me when I came up to Michigan.
S1: So, Joey Garber is coming down to Ann Arbor from Petoskey, he is really having a great summer too. He is out there in Chicago with you right now for the Western Am, right?
LK: Yes he is.
S1: And you have got one other teammate that has made the field at the Western?
LK: Actually there are four of us; including me and Joey, there is also Matt Thompson and Jack Schultz.
S1: (Laughs.) That’s good; you calling Joey your teammate already.
Yes. (Laughs.) Right; he is, yes!
S1: Joey is having a really good summer. I am not sure; did he qualify as an alternate for USAmateur qualifying?
LK: Yeah, he is the second alternate right now. I think he just fell a couple of shots short to make it. But he is an alternate, he still has hope.
S1: So, you're exempt for the USAmateur by virtue of your great win in the Public Links. You did not have to go through qualifying, right?
LK: After my win I actually called the US AM the following day and said I am scheduled to play in my qualifier in a week and I said, you know I am guessing I am exempt, and they said yes you are exempt and we will just take your name off of the qualifying list and the lady was really nice and she said you are already set and no worries about showing up to your qualifying time. Which was a good feeling because a lot of guys over the summer really, even no matter how bad, or how poorly they were playing in the summer I think every college kid’s goal in the summer really is to at least to play in the US Amateur. So, it is always in the back of our minds; Am qualifying. But for me luckily I won’t have to qualify for a couple of years.
S1: Well for those that are not quite as tuned to it as you and I might be, the USAmateur is obviously the premier national championship for amateur golfers but in the exact same breath you would mention the USAmateur Public Links Championship which you won this year.
S1: The Public Links is kind of interesting because it was started specifically by the USGA to provide a championship for players that weren’t members of private golf clubs.
S1: And honestly I will tell you Lion; before this interview with you I had never before seen the questionnaire form that you have to fill out for the Public Links. And they really do ask all of those questions about whether you are a member at a private club.
LK: Yeah, and you know what is funny is that they even call to make sure, they even call a club just to make sure that you are really not a member. The first year I qualified to apply for the Public Links, I sent in my application, got all of my travel arrangements ready and then someone from the USGA called me up and said, “Lion unfortunately you are not eligible to play in the Public Links yet because you did not get rid of your [Florida golf club] membership ahead of time...” What I learned then was that you have to go a full year without being a golf club member. And I had gotten rid of my club membership in high school because I was going away for college and obviously it would be a waste of money to spend the monthly payment when I am not going to be there for the majority of the year. So my dad figured well if I am not going to be there, then why bother paying all of this money. So we got rid of it. But yeah, it had been less than a year before that application. I mean they have some really strict rules, you know, they said you will be eligible for the next year, but not that year. So you’re right; they are very strict about that.
S1: Yeah, it is a really interesting thing. I do not know if you were aware of it, but the origination of the United States Amateur Public Links came about way back I think in the 1920s as a result of a guy from Detroit, it was James Standish who was later a President of the USGA and a member at the Country Club of Detroit who had the idea to start the Amateur Public Links; it is his name that is on the trophy. You will have to look at your trophy to see if you see his name there.
LK: (Laughs.) Really, okay.
AP: Lion Kim, holding the Standish Trophy following his USAPL win.
S1: So there is a nice little Detroit connection there for the Amateur Public Links, he would sure be proud to see a guy from the University of Michigan win it...
Yeah, so as a result of your win at the Public Links you are going to Augusta.
LK: Ha, yes, that is the plan. I did not get my official invitation yet, but that is usually the tradition, I think when you do win the USGA, Public Links or US, you get invited to the Masters.
S1: I think you will get your invitation in about February.
LK: Haha. Okay.
S1: They will mail it to you and obviously your Masters Invitation is probably going to go into a frame and go into your office someday.
LK: Yeah, I will definitely frame it for sure.
S1: Yes. So, tell me have you ever been to Augusta?
LK: No I haven’t. I have never even been to a practice round, never been to anywhere close to Augusta, the City of Augusta, period. So I am really looking forward to it. I plan on playing a practice round maybe in October. I look forward to going down there.
S1: Well I think that they will welcome you and they will be very, very happy to have you down there and you will get to see the Crow’s Nest.
LK: Yeah, hopefully. I think all the Amateurs get to stay at the Crow’s Nest so yeah I am looking forward to that too.
S1: So tell me who is going to caddy for you?
LK: I am not really sure yet. I mean, I have been asking a lot of my friends who have played there in the past and to be honest with you I am getting two kinds of advice. Some say you should take your dad or friend or a coach. Some people say you need to take a local caddy. But right now, I am not sure yet. I have not really made my decision. Obviously I will make my decision leading up to it, but I have a lot of time to really think about it. So, I am not really sure yet to tell you the truth.
S1: Sure, well when you go down there for a practice round, you may get a chance to meet some of the local caddies and they will surely be interested in you.
LK: Yeah, right, hopefully.
S1: You cannot believe how hilly it is. You just never see it on television. It just doesn’t show up on a two-dimensional television screen. The whole thing is on a big side hill from the clubhouse at the top of the hill going all the way down to the 12th green and 13th tee, which is the lowest part of the property down there by the Rae’s Creek. But the extent and the severity of the hills are just absolutely amazing. You have no idea, no appreciation until you see it live. So, it will be fun to go down there and see it for the first time.
LK: Hmm, yeah, really looking forward to it, very excited to see it.
S1: Well when you won the Amateur Public Links the first thing everyone was trying to think of was whether you would be the first University of Michigan team player to play in the tournament and as far as I have been able to tell, you are the first U of M student that will ever be a Masters’ participant. But there have been some other Michigan guys that have played in it over the years. As far as I can tell the last Michigan alum who played in it was John Schroeder back in the 1970s and 80s. Before that you have to go back to the 1930s when Chuck Koscis and John Fisher played in it as amateurs then.
LK: Yep, definitely heard of Chuck Koscis for sure.
S1: Yeah, great iron player.
LK: Yes, that is what I heard.
S1: So, equipment-wise, when you go down to Augusta you are going to have to play by the new groove rules. Is that going to require you to change out anything in your bag?
LK: Ah yeah; probably my wedges. I know for sure my current wedges do not confirm with the new rule [The
S1: That is exactly right.
LK: Yeah, so I think that equipment-wise I think that my wedges will be the only clubs in my bag that I would have to switch out. But you know what, I think that I could get used to [tour-conforming wedges] very quickly. I have always practiced and played a couple rounds with the conforming groove and I did not really see a whole lot of difference. So, it should not be a whole lot of transition for me.
S1: Does Coach [Andrew] Sapp help you guys with equipment?
LK: Yes, Coach Sapp does and also fortunately for me, before I got to college I had a relationship with Titleist, so they have been helping me out since high school and even throughout right now. So, Titleist is the club that I usually play with. I found a new Taylor Made driver that was something different that I have played with for a couple months, but I am pretty sure that I will have Titleist driver in my bag leading up to the Masters.
If you get a chance to talk to talk [former Assistant] Coach Doug [Gross] he will tell you how many equipment changes I have gone through in my Michigan career. He thinks that I have probably gone through about 18 drivers since I have been in school. That is quite a bit.
S1: Sure. The new Titleist drivers are very cool; they are finally going to an adjustable hosel sleeve design which is going to make it a lot more fun, a lot easier to work with. I think the tendency with all of the Titleist drivers that you have been using in the past is that with the way that the hosel bore was set so deep -- that bore-through design -- it sort of ate up a lot of the tip on the shaft and kind of, kind of changed the way that shafts felt.
S1: Well, lets do the lightning round here. I am going to ask you just a few fun questions, give me your fast answer, okay?
S1: Alright; your favorite place on the Michigan Campus, other than the golf course?
LK: Ahhh, Academic Center.
S1: (Laughs.) That’s a good start, Lion.
S1: Your favorite place to play golf anywhere?
LK: Ahh, I would have to go with Cypress Point in California.
S1: Oh, really you played there?
LK: Yeah, Coach Sapp and one of the Michigan alums, Tony Ridder, [he of the Knight-Ridder newspaper family] he invited the team to play at Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, San Francisco Golf Club and Spyglass.
LK: Yeah, we got to play some really nice tracks while we were down there. Beautiful, beautiful scenery.
S1: That’s nice. San Francisco Golf Club is seriously nice, too.
LK: Yeah, very nice, right.
Tony Ridder (far left) with the Michigan Golf Team and Coach Sapp (far right) on the first tee at Pebble Beach Golf Links. (Lion Kim 3rd from right.)
S1: Okay, back to the lightning round. Your favorite website?
S1: What is on your Ipod?
LK: Korean music. The majority of them are all Korean music.
S1: That’s cool. What is the weirdest thing in your golf bag?
LK: So you warned me about this question, so I have been thinking about that, it is actually my baby oil --
S1: Oh, wait, I know that. That’s not so weird.
LK: (Laughter.) Haha, okay.
S1: I know that; you put baby oil on the finish of your Scotty Cameron putter. (Laughter.)
LK: Yes, correct, correct, it will rust.
S1: I have an old Scotty Cameron Oil Can Laguna, I have to put baby oil on that one as well.
LK: (Laughter.) Oh yeah, okay. Man you know a lot of stuff.
S1: (Laughter.) Well that is just the way that we take care of them, right?
LK: That’s right. (More laughs.)
S1: Well Lion Kim, thank you so much for taking time while you are in the middle of a competitive week. We are all wishing you luck in the Western Am, which is one of the great amateur tournaments in the Country and we wish you success in the US Amateur out there in Chambers Bay and we send you sincere congratulations and the pride of everybody at Michigan on winning the US Amateur Public Links and being Michigan’s National Champion in 2010.
LK: Thank you SO much. Thank you. It is very exciting and I feel very honored to always represent the block M everywhere I go, so it is an amazing feeling to be a National Champion of the year.
S1: Well, fantastic! Lion Kim Go Blue!
LK: Go Blue!
Lion Kim introduced at Michigan Stadium, September 18, 2010: