Thursday, June 4, 2009

49ers Spease Meets Nicklaus at NCAA Golf Championship

Charlotte 49ers Senior Associate Athletic Director for Business Affairs Darin Spease enjoyed a special treat as Chairman of the NCAA Div. I Men's Golf Golf Committee, which held its National Championship in Toledo, Ohio, May 26-30.

He got to spend some time with The Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus -- still the winner of more Major Championships than any other golfer in history.
Nicklaus, a former all-America at Ohio State, was in town as the guest-speaker at an event held by the University of Toledo, which served as tournament host for the Championship.

"It was a dream come true to be able to spend a few moments talking to him," said Spease, who said the two spoke mostly about the new format for the NCAA Division I Championship.

The format uses a cut after 54 holes of stroke play and advances the top eight teams into a match play bracket to crown the champion. In the past, there was a cut after 54 holes of stroke play with 15 teams advancing to a fourth and final stroke-play round.

"I wanted to thank him because he has been so supportive of the change. He was vocal about his support and that certainly helps when you can say 'Jack believes it is a good thing", Spease added. "He was super gracious with his time during the tournament and spent time riding in a cart following the teams and talking with (outgoing Ohio State coach) Jim Brown."

Spease met up with him on the course and took the opportunity to thank him for his support -- and, of course, to get a photo taken with the golfing icon.

The NCAA National Championships are known for the shining moments enjoyed by many, many kids. Spease had his own special memory to bring home from this one.
For more on Spease and his work with the NCAA Golf Committee, click here to read an interview in the NCAA News.

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