Ohio State men’s and women’s golf will be hosting the Barbara Nicklaus Cup on Oct. 4 and 5 at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. This event will differ from anything these teams will participate in all season as it is a mixed-team event.
That means the Ohio State men’s and women’s teams will compete as one as they take on Auburn, Arizona State and Florida State.
Involving the event with the Nicklaus family was a no-brainer. Jack and Barbara both attended Ohio State for school and met while studying there. Jack already has ties to Muirfield Village as he designed the course and it is commonly referred to as “Jack’s Place.”
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“With great respect, we do a lot of things for Jack and I felt like I wanted to do something for Barbara. So that was kind of where it all originated,” Hession said.
Jack and Barbara will be in attendance for the dinner on Oct. 4 and then Barbara will be the starter on the first and tenth tees on Oct. 5.
The event will be reminiscent of the format used in the Ryder and Solheim Cup as there will be a four-ball and a singles portion. There will be three matches for each team played over the two days, each match will have eight points available: four from the four-ball and four in the singles.
The four-ball will consist of a male and female player from each team playing their own ball against another pair from an opposing team. The best score from the pair will be counted and go up against the best score of the other pairing in matchplay. Scoring-wise the same goes for singles, but it will just be a one-on-one match between two women or two men.
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This event has been in the works for a few years, the idea for it came when Ohio State’s director of golf and women’s golf coach Therese Hession coached the United States team in the 2018 Palmer Cup in France.
“It (The Palmer Cup) was one of the most amazing events I’ve ever been in golf within my life,” Hession said. "In June of that year, I had just been made the director of golf here, so I was on high alert for something I could do for the men and women together since we’re a combined program.”
The idea would be brought back to the U.S. and put into action. It was originally supposed to take place in the fall of 2020 at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida due to Muirfield Village’s renovations. COVID-19 travel restrictions caused the event to be rescheduled to a later date.
Due to this tournament being a mixed-team event, it will not count as an official NCAA match. It will still count as two of each team’s 24 competition days, which could be seen as a negative for many teams. But Hession only needed three calls to round out the field for this year’s event.
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The preparation for this tournament differs from others, as both the men’s and women’s teams have to work in conjunction in order to get ready for it. Even the matchplay format can create a certain level of difficulty as this format is rarely used in NCAA play.
“It's been a little bit tough because we've had different travel schedules and we haven't been in town a lot together," Hession said. "Today's (Oct. 1) our third day of doing some practice with some different matchups, and then we'll have another day on Sunday (Oct. 3).”
The hope is that this event could become a yearly occurrence for the Buckeyes, maybe not the same format, but something will include Ohio State and will work with the Nicklaus family going forward.
Live stats for the tournament will be available on Golfstat.com.