Ranking the 10 Colleges That Have Produced the Best PGA Tour Alumni
As has been proved repeatedly over the years, making a stop at college on the way from great junior and amateur careers to success on the PGA Tour is a very good idea.
And over the years, colleges have been turning out very good players who have gone on to do some special things at the professional level.
This ranking of 10 colleges that have produced the 10 best PGA Tour alumni comes together with a look at great players from years past, major championships won and current players who are doing well.
This is one list where each ranking could be argued yay or nay, which makes lists like this one fun.
Check it out.
10. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona also has a major champion among its golf alum, Jim Furyk. He won the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields near Chicago among the 16 PGA Tour victories to his credit.
At age 44, he had a spectacular season on tour, finishing second four times, racking up 11 top 10s and winning nearly $6 million.
Other standouts from the U of A include: Robert Gamez, who holed out from the 72nd fairway to win the Nestle Invitational in 1990 to beat Greg Norman.
Gamez posted three PGA Tour wins. Rory Sabbatini has six wins; Ted Purdy one; and Ricky Barnes, a U.S. Amateur champion, has one.
9. University of Alabama
Jerry Pate is the only University of Alabama golfer with a major championship to his credit, but that's a side note that might not last too long. Pate's U.S. Open victory in 1976 came a year after he turned professional and was one of eight PGA Tour victories.
There are two youngsters out on tour now who sure look like they are cut out of that "major championship cloth."
Bud Cauley and Justin Thomas have Web.com Tour wins under their belts and will be gunning for wins on the PGA Tour this year.
Steve Lowery has three PGA Tour wins, Jason Bohn two; Dicky Pride and Michael Thompson one each.
8. University of Florida
Maybe there's something in the air in Gainesville, Fla., but Billy Horschel is the latest golfer to come from that college town with a great deal of flash, a fiery personalty a great deal of talent.
Coming down the stretch of the FedEx Cup season, Horschel won two of three playoff events (tied for second in the other), including the Tour Championship. He now has three wins in his career.
Mark Calcavecchia won 13 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1989 Open Championship. Chris DiMarco won three times and battled Tiger Woods to the very end in the 2005 Masters before Woods prevailed.
Matt Every picked up his first PGA Tour win in 2014; Brian Gay and Camilio Villegas have won four times and Dudley Hart twice.
7. Oklahoma State University
Rickie Fowler is the undisputed lead man of this group of Cowboys, not only for wearing the orange at every turn, but because he's matured into an elite player on the PGA Tour.
He still has just one win but pushed Rory McIlroy all summer in big tournaments.
Hunter Mahan (6), Scott Verplank (5), Charles Howell III (2) and Bo Van Pelt have all registered wins on the PGA Tour. Morgan Hoffman, Edward Loar and Michael Bradley also compete on tour.
6. Georgia Tech
Stewart Cink won the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry, beating 59-year-old Tom Watson in the process. He's won six times on the PGA Tour and has earned the reputation of being one of the tour's all-time nice guys.
Matt Kuchar has amassed seven wins and, while he's not won a major, he has finished in the top 10 66 times and has done quite well for himself.
Troy Matteson (2), Chesson Hadley and Bryce Molder have registered wins on the PGA Tour, while Roberto Castro and Cameron Tringale also compete on golf's biggest stage.
5. Arizona State University
Phil Mickelson has won five major championships, and that's a nice headliner for any university.
The big left-hander, had he played in any other era except the one dominated by Tiger Woods, would most likely have been the dominant player. He's done pretty well in this era and has combined an Arnold Palmer, go-for-it attitude with a great relationship with his fans.
Paul Casey is also a world-class golfer. He was sidelined by a shoulder injury but has returned to form. He joins Billy Mayfair (5), Pat Perez, Chez Reavie and Jim Carter as PGA Tour winners who played for the Sun Devils.
4. Stanford University
Stanford University may not have the kinds of numbers other colleges do in terms of players on the PGA Tour, but when one of those players is Tiger Woods, quality certainly trumps quantity.
In years gone by, Stanford produced great names like Bob Rosburg and Sandy Tatum, but obviously there has been no one like Woods and his 14 major titles.
Notah Begay won four times on the PGA Tour before becoming a member of Golf Channel's broadcast crew.
Much is expected of a pair of youngsters: Patrick Rodgers and Zack Miller.
3. Wake Forest University
The tradition of golf at Wake Forest University is an awesome one.
Start with Arnold Palmer and bookend the list with Webb Simpson. Palmer won seven majors, Simpson has one to his credit in a career that has many years left.
Palmer won 62 times on the PGA Tour; Jay Haas 9; Curtis Strange 17 (including back-to-back U.S. Opens); Lanny Wadkins 21 (one major); and Jim Simons (3).
Fast forward a bit and the tradition remains strong. Simpson has a U.S. Open title among his four PGA Tour wins. Billy Andrade (4), Len Mattiace (2), Bill Haas (5) have also won on tour.
Kyle Reifers is a young player finding his way on the PGA Tour currently.
2. University of Texas
Of course, Jordan Spieth has become the flag-bearer for University of Texas golf with his outstanding rookie season in 2013 and a good sophomore season in 2014. His story has been well-documented. At the end of 2012, he had no status on any tour but got sponsor's exemptions and went on a tear, winning once, finishing second three times, winning $3.8 million and earning a spot on the Presidents Cup team.
He didn't win in 2014 but finished second twice and earned $4.3 million and played on the Ryder Cup team.
But he's just the latest in a long line of outstanding players from Austin.
Ben Crenshaw won 19 times on the PGA Tour, including a pair of Masters; Tom Kite also won 19 times and had one major; Justin Leonard had 12 PGA Tour wins including a major; and Mark Brooks won seven times with a major.
Phil Blackmar won three times and Harrison Frazar and Brandel Chamblee each won once on the PGA Tour.
1. University of Georgia
For starters, it's tough to beat a pair of Masters titles. Bubba Watson won those in 2012 and 2014.
And then add to that Erik Compton, Kevin Kisner, Brendon Todd, Chris Kirk, Brian Harman, Patrick Reed, Harris English, Russell Henley and Hudson Swafford. Five of those guys posted wins in 2014: Todd, Reed (2), Watson (2), English and Kirk (2).
That's not an all-star team. Those are the most recent products of coach Chris Haack's program at Athens, Georgia.
Nine players from UGA are playing on the tour, mostly all full time. There is said to be strength in numbers, and the Bulldogs have that.
All statistics courtesy of pgatour.com.