IU men’s golf will compete in Big Ten Match Play on Friday and Saturday at Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida.
IU has spent this past fall at the Pfau Course developing their lineup and depth chart, according to head coach Mike Mayer.
“Probably one of the easier and safest sports to deal with right now, so we’re fortunate there,” Mayer said.
The team hasn’t competed since the first day of the Dorado Beach Collegiate on Feb. 23, 2020, at TPC Dorado Beach in Dorado, Puerto Rico. The rest of the competition was canceled due to heavy rain. The Big Ten then suspended athletics in March.
The team’s first event since 2020 will be held on the resort’s Ocean Course, an oceanside course designed by retired professional golfer Jack Nicklaus.
“I think it’s a great golf course. It’s a fun golf course,” Mayer said “I think it’s a perfect golf course for this match play format.”
The event stands as the team’s sole match play competition outside of the NCAA Championship, which it must qualify for.
“It’s just a really fun event and a good one to kick off the spring,” junior Mitch Davis said.
IU will open this year’s event against Ohio State on Friday. Ohio State received 22 votes in the opening Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll while IU received none.
IU will attend the event alongside fellow Big Ten schools including Penn State, Rutgers and Purdue. Illinois, who is the only Big Ten team ranked in the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll at No. 25, will not be competing at the event.
Michigan was initially set to compete in the event before the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services ordered a 14-day activity pause for Michigan Athletics on Jan. 23 following positive tests for the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant within its Athletic Department.
IU faced off against Penn State, Michigan and Rutgers during last season’s Big Ten Match Play. The Hoosiers fell to the Nittany Lions and tied Michigan on the first day of competition before defeating the Scarlet Knights on the second day.
Mayer said he feels he has a strong team this year, but noted everyone in the Big Ten is strong.
“Anybody in this tournament is capable of beating anyone else at any given time,” Mayer said.