In 1997, the Golf Coaches Association of America came up with an idea to have a Ryder Cup of their own. The coaches wanted to name the event after one of the greatest golfers of all time, so they approached Arnold Palmer. Eventually the event would be named the Palmer Cup. The Palmer Cup is a collegiate event where the United States and Great Britain/Ireland compete in match play. On the American side, the coach of the year and assistant coach of the year earn the right to be the coaches of the Palmer Cup. In 2012, Arizona head coach Jim Anderson was named assistant coach of the year, as he served as an assistant coach at Texas A&M.
“It was one of the neatest experiences I’ve ever been a part of,” Anderson said. “Having a chance to work with coach Jay Seawell (Alabama head coach), and be around college golf’s best players was really neat.”
The event was held in Wilmington, Del. at Wilmington Country Club, a par-71, 7,334-yard course. Three of the players on the American side competed in the Pac-12 during the regular season, including California’s Michael Kim and Michael Weaver and Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers. The United States earned the victory over Europe this year with a score of 20.5-9.5.
“It was really satisfying to get the victory,” Anderson said. “The play on both sides was phenomenal and as far as coaching goes, we just tried to get the players to have a common bond. I think we really connected and went out and played for each other that week. Those guys wanted it badly and were playing for something bigger than themselves.”
For Anderson, this is just the beginning of what he wants to accomplish in his coaching career.
“I would love to be the first coach to be assistant coach and the head captain for the Palmer Cup,” Anderson said. “It’s something that I want to be a part of in the future.”
Not only does Anderson have personal Palmer Cup aspirations, but would like to get the whole Arizona men’s golf program involved. Through his experience, Anderson has learned a lot.
“I learned that there are different ways of doing things,” Anderson said. “We can certainly apply that to improve our strategies and things that we are working on in a given week. A lot of times, when you’re playing your best golf, that is when you’re having the most fun. There is a fine line, so you want to make sure that there is a focus level.”
Regardless of what happens in the future, Anderson sees his experience as an honor.
“It was a terrific honor,” Anderson said. “Having a golf bag with USA on it and a shirt with the American flag on it is pretty special. It’s just hard to explain. I was left speechless at times because of the camaraderie and the competition. It was really one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever been a part of.”