Hardware returned to the 40 Acres, and this is what happened.
The photo above was taken just after Texas' Dylan Frittelli sunk a long birdie putt on 18 to give the Longhorns the first national title in golf since 1972 — and the drama leading up to the putt was just as compelling as the shot that won it.
Needing to win three matches to take home the title, Alabama and Texas were tied at two wins each, as Frittelli and Tide golfer Cory Whisett headed down the stretch. Trailing by one shot on 17, Whitsett birdied to tie the match going to the final hole, surely sending all the Alabama people into a frenzy of whispered "Roll Tide!" and "SEC! SEC! SEC!" chants.
Tied at 18, Whitsett lined up for a birdie, but his shot was short. Dylan Frittelli, on the edge of the green, was ice cold as he calmly drained the 30-foot putt to give Texas the National Championship.
It certainly wasn't easy. Texas went into the NCAA Tournament as the top overall seed, but Alabama came in first in the 54-hole stroke play tourney that whittled the field down to the final eight. In the first match of the day, Bama came from behind to win as Bobby Wyatt eagled 17, birdied 18 and Hunter Hamrick won as well, giving Roll Tide a 2-0 lead.
Texas junior Cody Gribble never trailed, winning his match on hole 17 to cut it to 2-1. The matchup of the day, however, was Texas freshman Jordan Spieth versus Bama freshman Justin Thompson — two of the best amateur golfers in the country. Spieth won, setting up the final match for the Title between Frittelli and Whitsett.
Looking at the roster going into next year, there is no reason Texas shouldn't be a large contender once again. That's right, I said it: Texas is going back to the National Title next year. That's what you call golf swagger, and I've got it. Actually Jordan Spieth has it, and I am just standing behind him...
Spieth, a graduate of Dallas Jesuit, ought to be known as The Truth. By "The Truth," I mean he's the only golfer other than Tiger Woods to win the U.S. Junior Amateur Title and finish third in the 2009 Junior PGA Championship, earning him the 2009 Rolex Junior Player of the Year in 2009.
In 2010, he earned an exemption to play in the Byron Nelson — the first amateur to get an exemption since 1995. He made the cut (the sixth-youngest to make a PGA cut, in fact) and finished tied for 16th. He was 17-years-old. See? The Truth.
While Dylan Frittelli was the hero in the National Championship match and a next-level player in his own right, Spieth is the athlete everyone is expecting great things from on the PGA Tour. The question is, when does he go? Do golfers enter early like football and basketball players? I have no idea for certain.
What I do know is this: Texas beat Alabama in Southern California for the National Title. So take that, Nick Saban.