May 18, 2008 – Two great Gamecocks
Golf is not like many other college sports where seniors are honored before their last competition, and I have never been one for sentimentality when it comes to golf. All that one can hope for is that his last collegiate competitive round is with a national championship on the line. However, in many cases, the senior plays his final round for his university in relative obscurity and in the company of his coaches and family members if he is lucky. This is just how it is. It is not such a bad thing. There is no way in this written form of communication to articulate or express in any way how much our two seniors, Mark Anderson and Warren Thomas, have meant to me and this golf program. However, I am going to try to give you some brief glimpse into their personalities and contributions on their final day of representing the Garnet and Black.
Yesterday, we were in the “death march” tee time zone for the final round of the NCAA East Regional in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This simply means that we had very little chance of advancing to the NCAA Championship without a final round of epic proportions. The team was focused on making a great comeback, and we played a solid final round. But, the hole we put ourselves in with two poor previous rounds was too much to overcome. We finished 16th out of 27 teams and only the top 10 teams advance to the national championship.
The final round day began for us with a 2-1/2 hour fog delay. This meant that we were not going to tee off until 3:30 p.m. After lounging around the hotel for most of the morning, we finally made it to the golf course around 2:30. For our two seniors, their final round preparation was typical; Anderson headed for the restroom, and Warren went to the range to find something wrong with his swing.
I was in a typical “fly by the seat of my pants” coaching mode. After tracking down Anderson in the bathroom to inform him of a tee time change, I headed straight to the range to ensure Warren that indeed something was wrong with his golf swing. Mission accomplished, I then went running up to our other players trying to pump them up for an incredible comeback.
I eventually made it back to Anderson on the practice putting green. “What are you going to do today, Coach?” Anderson said. “I don’t know,” I said with authority. “Why don’t you come with me today?” he said. “Sounds good to me,” I said, again with authority.
Now you have to understand that for Mark Anderson to want anyone near him on the golf course is a major news flash. You also have to understand that nobody usually wants to be near him. His dear, sweet mom, Julia, and his grandfather, England, typically are the only people who can stand to watch him. I was immediately honored when he asked me go with him, and I also was struck by how much he had grown and matured in the past couple of years.
Warren teed off first, and Mark and I followed him. It was obvious watching Warren from a distance that he was a little out of sorts early in the round. This is nothing new and the typical thoughts crept into my mind – “When is he ever going to sack up and hit a golf shot?” and “I should run up there and break that belly putter over my knee before I throw it in the lake.”
In Warren’s final round for the Gamecocks, something magical happened. He mysteriously calmed down and started hitting great wedge shots, made clutch putts, and shot a great final round of 68 (-3). Warren ended up finishing low for our team this week, and his two final rounds of 68-68 helped give us a glimmer of hope in an otherwise very bleak situation.
Meanwhile, Mark was putting on a driving exhibition during the final round. He repeatedly drove the ball well over 300 yards and bullet straight. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to take advantage of his opportunities. Anderson, who has been known to hook the ball occasionally, was fittingly faced with having to hit a high cut 8-iron for last full shot on his final hole as a Gamecock. He pulled it off.
Standing on 18 with Warren and Mark yesterday, I was hit with the reality that they would not be back next year. Both young men have been exceptional student-athletes. They have also been receptive to a new coach, me, coming in during the middle of their college careers. I will be forever grateful to them for buying into my philosophy and helping us accomplish some great things.
I will miss them both as current team members, but the great thing about team sports is that you are always bonded by the experiences that you share. Both Mark Anderson and Warren Thomas are going to be successful in whatever they choose to do. I am proud to have coached them, and I look forward to seeing them continue to mature and develop. Maybe there is a little room for sentimentality in golf after all.
April 8, 2008
There is a common misperception out there that living a healthy lifestyle in college is almost impossible. However, in my quest for bodily perfection, I have discovered just the opposite. Looking and feeling your best is easier than ever, and I hope to be the gateway to a leaner and fitter you.
You might argue, “But, Mark, eating healthy is so expensive. I just don’t have the resources to cut pizza and burgers out of my diet.”
This is where you are wrong, my friend. You have probably heard of the TV show “$40 a Day.” Well, I’ll tell you how to eat for $40 a week.
This year, I stumbled on perhaps the greatest food revolution for the college diet: Hamburger Helper. I know it sounds weird, but trust me on this one. The kicker for making it a staple in my diet is using ground white turkey meat instead of fatty hamburger. There is almost no difference in taste when it is all cooked, but the fat and calorie count is significantly lower. About $6 worth of turkey and $2 for the helper total about $8. The beauty of this is that it makes five servings, or about three for a beastly man like me. Hamburger Helper comes in 7,386 varieties (rough estimate), so you can change it up every week if you like. I, personally, would recommend Cheesy Italian Shells.
Grilled chicken should also be huge in your new diet. You can buy a big bag of chicken breasts (around 6-8 pieces) for around $7. Chicken can be seasoned all different ways, so it never really gets old. It goes great with baked beans, which can be bought for around a buck fifty for like three servings. Any other low fat side can be added for a great and hearty meal, and the left over sides can be used again the next day.
I mostly eat cereal or Egg Beaters for breakfast, which are not very expensive and can last you the whole week. Packed tuna and sliced turkey are great for sandwiches and baked chips complement them for a great and healthy lunch. Everything I have described to you so far has not cost more than $20 and is all extremely good for you.
I know this blog is different from the last couple, but I felt it necessary to convey this message to the public. My motto is “A good golf game starts with a good meal.” If you don’t think Tiger Woods has downed his share of Hamburger Helper, you are sadly mistaken. My combination of healthy (and cheap) eating and a rigorous workout regimen has helped me to play the best golf of my life. I hope it can do the same for you.
Hit `em straight and have fun,
Mark Silvers III
March 21, 2008
Well, we were back in action last weekend in Statesboro, Georgia for the Schenkel EZ Go Invitational. Statesboro is the home of Georgia Southern and pretty much nothing else except for a golf course. Anyway I finally broke through and won my first career collegiate title shooting 73-66-69.
The first round was a pretty average and boring round of golf. I shot 73 and only had two birdies. The thing that was not boring was the fact that my fellow brethren, Mark Anderson, had an albatross or a double eagle! It was unbelievable, and every person on the entire golf course heard about it through my dad in a matter of two holes. That pumped me up, and I wound up shooting 35 on the back nine, which was one-under.
The second round however was a little more eventful. I really played an amazing round of golf. I had six birdies to no bogeys. and at the end it added up to 66 strokes. I hit every fairway and every green and made no mistakes. This round vaulted me up the leaderboard 23 places to number one. Now, I knew this day was going to be a special day when I stepped into the breakfast buffet line and noticed that they had cantaloupe. That put a much needed pep in my step that wasn’t there the first round.
The final round was one to remember. It had been a while since I had a chance to win a golf tournament, and I felt the nerves big time when I arrived to the golf course. I knew this day was going to be tough because I was going up against the best players in the country, and I had to play behind Mark Anderson. So for those of you who have never watched Mr. Anderson play golf, it is not the easiest thing to watch. He hits the ball everywhere, and it can get rough. The last round I basically got a front row seat to the typical “Anderson” round of golf. When the Anderson line doesn’t work, it gets pretty chaotic. So watching him hit out of pampas bushes, out of bunkers and hearing balls rattle around in pine trees all day did not paint very nice pictures in my head prior to hitting golf shots. Had this been any other round. it would not have been so bad but trying to win a golf tournament is tough when you are hearing “Fore Left!!!” every other hole. Being the competitor and athlete that I am, I was able to fight through everything and battle my way to a 69, good enough for a one-stroke victory of the No. 1 ranked Michael Thompson.
Hopefully this tournament is just a glimpse of what is to come here in the future. I am looking to extend my winning streak to two this weekend at Bulls Bay and hopefully lead the Gamecocks to victory.
Until next time, and, as our fearless leader likes to say, “May the force be with you.”
George Bryan IV, aka GB4
February 26, 2008 – The Anderson Line
Over the years I’ve had a lot of people ask me about why I do some of the uniquely Anderson things I do on the golf course. For all my fans, critics, coaches and teammates I would like to offer this exclusive, highly anticipated interview I did with myself to answer four of my most frequently asked questions.
How would you describe your game to someone who has never had the chance to see you play?
A good friend of mine once said, “I like to hit fades off of hook lies”. This perfectly encapsulates the creative, yet moronic, way I play golf. Out of principle I try to do the opposite of what the average golfer would do. I’ve found this strategy has two separate outcomes on any given day. Outcome number one is that I hit it very well and irritate the guys I play with because they just can’t do what I can do. Outcome number two is that I hit into places that are questionable as to if they are even part of the course and am forced to scramble around. Then I get berated by my coaches for not having a conservative game plan and all that mumbo jumbo.
Speaking of a game plan, what does that mean to you?
Game plan to me means picking an aggressive line and hitting it with confidence. I would rather hit a great shot on an aggressive line than I great shot on a conservative one. (That last sentence should go down as one of the best golf quotes in history, by the way.)
There are a lot of theories written about picking good targets. What are your thoughts on picking targets?
Targets? This word should be singular, not plural. There is only one target, the flag. However I don’t want to be mistaken. My target on the flag often changes. Sometimes I’ll aim at the top left corner of the flag; other times if there is writing I’ll target my favorite letter, M. Recently I’ve become particularly fond of sighting in on the laser prisms on the flag stick.
What’s your favorite club in the bag? Why?
The driver is obviously my favorite. I use it to cut the corners off doglegs.
I have surprised myself at some of the answers to these questions. To the outsider, my thoughts will seem a little shocking and scary. But of course, you know, I think that I’m perfectly normal and everyone else is screwed up. If you are offended by my thoughts please disregard them and try to learn from Tiger Woods. If you would like elevate your game, try some of my thoughts. You know, of course, that I don’t take responsibility for any poor performances. Till next time good luck with the Anderson Line.
Happy Flag Huntin’,
Mark Anderson Senior, Beaufort, S.C.
February 4, 2008
Coach McDonald and I just come back from a recruiting whirlwind tour. Such trips are necessary during the spring to try and see as many kids as possible. We did our own tour of the South Carolina coast going from Columbia to Charleston and on to Hilton Head. With a SJGT event taking place at Daniel Island, we took advantage of the opportunity to see some players that are under the radar or very young. With a smaller event, it gives us great exposure with no other coaching staffs present. This will not be the case at our next stop when the coaches converge like the Giants on Tom Brady.
After a couple hours at Daniel Island and some serious rain, we headed south. Next stop was Hilton Head and Sea Pines resort. After a good night’s sleep, we spent the day at the Ocean Course at Sea Pines and the beginning of the prestigious Junior Heritage. The field consisted of the top juniors from all over the world. The usual cold windy conditions were replaced by a weekend of sunny, dry conditions. A normal recruiting day consists of an early wake up followed by time on the range. This routine continues from the beginning to the end of the event. Eight to 10 hours later, you have some tired and hungry coaches.
Sunday brought bright sunshine as round two was played at Harbour Town Golf Links. This world famous track supplies a super test and shows quickly who has their games and minds in shape. The end of a long day at Harbour Town is always a little easier as we get to spend some time on the shores of the Calibogue Sound. Holes 16-18 provide a great test and natural beauty. With golf, boats, and beautiful weather in February, the setting is as Southern as Freebird!
We have a week of qualifying and short game work ahead. The close of the week and qualifying will include a trip to Bulls Bay in Charleston. This will give us some similarities to the first event on the windy shores of Sawgrass Country Club. The guys are looking forward to getting the season started and marching towards a SEC title.
May all your putts fall!
Assistant Men’s and Women’s Golf Coach
January 28, 2008
We kicked off the spring semester this past weekend with a Low Country golf jam. Coach Burcin and I took the team down to play Secession Golf Club and Old Tabby Links. Unfortunately, senior Warren Thomas was unable to join us due to the passing away of his grandmother. He was sorely missed, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers.
Senior and team captain Mark Anderson’s mom, Julia, hosted us and filled our bellies with frogmore stew Saturday night. If the team can make birdies this spring like they shuck shrimp, we should not have any problems. She also makes a breakfast casserole guaranteed to get you through the day. We are so appreciative of the hospitality Julia and the golden retrievers showed us.
Around the homestead I am known as the “grill master”, and I brought along a pork loin that was devoured by the team like nobody’s business. Proving true again that there is nothing like a sack of meat to help ease those in-between-meal hunger pains.
We had a great day at Secession on Saturday. Old Pro, Mike Harmon, and his staff, treated us like kings. Everyone but yours truly made it for 27 holes. I had the pleasure of watching Mark Anderson fire an easy 69, and getting to play with Harmon and member Paul Enfinger made the round even more memorable. Paul is an attorney that should have been a stand-up comic.
On Sunday, we played Old Tabby Links at Spring Island. Head Professional Bill Sampson was nice enough to let us play. Old Tabby Links has the best greens I have putted on in a long time. The weather was beautiful and we could not have had a more enjoyable day. Baker Elmore and Mark Silvers carded two under 70’s to tie for the low man of the day.
There is nothing like going down to the Low Country to play some golf, eat some great seafood, and have a nice relaxing time. The fun and games are over now though as the team starts qualifying this week. I feel like the team is really focused and ready to play some great golf this spring.
An old buddy once told me “Wherever you hit your ball…that is where you will find it.” Until next time, may you find your ball, or someone else’s.
Cheers & GO COCKS!
January 16, 2008
It is day four of the annual pilgrimage to Orlando for the golf industry. Monday and Tuesday Coach Bill McDonald and I were attending the GCAA Coaches’ Convention. The remainder of the week, we will spend countless hours at the Orange County Convention Center taking part in the annual PGA Merchandise Show. Orlando must feel overrun by mock turtlenecks and wingtips.
The coaches’ convention is always an exciting event with a gathering of coaches from all levels and parts of the country. Although arguments stem about realignment, polls, and championship structure, it always seems to boil down to big schools versus small and how we grow the college game. College golf is in an odd position. While the sport of golf is one of the most popular and watched all over the world, college golf struggles with exposure. The question is how we do grow a sport on the college level that is widely popular at every other level.
For all who have not attended the PGA Show, it is a gathering of 50,000 people and thousands of exhibitors. Companies showing their goods range from the monsters of golf to start up companies pushing their new training tools. You can look at the latest driver as well as energy drinks that improve your sand play! Every year we walk away amazed at what some think will help you get better. For us, as coaches, we have the opportunity to meet with companies that support us all year and look for new products that may give us the extra edge.
Coach McDonald and I have spent the last couple of months reflecting on the fall and looking forward to the spring. We had a solid fall wrapped up with a great alumni event and the signing of one of the top classes in the country. We get started next weekend with some qualifying for our first event at Sawgrass Country Club. The John Hayt Intercollegiate is hosted by North Florida. The combination of February weather on the ocean in Ponte Vedra and a very difficult golf course usually makes this event one of the toughest tests in college golf. Also with the new year, recruiting kicks back into high gear, as we search for the new Gamecock stars! We look forward to a spring filled with great events and venues with SEC and NCAA Championship opportunities not far off.
May all your putts fall!
Assistant Men’s and Women’s Golf Coach