: what are you doing as coach to improve the players on your team to contend in the SEC?
Brian Craig : We have two points of emphasis this year: I want to see our guys be exceptional from 100 yards and in. And I also want to have a team full of guys that are mentally and emotionally tough. We will use our new wedge field more to work on those 100-yard and in shots and we will also play a fair number of rounds from the ladies' tees to help sharpen our short games. Lastly, we will enlist the help of UK's Dr. Andy Weiner, who is an expert in emotional intelligence to help us get better in that area.
: do you know who will be competing in your home event this spring?
Brian Craig : Including us, there will be 17 teams. We have most of the in-state schools with the exception of Louisville. Some of the others include Missouri, Central Florida (VERY good team), Cincinnati, Akron, Austin Peay and Ball State - just to name a few. It will be a solid field but also not quite as strong as most of the tournaments that we compete in throughout the year.
Bruce : Are you going to replace your tradmark hat after it did not perform well last year?
Brian Craig : I have thouroughly washed all the bogeys off of that hat. It will take more than one bad season for that hat to see the bench.
Boyd : Do you think any of the newcomers can make an immediate impact?
Brian Craig : We had to redshirt Jordan Blann last year so he is in the same boat as the newcomers and should certainly be an impact player for us. We also have two freshmen in James Kania and Chase Carpenter who could easily see plenty of action this year.
Butch : I haven't heard much about Holmes since he won that PGA tournament a while back. Has he been in contention in any other events?
Brian Craig : John played pretty well early this year but has struggled in the last four or five months. This year's season is just about over and I think he's won about $800,000. So not too bad for a down year. I think next year he will have a little more incentive to play well because his exemption from winning the FBR will run out at the end of next season. Look for him to have a big year.
Dave M. : After 4 years in a row going to the NCAA Championships, you seemed to have a down year last year. Can you get back to the NCAA's this year?
Brian Craig : Last year was extremely disappointing after having three straight years in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships. This year's team is hungry for redemption and is certainly talented enough to get back to that top 10 status. I am looking forward to the challenge of getting us back there.
Carter : What do you look for when you recruit besides their scores on the golf course?
Brian Craig : The three goals of our program are 1) to represent UK with class and integrity, 2) to graduate from the university, and 3) to win championships. Apart from golf, we want young men who have great character and who will take care of business in the classroom. Looking just at golf, I like to look at their tournament records as opposed to stroke averages when trying to determine who can help us achieve those goals.
catfan : How will you stack up against a deep SEC this year?
Brian Craig : Every year the SEC leads the nation in men's golf. It looks like Alabama, Georgia and Florida are probably the favorites. If we can develop the talent that is on this team, we have a chance to be every bit as good as those teams by the end of the year.
Mike McHenry : Whats the team looking like this year? Who are the leaders on the squad and who are the lowest 4 players at this time?
Brian Craig : Leadership wise, Cale Barr, Andy Winings and Brad Doster will be great role models for all the guys on this year's team. It's a little too early to know who the top four players are but in this initial round of qualifying, Cale Barr and Andy Winings were head and shoulders above the rest and appear to be ready for great seasons.
Joe Guthrie : What role will Jordan Blann play this year. He has a lot of talent & hope it will come to fruition this year. What does he need to do to make the top five.
Brian Craig : We just finished qualifying and Jordan will be going to our first tournament at Inverness in Toledo, Ohio. Jordan is one of the most gifted young players that I have ever coached. The only thing he lacks is experience on the national stage. I think this will be his year to get that experience and I look for him to mature into an outstanding college player.
Billy : Please do not leave us, Coach! We love you here at Kentucky. Please never leave us! Is there another John Holmes in the making in this group?
Brian Craig : My family and I absolutely love it here in Kentucky. Thanks for the kind words. John Holmes was obviously a special player, but we do have a few guys who have a realistic spot of playing professional golf after their UK career is over. Hopefully one or two of them this year with have a John Holmes type of season.
9-Holer : Coach, how do you feel about the upcoming season?
Brian Craig : We have a chance to be an exceptional team. We also have a chance to be just a pretty good team. Right now one of our most talented players, Alex Volpenhein, is out with an injury and just diagnosed with mono. I think for us to be at our best, we need him to be healthy and in the lineup.
: If Alex V has mono, won't he be out until the spring?
Brian Craig : Alex will be checked by our doctors again next week. Hopefully at that point we will learn more about his situation. Obviously our first priority is to get him healthy and if that takes him until the spring, then we will certainly wait that long. However, since golf is a non-contact sport, he may get clearance to play again in a few weeks.
ukathletics.com : Thanks to Coach Craig for taking the time to answer questions today.
Brian Craig : As I enter my seventh season with the UK men's golf team, I would like to sincerely thank the many UK fans who have been so loyal and supportive to what the men's golf team is trying to accomplish. We are truely grateful and will do our best this season to make the Big Blue Nation proud.