The Back Nine: Recruiting? McElwain, staff get it done


The Back Nine comes at you and, yes, it is tournament week for the 23rd Bob Dooley, which means I have a knot in my stomach and I might be short with you if you ask why I shaved off my mustache after 42 years. I’m freaking out!

10. One thing that Twitter has done is allow coaches to celebrate big recruiting gets without naming the player because that would be against the rules. So Twitter was all afire with Gator coaches thumping their chests this weekend. The cynic in me wants to pump the brakes because the commitments are not binding and success isn’t a lock for anyone no matter how many stars a recruit has. But what we are seeing is the last doubters of Jim McElwain being sent to the corner. His last six months of recruiting — going back to the week of signing day — have been phenomenal. And with the added early signing day, it means more to get commitments in July. I think. Look, when you have your big recruiting weekend and you bring in more big-time recruits than anyone has since Urban Meyer’s heyday, you should have a big weekend. But it is pretty clear that the new hires of assistant coaches and McElwain’s comfort level in his third year are all paying off.

11. Already I have had several people tell me that the first time they make a long putt in The Bob they will tell someone in the group to “Go Get That” a la Jordan Spieth on Sunday. I want that T-shirt so somebody go make it. That was fun to watch, which is all we ever ask for. As soon as he hit sideways on 13, I said out loud, “He just blew the Open.” I was envisioning a 7 or an 8 or a Jean van de Velde. And Johnny Miller’s screaming at him to go back to the tee and he just shrugged it all off, made bogey and then blistered the finish. He has three majors. Jack Nicklaus has 18 and Tiger Woods 14. Even though Spieth is 23, I’m not going to get carried away. But he does have the mental toughness on a golf course that is a gene that is tough to come by. More than anything, I love his honesty. Speaking of the front nine when things were unraveling, he said, “We walked for two minutes, three minutes in between shots. And you can’t just go blank. You wish you could, but thoughts creep in.” With that statement, he said what all golfers know to be true. Oh, those thoughts.

12. Meanwhile, Branden Grace became the first golfer to shoot 62 in a major and probably couldn’t get recognized at a family reunion. It’s all about timing. Nobody outside the immediate golf nuts will remember that 62, but everyone will remember Spieth hitting from between two equipment trucks. Go get THAT. Twitter was again abuzz because Miller, who was one of those who shot 63 in a major and had the record, pointed out on NBC that the course was set up easy. OK, then why didn’t someone else shoot 62? Johnny, your 63 was better. It was on a tougher course and you won the tournament way back when. I get it. You say Branden Grace to someone in the street today and he’ll give you directions to a Christian school. But let him have his day in the sun.

13. Please, please, please, lay off the Les Miles to Ole Miss talk. I can give you five better choices in five seconds. Just stop. Once the NCAA is finished with Ole Miss you’ll need a Hazmat suit to get near the program. It’s going to take someone with young energy to try to rebuild and it won’t be easy. Miles said he is extremely interested in the job. So am I. We have about the same shot. And there has been talk of interim Matt Luke doing so well Ole Miss will hire him a la Ed Orgeron. Look at the schedule. Find me six wins. OK?

14. We still have more than a month to go until the start of the season, but camps will be popping up soon for college football teams. Which makes me wonder why having a 14-week season is even a debate. It would give the players an extra week off to heal and re-energize and help fix problems like Florida-LSU last year. I mean, camps start so early now, you could just cut a couple of practices and not move them up into summer classes. Of course, if you go to a 14-week season, are you that far away from a 13th game?

15. I just know this — when you go through the schedule for the first month of the season, you’ll start to get antsy for the vacation to end and college football to be here. I made this point on the radio, but it’s worth repeating — the reason college football is the best sport is we have a countdown to the start of it. NBA, college hoops, NHL, MLB, with all of them it’s like, “Did they start already?” Even the king (NFL) is more about, “Oh yeah, the week after college football starts.” We own the summer when nothing is happening.

16. Former Gator great Dan Cross is having his 13th annual All Fundamentals Camp on Aug. 1-4 at St. Francis High. The camp stresses fundamentals in both fundamentals and life. I can think of some NBA players who could use it, but it’s for ages 8-15. You can check it out at

17. The Tweet of the Week goes to my buddy Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports who was like many of you perplexed as to why it took so long for Spieth to play the 13th hole — “Seriously. Katie Ledecky literally can swim 400 meters faster than Jordan Spieth can figure out this shot.” Seriously. You could have watched a sitcom between his tee shot and the next one he hit. If you skipped the commercials. Like I do.

18. OK, so I had some nice workouts at the gym, but it seems odd that Jordan Spieth could be leading a major and it wouldn’t be on one TV on the main bank and instead there would be an infomercial and a show about animal doctors on. And, yes, I asked. But I plowed through anyway with the help of this playlist:

“Humongous” by Declan McKenna.

“Chicago Song” by Stu Larsen.

An incredible version of “Hey Ya” by Avriel & the Sequoias.

In honor of the late Chester Bennington, “In The End” by Linkin Park.

And for a deep old album cut, “Getaway” by the Rossington Collins Band. That should keep Mike Bianchi happy.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at