LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Cal head coach Steve Desimone has been selected to coach the United States at the 2014 Palmer Cup. The annual Ryder Cup-style competition will be played June 26-28 at the Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England.
“I’m honored to be a part of the Palmer Cup as a member of the GCAA and representing the USA,” Desimone said. “This news definitely has me smiling. I’ve worked with collegiate players for 35 years and I’m looking forward to this opportunity. I know this is going to be a lot of fun with plenty of great golf and serious competition. All in all, it should be a wonderful experience. Go USA.”
Desimone is in his 35th season at the helm of the Cal men’s golf team in 2013-14 and has led the Golden Bears’ program to sustained success over the last three and a half decades. Cal won its lone national title in 2004 but the run his team has put together since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign is unprecedented not only at Cal but arguably on a national level.
Cal has won 21 of 33 stroke-play events since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign and has been in the top five in all 33, as well as each of its four match-play tournaments during the period. The Bears reached the national semifinals each of the past two seasons, while sweeping NCAA Regional and Pac-12 Championship crowns and also finishing first at the end of stroke play at the 2013 NCAA Championship.
Desimone earned the 2013 Dave Williams Award presented by Eaton Golf Pride as the national coach of the year in Division I men’s golf and was the Pac-12 Coach of the Year each campaign to mark the second and third times in his career he earned the honor. In addition to the run Cal has made over the last two seasons, the Bears have also qualified for the NCAA Championship each of the past four campaigns to set a school record.
The Bears are currently ranked fourth in nation after winning three of five events and finishing third and fourth in its other two during the 2013 fall season. Brandon Hagy is ranked third nationally.
Cal finished its 2012-13 campaign as the nation’s No. 1 ranked team according to both Golfweek and Golfstat despite being defeated by Illinois in the NCAA Championship match-play semifinals. Cal was also the top-ranked team in the final regular season Golf World/Nike Golf Division I Coaches Poll. Cal became the nation’s No. 1-ranked team in all three sets of rankings shortly after winning its first two events of the campaign in late September of 2012 and never dropped out of the top spot in any of them. Cal set a modern-era NCAA record with 12 victories in 14 stroke-play tournaments, eclipsing the previously established record of 10 by the 1985-86 Oklahoma State team.
Michael Kim became the first Cal player to win national player of the year honors in 2012-13, sweeping the Jack Nicklaus Award, Haskins Award and Golfweek/Sagarin Player of the Year. In addition, he was one of three national finalists for The Ben Hogan Award. Kim, along with Max Homa and Michael Weaver were first-team PING All-Americans, with Kim adding first-team Golfweek All-American recognition, while Homa and Weaver were second-team choices. All three were also All-West Region and first-team All-Pac-12 selections, while Hagy and Joël Stalter were both second-team PING and Golfweek All-Americans, PING All-West Region picks and second-team All-Pac-12 selections.
Desimone is a member of the Northern California Golf Association’s Hall of Fame Class of 2014 and will be inducted during the California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Association’s 55th annual gala event at The Inn at Spanish Bay during the week of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on February 4, 2014. Last year, he became the first coach to ever earn the CGWBA’s Jack Lemmon Ambassador of Golf Award at the same event.
The United States leads the Palmer Cup series 9-7-1.
Cal had three current golfers listed on the 2013 fall Palmer Cup Ranking released last month. Hagy is ranked fifth on the Team USA list with a .9943 percentile, while Weaver is 25th at .9610. Stalter is 10th on the Team Europe list at .9463.
The top six golfers in the final ranking to be released during the spring of 2014 from both the United States and Europe shall be among the 10 individuals from each group selected to compete in the 2014 Palmer Cup.
Kim and Weaver both played for the winning Team USA in the 2013 Palmer Cup last June, while Stalter was a member of Team Europe.