When I researched Shooting for Tiger, I was struck by the insular way in which American college coaches went about recruiting for their golf teams. They focused on AJGA tournaments in America and the small group of players who managed to play in the elite Invitational tournaments. I chronicled a season of this mating between coaches and top teen players.
Sam's experience shows just how difficult it is to break into this closed world. He played in Europe this past summer, not in the AJGA. When he wrote several dozen coaches expressing interest in attending their college, most did not even bother to answer his email. The few who did said their recruiting already was finished. Even though he is a late bloomer and a good student, it is becoming clear that no top American university will even look at him.
American universities say they want to become international and recruit around the globe. For the most part, however, they fail to live up to this goal. Sam looks set to attend university in the UK.