“We don’t feel like any team is better than us. We feel asthough we are as good as or better than any team in the conference.” This is the attitude surrounding the 2007-08 men’s tennisteam, voiced by assistant coach Evan Austin as it heads into the Big Ten IndoorChampionships this weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich., concluding the fall and,essentially, exhibition season. In its latest warm-up, the five-day long ITA Regional inMinneapolis, three Badgers reached the quarterfinals — seniors Jeremy Sonkinand Nolan Polley and sophomore Moritz Baumann — and the tandem of Sonkin andLuke Rassow-Kantor reached the semifinals. It was arguably Wisconsin’s best performancethis fall. Last year, the Badgers’ tennis team had one of their bestseasons in the program’s history, finishing No. 32 nationally and fourth in theBig Ten with a 16-11 record. They beat eight ranked opponents throughout theseason. Looking ahead to the spring season, however, the team willface a difficult road. It will play 14 teams from the FILA Collegiate TennisRankings. Out of those ranked teams, eight of them come from the Big Ten,including last year’s Big Ten champion, No. 3 Ohio State.”It’s going to be physical and every match is going to be a grind for us,”Austin said. “We have to prepare now to get the mindset that every match isgoing to be tough, and if you take a day off, then you are going to lose.”So what makes this team different from the previous few seasons? Coach Austindescribed it in one word: leadership.Led by Sonkin and Polley, the diverse Badger lineup is one of intimidation anddiligence. “The whole dynamic with the team has really changed. In previous years, the attitudewas in no way like the team we have this year,” Sonkin said. “The guys areready to go that extra length to be where we should be.”We are going to be a dangerous threat to any team in thecountry.”Sonkin and Polley are both previous MVPs of the team and have had great successat singles in both the Big Ten and NCAA. Polley concluded the season ranked No.101. Also, Baumann came out of nowhere to make a name for himself by finishingat No. 49. His ranking placed him among the top five in the nation forfreshmen.”A lot of our focus has been getting the guys on the same page,” Sonkin said.”Knowing that we are strong in our singles and doubles, our team has been ableto bring a lot of really great aspects to every practice and we have beenworking to get the best out of every practice we have.”The official season doesn’t open up until Jan. 26 against UW-Green Bay at theNielsen Tennis Stadium, but Sonkin and company are already eagerly anticipatingits arrival. They have high expectations, despite having never gotten past theround of 32 in the NCAA Tournament in school history, and want to put them tothe test. “Anything less than the quarterfinals in the NCAA tournament and No. 1 or 2 inthe Big Ten would be a disappointment with the talent on this team,” Polleysaid.
For the first time, England Golf will offer members and officials from golf clubs and counties the opportunity to attend an R&A Rules School hosted in England. By introducing The R&A Rules Education Programme in 2016, England Golf will offer delegates the potential to graduate through three tiers of Rules tutoring and learning. At each stage of development, there is the opportunity to sit an exam which is recognised throughout The R&A’s jurisdiction. Individuals can also achieve the ‘England Golf County Referee’ qualification via the Level 2 Rules School. Toby Thorne, Deputy Championship Director at England Golf, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with The R&A and adopt their Rules Education Programme. We hope that club managers, committee members, club pros or club members who want to become involved in tournament administration will see a clear path for their learning and development. Starting at Level 1, individuals can then decide whether they would benefit from progressing further.” Kevin Barker, Working for Golf Director at The R&A commented: “Rules education is very important to The R&A and our materials are used successfully by our affiliates around the world. It will be a pleasure to work with England Golf in delivering what we hope will be the first of many Rules Schools”. The schools are tailored to provide basic instruction for those newer to the game, as well as meeting the demands of more experienced officials looking for tournament specific guidance. England Golf will schedule a number of one-day, Level 1 Introductory Rules Schools during 2016. Dates and venues will be announced on the England Golf website in the coming weeks. In addition, the first Level 2 Rules School will be launched this summer during England Golf’s second Golf Week and will take place at Frilford Heath Golf Club on 11-12 August. Details regarding England Golf Rules Schools and education can be found by clicking here For anyone interested in learning the basics, The R&A’s online Rules Academy is the primary place to start. Caption: An England Golf referee advises on the rules during a championship (image © Leaderboard Photography). 29 Feb 2016 England Golf to introduce R&A Rules Schools in 2016