A New Englander's Take on Golf
May 4, 2022
Gregor Tait finished eagle, par, birdie at Big East Championship -- then concluded the day with even more class and style.

You need a reminder that today’s youth offer great promise for our future? Searching for the latest validation that golf is our greatest game?

You’ve come to the right place, for I offer you Gregor Tait.

OK, it’s likely you haven’t heard of the fifth-year golfer at Seton Hall, but here’s a modest suggestion that you’ll entirely approve of his actions last week after the final round of the Big East Golf Championships in Pine Mountain, Ga.

Caleb Manuel of the University of Connecticut called Tait’s actions “classy” and Seton Hall coach Clay White gushed that his player “was wise beyond his years . . . he knows what is right and wrong.”

In a world that can be overzealously competitive, Tait was presented the opportunity to win a golf competition but chose instead to concede defeat. Not that he really lost, however, because in choosing not to play off against Manuel, Tait won enormous respect and admiration – commodities that are more precious than birdies and par-saves.

So, if you keep in mind that college golf is refreshingly better than weekly pro tournaments in many respects because individual success takes a back seat to how your team is doing, here is the story:

White’s quest to finally win a Big East Championship had to run through teams that had in recent years spoiled things for the Pirates – Marquette and UConn. Through two rounds, lo and behold, there they were again: Marquette and UConn tied for first at 570, Seton Hall next at 571.

Being low individual? Tait laughed. “I mean, it was nothing I was even thinking about, being six behind (Manuel, who had burned it up at 68-66 to be comfortably ahead).”

Even when he eagled the par-5 16th at Callaway Gardens and made a lengthy birdie putt at the 18th, Tait’s only thrill was knowing that his 7-under 65 had pretty much cemented Seton Hall’s team victory.

Yes, he knew that that at 11-under he had pushed ahead of Manuel, but the UConn sophomore had a few holes to play. Besides, “this was all about the crazy thrill we had for coach,” said Tait.

On the course, Manuel pretty much knew that Seton Hall had played beautifully to overtake Marquette and that UConn as a team had not had its best day (at 290 – 860, the Huskies finished third, 11 behind SH), but he didn’t officially know where he stood. Didn’t ask, either, but when he birdied the 16th, Manuel thought he was in the lead.

When he finished par, par, he discovered that he and Tait had both shot 11-under scores. Playoff time.

Which is where it got intriguing and where a young man’s character shined.

“I asked coach if the playoff was to determine the (Big East individual champion) or the automatic qualifier for the NCAA Regionals,” said Tait. “At first, they couldn’t tell us so we all went down to the first tee.”

When they got there, the players and coaches got the official ruling: Manuel and Tait would be declared co-champions and there was no playoff for that title. They did, however, have to play off to determine who the low individual scorer was to earn the one automatic qualifier to the regionals.

At that point, “it was a no-brainer,” said Tait, who, if he had won the playoff over Manuel would have meant no AQ individual for the Big East.

“This was a matter of respect above all. It was about recognizing Caleb’s game. He’s one of the most consistent players I’ve ever met. He’s somebody whose game I respect massively.”

Tait told the official at the first tee he was conceding the playoff hole right there. There was some confusion, some stares, and Manuel confesses that it “was weird for a minute.”

White, meanwhile, was overcome with joy. “The whole thing was his idea. I would never make a player do that,” said White, who paused, then added words that were saturated in pride.

“But it is something I would always want a player to do and I’m not surprised Gregor did it. He is someone who is an example of how you should act and behave.”

When the official told Tait that you can’t concede a hole that really hasn’t been put in motion, the Scottish-born fifth-year senior turned to Manuel and smiled. Just bump it off the tee, he said, and Manuel finally realized what was going on.

The UConn sophomore nudged it off the tee, Tait extended his hand, and if ever there was a win-win moment, this was it.

As a member of the Big East championship team, Tait already had his place in the NCAA Regionals. “So, Gregor didn’t have any interest in taking an opportunity away from somebody to go (as the automatic qualifier for low individual),” said White. “To him, it was a no-brainer.”

But the true glory of what this young man who lives in England but is proud to play competitively beneath a Scottish flag did goes deeper than that. He made this decision in a split second, after asking officials to confirm the rules. He didn’t consult with his coach. He didn’t talk it over with Manuel. He didn’t get lost in a world that is filled with obnoxious “hey, look at me” people; instead, Gregor Tait embraced a bigger picture.

He saw the opportunity to get a UConn player whom he admired – an arch-rival, remember – into the Regionals as a bonus to the Big East Conference. Most of all, Tait chose to live by the words that constantly come from coach White.

“He tells us all the time, ‘Your game is important, yes, but there are bigger things going on.’ And he always says, ‘Your score doesn’t define you.’ ”

Amen to the coach. Bravo to the player.



(Read more on Caleb Manuel in New England Golf Journal. https://www.negolfjournal.com/caleb-manuel-maine-uconn-big-east/)


I have a passion for playing golf that is surpassed only by my passion for writing about people who have a passion for playing golf, for working in golf, for living their lives around golf. Chasing the best professional golfers around the world for The Boston Globe, Golfweek Magazine, and the PGA Tour for more than 20 years was a blessing for which I’ll be eternally grateful. I’ve been left with precious memories of golf at its very best, but here is a takeaway that rates even more valuable – the game belongs to everyone who loves it. “Power Fades” will be a weekly tribute with that in mind, a digital production to celebrate a game that many of us love. If you share a passion for golf, sign up down below for a free subscription and join the ride. And should you have suggestions, thoughts, critiques, or general comments, feel free to pass them along.

Cheers, Jim McCabe


Jim McCabe | May 4, 2022

U.S. OPEN 2022 TRACKING: In rapid fashion, local qualifiers are being held around the country to determine who marches on in a bid to fill the spots that are still available into the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline (June 16-19). Some notable names from various sites:

* Raw spring weather and a period of dreary rain greeted golfers at Foxborough CC Monday where Cooper Griffin of Weston shot 2-under 70 and Sean Fitzpatrick of Walpole posted 71 to lead the list of qualifiers. They were joined by four others who had 72s and got through a playoff – Jake Shuman, Kevin Gately, Mark Purrington, and Ben Spitz. The player ousted in the five-way playoff at 72, Peter French, will be first alternate. Now 63, Andy Morse, who in 1996 went through two stages of qualifying and finished T-67 at the U.S. Open at Oakland Hills, did not get through after shooting 81. Also failing to advance were a pair of assistant pros at The Country Club – Connor Mulcahy of Milford (83) and Jake Ducharme of Norfolk (81).

* At Wee Burn CC in Darien, Conn., Ben James of Milford, Conn, was among those to move on after his round of 73. James sits No. 1 or 2 depending on which national junior poll you refer to and he’s No. 98 on the World Amateur Golf Rankings. The list of those who failed to get through include Shane Bacon (77) of The Golf Channel, as well as Andrew DiRamio (77) of Duxbury, Ryan Riley (83) of South Easton, and Harvin Groft (80) of Berwick, Maine, who made it into match play at the U.S. Mid-Amateur last fall on Nantucket. Another name who failed to advance from this site: Arthur Ouimet of Bloomfield, Conn. He has the name, of course, but unfortunately didn’t have the score (78) to move on.

* At Grand Prairie, Texas, Noah Goodwin, a fifth-year senior at SMU and No. 31 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, shot 67 to advance to final qualifying.

* The medalist with 65 at the site in Boynton Beach, Fla., was Anthony Brodeur, son of legendary NHL goaltender Martin. Olin Browne Jr. (71) and Brendan Hester of Northbridge (74) were among those who failed to advance.

* At Kerrville, Texas, former U.S. Amateur champion Nick Flanagan of Australia was medalist with 68.

* At Fountaingrove Golf & Athletic Club in Santa Rosa, Calif., onetime PGA Tour member Spencer Levin shot 69 to lead the list of qualifiers.

* At Hollywood GC in Deal, N.J., University of Oklahoma redshirt senior Chris Gotterup put up a blistering 64 to easily take medalist honors. Xavier Marcoux of Concord, a junior at Rutgers, had 78 and failed to advance.

* At Worthington Manor CC in Urbana, Md., Rhode Island native Brad Adamonis shot 74 and did not move on.

COLLEGIANS: As they prepare to help their teams in the upcoming NCAA Regionals, Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley (Stanford) and Patrick Welch of Providence (Oklahoma) are 25th and 73rd, respectively, in the latest World Amateur Golf Ranking . . . . . The season ended with some quality individual efforts for Holy Cross, which finished sixth in the Patriot League Championship at the Steel Club in Hellertown, Penn. Christian Emmerich, a junior from Swampscott who was named first team All Patriot League, shot 71-74-73 and was fifth, while Winchester’s Owen Egan finished T-10 and was named second team. Senior John Bowen of Hobe Sound, Fla., hit every green and every fairway in a closing 71 that lifted him into a share of 16th.

QUALIFIERS: Burgess Houston, the onetime Mass. Amateur champion who is an assistant golf professional at Wellesley CC, shot 1-under 71 to lead a parade of 12 through a Massachusetts Open qualifier at New Seabury. Former BC golfer Nicholas Pandelena (74) and Mike Calef (75), the former two-time State Amateur champ, also got into the field for the Mass. Open, which will be held June 8-10 at Longmeadow CC.


1 – We just counted his birdies

Was in attendance for Tiger Woods’ four straight major championships, including Pebble Beach U.S. Open where he came closer than anyone to playing perfect golf. Total times someone wrote or asked about his clubhead speed during those four wins: Zero.

2 – Not a bad way to be

Sometimes, when asked how I’m doing, just for chuckles I’ll reply, “I’m dormie. And how are you doing?” I mean, why not?

3 – Long stories longer

Depending on who you believe – and remember, hyperbole is a tool favored by many golf writers – there are 11 or 12 players who are considered the longest in golf.

4 – Did someone get paid for this slogan?

Shot Just Got Real. Huh?

5 – Heck, you hurt the cup

Most of the nasty lip-outs you see are the result of too much speed. Just saying.

6 – Going fast

The answer: 8 square inches. The question: What is the amount of logo-free space, by average, on the typical PGA Tour player’s shirt?

7 – So hard to keep track

My bad for not following this stuff, but is he still Captain America or has Patrick Reed been reduced in rank?

8 – No room to debate this

Hearing someone refer to them as sand traps is the first sign that we’re in different orbits.

9 – Final word

Yes, it’s a hard game to play. But it’s an easy game to love.


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