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OSU-Bama play for the title with more than golf on the line

Mike McGraw, OSU, fate.



“It was fate,” said Wyndham Clark after OSU beat Stanford to get Alabama in the match play finale at the NCAA golf championship Kansas.

Preordained by none other than Mike Holder himself.

See Clark wasn’t talking about beating Stanford being “fate.” And he certainly wasn’t talking about the three-years-too-late OSU-Bama matchup in a different sport being “fate.”

He was talking about Mike McGraw, OSU’s head coach since 2005 who was fired by Mike Holder last June after finishing 14th in these same NCAA Championships. He was talking about what must come to fruition: McGraw facing his old squad in a titanic battle for college golf’s crown.

“I could go on forever about what a good man Mike McGraw is, but at the end of the day, I had to do what I felt was in the best interest of the program,” said Holder last June.

And then McGraw hooked up as an assistant with the Tide (here’s a great feature on that) and yep this is totally awkward because he recruited all five guys in orange his new guys in crimson will be facing on Wednesday.

Clark continued

“As much as he might not say this now, he still bleeds orange and he still loves Oklahoma State. He grew up loving the Pokes and coaching for so long and putting so much into that school.

“It’s gotta be hard for him, because I bet you he wants his team to win but he also wants us to win because he recruited all of us. He’s been like a father figure to us.”

Clark would know. Watch McGraw at the 3:50 mark of this video about Clark losing his mom.

Yes, Wednesday is going to be so, so weird.

In McGraw’s old OSU bio you can see how steeped he is in orange.

“I was raised 40 miles north of here and knew all about the program when I was growing up,” McGraw said. “I never dreamed I would be the head coach, so this opportunity means a lot from the standpoint that I have followed the program for more than 35 years and realize its stature.”

Outside of the McGraw storyline, the actual golf should be tremendous. Golf Channel has a good preview here — both teams are ranked in the top five nationally and four of each team’s five golfers are in the NCAA top 50.

Bama is going for two straight and OSU is going for its 11th overall. It seems like neither can lose right now. And it’s hard to imagine, no matter what happens, Mike McGraw walking off the course at Prairie Dunes with anything but a smile on his face.

Roll Pokes.

Preview photo: Tracy Wilcox

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