In its 30-year history of hosting the MacDonald Cup, the men’s golf team has never won. This weekend, the Bulldogs have an opportunity to break the cycle of losses.
The Bulldogs will host approximately 18 schools for a three-day tournament at the Yale Golf Course this weekend. The competition includes Ivy rivals Harvard and Dartmouth and Yale’s most formidable district rival, the University of Rhode Island. While Yale has recorded several top 10 finishes at the MacDonald Cup over the years, the MacDonald Cup has proven to be elusive. Last fall, the Eli men combined to defeat both Harvard and Dartmouth, but finished second to Rhode Island.
But head coach Dave Paterson is confident that his team will not play second fiddle again.
“The MacDonald Cup field is always strong,” Paterson said. “If we can beat our arch district rivals, URI, also defending champions, we will win.”
In the most recent meeting between the schools — the Adams Cup tournament in Newport, R.I. on September 29-30 — neither team fared well. Out of a field of 12 schools, Rhode Island finished seventh and Yale 12th.
Paterson said his team’s weak showing in Newport helped refocus the Elis’ efforts, pushing them to work harder at practice in hopes of conquering their rivals this weekend.
“We fully understand the fragile nature of the game and that it can easily go sour, and [that] with a few bad breaks the score can soar,” Paterson said.
Paterson said he also has faith in the team’s newly redesigned lineup and his players.
“Over the weekend our top three — [reigning Ivy League champion] Brian Kim, Steve Gray and Dan Levy — all played well in trials and each could easily scoop the individual title,” Paterson said.
Levy tied for fifth place at the Adams Cup, where he shot 74-72-74 on a par 72 course.
“We’ve prepared,” Kim said. “If we perform like we all should, then the end result will be a good chance of winning and we will have met our goals.”
Playing on their home course gives the Elis a huge strategic and psychological advantage this weekend. Unlike other sports where the field of play often does not figure into the score, in golf, familiarity with a particular course can drastically affect the score.
“Because the Yale course is unique and a little bit tricky, it will have a big impact on helping us have the upper hand,” Kim said.
Yale has been hosting the MacDonald Cup since 1972. Formerly known as the Annual Yale Fall Intercollegiate Invitational, the name was changed in 2001, in honor of Yale Golf Course architect Charles Blair MacDonald.
“We felt the new title would give the event more stature in national golf circles,” Paterson said.