TAMPA, Fla. — The USF men's golf team is heading to its eighth straight NCAA Regional after earning its fifth AAC championship. The roster isn't short on passport stamps.
The Bulls players are from the U.S., Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Taiwan and Thailand. They say their differences are what makes them such a close-knit unit, and it's also a big reason why they've been so successful.
"Their interests are different, their backgrounds are polar opposite," said AAC Coach of the Year Steve Bradley. "You throw in someone else from Germany or somebody else from South Africa, and it’s awesome to see."
AAC individual champion Albin Bergstrom says the team's melting-pot style is a big reason why he's been able to play at a high level.
"It’s helped me a lot," he said, during Wednesday's practice. "To be able to meet different people from different places. I think it’s just helped our team to play good golf and be a good team, together."
Bradley describes his coach-style as disciplined and organized, but he says there's freedom with the organization. Bergstrom thinks that combination is what leads to each individual playing their best golf.
"He wants the best for everyone, and he always pushes us to be the best players here," Bergstrom said. "To be able to do that, and at the same time have fun, I think it’s a great thing to have. It’s a great thing to have a coach like that."
Bradley says he's very superstitious. He knows his rituals don't actually affect the team's performance, but it's a way to keep everyone loose as they get ready for big tournaments.
"We play well after round one, we’re going back to the same restaurant for dinner for round two. Same uniforms we’ve had success with for one round. It could be four months later, we’ll break out the same uniforms," Bradley joked. "From when I shave, to when I cut my hair, to everything like that. At the end of the day, it’s about them. But if it provides them with a little comic relief, then I’m okay with it, too."
The Bulls head to Noblesville, Indiana for their 13-team NCAA Regional. Play begins May 17.