May 1, 2008
Color the 2008 Palmer Cup crimson. No matter which side wins, the USA or Europe, the University of Alabama will come out a winner. Crimson Tide senior golfer Michael Thompson will compete on the USA's team at the June 26-27, 2008 event in Glasgow, Scotland. And coaching the European Palmer Cup team will be two former Tide golfers, Marten Olander and David Kirkpatrick.
Olander, who won one of college golf's highest awards, the Ben Hogan Award, his senior year at Alabama in 1993, is the head coach of the European Palmer Cup team. Europe's team was announced on April 30. Kirkpatrick, a first team All-American at Alabama in 1992, will be his assistant coach. Olander, a native of Sweden, played eight years on the European Tour. He set a European Tour record for most consecutive birdies during a round with eight in the 2002 French Open. Kirkpatrick, a Scotland native, has also made a professional golf career, playing on the PGA and Nationwide Tours and has been based in Florida.
"I feel honored and excited to be selected as captain of the European team for this year's Palmer Cup," Olander said in a release sent out by the Golf Coaches Association of America on behalf of the Palmer Cup. "I look forward to coaching the future stars of professional golf at a superb venue in the homeland of golf. I am sure the match will be a tough contest, but my goal is obviously that we will be victorious and win the Cup. My experience as a professional and collegiate golfer will be a resource for the European side in this competition."
Europe's team will include Florida State's Jonas Blixt, Stirling's Scott Borrowman, South Alabama's Johnathan Caldwell, Indiana's Jorge Campillo, Charlotte's Jonas Enander Hedin, Tennessee's Charles Ford, East Tennessee State's Gareth Shaw, and USC's Tim Sluiter.
The Palmer Cup will be played at Glasgow Golf Club Gailes Links in Glasgow, Scotland. It is a Ryder Cup-style competition featuring the top collegiate players from the United States playing against the top collegiate players from Europe. The inaugural Palmer Cup was held at Bay Hill in 1997 and Alabama was well-represented with then-Tide head golf coach Dick Spybey serving as the U.S. team's manager and Tide golfer Allan MacDonald playing on the European team. The U.S. leads the series, 6-4-1, but hasn't fared well of late in Europe, losing on the last two trips there in the event that alternates continents each year.
The 2008 U.S. team includes Alabama's Michael Thompson, the 2008 Southeastern Conference champion. He will be joined on the team by Kevin Chappell of UCLA, Louisville's Derek Falhauer, Rickie Fowler of Oklahoma State, San Diego's Aaron Goldberg, Chesson Hadley of Georgia Tech, Florida's Billy Horschel and Adam Mitchell of Georgia. The United States will be coached by Stanford's Conrad Ray.