Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent Awarded Mark H. McCormack Medal

Gordon Sargent. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt men’s golf junior Gordon Sargent has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading male in the 2023 World Amateur Golf Ranking.

As the McCormack Medal winner, Sargent, who will begin his third year with the Commodores this season, receives exemptions into the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort and The Open at Royal Troon.

“It’s really special to have won the McCormack Medal, especially when you see the names of the golfers who have won it before and everything that comes along with it, including the major exemptions,” says Sargent. “This achievement definitely means a lot to me. It’s a goal that I’ve had set for a while, and it gives me a lot of confidence now that I’ve achieved it. I’m really honored to be receiving the medal.”

Sargent’s strong start to his sophomore campaign at Vandy led him to the top of the men’s ranking in February after winning the John Hayt Invitational by seven shots. In April, he became the first amateur player in 23 years to accept a special invitation to compete in the Masters Tournament.

The junior was a member of the U.S. team that won the Arnold Palmer Cup in June. Later that month, Sargent qualified for the U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club, where he tied for 39th after carding 284 over four rounds to earn low amateur honors in what was his second major championship appearance.

Sargent will compete for the U.S. team against Great Britain and Ireland in the 49th Walker Cup at St. Andrews next week as well as the World Amateur Team Championship in October. He has also received invitations to play in the Rocket Mortgage Classic and John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour.

Last season, Sargent was named the Golfweek Men’s National Player of the Year and was a First-Team All-America selection by Golfweek and the GCAA. The 2023 SEC Player of the Year finished his second season at Vanderbilt ranked No. 1 in the Palmer Cup Rankings and No. 2 in Golfstat Ratings. During his first season at Vanderbilt, Sargent won the 2022 NCAA Division I Individual Men’s Golf Championship after making birdie on the first hole of a four-man playoff, becoming the ninth freshman to win the NCAA individual title.

The R&A and the USGA co-award the McCormack Medal annually. It is named after Mark H. McCormack, who founded the sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.

The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses more than 3,500 counting events, ranking 4,520 players from 118 countries. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of approximately 2,300 counting events with more than 3,322 ranked players from 85 countries.

Vanderbilt opens the 2023-2024 season at the Valero Texas Collegiate, which takes place Sept. 9-11 at the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course.

College Corner: Belmont’s Dylan Windler, Vanderbilt Golf, MTSU Men’s Basketball

Belmont’s Dylan Windler Signs Deal With New York Knicks

Dylan Windler. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

Former Belmont University men’s basketball star Dylan Windler has signed a contract with the New York Knicks. 

Windler played the last four seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, after being selected No. 26 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. Windler scored a career-high 15 points against Atlanta and made nine consecutive 3-pointers during a two-game stretch – the most for a Cav in six years. 

The Indianapolis, Indiana native led Belmont to 94 victories and three conference championships in his career, including A5 victories over UCLA, Georgia and Vanderbilt. Windler capped his career by helping the Bruins earn their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory with a win over Temple. Two days later, he scored a game-high 35 points against Maryland. 

As a senior, Windler averaged 21.3 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Windler became just the fourth Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) player since 1971 to post at least 1,600 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. In fact, of the nine 30 point-20 rebound games in college basketball over the last two seasons, only Windler and South Dakota State All-American Mike Daum recorded multiple 30-20 games. 

He graduated 18th in college basketball history in effective field goal percentage (.640) and ranked fourth nationally in offensive efficiency by noted statistician Ken Pomeroy.

Windler averaged 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game on 41 percent 3-point shooting in 11 game appearances for the Canton Charge of the NBA G-League last season – including 70 points over his final three games. He averaged 15.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game for Canton in 2021-2022.




Vanderbilt Golf To Compete In Scottish Tournament

Gordon Sargent. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

The Vanderbilt men’s and women’s golf teams have been invited to the inaugural St. Andrews Links Collegiate Presented by TopGolf and World Wide Technology, to be held at the historic Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, this Oct. 23-25.

The signature three-day event will also feature men’s and women’s golf teams from Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina and the University of Notre Dame with two days of stroke play on the Jubilee Course followed by a day of medal match play on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

“We are honored and proud to partner with St. Andrews Links Trust on this new collegiate invitational at the Home of Golf,” says Tom Knapp, NBC Sports EVP, Golf. “The St. Andrews Links Collegiate elevates and enhances our already impactful college golf platform. We’re excited to have TopGolf and World Wide Technology join us as presenting sponsors, and we’re thrilled to showcase men’s and women’s student athletes from distinguished universities like Georgetown, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt this October in Scotland.”

NBC Sports will present live coverage of the St. Andrews Links Collegiate on Golf Channel and Peacock in the United States. Sky Sports will provide coverage in the United Kingdom.




MTSU Hires Robert Burlingham As Director Of Basketball Operations

Robert Burlingham has joined Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) men’s basketball as Director of Basketball Operations.

A familiar face to the Blue Raider staff, Burlingham reunites with Blue Raider Head Coach Nick McDevitt and Assistant Coach Eric Wilson. Burlingham started his coaching career as a student manager in 2013-2014 under McDevitt at UNC Asheville, where he was in charge of film and day-to-day functions of the program while also assisting with player workouts, basketball operations and team inventory.

“I want to thank AD Chris Massaro, Diane Turnham, Coach McDevitt and all who were involved,” Burlingham says. “When this opportunity presented itself, it was a no-brainer for me to get back with Coach McDevitt. He gave me my very first opportunity in college basketball and has been a key mentor in my growth as a coach. I look forward to competing for championships with this staff and this team.”

An Asheville, North Carolina native, Burlingham spent 2014-2016 as a manager at Western Carolina, where he worked under Ohio Hall of Fame Head Coach Larry Hunter and Wilson, then an assistant coach for the Catamounts.

Burlingham comes to Murfreesboro from McNeese State, where he served as Director of Basketball Operations for two seasons. He helped the Cowboys to three Southland Conference Tournament victories in his two seasons, while being instrumental in the development of 2022 SLC Freshman of the Year Johnathan Massie and two-time All-Southland selection Christian Shumate.

Prior to McNeese, Burlingham spent time on the staffs of Central Michigan, West Virginia Tech and Carolina Day School. While the top assistant coach at WVU Tech, Burlingham helped the Golden Bears to a 30-5 record, the River States Conference regular season and tournament titles and the second round of the NAIA National Tournament with three All-Conference selections in 2018-2019.

Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent Named Semifinalist For AAU James E. Sullivan Award

Gordon Sargent. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt men’s golf student-athlete Gordon Sargent has been named a semifinalist for the 93rd Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) James E. Sullivan Award.

The AAU James E. Sullivan Award honors an outstanding athlete in the United States, and has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to the Founder & past President of the Amateur Athletic Union and a pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan. Based on the qualities of leadership, character and sportsmanship, the award goes far beyond athletic accomplishments and honors those who have shown strong moral character as well. Winners achieve great success on a national and international stage through competition in collegiate athletics, Olympic pursuit or similar high-profile competitions.

This year’s winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Sept. 19 at the historic New York Athletic Club, the birthplace of the AAU.

Currently the top-ranked individual in the men’s World Amateur Golf Rankings, Sargent went 3-0-1 to help the United States win the Arnold Palmer Cup last month, and will represent the country again at the 49th Walker Cup Match in September. He was the low amateur at the 2023 U.S. Open while also earning an invitation to compete at the Masters Tournament this year. He received exemptions to the Rocket Mortgage Classic and John Deere Classic, and made the cut on the PGA Tour earlier this month.

The Birmingham, Alabama, native was a finalist for the Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Haskins Awards, and was selected as the National Player of the Year by Golfweek this season. In addition to earning First-Team All-American honors from the Golf Coaches Association of America and First-Team All-Region recognition, Sargent was named the SEC Player of the Year and earned First-Team All-League honors.

Sargent competed in 12 events for the Commodores in 2022-2023, recording 11 top-10 finishes highlighted by three individual victories while posting a 68.5 scoring average. His efforts helped Vandy claim six tournament titles during the season, leading them to earn the top overall seed in the NCAA Championships.

Sargent is one of 25 semifinalists in consideration for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award this year. A week-long voting period to determine the six finalists is active and the public can now vote. Individuals will be able to submit one vote per day until 10:59 p.m. CT on July 19. For more information, click here.

Past recipients include Bobby Jones, Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, Peyton Manning, Michael Phelps, Tim Tebow and Ezekiel Elliott.

Vanderbilt Alumni Donate Seed Gifts To Help Build New $11 Million Golf Facility

Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt has unveiled artists’ renderings detailing approximately $11 million in significant upgrades to men’s and women’s golf teams’ facilities at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.

Former Vanderbilt student-athletes and Hall of Fame inductees Toby Wilt (BE’66), Brandt Snedeker (BA’03) and Lew Conner (BA’60, JD’63), along with their wives, Lucianne Wilt, Mandy Snedeker (BA’02) and Ashley Conner (BA’60) made seed gifts with the goal of inspiring and facilitating gifts from other alumni and supporters to bring the project to life, reimagining the future of Vanderbilt golf.

“Vanderbilt helped me grow so much as a competitor and individual, and I’m thrilled to help bring together and encourage our golf family to ensure that current and future Commodores have the same opportunities,” says Brandt Snedeker, who was inducted into the Vanderbilt Hall of Fame in 2009. “Under Coach [Scott] Limbaugh and Coach [Greg] Allen, our men’s and women’s programs continue to set the standard for collegiate golf, and Mandy and I are grateful to the dedicated and talented student-athletes who keep the golf spotlight shining on our alma mater and the Middle Tennessee community that means so much to us.”

Vanderbilt Golf Team Lounge and Kitchen. Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

As part of the Vandy United campaign, this initiative will be made possible by the support of generous donors and will fund major investments that enhance the home venue for both programs through new construction and renovation of team spaces and practice facilities.

“The Vanderbilt Legends Club has served our men’s and women’s golf student-athletes extraordinarily well across more than two decades of combined excellence, and this major investment ensures that both programs will continue to grow and thrive for years to come,” says Candice Lee, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director. “I’m tremendously grateful to the Wilt, Snedeker and Conner families for seeding this project and embodying the values that make us Commodores for life. As we continue to reimagine the future of Vanderbilt Athletics through the Vandy United campaign, enhancing and expanding the home of two championship-caliber programs further demonstrates our commitment to give all of our student-athletes the tools necessary to reach their full potential—whether in the classroom or representing our university in competition.”

Building on the foundation put in place by student-athletes, including seven Hall of Famers, the university dedicated the Golf House and Training Center and Conner Family Hitting Bays in 2013 to complement the Vanderbilt Legends Club’s iconic courses, which were designed by former U.S. Open winner Tom Kite and world-renowned golf course architect Bob Cupp.

Vanderbilt Golf Team Lounge. Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

“The future is bright for Vanderbilt golf,” says Wilt, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. “At Vanderbilt, you know you never stand alone. Lucianne and I are proud to provide this gift as a catalyst to the newest Vandy United project because we want student-athletes to know we stand with them—and because we know our fellow alumni and supporters will stand with us. Together, we will ensure our golf teams continue to have the best facilities in the country.”

Work on the new practice facility will be led by renowned course architect Beau Welling. Upgrades include:

  • Renovation and expansion of the existing team clubhouse facilities, which will increase the building’s footprint by roughly two-thirds and include a new lobby, hall of fame, team lounge, locker rooms, meeting rooms, fitness area, outdoor terraces and offices
  • Renovation and expansion of the Cleo and Lewis Conner, Sr. Short Game Practice Facility and driving range tee boxes, including enhancing putting greens, modifying chipping areas and expanding the tee box
  • A new strokes gained area to continue to help student-athletes train more efficiently and reach their full potential

Vanderbilt Golf Team Fitness Center. Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

“Vanderbilt golf has always been close to my heart,” says Conner, who was a 2017 inductee into the Hall of Fame and funded the existing Conner Family Hitting Bays as well as the Cleo and Lewis Conner, Sr. Short Game Practice Facility. “My time as a student-athlete shaped my Vanderbilt experience and life, and Ashley and I have been proud to support the student-athletes who have so admirably carried on the tradition and lifted the program to new heights. I’m gratified that facility enhancements we have made over the last 20 years have played a part in an era of such tremendous success, and I’m excited to help take the facilities to an even greater level.”

Formerly known as Legends Club of Tennessee, the Franklin venue has long been the home course for Vanderbilt men’s and women’s golf. It was officially renamed Vanderbilt Legends Club in November 2005 and transitioned to a private club in 2008.

Vanderbilt Golf Team Library. Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Since 2001, when the university purchased a stake in the club, Vanderbilt’s men’s and women’s programs have combined to win five SEC championships, make 35 NCAA Regional appearances and reach 22 NCAA championships. The Vanderbilt Legends Club also helped Gordon Sargent hone the skills that propelled him to the 2022 NCAA men’s individual national championship and earn an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

Additionally, in their time at the Vanderbilt Legends Club, 25 Vanderbilt student-athletes have amassed more than 40 All-America honors from either the Golf Coaches Association of America or the Women’s Golf Coaches Association.

During the 2021–22 year, the men’s team won its second consecutive SEC championship and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Division I men’s golf championship after recording the best score in the stroke play portion of the event.

The women’s team won the NCAA Franklin Regional at the Vanderbilt Legends Club and also advanced to the NCAA Championship. The former marked Vanderbilt’s first opportunity to host a regional at the course, which also hosted the 2012 NCAA women’s championship and annually hosts the Mason Rudolph Championship tournament.

Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent Headed To Masters Tournament

Gordon Sargent. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt star golfer Gordon Sargent has accepted a special invitation to compete at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. from April 6-9.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Sargent is the reigning NCAA Division I men’s individual champion. The 19-year-old birdied the first hole of a four-way playoff in May to win, becoming the first freshman since 2007 to claim the individual title.

“There is simply not a greater honor in golf than to be invited to play in the Masters Tournament,” Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh says. “I also believe this a huge day for college and amateur golf as Augusta National Golf Club has extended a special exemption to Gordon to play in this year’s Masters as the reigning NCAA champion.

“We are thrilled for Gordon and especially proud of the way he represents our University and golf program with high character and integrity in everything he does,” he continues. “This is certainly another great opportunity for him to showcase his talents on the grandest of stages.”

Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced Thursday (Jan. 5) that Sargent and Kazuki Higa have both accepted their invitations to compete in the 2023 Masters. Both players will be first-time Tournament participants.

“The Masters Tournament prioritizes opportunities to elevate both amateur and professional golf around the world,” Ridley explains. “Thus, we have extended invitations to two deserving players not otherwise qualified. Whether on the international stage or at the elite amateur level, each player has showcased their talent in the past year. We look forward to hosting them at Augusta National in April.”

Sargent is ranked No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and becomes the first amateur to accept a special invitation since Aaron Baddeley in 2000. A preseason, first team All-American, Sargent also won the stroke play individual championship at the East Lake Cup in October.

Preds Foundation To Host Brent Peterson Golf Classic, 10th Annual Petey’s Preds Party

The Nashville Predators Foundation, empowered by SmileDirectClub, will host the 11th Annual First Horizon Brent Peterson Golf Classic. Held at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn. on Sept. 13, the event will benefit both the Predators Foundation and the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s (PFP). Later in the month, the 10th Annual First Horizon Petey’s Preds Party will also return to Bridgestone Arena on Sept. 28.

At the Peterson Golf Classic, local celebrities, Predators alumni, and executives will be put in teams of four and will play in morning and afternoon flights. Taking place on the Vanderbilt Legends South Course, the tournament will feature several competitions, such as the longest drive and closest-to-the-pin contest.

Following a year off in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, Sept. 28 will mark the return of the First Horizon Petey’s Preds Party. Over the ice at Bridgestone Arena, fans will enjoy an evening of stand-up comedy from Nashville-based comedian Aaron Weber, a delicious dinner, and an auction of rare hockey and sports items. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available here.

“After a year when we were unable to host so many of our fan-favorite Foundation events, we are thrilled to kick off the 2021-22 season this September with the First Horizon Brent Peterson Golf Classic and First Horizon Petey’s Preds Party,” says Nashville Predators Vice President of Community Relations Rebecca King. “Because of these events, we have raised over $1.6 million for the Preds Foundation and Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s, and we look forward to continuing those efforts this year and for years to come!”

In addition to benefiting the Predators Foundation, both upcoming events will benefit the PFP, which was founded in 2009 by Peterson. “Petey,” as he is known, served as an assistant coach from Day One until 2011 when he brought his battle with Parkinson’s into the public eye. Today, Peterson continues to work tirelessly to raise awareness about the devastating effects of Parkinson’s disease and advance PFP’s mission to support and enhance lives of people with Parkinson’s, their care partners, and families to achieve their highest possible quality of life through awareness, education and programs within a caring community.

Tracy Lawrence Hosts First Annual Mission:Possible Invitational Golf Tournament

Photo: by Bill McClintic

Country music recording artist Tracy Lawrence recently hosted the inaugural Mission:Possible Invitational Golf Tournament, sponsored by E3 Construction Services. The event raised $200,000 for homeless and underserved communities in and around the Nashville area.

“When I started mission possible 15 years ago, by frying turkeys in a parking lot, I never thought that we would be doing multiple events annually and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the homeless and hungry,” says Lawrence. “A huge thank you to our incredible sponsors and all the amazing folks who came out to raise some money for a good cause and had a little fun doing it!”

The event took place at Old Hickory Country Club in Tennessee and hosted an all-star line-up of players, including Lawrence, Kid Rock, Vince Gill, Dennis Quaid, Darius Rucker, John Daly, Shay Mooney, Ron White, Lee Brice, Justin Moore, Randy Houser, Cole Swindell, Parker McCollum, Jamey Johnson, Eddie George, Hardy, Colt Ford, Mike Mills, and many others.

“Having seen first-hand the incredible work Tracy Lawrence’s Mission:Possible has done in the community, we jumped at the opportunity to participate in his Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament and support such a meaningful cause,” says John Eldridge, founder and CEO of E3 Construction Services, LLC. “E3 Construction Services is proud to have sponsored such an incredible event that celebrates camaraderie, music, and generosity and we hope to see the tradition continue for many years to come.”

Recently, Lawrence announced his second album release of 2021, Hindsight 2020 Volume 2: Price of Fame, which will be available everywhere on Aug. 13. To celebrate the album announcement, he also released the title track from the album, “Price of Fame,” which features Eddie Montgomery.

Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic Raises $1.4 Million For OK Kids Korral

Clay Walker and Toby Keith performing at the 17th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic

After a year hiatus, the Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic raised $1,427,000 dollars for the OK Kids Korral, the cost-free home for families of children being treated at Oklahoma City area hospitals. The event was held on June 11-12 and raised the second-highest total in the classic’s 17 year history. In all, the event has now raised more than $15 million.

The biggest single bid was $100,000 for an AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am experience where the winner will get to walk the course with Keith during the tournament. Additional top bids came in for a chance for two to play in the 2021 Lexus Champions For Charity tournament ($62,000), a Fleetwood Mac signed electric guitar ($50,000), and a trip to Iceland ($30,000). Beyond the auctions, multi-platinum Show Dog Nashville recording artist Clay Walker performed with Keith. As for the double-shotgun-start golf tournament, the team from Ace Hardware won the morning round, with the afternoon round taken by Tier 1 Contracting. Mark VanHoose won the closest-to-the-hole contest and the Harley Davidson prize that went with it.

Pictured (L-R): Toby Keith, The Howard family – Lawsyn, announcing she is cancer free, Josh, Harlow, and Destiny

Recently, the Academy of Country Music announced it will bestow Keith with the Merle Haggard Spirit Award at the 14th Annual ACM Honors taking place on August 25 in Nashville. The award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of Haggard, the country legend and 20-time ACM Award winner, by following their own path, crafting great songs, and epitomizing Haggard’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015 and awarded the National Medal of Arts earlier this year, Keith is currently nominated for induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, his Country Comes To Town Tour resumed in Prescott, Arizona on Sunday, June 20. Announcements regarding new music are expected soon.