Golf team accepts invitation to prestigious tournament
By Matthew Spiers
June 8, 2001

Riding the wave of its successful season and an 8th-place finish at the NCAA Championship, the Virginia Tech golf team has accepted an invitation to participate in the prestigious Topy Cup Tournament in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

The tournament, which will be held at the 7,086 yard, par-72 Tanagura Country Club from September 4-6, will feature four American teams and eight Japanese teams. The other U.S. teams to accept an invitation are the University of Houston, the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Southern Methodist University.

"It's a great honor to be selected for this prestigious event and represent not only Virginia Tech, but the United States," head coach Jay Hardwick said. "It'll be a great educational opportunity for the players as well as a chance to play in a foreign environment and experience a different culture."

Hardwick will take all five of his returning starters from this past season's team to the 54-hole event. The teams were invited based on the criteria of their record this past season, whether they qualified for the NCAA Championship and the number of returning players on the team. All expenses will be picked up by the tournament.

One of the eight Japanese teams participating in the event will be Nihon University, which has won five of the last 11 Topy Cups.

"I know from coaching Team USA in 1992 that golf is the No. 1 sport in Japan," Hardwick said. "The excitement and interest is unparalleled."

The trip to Japan is just one of many upgrades on Tech's 2001-02 schedule. The Hokies will also play in the Ping-Golf Week Preview from September 28-30 at Ohio State's Scarlet Golf Course, site of the 2002 NCAA Championship. Then from November 9-11, the Hokies will appear in the Golf World Invitational at Palmetto Dunes in Hilton Head, S.C. With the exception of the NCAA Championship, those two tournaments are generally considered the most competitive on the collegiate schedule.