The Florida Gators men’s golf team has workouts at 5:55 a.m.
Head coach J.C. Deacon is usually the first person there.
Recently, however, he showed up at 5:40 a.m., and he was the last person to arrive.
"I think the attitude is hungry," Deacon said on Monday. "I don’t think they were very pleased with how we played in the fall as a team at all."
They’ve got something to prove."
That’s the best way to describe this golf team.
Not the way someone would hunger for a meal.
No, it’s the insatiable desire for success that drives this team.
After a relatively slow start to the Fall season at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in early September, the Gators quickly picked up the pace with a win at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup in late September.
UF would go on to finish in the top five in its last three events, including a victory at the Florida Gulf Coast University Classic — the final event of the Fall season.
Deacon attributed the hard work on and off the course as reasons for the team’s success. He said their attitude, dedication and positivity are what’s got him excited for the spring.
"I’ve never seen a golf team work like this," Deacon said. "And it’s from top to bottom."
All of them are flying, pushing each other, playing great, practicing hard, talking right, showing up early."
Deacon also pointed to some of the recent success of the team’s younger players for why he has such a positive outlook coming into spring play.
Freshman Jorge Garcia, a native of Anaco, Venezuela, and sophomore Alejandro Tosti, from Rosario, Argentina, played exceptionally well in various tournaments over the winter break.
Garcia fired a final-round of 5-under-par 66 to capture the South Beach International Amateur title on Dec. 23.
Garcia and Tosti also competed in the Latin America Amateur Championship in the Dominican Republic. Tosti finished tied for third in the event. After a final-round 74, Garcia would finish second — only one shot back of winner Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica.
The winner, however, earned the right to tee it up at the Augusta National Golf Club in April with an exemption into the 2016 Masters Tournament.
Deacon said he was most impressed with Garcia’s positivity following the heartbreak of missing the Masters by a single stroke.
After struggling at the beginning of the fall season, Garcia has transformed into one of UF’s most reliable players.
"(He’s) sacrificed so much of his life to get better at the little things and was diligent and has done a great job," Deacon said. "And now he’s starting to kinda reap the rewards from it."
According to Deacon, everyone on this team is working hard to achieve success. The key is to keep at it.
"If we keep working like this and dedicating ourselves and sacrificing the little things in life that they are right now, it’s gonna come," Deacon said.
"I’ve seen it before with teams like this. It’s gonna come. It’s just a matter of being patient enough to let it happen."