Dylan Jirsa (senior) and Sam Miller’s (junior) run as the “dynamic duo” of the Occidental’s men’s golf team came to an end over the weekend as Jirsa competed in his final collegiate tournament. Both of the two co-captains agreed that they have formed a strong partnership on and off the golf course during their three seasons together on the golf team.
Jirsa, last year’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Lee Fulmer Athlete of the Year, described how Miller joining the team benefitted his game almost instantly.
“I’d say from the very beginning, just because I knew how talented he was, that [he] pushed me to be better,” Jirsa said.
Miller, who led last year’s SCIAC tournament heading into the final round, also noted how Jirsa’s presence has had a positive impact on his game.
“He’s always worked harder than any golfer I’ve known,” Miller said.
Miller explained how the two have gone on to become close friends as well as teammates. They regularly spend time together outside of golf. Jirsa, who is from Colorado, even spent two and a half weeks this winter break staying with Miller at his home in San Francisco.
“We spent every day together, played six hours during the day and then spent the rest of the day together hanging out,” Jirsa said.
Jirsa said the two are constantly striving to improve at golf and he is well aware that spending time together has helped their game.
“We compete so well with each other that I think a bond has just formed naturally out of that,” Jirsa said. “I’d say the most fruitful consequence of that bond is how hard we push each other.”
While the two are close friends, head coach Will Morris explained how their relationship is not without a competitive edge.
“They root for each other, certainly, but they are also tenacious competitors,” Morris said.
Miller said even that might be a bit of an understatement. Both he and Jirsa explained how they are desperate to beat each other every time they step out on to a golf course. Jirsa said that their rivalry is so fierce that their desire to outperform the other often eclipses their desire to defeat whichever school they happen to be facing.
“We almost care so little about what we do against the other team and more about how we do against each other,” Jirsa said.
In any case, Jirsa and Miller have not let their personal rivalry prevent them from turning in strong performances for the Tigers. Morris explained how the two are almost always the top two performers on Occidental’s men’s golf team, although who posts the best score changes regularly.
“They’re as fine as players as there are in the nation for Division III,” Morris said. “We’re just really lucky to have them.”
The two have also developed into leaders on the team, and Morris was quick to point out the effect his two top performers had in terms of inspiring the rest of the team.
“Coaches can say a lot of things, but when your best players do something it’s easier to use them for a role model,” Morris said.
Morris also explained how the team and the department started comparing the pair to Batman and Robin. As to which player is Batman and which one is Robin, the debate is unsurprisingly contentious: the two rivals have each staked a claim to be Batman in the past. Morris, for one, was not keen to weigh in on what is clearly a controversial topic among the golf team.
“I’m sure it depends on who you ask,” Morris said.
Miller gave the title of Batman to Jirsa but did not forget to point out his decision had little to do with golfing ability.
“I’ll give him Batman, he’s older,” Miller said.
Jirsa, after hearing Miller’s response, gladly accepted the role of Batman, but not without taking a small jibe at his close friend and rival.
“Okay I’ll take it,” Jirsa said. “Deep down we know it’s for different reasons.”
The Occidental men’s golf team has now finished competition for the season but Miller will return to action next season, this time without his partner in crime.