The annual Coaches Legacy Golf Invitational benefitting the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho is usually a good time for reporters to catch up with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and BYU coach Kalani Sitake on the state of the rivalry, their current quarterback situation or something similar.

But since everybody knows Jaren Hall is BYU’s guy and Cam Rising is the man at Utah this season, and the Utes and Cougars aren’t scheduled to face off in 2022 or 2023, what was left to talk about in the 33rd iteration of the event on Monday at Hidden Valley Country Club in Sandy?

Well, plenty.

There always is when these two good friends get together in a friendly four-person scramble golf format.

“Uh, you know, we have taken breaks before. It is some good and some bad. I think it can calm things down in this state a little bit, and maybe lower the animosity level a few notches.” — Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham on not facing BYU this season.

Although neither coach said much about their teams or opponents during the after-golf luncheon hosted by former Utes quarterback Scott Mitchell and Alex Kirry of KSL Radio and The Zone Sports Network, they did agree to share their thoughts about the future of the rivalry.

Will they miss not playing each other in 2022?

Sitake said yes, while Whittingham said, well, not really.

“I will, yeah, of course. I miss all the games that we are not going to play the same opponents from last year,” Sitake said. “But we can only focus on the 12 we are guaranteed to play this year and try to earn an extra opportunity. It is going to be fun going into this last year (before the Big 12), but then we are also looking forward to something that is going to be a little more consistent, that is going to be fun for us too, and our fans.”

BYU beat Utah 26-17 last September in Provo, snapping Utah’s nine-game winning streak in the heated series. Utah got out of the 2022 and 2023 rivalry games so it could play Florida.

“Uh, you know, we have taken breaks before. It is some good and some bad. I think it can calm things down in this state a little bit, and maybe lower the animosity level a few notches,” Whittingham said, when asked Monday if he will miss the matchup as much as Sitake said he would. “But it is for a good reason, and with them heading into the Big 12 there may be more of that on the horizon. We will just see how it shakes out.”

Both coaches did say their participation in the event that raised $60,000 this year for kidney dialysis and transplant patients, according to Deen Vetterli, CEO of the NKF-Utah/Idaho chapter, will continue as long as they are at the helm of the state’s two biggest college football programs.

“To have the coaches that we have in Utah who are willing to do this every year, it is downright unbelievable,” Vetterli said, telling a story of how the event started in 1989 when LaVell Edwards and Jim Fassel were the respective coaches and they brought their quarterbacks, Ty Detmer and Scott Mitchell, to the golf course to compete against the other side.

“Every BYU and Utah (head) coach since 1989 has participated in this event, and it is absolutely amazing,” Vetterli said.

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Whittingham, who hinted Monday that he is getting close to retirement, said he doesn’t want to “disrupt the flow” that his predecessors Fassel, Ron McBride and Urban Meyer carried on.

“To be able to help out and help generate revenue for the Kidney Foundation (is important),” he said. “The tradition, too. It has been here for what, almost 35 years?”

Sitake said he considers it “an honor” to attend the event and connect with rival coaches.

“I really believe that just being able to be around good people, both from Utah and BYU, and just to be able to hang out and play some golf, is a really good thing,” Sitake said. “And to do it for a good cause makes it better for all of us.”

Whittingham’s team of himself, defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley, booster Greg Jenson and former State Am runner-up Jon Morgan fired an 18-under 54 to easily defeat Sitake’s team of himself, BYU golfer Keanu Akina, booster Rob Brough of Zions Bank and BYU Director of Football Operations Jon Swift.

Sitake’s team shot a 64.

“I am getting better,” Whittingham said of his golf game. “I am figuring out a few things. I need some more width in my swing, and a few other details. But I am on the right trajectory. How about that (description)?”

Clearly, Whittingham takes winning the tournament much more seriously than Sitake does. Years ago, the losing coach would have to sing the winning coach’s fight song, but those days are gone. Monday, the only interaction was via a trivia game in which the answer to most of the questions was Mitchell, or something about Utah’s trip to the Rose Bowl.

For instance, both coaches learned that a dozen roses cost $67.50, according to Mitchell, one of the emcees. Sitake could have fired back that they should cost $26.17, but didn’t.

Whittingham’s team shot the day’s lowest score, that 54, to win the competition for teams with no limitations on ringers.

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Scalley won the closest-to-the-pin contest and graciously donated the prize to the golfer with the next closest shot.

Brough won the men’s long drive contest — a teammate might just have jotted down his name — and Mae Edwards was the women’s long drive winner.

Of the four “qualifier” teams that met the combined handicap requirement of 43 or higher, a BYU-based team of Brian Santiago, Robbie Bosco, Lee Johnson and Mark Vosti shot 57 and won Cobra drivers, some Bridgestone golf balls and the right to represent the state in the National Kidney Foundation national tournament at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, next spring.

The team was sponsored by Vaughn Pulsipher of Pulsipher Investments.

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