This past year in both men’s and women’s golf there were more exciting times then dull moments. Several questions came up, such as the new NCAA Championship format and who would be the players of the year? Congrats to Matt and Maria, and thumbs up to the new match play format.
With the college golf season now over let’s take a look at five questions I have for the fall.
1. Texas A&M won this year, but who will win next year?
I am not taking anything away from the Aggies being called champions, but I do want to put this win in perspective. After three rounds of stroke play they were down 20 shots to Oklahoma State! I think it is safe to say that with the match mlay format now at nationals the best team may only win once every 10 years. You know the saying, “Anything can happen in match play.” After all, we almost had a Michigan vs. Arkansas final. The new format is exciting, entertaining, more dramatic, and engaging to fans and players, but it also makes picking a winner a crap-shoot.
To think logically now, you have to pick an unlogical pick.
Mark it down right now, my early favorite to win it all next year is… Iowa.
2. Are the Duke ladies done?
For years we have all said Duke is Duke. But, did we say that this year? In 12 stroke play events last year the Blue Devils’ best finish was a second at the Lady Gator. Here is a list of their other finishes; 8th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 7th, 13th, 5th, 3rd at the ACC’s, T6 at regionals, and 6th at nationals. Now, subtract Amanda Blumenherst and Jennie Lee and your left with the second half of Aussie Alison Whitaker’s native country chant, “Oy, Oy, Oy!”
3. M.H. vs. M.H.
If you look at how the rankings wrapped up this year it’s hard to argue that Matt Hill was not the player of the year. All he did was win just about every tournament he played, plus his conference, regional, and the championship at Inverness. However, it will probably be more of the same next year. Matt Hill will play another schedule where several of the top players and coaches will rarely get to see him, and Morgan Hoffmann will be playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. Wins are wins, and for the OSU M.H. to be player of the year he’ll need a few more W’s and the NCSU M.H. to not win as much down the stretch.
4. Trifecta in the PAC-10
ASU-USC-UCLA. No matter how you rearrange those three schools you know they will once again be battling it out all of next year again. Each team loses a key contributor, but recruit more stars for the fall. It has to be tough that so many other schools have good teams, but I just keep seeing those three atop leaderboards leaving the course with wins. Forget about being a top five team next year. The goal if you are not ASU, USC, or UCLA is simple… win it all or one of them will.
5. The NCAA Championship Format
At the next coaches convention how many coaches and ideas will be pitched to change the format once again. How many of the big time coaches will see that Michigan nearly won it all and thus poses a “problem” for the new format? Here’s my rule change I ask to be passed at the next convention: I propose no rule changes, discussions, or even ideas tossed around for changing the new format for a minimum of five years.
Now imagine that – a college golf world without change.