From Dec. 7-9, the GCAA (men) and the NGCA (women) will conduct its annual convention here in Las Vegas. And unlike past conventions, there is not a lot of buzz coming in.
I expect to hear about suggested changes to the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship – like increasing the number of teams from eight to 16 for the match play portion of the championship and ways to make the individual championship better. But, none of those will go into effect this year. We might learn of subtle format changes to the finals from the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship Committee, but that’s about it for what has been the hottest topic in men’s golf the past few seasosn at this convention.
There is also talk that some coaches might want to see the new USGA groove rule applied sooner in college golf as opposed to the 2014 date set for amateur golf by the USGA. We also might hear about match play finding its way into the lower levels of college golf and the possibility of a postseason NIT event for the men.
On the women’s side, I expect a number of coaches wanting to see the .500 Rule inacted. But, women’s golf is still a few years away from that being seriously considered, even though the top-ranked teams appear to be traveling in packs more and more each year.
One topic that has been tossed around the last few years with the women’s coaches is allowing a substitute player during a tournament. This has some legs. Apparently one major conference has the support of the majority of its coaches to do this. In my opinion, this has a zero chance of becoming a standard in the college game.
Coaches want the ability to take a player out of the lineup after a round for whatever reason. Many coaches rely strictly on qualifying rounds to decide their tournament lineup. Now, you’re telling me they will decide on their own to take one player out after an opening-round 82 and put the player in that was riding in the cart? I doubt it.
Finally, we will learn new rule interpretations from the NCAA that will leave a room full of coaches scratching their heads. This usually results in quiet laughter and the coaches not wanting to involve the NCAA with the way they have done things in the past.