College golf should stick to a single format

In college basketball, they call it March Madness. The country is quick to jump on the bandwagon for Princeton, George Mason or Gonzaga as soon as the team strings together a couple of wins in tournament play. This creates a frenzied atmosphere surrounding the game. Upsets happen, but the game itself has not been altered. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s real.

What we are seeing now in college golf with match-play events makes me want to scream: “Stop the madness!” It’s manufactured, fake and unrealistic.

Today, in the opening day of the Big Ten Match Play Championship at Heron Bay Golf Club in Coral Springs, Fla., No. 96 Purdue defeated top-seeded and 11th-ranked Illinois. Call it what you want, but please don’t call it an upset. Call it a different game. Kind of like when you played whiffle ball as a kid in your backyard with a ghost runner on first.

My major gripe or concern with this infection in the college golf game (and believe me, I am not alone) is it’s a completely different style of play. Purdue had been in the same field with Illinois three times during the fall season. The Boilermakers lost to the Illini in each event where stroke-play scoring was used. Taking it a step further, Purdue was 0-9 in common rounds and lost by an average of 39.7 shots per event.

I’m supposed to take this match play stuff seriously? I can’t.

The people in favor of this style call it exciting. Is it really? I would have no problem with this if it was the way college golf was played all year round, but it’s not. Stroke play and match play - especially with team scores involved - could not be any further apart.

It’s never happened in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The No. 1 seed has never lost to the No. 16 seed. I bet if they played H-O-R-S-E, it would.

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