Does NCAA Championship need 54-hole cut?
Saturday, May 21, 2011
What has been a quiet and seemingly uneventful championship, has suddenly become a tournament that will be keeping people on edge throughout the day. Just one problem: It has nothing to do with the play, but whether or not we can finish the event before dark.
Complete Postseason Coverage
Click here for Golfweek's Complete Coverage from the women's NCAA Championship and all six men's regionals.
During Round 3, officials blew the horn for a lightning delay that lasted nearly two hours. Due to the time delay, the leading teams were unable to finish, and had to come back early this morning to finish their third rounds.
Now, as we enter the fourth and final round of the national championship, the final groups may be feeling rushed as they play down the stretch. The last tee time of the day is at 3:09 p.m., which means if players do take the average four hours and forty minutes to play they will just barely get it in.
But what if there’s a playoff?
NCAA Women's Championship (Round 3)
View images of today's weather delayed round at the Women's NCAA Championship in Texas.
With the way things stand, a team playoff seems unlikely, but an individual playoff is surely possible. The NCAA Championship is a 72 hole format, but potential problems that we face this year could be avoided with a 54 hole cut.
At the start of round four, Tennessee was in 13th place and 26 shots back of UCLA, which is leading. Clearly teams that are over 26 shots back of the leaders are no longer playing for a title.
If the NCAA cut the field in half after 54 holes, then delays and time constraints wouldn’t be a problem. With the format the championship has now, we will be lucky to finish today.
Teams earn their way to the national championship, and obviously want to take part in it, as they should. But do teams want to play another 18 to figure out who should finish 19th or 21st?
A cut is not meant to be disrespectful to any teams, rather, it’s intended to make sure the championship finishes when it is scheduled to.