Message to women's coaches: Pick Option 1, or else

A view of 9th and 18th green in Round 3 of the 2013 Women's NCAA Championship.

A view of 9th and 18th green in Round 3 of the 2013 Women's NCAA Championship.

Women's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Alison LeeUCLA  69.59 
2Annie ParkUSC  69.73 
3Yu LiuDuke  69.81 
4Stephanie MeadowAlabama  70.00 
5Gaby LopezArkansas  70.01 

Women's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Southern California 70.32 
2UCLA 70.60 
3Duke 70.79 
4Stanford 71.49  10 
5Arkansas 71.52 

Two weeks ago at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, representatives from the NCAA Women’s Division I Golf Committee and Golf Channel made a presentation to a room filled with college coaches on what the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship might look like in 2015, the year Golf Channel is scheduled to begin televising the women’s finals. The 2015 event will be held at The Concession Club in Bradenton, Fla.

The presentation suggested a format change that would bring match play to the women’s game and mirror what the men will use beginning with the 2014 championship.

On Tuesday, an e-mail from the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, a copy of which was obtained by Golfweek, was sent to Division I coaches, asking them to select one of three options to present to the NCAA committee and return their choice by this Friday. Despite what the survey tells the WGCA and what they present to the NCAA championship committee – the NCAA still may do what they want.

The options in the emailed letter are as follows (directly from the e-mail):

• • •

Option 1: Recommendation as put forth by the NCAA Women’s Division I Golf Committee.

• Three rounds (54 holes) of team stroke play.

• The fourth round of stroke play is an individual-only day. The top 36 players and ties will play that fourth round to determine an individual champion. This day follows three previous rounds of stroke-play qualifying, at which point the match-play bracket of eight teams will be determined.

• The quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played on the same day. The final match will be played the following day, determining the NCAA team champion.

• Golf Channel will cover live the individual-only stroke-play day, as well as the semifinal and final team matches. Three days of live coverage.

• Another recommendation the committee is making, unrelated to the championship, is the creation of a fourth regional site. Each regional would consist of 18 teams and six individuals, with the top six teams advancing and the top three individuals not on one of those teams also advancing. Seventy-two teams still would advance to the postseason.

Option 2: Four rounds stroke play/top 8 teams advance to match play

• Four rounds (72 holes) of team stroke play.

• Individual winner determined at the completion of stroke play.

• Top 8 teams advance to match play. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played on the same day. The final match will be played the following day, determining the NCAA team champion.

• Please note: The NCAA has alerted us that under this format, Golf Channel will not be interested in televising the fourth round of stroke play. Additionally, this proposal would eliminate the creation of a fourth regional site.

Option 3: Four rounds stroke play/top 4 teams advance to match play

• Four rounds (72 holes) of team stroke play.

• Individual winner determined at the completion of stroke play.

• Top 4 teams advance to match play. The semifinal matches will be played on one day. The final match will be played the following day, determining the NCAA team champion.

• Please note: The NCAA has alerted us that under this format, Golf Channel will not be interested in televising the fourth round of stroke play. Additionally, this proposal would eliminate the creation of a fourth regional site.

• • •

After reviewing the three options, is there really an option? If you want to maximize your television coverage and create a better regional tournament, selecting Option 1 is the only choice.

Sure, options 2 and 3 probably would make for a better championship with less static, but looks like coaches’ hands are being forced. What puzzles me is what does adding a fourth regional have to do with the championship? It seems clear that this stipulation is being made to steer everyone to select option 1, or at least those coaches who agree that four regionals would be better than three.

Adding a fourth regional is a big step in the women’s game. The same reason the men went from three regionals to six is the same reason the women need to add a fourth. This would allow the entire regional field to play in the same wave and experience similar conditions.

But again, what does this have to do with championship week? And why would the new regional format not be tied to options 2 and 3?

Back to Option 1, which is what the men’s NCAA Championship will use beginning this season and was presented to the women’s coaches last month. This is a format that has never been tested and is likely to be the one used regardless of the coaches’ survey.

If you poke holes in Option 1, two concerns come into play, the first being the fourth stroke-play round in which only the top 36 players and ties would compete after 54 holes of stroke-play qualifying.

SMU men’s coach Josh Gregory, whose Augusta State teams won back-to-back national championships under the match-play format, is not a fan of the individual day.

“That day is going to be an awkward day,” Gregory said. “Maybe I am wrong, but other than the few kids out there who are trying to win, it will be a strange day. Do I really want a player out there who is tied for 40th trying to finish 32nd? And then have to possibly play 36 holes the next day?”

The second issue is having to play the quarterfinals and semifinals on the same day. This was done originally with the men in 2009, but was abandoned the next four years in favor of just one match-play round per day. The only reason for going to back to this format is to accommodate a 72-hole individual competition.

Are 72 holes to decide the individual championship really needed? Almost all college tournaments are 54 holes. We don’t add a fifth quarter to the BCS National Championship football game.

Had women’s coaches got ahead of a possible format switch, maybe they could have shaped things the way they wanted and had more time to discuss other options, but more than likely they will end up with Option 1.

In reality, it is the only option the NCAA committee and Golf Channel are giving them.

Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification

  • PGA
  • CHMP
  • WEB
[[PGAtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[CHMPtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[NWIDtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next