Talking subs: What we could see from new rule at NCAA Regionals and beyond

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Talking subs: What we could see from new rule at NCAA Regionals and beyond

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Talking subs: What we could see from new rule at NCAA Regionals and beyond

Last spring at Rich Harvest Farms, 23 of the 30 men’s golf teams brought a sixth player to the NCAA Championship. With substitutions being allowed for the match-play portion for the first time, teams wanted to be prepared, just in case. However, none of the eight match-play qualifiers, seven of which had an extra man in attendance, made a switch.

This year, with subs allowed for regionals and the NCAA Championship at Karsten Creek, there could be a few cases where teams take advantage of the new rule, though likely not many.

Coaches seem to take one of three approaches to the new rule. Some will bring a sixth guy just for experience, and will only make a substitution if there is an injury or illness. A few coaches said there could be a situation where a sub is brought in for performance reasons. Others aren’t bringing a sixth man at all.

Subs have yet to be allowed in the women’s game, though this year’s regional in Austin, Texas, was a perfect example of where subs could come into play. Several players fell ill during the tournament because of a virus. East Carolina had to withdraw because it couldn’t field enough players in the second round. Baylor made the NCAA Championship, but the Bears had to play the final round a player down and with another very ill.

Here is a look at what several coaches think of the new rule and how they plan to approach substitution this postseason.

Jay Seawell, Alabama

“That’s going to be interesting. I’ve basically thought about that all year. We are not going to bring a substitute to the regional. It’s three rounds. We have a contingency plan if there is an injury, but I don’t foresee myself ever doing it in a three-round stroke-play event. I like who our team is, and we’ll battle through it.

“I do think it becomes more of an option when you’re talking a lot of rounds at the NCAA Championship. I’d be surprised if somebody doesn’t do it. I don’t think it will be as big as people think it is, because I think us coaches feel comfortable with our players and our No. 5 men. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t go that way.

“I feel comfortable with five at regional, but we will travel with six if we make it to the NCAA Championship, because it is a lot of golf. I think you have to have a lot of communication before you even go. How we’re going to handle it is at NCAAs, we’ll tell our No. 6 guy the only scenarios that will get him in because the last thing you also need is someone on the bench going, ‘Well, I hope he messes up because I’d like to play.’

“I think it’s a great rule and I’m glad we have it, but it’s not as easy as a player plays bad, another goes in. You don’t want people looking over their shoulder or pulling against each other, but you also want to be prepared in case of injury.”

Walter Chun, Cal

“It throws a new twist in things. I’m going to bring six guys, and if there’s a chance I’m not comfortable with someone I may just use the substitution rule.

“At first I wasn’t sure how to react to the rule, and I’m still a little unsure because if I do substitute someone then automatically I’ve shown that player that I’ve lost confidence in him, so it’s a delicate balance. But on the flip side, it gives someone an opportunity to either watch or just experience a regional.

“I’m not sure who my sixth is going to be, but it will probably be a younger guy. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to do that if not for this rule, especially in this case. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to fly an extra guy across the country just to spectate.”

Roy Edwards, Colorado

“The new substitution rule is a good one for the postseason, especially considering illness or injury. We have played four-count-four multiple times the last several years due to sickness or injury, and while not fun it is part of dealing with issues in the regular season.

“The new rule allows every team to be full strength during the NCAA tournament. I wouldn’t support it during the regular season, as there would be a huge budget impact, but for the postseason I think it is brilliant. We definitely will be utilizing the opportunity.”

Alan Bratton, Oklahoma State

“I would expect every school would bring a sub, so in the worst case that someone is injured and you have the ability to sub, you can. I’m not sure how many coaches will use it. I think that’s up to the individual coach and the certain circumstances for each team. But we’ll certainly be bringing a sixth player.”

J.W. VanDenBorn, UMKC

“I think the rule makes a lot of sense for injury and illness. It is going to be very interesting to see how many cases arise due to poor play.

“We are absolutely traveling a sixth player. We have done so for years due to an injury situation at conference championship in 2007. You obviously want to give yourself every option in that scenario.

“I believe it is going to pretty hard to pull the trigger on substitution outside of injury or illness. I could see a scenario in which we would sub if a player’s performance is struggling significantly and they are mentally defeated by the course or overwhelmed by the stage – much harder combination to come back from than just poor play. Even then, I believe it will be a case-by-case judgment.

“Could also see a scenario where we are in contention for advancement and we have four players who have played well for two rounds and the fifth has not contributed by a wide margin.”

Christian Newton, Colorado State

“I like it only for match play. I’m worried it will hurt individual golf opportunities, which I think is a more valuable experience versus watching golf in the regular season. I am not bringing a sub to regionals. If I did bring one, I’d only sub for an injury or misconduct.”

Chris Malloy, Ole Miss

“I have a sixth guy with me. It will take something substantial, for sure, to plug him into my lineup this week.

“I think I really like the rule. Allows for some wiggle room in case of illness like we saw last week in Austin on the women’s side. Also, from a coaching standpoint, it allows for a bit of strategy potentially.”

Chuck Winstead, LSU

“Right now I don’t intend to take a sixth player. I can always change my mind, but that’s how I’m looking at it right now. And I guess I’m doing that because that’s what we’ve always done. I guess I’ll have to evaluate what I see out of other teams.

“I know last year at the NCAA Championship there were a few teams that took six guys and no one subbed. I’ll be interested to see across the country what the feel is with that.

“I’ve looked at the rule along the lines of if you have an injury or sickness, then at least you have someone there that can play and you’re not just playing with four.

“Now, looking at it from a competitive standpoint, certainly there are other things to be considered, but I haven’t really analyzed that piece because this year’s team we haven’t really had another guy play, so it really hasn’t come up.”

Jamie Bermel, Kansas

“I think it’s a great idea. I did bring a sixth man and will use if someone gets hurt or sick. If nothing else, he gets to experience a regional, and the pressure and competition that it entails.”

Andrew Tank, Iowa State

“Would only sub due to illness or injury. I know who my top 5 are at this point. Bringing a sub to regionals, but mostly to give him the experience and see what it’s like. He’s a freshman.”

– Lance Ringler contributed Gwk

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