Why not use match play all year in college golf?

Shane Bevel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Why not use match play all year in college golf?

College

Why not use match play all year in college golf?

By

Seriously, why not make all of college golf match play?

In the mid-2000s, the idea of having the NCAA Championship convert to match play to determine the national champion was being bounced around. It was definitely an outside-the-box idea at the time.

The sport needed a boost. Match play brings that true team vs. team component to college golf. And with that, the possibility of television wanting to and having more of a presence in the game.

Coaches and those trying to promote the game were fed up with their sport not garnering the attention they thought it deserved.

Put frankly, they were jealous of the attention other college sports were getting. It was not uncommon to see college baseball and softball scores on the ESPN scrolling ticker. But never golf.

NCAA finals: Match scores | See the images | Live blog

Something had to be done if college golf wanted to grow. What was done was the drastic move to decide its national champion using match play. Most would agree the change has worked in creating more interest and getting more eyeballs on college golf.

Sure, the best team may not win.

We all know match play makes the competition more equal. We all know it does not tell us who the best golf team is. We all know stroke play is the best way to determine the best golfers.

So what!

If it is going to be used for the most important event of the year, why not all the time?

Match play is more memorable. Match play gives us stories. It gave us Bronson Burgoon’s wedge shot. It gave us Patrick Reed and his 6-0 record to lead Augusta to consecutive titles. It introduced folks to the stars of the college game much like we see in football and basketball.

When it comes to the women’s game, they fought off the idea of match play seemingly as long as they could. And how exciting has it been for women’s golf? Maybe even better than what we have seen in the men’s game.

Stanford’s Mariah Stackhouse got the ball rolling with her theatrics at Concession Club in 2015. Would any of us know about Arizona’s Hayley Moore and what she has done the last two years if it weren’t for match play? Or would we have noticed Wake Forest junior Siyun Liu and her fiery personality and wanting to see more of her game?

Memorable moments, that’s what we are served when the NCAA Championships are played. We now have people watching college golf that never watched before. Some of those fans continue to pay attention in the regular season as well.

Match play allows golf teams to connect better with its fan bases. One of the best elements of match play is there is a loser. In stroke play, finishing in sixth place in an 18-team tournament just doesn’t register with average fans.

With match play, the agony of defeat is real. Players can feel it and fans can see it. At the championship, the win-or-go-home saying actually happens. And quite frankly, it’s awesome.

In fact, there would be more stars created through match play, more names that would be common talk because of the head-to-head winning and losing and not just simply a player who has finished in the top 20 in seven of 10 events.

But, what if that head-to-head competition stayed all season long? Wouldn’t it continue to spark interest for the game? Imagine that dual match between Florida and Georgia the Friday before the football game? Or just about any rivalry you can think of.

Could it be done all season long? Sure. Rankings would be clean. Simply a won or a loss. We might see more teams hosting and quite possibly see even better venues then we already have.

A tournament could be turned into a 4-6 team round robin event. Teams could manage to play somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 matches per year.

What about the NCAA postseason? Well, May Madness would truly be like March Madness with straight match play.

So, how about another outside the box idea? Match play all of the time. That idea of making the switch once before seems to be working out alright?

Latest

More Golfweek
Home