By Greg Johnson
The Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet reviewed a format recommendation from the Division I Women’s Golf Committee and approved the use of a stroke play/match play format that would provide for the use of match play to determine the national team champion, starting in 2015.
During their format discussions, the cabinet expressed concerns that the format recommended in the committee’s proposal for implementation for the final three days of competition (Monday-Wednesday) may need further discussion with the coaching community prior to final review by the cabinet. The cabinet has requested that the women’s golf committee gather the additional feedback and return with a recommendation for the cabinet’s consideration during its February 2014 meeting.
The recommendation as proposed by the committee calls for the individual champion to follow a 72-hole structure where the low 36 players and ties after 54 holes of stroke play will compete in the final 18 holes on Monday. The individual champion would be determined on the final day of stroke play.
The next two days of the championship would be reserved for match play to determine the team national champion. The quarterfinals and semifinals would be conducted on Tuesday with the team match play finals to be played on Wednesday.
Currently, the championship is conducted in a four-day, 72-hole format, with the lowest scores used to determine the individual and team national champions.
The cabinet also approved a recommendation to change the current date formula that will result in the women’s championship finals in 2015 beginning on the third Friday in May, except during those years in which May 1 falls on a Friday (2015, 2020 and 2026), which would then result in the championships beginning on the fourth Friday in May.
Through a multi-year partnership with the NCAA, the Golf Channel is scheduled to air the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s National Championships, and then air tournament action from both the NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships beginning in 2015 during back to back weeks.
The 2015 women’s and men’s championships are scheduled to be contested at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., hosted by South Florida. The 2015 championships will mark the first time since 2005 that the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships will air live on television.
Additionally, the Golf Channel will surround live tournament action at the championships with comprehensive news coverage on-air and online throughout the year, keeping viewers up to date on all of the storylines leading up to and during the championships.
Series like Golf Central and Morning Drive, as well as GolfChannel.com, will be leading resources for the women’s and men’s collegiate games.
Once the partnership with the Golf Channel was finalized, the committee felt modifying the format would enhance the championships for the participants and the fans viewing on television.
In further action specific to women’s golf, the cabinet approved adjustments to the selection criteria for the 2014 championships and approved expansion of the regionals in 2015 to four sites with 18 teams and six individual competitors. Currently, the regionals are conducted at three sites with 24 teams and six individuals.