A few years after the NCAA Division I men's golf championship switched to a combination of stroke play and match play, the women will follow suit starting in 2015.
Even after the change goes into effect, the individual champion will still be decided by 72 holes of stroke play. The full field will compete for the first three days, after which there will be a cut to the low 36 players and ties. The individual champion will be decided on the fourth and final day of stroke play, while the top eight teams after 54 holes of stroke play will advance to match play.
The team title will be determined over the final two days of the tournament. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be held the day after the individual champion is crowned, with the final staged on the sixth and final day of competition.
The new format is a marked change from the existing system in which the women's team championship is decided over four days and 72 holes of stroke play. And when it goes to the new format, the tournament will switch to a Friday-Wednesday schedule, which will allow the Golf Channel – which will begin televising it in 2015 – to devote more airtime to it without bumping into its pro tour coverage.
''Over a year ago when our committee met, one of the topics discussed was how we could grow our sport and provide our student-athletes more exposure,'' Division I Women’s Golf Committee Chair Theresa Becker, the associate athletics director at Kansas, said in a report on NCAA.com explaining the format change.
The 2015 women's and men's championships will be played at the same venue, The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., in successive weeks. The women will play first, with the men staging their event after the women's championship is finished.