You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim
You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim
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.
Winning the Daytona 500 is every NASCAR driver's dream. But when they give you the trophy, they also take away your car and put it on display for a year.
The same kind of thing happened to Luke Donald when he set the course record at Conway Farms, the course that's been hosting the PGA Tour's BMW Championship the last several days. Donald set the low mark of 61 there a few years ago – and to commemorate his accomplishment, Conway Farms put his clubs up on the wall.
And there they remained – until Jim Furyk carded his 59 on Friday. So, finally, Donald might get to reclaim his precious sticks.
''Well at least I get my clubs back!,'' he tweeted on Sunday, adding the hashtags #CourseRecordSmashed and #Furyk59 along with the photo above of his clubs on display.
We should note that Donald said last week that he set the Conway Farms course record before ''they Luke-proofed'' the layout by adding some length and making a few other changes over the past few years. He said he wasn't sure what the low score had been since those changes were made.
Whatever it was, it became moot when Furyk signed his scorecard on Friday. And might we presume that the folks at the Farms have or will request his clubs?
Wonder if he'll turn them over? We better keep an eye on Furyk's caddie, Fluff Cowan, on the final green Monday to see if some big scary dudes show up to confiscate them!
Okay, just kidding about that, but Furyk already has had to replace one item from his record round. The World Golf Hall of Fame requested a memento, so he signed his glove and turned it over to them.
Arron Oberholser was really hoping that this comeback would be the one – the last one. Instead, it lasted only one week – and it might mark the end of his promising but oft-interrupted career.
Oberholser, 38, withdrew from the Web.com Tour's Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship on Wednesday because of recurring pain in his left hand, and said afterward that his competitive career – during which he has missed close to five years because of wrist and hand issues – is likely over.
''I don't know where I'm going to go from here. Home first of all to talk to the doctor and my wife and figure out if there’s anything else I can do,'' he told PGATour.com. ''I feel like I've pretty much exhausted all efforts and now it may be a matter of the ''R'' word. The forced R-word is looming over me more than ever now.''
If this is indeed the end of his playing career, he added, he's okay with that.
''I've thought about that a lot and if that's the case and I decide to do that (retire), then I'll accept that,'' he said. ''There might be a little bitterness, I won't lie about that. Five of my best years were taken away from me, but it's a professional sport and these kinds of things happen. I'm not the only guy that this has happened to.''
Oberholser, 38, won twice on the Web.com Tour in 2002, jumped up to the PGA Tour in 2003 and played more than five years without incident. His best season came in 2006, PGATour.com said, when he made 20 of 23 cuts, had 13 top-25 finishes and ended the year No. 23rd on the money list.
After his latest absence, he teed it up in the first Web.com Tour Finals event, where he posted encouraging rounds of 66-68-68 before a final-round 73 bumped him down into a tie for 18th place. Unfortunately, the pain returned, and he was forced to skip last week's second Finals event. He was hoping to play both this week and next week before the pain flared up again during his pro-am round on Wednesday.
''It's very disappointing. Because of the way I played and how it felt for the first three days in Fort Wayne, I really thought I licked this thing,'' he said. ''I thought I was on my way back up to where I was and where I have been and that I was just continuing a journey with a minor five-year gap. Unfortunately, it might not work out that way.''