By Lance Ringler, Golfweek
It was almost like a guarantee. If you build it, they will come.
The if, in this instance, being a more exciting format for the NCAA Division I men’s golf championship – specifically, match play. The they refers to television.
Match play stole the headlines when the format debuted in the 2009 NCAA Championship at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. That historic event, won by Texas A&M, was four championships ago. As recently as last week at the annual coaches convention in Las Vegas, the possibility of the NCAA Championship being televised seemed remote. In fact, much of the discussion concerned a diminished emphasis on the individual championship in hopes of landing a TV deal for the tournament. Coaches wanted to reverse that trend.
There was no talk among the coaches that change was in the works. The big topic: Find a way to play 72 holes to determine the individual champion.
That backdrop made the news Dec. 17, less than one week after the convention, a shock to virtually all of the college golf world. A news release announced that Golf Channel will televise the NCAA Division I men’s tournament in 2014 and then the men's and women's events in 2015.