When the very best female golfers tee off for the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship’s next May, there will be an alteration to the format. There used to be four different locations hosting regional competition, but effective in 2022, that number will jump to six. Golf courses in Albuquerque, Ann Arbor, Stillwater and Tallahassee are locked in as sites for the 2022 Championships. The NCAA will announce two additional locations to round out the field in January. Courses are bidding for the right to be selected this month.
While there will be two additional locations, the number of teams who qualify for the championship will not change. That number will remain steady at 72. However, 12 more golfers will qualify for an individual championship in 2022, increasing from 24 to 36.
“…The smaller field sizes at the six regional sites positively address the concerns related to the checkpoint pace of play system at regionals and allows for additional flexibility in inclement weather situations,” said Julie Manning, chair of the Division I Women’s Golf Committee. Via NCAA.com
Manning’s claim would certainly seem to make sense. Attempting to ambitiously squeeze rounds in for 384 golfers(that’s how many participated last year) is no easy task, and the Committee was looking for some additional wiggle room. Any type of weather delay can throw a monkey wrench into the tournament schedule, and suspensions due to darkness also can come into play.
It should result in a higher quality of play for the competitors, knowing that they should feel less pressure trying to complete their rounds. In the past, a player could have been on quite a roll, but if her tee time was later in the day, might have had their momentum interrupted when sunset came about.
During the 2021 championships, Ole Miss captured the title on the team side, while Stanford’s Rachel Heck edged out UCLA’s Emma Spitz for individual honors. The top four teams and the best two individual players not on an advancing team will vie for a championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona from May 20-25.