NCAA women's regional golf tournament canceled without a single hole played, sparking controversy

·Writer
·3 min read
A generic image of a golf ball near the pin
Many coaches and players don't feel that the NCAA and organizers even tried to make the University Club course in Baton Rouge playable for them this week. (Tim Clayton/Corbis/Getty Images)

Six schools, as planned, advanced out of the Baton Rouge Regional on Wednesday to earn a spot in the NCAA Division I women’s golf championships.

Yet over the three day tournament at the University Club, not a single shot was played.

Naturally, players and teams are livid.

“At the end of the day, everybody wanted to play, and everyone wants to let their clubs do the talking and not have it pulled from their hands,” LSU coach Garrett Runion said, via the Golf Channel. “And that creates tension when you have to make a gut-wrenching decision like the NCAA did.”

Rain prompts ‘unprecedented’ cancelation

Over seven inches of rain battered the University Club course in recent days, the NCAA said Monday, which led to their “unprecedented and most difficult decision” to cancel the event completely.

NCAA rules state that if 18 holes couldn’t be completed — the event is supposed to be 54 holes — then the committee will turn to seeding to determine who moves on.

So, LSU, Ole Miss, Baylor, Oregon, Maryland and Alabama all advanced to the NCAA championship later this month based on seeding. The other teams were sent home. While it is the host school, LSU was not involved in the decision to cancel play.

Officials broke the news to players and coaches on Wednesday morning, and said that while the course was playable, it wasn’t “playable at a championship level.” That explanation, obviously, didn’t sit well.

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“What is championship condition?” Purdue senior Inez Wanamarta said, via Golfweek. “Doesn’t it prove even further if [the course is] in really difficult conditions who should advance?”

It also was not raining on Wednesday.

“It hasn’t rained all day,” Tulsa coach Annie Young told Golfweek. “We could easily be through nine [holes] right now, maybe more.”

What did organizers try to do to play?

According to several coaches, nothing.

Multiple coaches have said that there have been windows of time where golfers could have played on the course. Miami coach Patti Rizzo told Golfweek that she walked the entire course on Tuesday afternoon, but only noticed a handful of bunkers full of water.

She also said that she didn’t see any maintenance workers out on the course.

When she was walking the course on Tuesday, it was not raining and the sun was shining.

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“Everyone is kind of in a state of shock,” Rizzo said Tuesday, via Golfweek. “Is this a conspiracy or something? Why are we not playing?

The NCAA issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon, but didn’t offer much of an explanation to coaches and players’ complaints.

“The NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Committee regrets that the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships regional in Baton Rouge could not be conducted as scheduled this week,” the statement read, via Golfweek. “The University Club has taken on over 7 inches of rain in the past several days. The Division I Women’s Golf Committee, NCAA staff and the Games Committee in Baton Rouge have been in constant communication throughout the past several days about the course conditions that have led to this unprecedented and most difficult decision.”

Wanamarta, while riding back to the airport to head home, told Golfweek that it was the worst managed tournament she had ever seen in her life.

“We’re not asking to go to nationals,” she said. “We're just asking to be able to prove ourselves.”

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