Although many of the top players on the PGA Tour started their careers playing college golf, very few of us were able to witness these future stars during their collegiate career. With an new agreement recently announced by the NCAA and Golf Channel, that will no longer be the case.
Starting in 2014, Golf Channel will televise the NCAA Division I men’s tournament and then the men’s and women’s events in 2015. For the first time ever, Golf Channel cameras will be on course in 2014 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas to capture all the excitement of the men’s match play event. Then in 2015, the broadcast coverage of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships will take place at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.
This announcement is certainly welcome news for golf fans, whose previous exposure to top college golf talent was minimal at best. Former NCAA men’s golf champions include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Ryan Moore. Former NCAA women’s golf champions include 2012 LPGA Player of the Year Stacy Lewis.
“We are committed to covering all facets of the game of golf and this new partnership with the NCAA will be the centerpiece of our broader commitment to covering the collegiate game,” said Golf Channel president Mike McCarley. “We look forward to introducing our viewers to the future stars of the game and tapping into the tremendous passion collegiate fans have for their schools.”
The men’s championship includes 30 teams and six individuals competing over a 54-hole stroke-play competition, after which the individual champion will be crowned. The top eight teams advance to the final three rounds of match-play competition for the team championship. In Division I, The University of Texas Longhorns won the 2012 NCAA Men’s Golf Team Championship while the University of Alabama Crimson Tide won the 2012 Women’s Golf Team Championship.
“This is the culmination of a collaborative effort between a lot of individuals over a long period of time, including the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Committees,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA Executive Vice President of Championships and Alliances. “We are excited for our men’s and women’s golf student-athletes to gain additional exposure and for the fans of the sport to be able to see up close what makes these championships so special. Partnering with the Golf Channel made perfect sense for us and we appreciate their commitment in helping to grow the audience for the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships.”