NCAA shifts tournament schedule so BYU won’t have to play on Sunday

May 17, 2018

Brigham Young University forbids its sports teams from competition on Sundays. When its men’s golf team, ranked 39th in the country, advanced this week to the NCAA Championship, that presented a potential problem: the third round of stroke-play qualifying at Karsten Creek, Oklahoma State’s home course, was scheduled for Sunday, May 27.

But the NCAA’s rules state that it must accomodate any school that cannot compete on a certain day for religious reasons. As a result, the Cougars will begin tournament action a day early. They’ll conduct their practice round on Wednesday, May 23, before the NCAA Women’s Championship begins its final round. On Thursday, they’ll begin what will count as their third round just after the other teams in the field head out for their official practice rounds.

The five Cougars will be sent off individually alongside a walking scorer and rules official who will serve as a marker, and they’ll play from the same tees to the same pin positions that will be used on Sunday for the other teams in their final round. On Friday, they’ll resume tournament play in their “first rounds” alongside the rest of the teams in the field.

After Monday’s fourth round, the tournament field will be cut to the top eight teams, which will compete in team match play quarterfinals and semifinals on Tuesday, May 29. The tournament final will be conducted Wednesday, May 30.

It’s the first time the men’s team has qualified for NCAAs since the match play era began, but its women’s team qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2016 and was similarly accomodated, although the team went on to finish last in stroke-play qualifying.