Saturday, June 12, 2010

WIAA falls short on state golf plans

The WIAA state golf championships were Monday and Tuesday, and the great play from Middleton’s Mike Schilling, who won the Division 1 individual title, wasn’t the only story.

The story had to do with the weather and the lack of a plan in case the storms washed away the golf balls. It was 9 P.M., and the rains had subsided to a drizzle. However, it was also pitch black outside.

In the Professional Golf Association, the first sign of storms or dusk stops a tournament for the day. High school sports are much different, but why should the players have to suffer?

The players and the coaches and the parents do not control the weather, but they should have the call to postpone a tournament until the next day. However, when no back up plan is in place, there isn’t a choice for anyone, even the WIAA.

The results trickled in around 9:30 P.M. The light was gone at 8:30 P.M. Therefore, the last four teams playing had no real chance to make a move. The last few players had no chance to hope for a great finish. No one birdied the final three holes at the end of the tournament. Middleton ended six strokes back, after being 15 strokes back when the light was around.

What does this all mean? It means the WIAA needs to have a back up plan, or they need to tweak their current system. When the rain slowed the players down, it made it impossible to finish before the light hid itself in the night sky.

So, what should they do? For one, the golf course was booked up the next day. They wouldn’t be able to continue if they stopped the play, so they bring out the headlights and hope for the best. But why shouldn’t they reserve the morning the next day for these extreme cases?

It is extremely difficult to postpone a large state tournament, and the rain wasn’t bad enough to call anything. However, the rain slowed the action down, and it hurt the players at the end. The WIAA should automatically postpone at night. They should either break up the tournament to three days – Division 2 & 3 early on day one with Division 1 teeing off at noon, Division 2 & 3 final round on day two and Division 1 final round on day three – or have the morning reserved the next morning in case of these extreme cases.

If the weather is great, then the WIAA officials don’t need to worry. However in cases when the night jeopardizes the tournament’s success level, another plan should be utilized. We just saw what the night could do. What if strong storms ripped through all day? Then what? The day one leaders are winners? The lack of planning should be a concern to coaches, parents and especially players.

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