The Kentucky High School Athletic Association listened, but unfortunately, high-school golfers in the Bluegrass State will likely still be left disappointed.
In February, the KHSAA announced several proposed changes for boys and girls golf, including a controversial proposal that would eliminate the fifth player for teams that qualify for the state tournament and introduce a four-count-four format. The announcement was unsurprisingly met with widespread backlash, including from pro golfers and Kentucky natives Justin Thomas, Josh Teater and Steve Flesch. On Wednesday, the proposal went before the Kentucky General Assembly’s Interim Joint Committee on Education, which sided against the KHSAA and its commissioner, Julian Tackett.
“If it’s not broke … then why are we fixing it?” said the committee's chair, Max Wise.
A day later, after the KHSAA's July meeting on Thursday, the association decided against moving forward with the controversial change. However, in order to achieve its new goal of reducing the state-championship fields for boys and girls to 144 players each, the KHSAA settled on an alternative format change.
While the new decision will keep the previous five-count-four format, it will eliminate region runner-up teams from competing. This move, which will see just 12 region champs advance to the state tournament (the rest of the field will be filled with individuals, the top seven not on the winning team from each region), will likely be as unpopular as the initial option.
Unlike many states, Kentucky does not have district competitions for golf, and several of its regions for next season are more competitive than others. For example, Region 6 on the boys side features St. Xavier, Male and Trinity, which have combined to win 34 of 85 state championships. On the girls side, Region 6 features Sacred Heart and Ballard, which have combined for 14 state titles.
The Kentucky high-school golf season starts Aug. 2. The state championships are scheduled for Oct. 7-9 (girls) and Oct. 10-12 (boys).