Doug Ferguson on the new LPGA team event with match play in pools and a points system. The story includes comments from LPGA Commish Mike Whan saying that "players would be in uniforms of their country, free of corporate sponsorships."
John Strege was at the PGA Show launch and says players are ecstatic, not only because there is a purse, but the opportunity to play for their country.
It should prove a popular idea among players from countries that are not part of the Solheim Cup, including Taiwan, home of the No. 1-ranked player in the world, Yani Tseng.
"Every time I watched the Solheim Cup I always wished I was there," she said.
The biennial event starts at Caves Valley in 2014.
A promotional video can be viewed here. And for Immediate Release:
2 Players, 8 Countries, 1 Crown: LPGA Unveils the International Crown
Biennial Team Event Launching in 2014 to Feature Eight Countries
Battling for Title of World’s Best Golf Nation
(DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA) – The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announces the International Crown, a first-of-its-kind, biennial, global match play competition commencing in 2014 that will feature teams from eight countries battling for the right to be “Crowned” the world’s best golf nation.
Showcasing the strength of Golf’s Global Tour, this even-year tournament will feature a four-day, match-play format with a total purse of $1.6 million – of which $100,000 will go to each member of the winning team. Each of the eight countries will be represented by four players.
“At the LPGA, we celebrate great players from all over the world on a weekly basis, but this is the first time we’ll pit country versus country for global bragging rights,” said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. “Only countries that have produced the best female teams can compete and only four players from any one country will be invited. The International Crown will take women’s golf to the next level and allow fans to rally behind their homelands. In sports, there is simply nothing greater than wearing your nation’s flag, fans singing your national anthem, and bringing the CROWN home.”
The inaugural tournament will debut July 21-27, 2014 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, outside Baltimore. In 2016, the Crown will be played at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois, host of The 2009 Solheim Cup.
Qualification criteria for the International Crown are:
• Eight teams based on cumulative Rolex Rankings of each country’s top four players at the conclusion of the 2013 CME Group Titleholders
• Four players from each country based on Rolex Rankings at date to be determined.
Whan formally announced the International Crown today at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. If teams for the Crown were selected according to the current Rolex Rankings, South Korea, the U.S., Japan, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Taiwan and England would battle for the inaugural title.
“Our Tour is so global and we need this type of event,” said Stacy Lewis, the top-ranked American. “People always want to know why golfers from Asia are so good. Well, now we can see how all the countries stack up. The more we can showcase our Tour around the world, the better. Representing your country is the ultimate thing. Getting announced on the first tee when you are representing the USA, it doesn’t get any better than that. It’s a goal of mine to be in the event.”
The format of the International Crown will feature three days of Four Ball matches wherein countries will be seeded into two brackets with four countries in either bracket. Each country will play every other country in their bracket over the course of the first three rounds to determine which five countries will advance to Sunday singles play. All points from the Four Ball matches will carry over to Sunday's Matches where each country will play a singles match against every other country. The total cumulative points for the four days of competition will be used to determine the overall champion.
“It’s like preparing for the Olympics,” said Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng, of Taiwan. “In Taiwan and in Asia, we don’t have a team event like this. This is a good opportunity for us to play for our countries. It’s really going to be awesome. Right now, we have three Taiwanese players that play fulltime on the LPGA Tour. Hopefully in the next two years, we can improve our junior program and get more Taiwanese players on the LPGA. This tournament will really help us with that goal.”
In a unique twist, prior to play on Saturday and Sunday, each team will turn in a sealed envelope with the name of one player who will represent their team if a playoff is necessary to break a tie the following day.