I think there’s a case to be made that right now, the LPGA’s Mike Whan is the best commissioner in sports. Just a few short years ago, the LGPA was a floundering institution, losing sponsors, events and the public interest. Since taking the helm in 2010, however, Whan has managed to right the ship.
The proof: in 2011, there were 23 scheduled tournaments. In 2013, there will be at least 28. Prize money has increased by $8 million, and 2013 will feature what is for the LPGA a record number of broadcast hours.
I was fortunate to be able to attend the “Jamie Farr” in Toledo last year as a member of the media and can tell you that the LPGA puts on a very family-friendly, enjoyable show.
Now Whan and the LPGA are taking another step with the International Crown, a biennial, global match-play competition with teams from eight countries. The event will “crown” the world’s best golfing nation.
Participation in the event will vary according to players’ Rolex Rankings. If the event were to be held today, the teams would be from: South Korea, the U.S., Japan, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Taiwan and England.
The inaugural tournament will be July 21 – 27, 2014 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland. That’s close to family for me. I may be able to attend.
Further details are in the press release below:
32 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.
For more information on the format, please view the International Crown Fact Sheet or log-on to LPGAInternationalCrown.com.
“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.
“Hosting The International Crown continues Caves Valley’s tradition of providing a demanding test of golf and world class hospitality to the very best players from around the world,” says Steve Fader, Chairman of Caves Valley Golf Club. “On behalf of our membership – from the U.S. and around the world – we are proud to welcome the world’s greatest female players to Caves Valley and Baltimore.”
“We are honored to have the International Crown at Rich Harvest Farms in 2016,” says Jerry Rich, Chairman and Owner of Rich Harvest Farms. “We look forward to welcoming the wonderful spectators and fans of women’s golf including the youth in our community to witness this truly global tournament.”The International Crown will feature a limited number of Ambassador Sponsors which will be announced in the coming months. This elite level of sponsorship associated with the International Crown will provide media exposure and premier hospitality as well as invitations to participate in the official pro-am of the event.The International Crown is one of several unique concepts launched by the LPGA in recent years, including the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and the CME Group Titleholders.
About Caves Valley
Designed by Tom Fazio, Caves Valley fully opened for play in 1991 and is ranked among the Top 100 Courses in the U.S. by GOLF Magazine. Situated outside Baltimore amid the natural beauty of Maryland’s estate and hunt country, its 962 acres feature rolling hills, pastures, woods and wetlands. The club hosted the 2002 U.S. Senior Open Championship, 2005 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship and 2009 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship.
About Rich Harvest Farms
Consistently ranked in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses (#58, 2011/2012), Rich Harvest Farms is an ultra-private, members-only club nestled in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Owned and co-built by Jerry Rich, the course consists of 18 perfectly manicured holes and is a 1,820-acre showcase of nature and agriculture. The Club has hosted the 2009 Solheim Cup and the 2007 NCAA Men’s Division I Central Regional.About the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)
The LPGA is the world’s leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950, the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 1,700 members representing 29 different countries. With a Vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women’s golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while dedicated LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management.
The Symetra Tour consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida.Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via: http://www.LPGA.com, http://www.facebook.com/lpga.official, http://www.twitter.com/lpga, and http://www.youtube.com/lpgavideo.