LPGA adds global competition and Texas event

Women’s golf will have an event that will allow countries around the world a chance to claim bragging rights as the world’s best when the International Crown, a first-of-its-kind, global match play competition, is played July 21-24 at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, MD.

As LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan noted at a press conference at the PGA Merchandise Show, the biennial event should take women’s golf to the next level and allow fans to rally behind their homelands. “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,” he said. “In sports, there is simply nothing greater than wearing your nation’s flag, fans singing your national anthem, and bringing the CROWN home.”

The field for the International Crown will feature teams from the eight countries based on the cumulative Rolex World Rankings of its top four players at the conclusion of the 2013 CME Group Titleholders. Based on the current rankings, the field would include South Korea, U.S., Japan, Sweden, Australia, Taiwan, Spain and England. The final determination of players making the teams will be based on the rankings on the Monday prior to the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The format of the International Crown will feature three days of four-ball matches wherein countries will be seeded into two brackets of four. Each country will play every other country in its bracket in the first three rounds. The top two teams in each bracket will advance will advance to Sunday’s singles play. A wild card playoff between one pre-selected player from the third place teams in each bracket will determine a fifth team. All points from these matches will carry over and added to the points earned on the final day in singles pitting each country against every other country.

Stacy Lewis

“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.”

“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.”

It’s also nice to see the LPGA returning to Texas with the North Texas LPGA Shootout, a 72-hole 144-player field competing for a $1.3 million purse, April 25-28 at the Las Colinas Country Club in Irving.

It’s first time LPGA has been back to Texas since the 2009 LPGA Tour Championship Presented by Rolex at the Houstonian Golf & Country Club in Richmond and the first time women professionals have been back to North Texas since the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.

One nice touch is that exemptions will be awarded to young amateurs who are winners of qualifying shootouts for collegiate and high school golfers.

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