The LGPA is a global brand with global representation. The tour is making an attempt to innovate general tour events and the new International Crown Team Competition is something that might rival the PGA Tour’s Ryder Cup.
This event represents the global strength of Womans golf and the LPGA Tour. Like the Ryder Cup, this biennial tournament is 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. Eight countries (eight teams) will be represented by four players each.
“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 in 2016. The Crown will be played at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.
Qualification criteria for the International Crown are:
Unlike most tournaments, eight teams based on the cumulative Rolex Rankings of each country’s top four female players. Four players from each country based on Rolex Rankings at date to be determined. When formally announced the International Crown 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.
“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 is one of only a handful of unique concepts launched by the LPGA in recent years, including the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and the CME Group Titleholders.
For more information, please see LPGAInternationalCrown.com.
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.