The Lady’s Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announced this week the creation of the International Crown, a golf event pitting the top eight countries against each other in an attempt to “Crown” the best golf nation in the world. The biennial tournament will have its inaugural event at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mill, Maryland from July 21st-27th 2014.
The International Crown will be a four day event, featuring three days of four ball matches and then singles matches on Sunday to crown the champion. Eight pre-qualified countries will be chosen, and each team will bring four players. The players will be chosen based on the Rolex World Rankings, as the top four ranked players from each country will make up the teams. If a player is not willing or is unable to play in the event, the next highest ranking player will be chosen to fill the roster spot.
The Crown will have all eight countries battle against each other in what will be predetermined brackets that are set up based on seeding that will use the cumulative score of each team’s players Rolex World Ranking. The first three days will be four ball matches where each team will have two players from one country play against two players from another country. All players will be in matches the first three days. A win will result in two points, halving of a match will land each team one point and losses will give no points. At the end of the third day, the top two teams in each bracket and wild-card team will advance to the final day of singles matches on Sunday.
The wild-card will consist of a sudden death playoff by the teams that are holding outright or are in a tie for third place in each bracket. On Saturday prior to the start of the matches, each country will submit a sealed envelope naming one player that will represent their country in a sudden-death, wild-card playoff. The playoff will determine the wild-card and fifth and final team to make it to Sunday.
After the wild-card is determined, the remaining countries will be re-seeded based on the total points earned in the four ball matches. Each country will play in one singles match against every other country. At the end of the singles matches, the country with the highest cumulative score over the four days will be crowned the greatest golf nation in the world. On Sunday morning, teams will again submit a sealed envelope with one player being named to play in a sudden death playoff if there is a tie after all singles matches are completed.
This event is an interesting precursor to golf returning to the 2016 Olympics. The format is well designed, and Sundays at the International Crown could bring the same excitement that the Ryder Cup Sunday’s bring to golf fans every two years. The International Crown will be held in opposite years of the Solheim Cup, which has the same format as the men’s Ryder Cup competition. This event is sure to create excitement around a sport that is seeing a surge in popularity.