INAUGURAL 2014 INTERNATIONAL CROWN TOURNAMENT
In a first-of-its-kind event for Women’s Golf, eight teams, representing eight different countries, gathered at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, and battled for the right to be “Crowned” the world’s best. Each country’s team was comprised of 4-golfers for a total of 32-golfers in the competition.
- Teams & Team Members
UNDERSTANDING THE FORMAT
The scoring format for the International Crown has drawn attention from the golfing world, but mostly for the wrong reason, that of being somewhat hard to understand. Akin (in my mind) to a soccer tournament (with pools), a softball tournament (with round-robin play), and a final “NCAA bracket” singles event, the format – to say the least – is complicated.
However, when you break it down to its simplest form . . . the first three days are “pool” play; where each country’s team plays match play against all the teams in their pool, in 2-person/paired Four Ball format. Scoring is per match, and 2-points for a win, 1-point for a tie, and 0-points for a loss.
At the end of the first three days of pool play, the top two teams in each pool go through automatically into singles play on the final day of the competition. The fifth (and final team) going through to singles is settled through a sudden-death playoff of the third place teams from both pools. Easy . . . right?
Pool A: United States, Thailand, Spain, Chinese Taipei.
Pool B: Republic of Korea, Japan, Sweden, Australia.
Enough with the format . . . let’s talk about the great golf played by the teams over the four days of the International Crown Tournament. Team USA came in seated at #1 overall, with the Republic of Korea, seated at #2. Both USA and Korea were the top seeds in their respective pools. After day 1 of pool play concluded, it didn’t look good for the Americans. Shut out completely on day 1, Team USA had to quickly turn it around, and they did, going undefeated on day 2.
It wasn’t an easy road for the Koreans through pool play either and surprisingly, when day 3 pool play ended, both Team USA and Team Korea (#1 and #2 seeds) found themselves in a sudden death playoff to stay in the competition and move through to singles as the the wildcard. For the sudden death playoff, Team USA selected Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson to play against Korea’s selection of Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu. Long story short, Korea won the first playoff hole with two birdies, while Team USA posted a birdie and par. It was a sudden and shocking end to the tournament for Team USA, especially hosting this first-time inaugural tournament on home soil. “The first day of this event was the killer (for us)”, said Cristie Kerr disappointingly to reporters after the playoff.
Moving forward into singles finals on day 4 (in descending order) were: Team/s Japan (8-points), Spain (7-points), Thailand (7-points), Sweden (7-points), and Korea (6-points).
Singles play on Sunday was exciting with great golf being played throughout the day. The singles format bracketed out with 10-matches involving all 20 players playing, and each of the 4-team members playing a different country through pre-determined bracketed seating.
In singles play, all players played their own ball against the other player’s ball in match play format, utilizing the same scoring system as in pool play; 2-points win/1-point tie/0-points loss. With only 2-points maximum per match, the event is perfectly drawn up to be close and pressure packed . . . one of the great positives of this part of the scoring format.
When the day ended, Team Spain, the #5 seed coming in, but the #2 seed going into singles play, continued their strong play, and finished as the 2014 International Crown Champions.
Team Spain came into the competition confident and played stellar golf the entire tournament (backing up a little pre-tournament bravado talk). It was clear, Spain’s experience in match play competition (via the Solheim Cup) was a big advantage when the pressure was on.
Congratulations to Team Spain, 2014 International Crown Champions.
Belen Mozo, one of Spain’s rising golf superstars, said it best when describing Team Spain’s win. “Damn, it feels good! I’m thrilled and can’t wait to celebrate with my teammates!”
THE GREAT YEAR OF WOMEN’S GOLF
The Great Year of Women’s Golf continues with the conclusion of the 2014 International Crown. There will be some naysayers out there. There may be discussions about the tournament format. There may be even discussions about how and when country team members are selected every two-years. However, not up for debate in my mind, is what this tournament meant to each and every golfer who represented their nation with pride and the positive attention this tournament has brought to Women’s Golf.
MEET TEAM SPAIN
Editor’s Note: Did you watch the International Crown? What did you/do you think of the format? Please share your thoughts and comments with us in the comments section. We would love to hear from you.
BIO: Keith Cook is a contributing editor for localgolfer.com. His career highlights include rounds in nearly every US state and numerous countries throughout the world. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumni living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.
Read more from Keith, Click here