As the LPGA takes a week off to prepare for the beginning of the United States portion of the schedule, the next two tournaments have a huge bearing on the qualifiers for two of the bigger events on the 2014 schedule, the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the International Crown.
Here’s a look at how the JTBC Founders Cup and Kia Classic could impact those events.
Kraft Nabisco Championship: The first major of the season, scheduled for April 3-6, could have a host of last-minute qualifiers from the two tournaments. Those include:
- Winners of the two tournaments, if not otherwise qualified for the Kraft Nabisco.
- Top-10 Players plus ties on the current year LPGA Official Money List at the end of the last official tournament (2014 Kia Classic) prior to the current Kraft Nabisco Championship, not otherwise qualified, provided such players are within the Top-80 positions on the current year LPGA Official Money List at the beginning of the tournament competition.
So, one win or two very good weeks could move a player up considerably.
International Crown: The inaugural international team competition in Baltimore will come down to these two events to determine seeding among the eight qualifying teams and also to finalize the four-player squads.
South Korea has a narrow lead over the U.S. for the first seed, based on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings points through the Kia Classic on March 30. South Korea’s top four players total 27 points as the top seed, but the U.S. is just behind with 35. A South Korean golfer hasn’t won on the LPGA since Amy Yang last October at the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship in South Korea, a stretch of eight tournaments, while Americans have won three of the last six.
The South Korean team will be composed of Inbee Park (ranked No. 1) and So Yeon Ryu (ranked No. 5) with No. 9 Na Yeon Choi, No. 12 I.K. Kim, No. 13 Ha Na Jang and No. 16 Jiyai Shin jockeying for the final two spots. The American squad is led by Stacy Lewis (No. 3) and Paula Creamer (No. 8) with Lexi Thompson (No. 10), Cristie Kerr (No. 14), Angela Stanford (No. 16) and Lizette Salas (No. 20) still in the running. The top four spots in the rankings from each country determine the roster.