International Crown talk

Commissioner Mike Whan was asked last week in China about whether the Tour was thinking about a way to showcase the Tour’s strength in international players, especially those from Asia. The Commissioner took the set up question to spread the world about the International Crown to debut next summer at Caves Valley Country Club outside Baltimore.

“I’ve never been a fan of a team called rest of the world,” said Whan. “Not really sure what colors to wear, what anthem to sing, what flag to wave. I’ve said when you travel around the world as much as we have, you realize Korea doesn’t want to play with Japan, they want to play against Japan. And Australia doesn’t want to be on team Asia they want to be team Australia.”

The new global match play competition will feature teams from eight countries battling for the right to be “Crowned” the world’s best golf nation. Each of the countries will be represented by four players based on their Rolex World Ranking.

“I think people will be surprised how much depth there is and how hard it is to get into the event,” said Whan. “And the good news is that I don’t decide the four, there’s no sanctioning body who decides the countries. Players and countries get in by their own merit. And it can change every two years. If a country gets much stronger and kicks another country out because of the Rolex Rankings so be it.

“It’s an event idea that I think can really stand the test of time and it gives us a chance to introduce the incredible talent from all different parts of the world…It should be a lot of fun and it will be different. If you can imagine eight countries wearing their own flags, singing their own anthems, playing for their own country, it should be great television and in person view.”

No. 3 Stacy Lewis agreed about the depth of international talent on Tour that is displayed every week.

“I talked to Mike before the final round last week and said I felt like I was playing in the International Crown. We had every country represented there in the top 10. It’s just what the Tour is. We’re international which is really cool.”

Last week in China, players finishing in the top-10 and ties represented a total of nine different countries, seven of them ranked in the top eight in the current International Crown standings.

Country   Combined Rolex Ranking
South Korea    21
United States  41
Japan 104
Spain   252
Sweden 299
Australia 305
Thailand  330
Chinese Taipei 337

Even Suzann Pettersen, who will not play in the first installment of the event due to Norway’s low ranking, agreed that the event will have a great impact on the game on a global scale.

“I think International Crown is a fantastic event,” said Pettersen. “You know, they're trying to create more of a team feel, a national feel, where people can compete with a flag on their chest and represent their own countries.  At this moment there's eight teams that will qualify.  Norway is not even close, so I guess I will be cheering on from the side line, and hopefully may the best team win.”

Topics: International Crown

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