Monday, December 21, 2015

International Crown Update (What happened to Spain?)

With the 2016 LPGA season just one month away, I think this is a good time to look at one of the most anticipated events of the upcoming season: The International Crown.

Chicago's Merit Club will host the 2016 UL International Crown

Before the International Crown was announced in January of 2013,the only competition between countries that the LPGA had on its schedule was the Solheim Cup. A competition between the United States and Europe. As a resident of the United States, it was my favorite tournament of the year. At the tournament's completion, it always made me sad that we had to wait two more years before it would be played again. But in truth, I was lucky that at least I got to see my country play. That could not be said for fans of players from South Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand, and many other countries whose players could not compete.

With the announcement of the International Crown, all that has changed. Every country would now have a chance to compete. The tournament is played on even numbered years, while the Solheim cup will continue to be played on odd numbered years.

The final field of eight countries will be determined by the combined Rolex World Ranking of the top four players from each country as of the Rolex World Rankings published at the conclusion of the 2016 ANA Inspiration. (Countries must have a minimum of four ranked players to be eligible.)

The four players who will compete for each pre-qualified country will then be determined at the conclusion of the KMPG Women's PGA Championship in June. The highest ranked players from each of the eight countries as of the Rolex World Rankings on Monday June 13, 2016, will compete to see who will be crowed the best golf nation in the world.

Spain is the defending Champion, having won this event in 2014.

Defending Champion Spain would not qualify as of today!

Now it's time to take a look at the standings as they are today. Which countries would qualify as of right now. Here is a listing of the top eight countries with their top players' Rolex Ranking in parenthesis:

1- South Korea -22 
Inbee Park - (2)
So Yeon Ryu - (5)
Sei Young Kim - (7)
Amy Yang - (8)

On the outside:
Hyo-Joo Kim - (9)
In Gee Chun - (10)
Ha Na Jang - (14)
Bo-Mee Lee - (15)

With 8 of the top 15 players in the world, this is going to be a dogfight to the very end to see which 4 players will qualify.

2- United States - 34
Stacy Lewis - (3)
Lexi Thompson - (4)
Cristie Kerr - (11)
Brittany Lincicome - (16)

On the outside:
Alison Lee - (23)
Morgan Pressel - (24)
Jessica Korda - (25)
Michelle Wie - (27)

It would certainly appear that Stacy & Lexi are in. It should be a fight for the remaining 2 spots.

3- Japan - 187
Shiho Oyama - (36)
Mika Miyazato - (37)
Momoko Ueda - (55)
Ayaka Watanabe - (59)

4- Chinese Taipei - 219
Teresa Lu - (20)
Yani Tseng - (38)
Candie Kung - (52)
Ssu-Chia Cheng - (109)

5- Sweden - 352
Anna Nordqvist - (13)
Pernilla Lindberg - (87)
Maria Mcbride - (112)
Caroline Hedwall - (140)

6- England - 368
Charley Hull - (41)
Melissa Reid - (83)
Holly Clyburn - (92)
Hannah Burke - (152)

7- Thailand - 372
Pornanong Phatlum - (43)
Ariya Jutanugarn - (63)
Moriya Jutanugarn - (107)
Thidapa Suwannapura (159)

8- Australia - 383
Minjee Lee - (17)
Karrie Webb - (31)
Rebecca Artis - (135)
Sarah Jane Smith - (200)

The above 8 countries would qualify for the International Crown as of today.

On the outside:

9 -China - 428
Shanshan Feng - (6)
Xiyu Lin - (53)
Jing Yan - (139)
Yan- Hong Pan - (230)

10- Spain - 433
Azahara Munoz - (29)
Carlota Ciganda - (51)
Beatriz Recari - (143)
Belen Mozo - (214)

It would appear that the top 4 countries are in. The real battle is going to be between the countries that currently hold positions 5 through 10. They will be fighting for the final 4 spots.

I will continue to keep everyone updated as we get closer to the above deadlines.

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  1. Another recent development with the Rolex rankings and the changes resulting from JLPGA and KLPGA events after the conclusion of the LPGA season is Bo Mee Lee passing Brittany Lincicome for 15th place in the Rolex. This (temporarily? ) moves Brittany out of Olympic qualification and leaves the U.S. with only three spots in Rio.
    Sports medic

  2. It seems like there is little argument that, on paper, South Korea is the strongest country in women's golf. It has 39 of the top 100 players in the world (Rolex Rankings). The U S is second, far back, with 21 players in the top 100. Japan is 3rd with 11. All of the other countries have just a few, at best, in the top 100. If Korean-born Lydia Ko were added to the mix, South Korea would be even more dominant. Minjee Lee may also be Korean-born, not sure.

  3. Thailand, Thidapa Suwannapura is currently at 159 this week. This makes them 7th place at 372 points. Australia at 8th with Sarah Jane Smith ranked 200 at 383 points.

    1. Yes, the figures have been updated with the rankings that were published this morning.

  4. I really hope this tournament or a similar international tournament can become an annual event and relegate the Solheim Cup to history where it now belongs. The Solheim Cup may give the USA a feel good factor to win but in reality who care about beating a team with a Rolex average above 50 and that could now blow out to anything the way that emerging countries like China and Thailand are improving. The LPGA is now very much an international tour and all competitions supported by them should be open to all countries. While Korea on paper will again have the strongest team the way that the draw can come out we could again see the winner not have to play them to win which is something that should be addressed.

  5. Are American players eligible to play in the JLPGA and KLPGA if they want and if so what are the qualifications