A new event that many fans still don’t quite understand became a little bit clearer this week when the teams for the inaugural International Crown were announced.
Early in the week of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA announced the eight qualifying countries and 32 players who will compete July 24-27 in the biennial round-robin match-play event at Caves Valley in Maryland.
The United States will enter as the top seed, followed by South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Thailand, Australia and Taiwan.
Cumulative Rolex Rankings for each nation’s four players determined which nations qualified. That kept countries like Norway out of the running – Suzann Pettersen is No. 2 in the world, but there aren’t any other Norwegians on the LPGA Tour.
New Zealand is another example. Lydia Ko is ranked No. 4 in the world, but the next Kiwi on the list is Kim Dana who is 131st.
Americans who qualified include Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr. The South Korean team includes World No.1 Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi and I.K. Kim.
Other players to qualify include:
Thailand – Pornanong Phatlum, Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, Onnarin Sattayabanphot
Spain – Azahara Muñoz, Beatriz Recari, Carlotta Ciganda, Belén Mozo
Australia – Karrie Webb, Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk, Lindsey Wright
Japan – Mika Miyazato, Ai Miyazato, Rikako Morita, Sakura Yokomine
Sweden – Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Hedwall, Pernilla Lindberg, Mikaela Parmlid
Taiwan – Yani Tseng, Teresa Lu, Candie Kung, Hsuan-Yu Yao
“It’s going to be a great experience to finally represent your country professionally,” Recari said. “Growing up in Europe, we always had every year national competitions.
“It’s going to be great to have that feeling again because all four of us, we’re almost the same age, so we always competed together on the national team and we always beat Sweden. We’re always lined up going to the opening ceremony, always like Spain and Sweden. We’re always in front alphabetically. I think it’s going to be good memories, and also playing for your country professionally puts that little extra pressure. I think we’re all four very, very thrilled.”