International Crown What Is It?
Maybe it’s because we are so ingrained into the four-day, stroke play, win-it-all on Sunday format that currently reigns over all the tours. Humans are slow to catch on to most new ideas, but honestly, we’re only a little over a month away from a new paradigm in the game of women’s golf, and nobody’s saying much about it. What if they held an international competition, and nobody remembered to mention it?
The International Crown, the big “who’s the best golf nation” ballyhoo will begin this July 21, and continue through the next week at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, just outside the city of Baltimore. Represented will be eight teams of four players each, from eight countries thought to have put together the best women’s teams as judged by the current Rolex Rankings. The ultimate crown will be awarded to the last remaining country at the Rich Harvest Farms course in Sugar Grove, Illinois.
The format of play is a mix of four-ball and singles matches, and in an suspenseful twist, each team will covertly submit the name of one team player who will represent them in the case of a playoff. Providing that the current rankings hold up, the countries invited to send teams would include South Korea, the United States, Japan, Sweden, Australia, Taiwan, Spain, and England.
It’s a sort of Super-Olympics, I guess, and played more often than the world-wide gathering of games in various spots around the world. It’s playing for your country, with flags flying, bragging rights aired to the point of disgust, and a lot of other “stuff” that you’d expect from such a display of nationalism. It’s a magnification of the “nya nya” that Europe and the U.S. enjoy every time the Solheim rolls around.
Speaking only for myself, as much as I enjoy both team play and match play, I don’t care at all, not one bit, for nationalistic muscle-flexing. If my country wins it, it means that four women from my country won it – not me, not the whole nation. I have no bragging rights, and neither will you if your country wins it.
In this event, I will miss the one thing I do enjoy, seeing new countries emerging onto the golf scene, or old ones rejuvenating and perfecting their programs. I will miss the prodigy that might be coming out of Guatemala, Quebec or Thailand. I will miss the drama of the self, as the event trades all of that in for the faux drama of the state, as the Olympics do. Trust me, I’ve been banished from the TV room because I rooted for the Ukrainian gymnast or skater over the star from Kansas or Connecticut – and I’m the same way when it comes to golf.
The players don’t generally agree with me, and that’s all right. Yani Tseng is excited about helping her country’s junior programs grow. The format is exciting to leading players of the selected countries. However, if this were a few years ago, and Mexico didn’t qualify, I’d have missed out on Lorena Ochoa. As it is, I’m sure to miss out on Shanshan Feng and others around the globe.
Sorry, but for me, we already live in about 100% too much “my country is better than your country.” It wearies me, and I take refuge in games and sports, partly as an escape from all of it. I’ll watch with interest, to be sure, but only once every two years. I can’t watch golf that long without the struggles of the individual spirit being at the center, so don’t try to sell me on this premise as a habit.