International Crown: "Plus Ultra"
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/28/14

The national motto of Spain is Plus ultra — "Further beyond" in the English language. This past weekend, four women from Spain went further beyond — and captured the inaugural LPGA International Crown.

On paper, the United States team seemed strongest, with all four players having won majors. But on Thursday, the American women came up completely empty, having been swept by Chinese Taipei. Day 2 went better; they defeated Spain in both of their matches on Friday. But on Saturday, they faced a dramatic sudden-death wild-card playoff for the right to play on Sunday. LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan later called one it of the greatest television days in LPGA history.

But Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson came up short when previous U.S. Women's Open champions So Yeon Ryu and Inbee Park canned short birdie putts. The Americans found themselves left out of the Sunday singles, along with the aforementioned Chinese Taipei and Australia.

In the end, the women of Spain, inspired in part by the successes of their male counterparts, won all four of their matches and captured all eight possible points, to put up a total of 15 points, four ahead of Sweden and five ahead of South Korea and Japan, to win the International Crown. And it was Belén Mozo, the only Team Spain member who has not played in a Solheim Cup, who drained a 12-foot birdie to clinch the crown with a 3 & 2 victory over Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand.

The LPGA International Crown had a tremendous amount of unpredictable drama — in part because of the eight teams, because of the pool-based match play experiment where any number of things could happen, and in no small part because of the very dramatic Solheim Cup victory by Team Europe last August in Colorado.

In comparison, the men's Presidents Cup competition clearly exists only for non-U.S., non-European golfers to have a televised stage for international match play. Golf Channel's Randall Mell opined that the only thing the International Crown needs is some history for it to become "super-sized with passion" and for Commissioner Whan to take the event around the world.

With this in mind, we wonder how long it will be before PGA Tour boss Tim Finchem and eventual successor Jay Monahan consign the Presidents Cup to golf's scrap heap of history in favor of an International Crown-style event in years opposite the Ryder Cup.

In this sense, it is the women who are pioneers.

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[ comments ]
GBogey says:
I thought this was a great event. I think that since the U.S. and Korea didn't dominate it shows that the format worked out really well. Much better set up than the President's Cup. But if the men were to follow, the question is are there really 8 countries that would be competitive with 4 elite players.
GBogey says:
The other thing I have to say is that these ladies sure can play. I knew they were good but wow! This is not an easy golf course and they pretty much mastered it. The key is that they did it the way we all should: hit the fairway, hit the green from the fairway, and hit it really close when you have a short iron or wedge in your hand. Maybe not as flashy as the men's game - no 350 yard drives and fewer incredible short game shots, but amazingly solid and accurate golf. One can only dream of playing that way.
mjaber says:
"LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan later called one it of the greatest television days in LPGA history."

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