The inaugural International Crown LPGA tournament gets underway this Thursday at Caves Valley in Owings Mills, Maryland, just northwest of Baltimore.
Eight countries will be represented by the top four players as rated in the international Rolex rankings, as of March 31. The final eight countries were determined based on combined rankings at the end of the 2013 CME Group Titleholders event on Nov. 24, 2013.
The eight teams were broken into two pools based on the combined rankings of each team’s top four players. The USA edged out the Republic of Korea (ROK) for the top spot.
In pool A, headed by the USA, are fourth-ranked Thailand, fifth-ranked Spain and eighth-ranked Chinese Taipei (aka Taiwan).
In pool B, after second-ranked ROK, is third-ranked Japan, sixth-ranked Sweden and seventh-ranked Australia.
Each country will play four-ball (better ball) matches against the other countries in each bracket.
On Thursday in pool A, No. 1 USA goes up against NO. 8 Chinese Taipei and No. 4 Thailand has the unenviable task of taking on No. 5 Spain. In pool B, No. 2 ROK matches up against No. 7 Australia, probably its toughest matchup in pool play, and No. 3 Japan takes on No. 6 Sweden.
Each day will pit the top-ranked country against the next lowest seeded country in each pool, with the two remaining countries facing off.
At the conclusion of three days of four-ball competition, the two teams with the most points will advance to play on Sunday. In addition, one wild card team will also gain a seat at the table on Sunday.
The wild card team will be determined by a playoff of two selected players from each of the third place pool finishers.
After the five teams are finalized, there will be a reseeding based on the total points earned. Then on Sunday, each team will play one singles match against every other country still represented.
The International Crown winner will be the country with the highest combined total of points from all four days.
The players representing the USA are Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Lexi Thompson and Christie Kerr. Michelle Wie did not qualify in the Rolex rankings at the time.
Representing the other countries are as follows: ROK: Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi and I.K. Kim; Japan: Mika Miyazato, Ai Miyazato, Sakura Yokomine and Mamiko Higa; Thailand: Pornanong Phatlum, Ariya and Moriya Jutanagarn, and also Onnarin Sattayabanphot; Spain: Azahara Munoz, Beatriz Recari, Carlota Ciganda and Belen Mozo; Sweden: Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Headwall, Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid; Chinese Taipei: Yani Tseng, Teresa Lu, Candie Kung and Phoebe Yao; and lastly Australia: Karrie Webb, amateur Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright.