For 2001, the CISCO event was changed to a match-play competition in which single LPGA Tour players vie against a JLPGA Tour player in 16 head-to-head, 18-hole matches. Competitions, set to take place Oct 25-28, will be played on Sohsie C.C. ' a par 72 course playing 6,396 yards long during the matches.
There have not been many opportunities for LPGA Tour players to compete in match play. Annika Sorenstam, who grew up playing this format often in Sweden, feels comfortable with this weeks competitions. 'I have a good understanding of matchplay. I have played it so many times and I think that I have a better way of thinking at match play.'
Not everyone on the LPGA Tour feels as confident as the top seed. 'I do not have that much experience with match play, but I know that you have to at least be more aggressive,' second seed Se Ri Pak said. 'I play tomorrow in the first round with the partner and I try to play well, but at same time it is a new game and I want to learn more and just be there to have fun tomorrow and this whole week.
The event, which gained status as an official money event on the LPGA Tour schedule for 2001, boasts a $960,000 purse featuring a first-place prize of $144,000.
Competitors are seeded based on their individual standing on their Tours money list. LPGA Tour money leader Annika Sorenstam is top seed for the USA while Yuri Fudoh takes honors for the JLPGA.
'I am excited be here,' Sorenstam said on Wednesday. 'I think that it is a great format. We do not play this format that often and I think this is a great event and we have a great sponsor, CISCO Systems. They are a huge company and I know that we are all glad that they are associated with the LPGA.'
The three-day event, played as a team event in 2000, represented an upset for the USA. 19 times the USA had taken home the 22-year-old events title ' 16 of which were consecutive victories. Last year the LPGA Tour was looking for their 17th consecutive victory.
They were well on their way to victory until the third and final round when the JLPGA rallied recording a final day team score of 8-1/2 to the LPGAs 3-1/2. The JLPGA Tour regained respect by winning the title for the first time in 17 years by three points (JLPGA 13-1/2, LPGA 10-1/2).
The top three seeded LPGA Tour players will play against numbers 16-14 on the JLPGA. Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Lorie Kane will face Mineko Nasu, Michiko Hattori and Midori Yoneyama respectively. Conversely, the 14th through 16th seeds on the LPGA Tour - Wendy Dooland, Laura Davies and Jill McGill ' are pitted against the top three seeds on the JLPGA Toshimi Kimura (3), Chieko Amanuma (2) and Yuri Fudoh (1).
Matches commence on Thursday.