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LPGA announces eight-country, match-play event

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The LPGA announced Thursday the formation of the International Crown, a biennial, global match-play competition commencing in 2014.

The event will feature eight countries, consisting of four players each, competing over four days. The countries to be represented will be based on cumulative Rolex World Rankings of each country’s top four players.

“At the LPGA, we celebrate great players from all over the world on a weekly basis, but this is the first time we’ll pit country versus country for global bragging rights,” said LPGA commissioner Michael Whan in a release. “Only countries that have produced the best female teams can compete and only four players from any one country will be invited.”

The inaugural tournament will debut July 24-27, 2014 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., outside Baltimore. In 2016, the Crown will be played at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., host of the 2009 Solheim Cup.

The first edition will feature a $1.6 million purse, with $100,000 going to each of the four members of the winning team. The countries will be finalized at the conclusion of the 2013 CME Group Titleholders. The top four players from each country, based on Rolex World Rankings, will be determined after the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

If teams were selected according to the current Rolex World Rankings, they would include: South Korea, the U.S., Japan, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Taiwan and England.

The format will feature three days of four-ball matches in which the countries will be seeded into one of two brackets. Each country will play the other three countries in its bracket to determine which five countries will advance to Sunday singles. Points will be reset to zero for the start of singles.

In singles, a team member from each country will face an opponent from one other country. For instance, if the U.S., South Korea, Sweden, Australia and Spain advanced to the finals, one U.S. team member would face a designated South Korean team member, another against a Swede, another against an Australian and another against a Spaniard.

The team with the most points will be crowned champion. In the event of a tie, each of the five countries will submit a sealed envelope, prior to the start of singles, containing the name of one player to represent her team in a sudden-death playoff.