Sunday, July 27, 2014

International Crown Sunday: It All Comes Down to This!

Play has just started on day 4 of the International Crown, with Inbee Park 1-up on Caroline Hedwall through 2 and Pornanong Phatlum and In-Kyung Kim all-square through the 1st.  I'll be not-quite-live blogging every half-hour or so until the Golf Channel coverage starts.  In the meantime, check out my previews of each Sunday singles match.  I'm very interested in seeing how the under-22 crowd in the field--Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn, and Mamiko Higa--handle the pressure!  Oh, and if you get a chance to watch Stacy Lewis's interview from Morning Drive, I guarantee your respect for her will go even higher, no matter how high it was before the interview.

[Update 1 (12:37 pm):  Here's how the matches stand thus far.

1. Caroline Hedwall vs. Inbee Park

Inbee is now 2-up through 5.  She won 2 and 3, lost 4, and won 5.  Too bad the scorecard is traditional match-play format, with no scores on the cards.  Would be nice to get a hint of whether eagle, birdie, par, or bogey won a hole!

[Update 1.a.1 (1:08 pm):  Inbee won the par-3 6th and lost the par-4 7th, so she is now 2-up through 8.]

[Update 1.a.2 (2:02 pm):  Inbee won 11 to go back to 3-up.]

[Update 1.a.3 (2:20 pm):  Inbee is 3-up with 5 holes to go.]

[Update 1.a.4 (2:36 pm):  Judy said that Caroline's been burning a lot of edges.  That won't do it against Inbee.]

[Update 1.a.5 (2:37 pm):  Inbee makes the 3-footer to be dormie with 3 to play.]

[Update 1.a.6 (2:51 pm):  Inbee gets the job done with another wedge on 16!  Caroline pitched to the fringe and fails to make birdie.  She concedes Inbee the birdie.  Inbee wins 4&2.  Korea now has 8 points.]

2. Pornanong Phatlum vs. In-Kyung Kim

Pornanong just won the 4th hole to go 1-up.

[Update 1.b.1 (1:10 pm):  Inky won the par-3 6th but Pornanong bounced back with a win on the par-4 7th, and she is now 1-up through 7.]

[Update 1.b.2 (2:03 pm):  Pornanong won 8 to go 2-up but Inky won 10 to go 1-down.]

[Update 1.b.3 (2:47 pm):  If Korea is going to win this thing, Inky has to saddle up.  She's 2-down with 4 to play.]

[Update 1.b.4 (3:03 pm):  Pornanong is 2-up with 3 holes to go.]

[Update 1.b.5 (3:12 pm):  Inky needs to make this putt on 16!]

[Update 1.b.6 (3:29 pm):  She blasted it through the break after getting a great read from Pornanong, who's now dormie.]

[Update 1.b.7 (3:33 pm):  Pornanong misses the 17th green short but dry with a 5-iron.  Inky has a hybrid in her hands and lofts it to the front of the green.  Maybe 30 feet for a birdie.]

[Update 1.b.8 (3:39 pm):  Too aggressive a chip from Pornanong leaves her with a 15-foot putt to win the match.  She couldn't make it.  Now Inky has a 3-footer to force the match to 18.]

[Update 1.b.9 (3:41 pm):  Inky made it and they go to 18.]

[Update 1.b.10 (3:46 pm):  From the right side of the fairway to a front-right pin, Inky just carries her iron far enough to stay on top of the shelf guarding the front of the green.  Not as extreme as on 16, but the bank kept her shot from bouncing forward right to the pin.  She's on the fringe.]

[Update 1.b.11 (3:47 pm):  Pornanong uses the shelf past the pin to bring her 8-iron back to about 8 feet.  Great shot!]

[Update 1.b.12 (3:55 pm):  Inky can't get her birdie try to the hole.  She's in for par.  Pornanong needs to 2-putt to win the match.  Rolled it 18 inches by.  Conceded.  Pornanong wins 1-up.]

3. Ariya Jutanugarn vs. Pernilla Lindberg

Pernilla won the 1st hole and remains 1-up through 3.

[Update 1.c.1 (1:11 pm):  Pernilla won the par-4 5th and is now 2-up through 6.]

[Update 1.c.2 (2:03 pm):  Pernilla won 7 and 10 to go 4-up.]

[Update 1.c.3 (2:22 pm):  Pernilla is now 5-up with 7 holes to play after winning 11.]

[Update 1.c.4 (2:35 pm):  Pernilla is now dormie and putting from the fringe on 13 to win the match.  6 inches short.  Ariya has to make her putt to extend the match.]

[Update 1.c.5 (2:37 pm):  Pernilla wins 6&5.  Now Sweden has 9 points.]

4. Carlota Ciganda vs. Na Yeon Choi

Carlota won the 1st hole and remains 1-up through 2.

[Update 1.d.1 (1:11 pm):  Carlota is taking it to NYC, with wins on 3, 4, and 5 to go 4-up.]

[Update 1.d.2 (2:04 pm):  Carlota won 6 to go 5-up and 9 to go 6-up.]

[Update 1.d.3 (2:22 pm):  Carlota is 6-up with only 8 left to play.]

[Update 1.d.4 (2:26 pm):  Carlota is dormie with 7 to play!]

[Update 1.d.5 (2:41 pm):  NYC misses a makeable birdie putt and concedes Ciganda the shorter birdie putt.  Ciganda wins 8&6.  Spain now has 9 points.]

5. Sakura Yokomine vs. So Yeon Ryu

So Yeon won the 1st hole and Sakura the 2nd, so they're all-square through 2.

[Update 1.e.1 (1:12 pm):  Sakura won the par-3 3rd and is 1-up through 4.]

[Update 1.e.2 (2:05 pm):  Sakura is now 1-up through 8.]

[Update 1.e.3 (2:25 pm):  Sakura is now 2-up through 9.]

[Update 1.e.4 (2:56 pm):  So Yeon won 10, but got her approach shot buried in a bunker on the par-5 12th and barely got it out; anyway, Sakura eagled the hole anyway to go back 2-up.]

[Update 1.e.5 (2:58 pm):  Hold on.  They updated the scoreboard.  So Yeon won 10 and 11 to briefly bring the match to all-square.  So Sakura's eagle only puts her 1-up.]

[Update 1.e.6 (3:07 pm):  So Yeon put it just past pin-high after Sakura went over on the par 3, but after a fantastic chip and a So Yeon miss, Sakura has 3 feet to halve the hole.  She missed it right.  I've seen that miss several times the last few days.]

[Update 1.e.7 (3:14 pm):  After So Yeon used the left bank on the 14th green to put a 4-hybrid about 25 feet past the pin, Sakura took it just right of the pin and left it about 10 feet away for birdie.  Great match!]

[Update 1.e.8 (3:35 pm):  Nice 2-putt save by So Yeon after "a rush of blood to her head" on the birdie try.  Wonder why they didn't show the birdie attempts on the coverage?]

[Update 1.e.9 (3:42 pm):  Sakura puts it right in the middle of the 15th green.  So Yeon was much closer to the green, but her approach didn't hold, either, and she ended up about 2 feet farther from the hole than Sakura.]

[Update 1.e.10 (3:48 pm):  Both make routine 2-putts.  Now they're heading into the 16th, where So Yeon made one of the most important birdies of her life last night!]

[Update 1.e.11 (4:00 pm):  So Yeon goes for the green in 2 and just carries it to the top of the shelf, right in the same neck that blocked Lexi twice yesterday.  She's on the fringe with an eagle putt ahead of her.]

[Update 1.e.12 (4:02 pm):  Yokomine laid up just into the left rough.  With the pin back, she had plenty of room to bounce it up to the green, but she just carried it too far and it went to the back fringe or 1st cut.]

[Update 1.e.13 (4:06 pm):  Amazing lag from So Yeon from maybe 80 feet almost went in.  Easy birdie after all!]

[Update 1.e.14 (4:07 pm):  Can Sakura bring the magic again on this chip?  Nope.  So Yeon is 1-up with 2 to play.]

[Update 1.e.15 (4:10 pm):  Dammit, So Yeon put it in the water on 17.  Don't get me wrong, I want Sakura to win, but I want it through great shots.  Oh well, Sakura guarded so much against the pond she went left of the cart path into the dining area!  So Yeon's still in this hole!]

[Update 1.e.16 (4:15 pm):  Yokomine did what she had to, lofting it over the trap and letting it roll out to the edge of the green.  She has about 30 feet for par and So Yeon has about 8 for bogey.]

[Update 1.e.17 (4:16 pm):  Maybe some more magic for Sakura here?  She needs it, as she's showing So Yeon the line on her par attempt.  Just missed it, right.  Now the pressure's on So Yeon to halve the hole and become dormie heading into 18.]

[Update 1.e.18 (4:17 pm):  So Yeon's taking a long look.  HUGE putt for her!]

[Update 1.e.19 (4:17 pm):  So Yeon's drive was leaking right but stayed at the edge of the fairway.  Nervous moment as the creek was only a few yards right of where she ended up.  Sakura got almost no roll on her drive; she's in the right side of the fairway.]

[Update 1.e.20 (4:30 pm):  Sakura hit a nice shot from about 150 out, putting it maybe 8 feet past the pin on 18.  So Yeon's approach went a little longer and a little lefter.  She'll have about 20 feet to close out the match.]

[Update 1.e.21 (4:38 pm):  Can't believe Golf Channel didn't show So Yeon's lag.  She's in for 4.  So Korea will get 2 points if Sakura misses and each team will get 1 if she makes.  She just missed on the left side.  So Yeon wins 1-up.]

6. Beatriz Recari vs. Mikaela Parmlid

Beatriz and Mikaela halved the 1st hole, so they're all-square through 1.

[Update 1.f.1 (1:13 pm):  Beatriz won the 2nd and 3rd and is 2-up through 4.]

[Update 1.f.2 (2:06 pm):  Beatriz won 5, Mikaela won 6, and Beatriz won 8 to go back to 3-up.]

[Update 1.f.3 (2:23 pm):  Beatriz is now 4-up with 9 holes to go.]

[Update 1.f.4 (3:04 pm):  Mikaela wins 11 to get back to 3-down.]

[Update 1.f.5 (3:10 pm):  2 in a row for Mikaela!  Only 2-down now with 6 to play.]

[Update 1.f.6 (3:51 pm):  Too bad!  Parmlid can't get the 18-foot par putt to drop to halve the 14th.  Back to 3-down.]

[Update 1.f.7 (4:22 pm):  Parmlid couldn't make the 6-footer on the par-5 16th to extend the match.  Recari wins 3&2.]

The remaining matches have not yet completed a hole as of the 1st update.]

[Update 2 (1:14 pm):  See above for updates on matches already in progress at last update!

7. Mamiko Higa vs. Anna Nordqvist

Anna won the 3rd to go 1-up through 3.

[Update 2.a.1 (2:07 pm):  Mamiko won 4 and 5 to go one-up, but Anna brought it back to all-square by winning 7.]

[Update 2.a.2 (2:20 pm):  Anna makes it 2 holes in a row to go 1-up through 8.]

[Update 2.a.3 (2:49 pm):  Mamiko won 9 but couldn't sink a 12-footer to halve 10.  Nordqvist is still 1-up.]

[Update 2.a.4 (3:01 pm):  Great putt by Nordqvist on 11 for birdie to go 2-up.]

[Update 2.a.5 (3:36 pm):  Another great mid-range putt from Nordqvist for another win, this one on 12.  She's 3-up.]

[Update 2.a.6 (3:44 pm):  Just when you thought she might be on the ropes, Mamiko makes a 20-footer for birdie on the par-3 13th to go back to 2-down.]

[Update 2.a.7 (3:59 pm):  Anna's too much for Higa--and probably anyone--today.  With Higa in the bunker on 14, Anna calmly bounces 1 in to 8 inches.  Higa needs to make like Ai-sama just to halve the hole.]

[Update 2.a.8 (4:10 pm):  1st tentative stroke I've seen today from Anna, but she halves the hole and goes dormie with 3 to play.]

[Update 2.a.9 (4:33 pm):  Anna had 2 putts from 10 feet on the fringe to win the match, and she cozied the 1st right up there.  She wins 3&2.]

8. Belen Mozo vs. Moriya Jutanugarn

They're all-square through 2.

[Update 2.b.1 (2:07 pm):  Moriya won 4 and 6 and Belen won 5, so Moriya is 1-up.]

[Update 2.b.2 (2:28 pm):  Belen won 7 and 8 to go 1-up.]

[Update 2.b.3 (2:44 pm):  A par is enough for Mozo to make it 3 in a row.  She's 2-up through 9.]

[Update 2.b.4 (2:52 pm):  Nice shot and nice bounce for Moriya on 10.  Let's see if she can make the 6-footer.]

[Update 2.b.5 (3:11 pm):  Moriya made it on 10 and then Belen missed a makeable 10-footer on 11, so Belen remains 1-up.]

[Update 2.b.6 (3:49 pm):  Belen makes a tap-in birdie on 12 to go 2-up.]

[Update 2.b.7 (3:53 pm):  After a lot of discussion, Belen goes to the back-left of the pin on 13.]

[Update 2.b.8 (4:04 pm):  Nice lag from Mozo on 13 to halve the hole.]

[Update 2.b.9 (4:47 pm):  Golf Channel's been ignoring this match until they got to 16 and because I had to talk to a man about a tree (literally), I'm still behind on the DVR, so haven't looked online to see the results.  They finally realized that Belen can clinch it for Spain and showed her hitting a good lay-up on the par-5 16th.  She's 2-up and Moriya needs to make something happen!  She backs off from her fairway wood.  She restarts her routine and then lands it too far short of the top of the bank, so she rolls back down the hill.  If Belen can get up and down, she not only wins the hole and the match, but also the crown!]

[Update 2.b.10 (4:49 pm):  Nice approach from Belen, hitting it just past the pin and spinning it enough to stop it before it ran down to where Yokomine ended up on this hole earlier.]

[Update 2.b.11 (4:50 pm):  Great pitch from Moriya.  Now it's a putting contest.]

[Update 2.b.12 (4:52 pm):  Mozo sinks it!!!  Now Moriya needs to make hers to extend the match.]

[Update 2.b.13 (4:54 pm):  Moriya misses low side.  Mozo wins 3&2.  The crown is Spain's!]

[Update 2.b.14 (4:58 pm):  When you think about how high was on day 1 and how low they were on day 2 after Team USA swept them, the way they played on the weekend is even more impressive.  Carlota destroying NYC really set the tone for them today and Beatriz and Belen responded against opponents they knew they had a good chance to beat.  Bottom line is they did what they had to do.  Great job!]

9. Mika Miyazato vs. Onnarin Sattayabanphot

They're all-square through 2.

[Update 2.c.1 (2:08 pm):  Mikan won 4 and 5 and is 2-up through 6.]

[Update 2.c.2 (2:27 pm):  Mikan wins 7 to go 3-up.]

[Update 2.c.3 (2:38 pm):  Nice putt on 8 by Onnarin to get back to 2-down.]

[Update 2.c.4 (3:30 pm):  Mikan sticks it on 11 to tap-in range.]

[Update 2.c.5 (3:33 pm):  Onnarin halves the hole with a fantastic 20-footer for birdie!]

[Update 2.c.6 (4:12 pm):  Thought Mikan had the birdie putt from the back fringe on 13, but it veered left on the last roll.]

[Update 2.c.7 (4:13 pm):  Onnarin has about a 5-footer to save par and she makes it dead-center, halving the hole.  She's still 2-down with 5 to play.]

[Update 2.c.8 (4:32 pm):  Mikan's birdie try on 14 seemed to wobble its way around the hole.]

[Update 2.c.9 (4:36 pm):  Yikes.  Mikan missed her tap-in to fall back to 1-up.]

[Update 2.c.10 (4:51 pm):  Mikan has a 4-footer to win 15.  Hits the right corner of the cup and spins out.  Still 1-up, now with 3 to play.]

[Update 2.c.11 (5:03 pm):  Great approach by Mikan on 16.  She's in that same range she's missed from the last 2 holes, but this time for birdie.]

[Update 2.c.12 (5:07 pm):  Onnarin took a run at her birdie putt, assuming Mikan will make hers.  Now if she misses the comebacker Mikan won't have to putt.  Onnarin makes the 4-foot par putt, though.  Can she dodge a 3rd bullet in a row?  Mikan's little water bottle ritual is getting a lot of humorous commentary the last few holes!  She makes it and goes dormie with 2 to play.]

[Update 2.c.13 (5:14 pm):  Onnarin concedes a long par putt to Mikan on 17.  Mikan wins 3&1.]

10. Ai Miyazato vs. Azahara Munoz

Aza won the 1st hole.]

[Update 2.d.1 (2:09 pm):  Ai-sama won 4 and 5 to go 1-up.]

[Update 2.d.2 (2:30 pm):  Aza won 7 to square up the match.]

[Update 2.d.3 (3:02 pm):  Great 12-footer by Aza to halve 9.  Still all-square.]

[Update 2.d.4 (3:37 pm):  Aza sticks it on 11!  Pressure's on Ai-sama!  She gets it in birdie range--maybe 8 feet short right of the cup.]

[Update 2.d.5 (3:40 pm):  Yikes, both players missed!  Ai-sama must feel like she dodged a bullet.]

[Update 2.d.6 (4:07 pm):  Ai-sama didn't miss the tap-in for birdie on 12, so she's 1-up!]

[Update 2.d.7 (4:18 pm):  Fantastic 15-footer for birdie by Aza.  Back to all-square through 13 now.]

[Update 2.d.8 (4:43 pm):  Aza made a nice try from about 20 feet on 14.  Looked good all the way but rolled about 2 feet by the cup.]

[Update 2.d.9 (4:59 pm):  Aza made a great birdie on 15, again from medium range, right after finding out her team had won the crown.  She's 1-up with 3 to play.]

[Update 2.d.10 (5:01 pm):  Great drive by Aza on 16, dead center.  Good one from Ai-sama, to the right side of the fairway.]

[Update 2.d.11 (5:04 pm):  Bad lay-up by Ai-sama with a fairway wood.  Deep in the right rough.]

[Update 2.d.12 (5:09 pm):  Ai-sama's 121 out with Aza in perfect position.  The rough closed her club face and the ball rolled into the front-left trap.  Munoz is about half the distance from the hole and puts it about 2 feet outside where Mikan had left hers.  Munoz can win the match on this hole.]

[Update 2.d.13 (5:11 pm):  After a bad bunker shot, Ai-sama rolls in the 25-footer to make a huge par save.  Rueful smile and raised eyebrows from Ai-sama say it all.  Big let-down.  I'll bet she's hoping Aza makes the putt.]

[Update 2.d.14 (5:12 pm):  Aza's putt rolled by the right edge of the cup at a snail's pace.  They halve the hole and Aza remains 1-up with 2 to play.  Sorry, she would have been dormie if she had made it.]

[Update 2.d.15 (5:18 pm):  Good shot by Aza, landing it front-left on the green and letting it roll out to almost pin high.  Not a good shot by Ai-sama, leaving it on the front-right fringe.  The atmosphere here would be totally different if Sakura could have put her approach on 17 on the green, eh?]

[Update 2.d.16 (5:21 pm):  Good speed, bad line for Ai-sama.  3 feet right.  Aza has maybe 20 feet to win the hole and the match.  18 inches short.  Ai-sama concedes and Aza doesn't.  Wonder if Ai-sama will be concentrating on this one.  Nope.  Aza wins 2&1.]

[Update 3 (1:19 pm):  At times, I'll try to sum up where the teams currently stand.

Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Spain (7): up in 2, all-square in 1, down in 1
Sweden (7): up in 1, down in 3
Thailand (7): up in 1, all-square in 2, down in 1
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 3

Wish they had flags by the players' names on the scoreboard!]

[Update 4 (2:11 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Japan (8): up in 3, all-square in 1
Spain (7): up in 2, all-square in 1, down in 1
Sweden (7): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Thailand (7): up in 2, down in 2
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 3

Can't wait for the tv coverage to start!]

[Update 5 (2:32 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Japan (8): up in 2, all-square in 2
Spain (7): up in 3, all-square in 1
Sweden (7): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Thailand (7): up in 1, down in 3
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 3

K, it's tv time!]

[Update 6 (2:40 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Sweden (9): won 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Japan (8): up in 2, all-square in 2
Spain (7): up in 3, all-square in 1
Thailand (7): up in 1, down in 2, lost 1
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 3

Tightening up!]

[Update 7 (2:43 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Spain (9): won 1, up in 2, all-square in 1
Sweden (9): won 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Japan (8): up in 2, all-square in 2
Thailand (7): up in 1, down in 2, lost 1
Korea (6): up in 1, down in 2, lost 1

Tightening up!]

[Update 8 (2:54 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Spain (9): won 1, up in 2, all-square in 1
Sweden (9): won 1, up in 1, down in 1, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 2, all-square in 1, down in 1
Korea (8): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Thailand (7): up in 1, down in 2, lost 1

Tightening up further!]

[Update 9 (3:57 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Spain (9): won 1, up in 2, all-square in 1
Sweden (9): won 1, up in 1, down in 1, lost 1
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 2, down in 1
Korea (8): won 1, all-square in 1, lost 2

Tightening up even further!]

[Update 10 (4:23 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Spain (11): won 2, up in 1, all-square in 1
Sweden (9): won 1, up in 1, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 2
Korea (8): won 1, up in 1, lost 2

It's looking like Spain right now!]

[Update 11 (4:35 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Spain (11): won 2, up in 1, all-square in 1
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, down in 1, lost 1
Korea (8): won 1, up in 1, lost 2

It's still looking like Spain!]

[Update 12 (4:39 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Spain (11): won 2, up in 1, all-square in 1
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Korea (10): won 2, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 2, lost 1
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, lost 2

It's more and more looking like Spain!]

[Update 13 (4:55 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Spain (13): won 3, all-square in 1
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Korea (10): won 2, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, down in 1, lost 2
Japan (8): up in 1, all-square in 1, lost 2

It's Spain!]

[Update 14 (5:15 pm):  Here's how the teams stand right now:

Spain (13): won 3, all-square in 1
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Korea (10): won 2, lost 2
Japan (10): won 1, down in 1, lost 2
Thailand (9): won 1, lost 3

They're just playing for position now!]

[Update 15 (5:22 pm):  Here are the final results:

Spain (15): won 4
Sweden (11): won 2, lost 2
Korea (10): won 2, lost 2
Japan (10): won 1, lost 3
Thailand (9): won 1, lost 3

Congratulations to Team Spain!]


Colin N.Z said...

Back to stroke play and we saw players playing and finish more true to their ranking. It will be interesting to see what changes if any are made for the next Crown but I would like to see 3 automatic on RR and the fourth team member a wildcard pick. They could also open up the eighth team spot to a team from a qualifying tournament consisting of the next best, 7 to 15th countries on RR or taking it to 10 with counties 9 and 10 coming from a qualifying tournament. I think that would help address the current state of players and teams just before the tournament. Countries would still have to be decided some weeks pre tournament due to promotions but teams and wildcard could be chosen closer as proven by the couple of forced late changes made for this one.

The Constructivist said...

Colin, it was definitely individual play, but it wasn't stroke play--still match play. And there were big upsets relative to expectations: Ciganda over NYC, Lindberg over Ariya.

I'm not sure I like the idea of an international all-star team. Seems unfair to the rest.

I do like a little later team and individual qualifying deadline.

Colin N.Z said...

Sorry yes still match play and a couple of one round upsets. I agree you can't have an international team just to have a few more top players there it is what it is a country v country tournament. Countries like ours just have to build more depth and tournaments like this I hope will inspire players to get there. Still having a qualifying tournament for the 8th spot would also help those other countries.

The Constructivist said...

How about an odd-year B-Team version of the competition, with the winner getting the 8th spot in the A-Team competition?

Colin N.Z said...

I think a qualifying tournament would have to be after the top qualified teams on RR are announced because RR change too much in a year even in 6mths as Wie knows. It's unlikely the format will change and I think that worked ok although if you analyse Spains win a little you see they lost to all the top RR players except NYC who they could have lost too and still won. They avoided all the other top RR players like Park, Ryu, Nordqvist and Webb completely, and as of today NYC and Inky would not be in the ROK team. So what this shows is you can win by being soundly beaten by the #1 ranked team and almost completely avoid the #2 ranked team. I'm sure they could fit in a qualifying tournament post team announcement We are likely to see China and England next time automatically. They could even make it top 6 plus 2 from a qualifier. This tournament needs to be opened up to more countries and at least a qualifier opens it up to the top 16.