The ALPG has disclosed that Minjee Lee, the youngest member of Team Australia, is serving as the unofficial captain heading into this week’s inaugural International Crown being played at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland. Lee is representing Australia (#AUS) alongside Katherine Kirk, Lindsey Wright and her mentor and World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb.
The International Crown is a first-of-its-kind, biennial, global match play competition featuring teams from eight countries battling for the right to be “Crowned” the world’s best golf nation. With no captain selected prior to the event for any of the teams in this event, the Australian team sat down for an Italian dinner at a local restaurant Monday night to figure out the team’s strategy. They did that and more, unofficially appointing their youngest teammate, 18-year-old amateur Minjee Lee, as their captain.
Katherine Kirk explained the reasoning behind the team’s decision:
Minjee has probably played more match play than Karrie, Lindsey and I recently. So we jokingly designated her as the captain last night . . . Katherine Kirk
The International Crown is particularly special for Team Australia. For years, Kirk, Wright, and Webb have stood by and watched as their fellow touring pros from the United States and Europe got to face off every two years in the Solheim Cup. The International Crown has broadened the opportunity for players from many countries, including Australia, to take a break from the cutthroat nature of individual competition to cheer each other on and play for a cause bigger than themselves.
The Aussies are having a lot of fun as they prepare to take on their first challenge in their Thursday matches against the Republic of Korea powerhouse team, Inbee Park-So Yeon Ryu-Na Yeon Choi-IK Kim.
Karrie Webb, reflecting the sentiments of the entire Aussie team, is thrilled to be flying the Australian flag this week and also feels that the combination of youth and experience strengthens Team Australia’s competitive advantage:
I think it’s great that there’s really 3 generations of Aussies in our team. I turned pro in the 90’s, Katherine and Lindsey turned pro in the 2000’s and Minjee is this generation. I think that combo of youth and experience could be a good recipe for a good week! Karrie Webb
The Aussies are seeded 7th in the event and are in Pool B., lined up against South Korea, Japan and Sweden. (Thailand, Spain, Chinese Taipei and top seed America make up Pool A.) Australia gets their tournament underway against the Republic of Korea early Friday morning Australian time.
Each country will play two, four-ball matches between each of the other three countries in their pool (Thursday -Saturday). The top two point-earning countries from each pool and one wild card country will advance to play in Sunday’s single matches. Two points will be awarded per match (two for a win and one for a halve). The total cumulative points from Thursday – Sunday will determine the champion.
Team Captain Minjee Lee and her mentor Karrie Webb Webb team to take on IK Kim and Na Yeon Choi, while Wright and Kirk will play Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu Thursday morning.
Play begins Thursday morning, July 24, at the International Crown and Golf Channel will provide daily coverage: Thursday, July 24 and Friday, July 25, 11:30am-3:30pm; Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27, 3-7pm, all times ET.
My colleagues and I at ProGolfNow will also provide ongoing updates and commentary. If you follow me on Twitter @bethbethel I’ll notify you when new posts are published.