Can Baseball Become an International Sport?
March 23, 2012
by William Szczepanek
Last spring I wrote a couple of articles about the LPGA. One had to do with the trading cards and the international aspects of the tournaments and the other had to do with baseball autographs and accessability to sports figures. I felt then and still do now that baseball could learn from the example that the LPGA has set, especially since baseball is not an international game and no other country other than the USA is represented (yet). Do other countries even care about baseball? If you are wondering how this article has relevance to baseball, baseball cards, and changes in our society, then you should check out more of this site.
Men's golf has its Presidents Cup where the USA plays against the rest of the world and the Ryder Cup where the USA takes on Europe. The Solheim Cup is a biennial event pitting pro female USA athletes against their European counterparts. Golf was also featured as part of the Summer Olympics in 2000 and 2004 and will be reinstated in 2016 with competition among amateurs.
Right now there is really no way of fairly determining which country dominates in women's golf. In a recent Golf Channel interview Suzann Pettersen of Norway sparred with Ryann O'Toole of the USA in a discussion regarding who would be the best woman golfer of 2012. Pettersen did not hesitate to state emphatically that she expected to win the honor and indicated that it would be good for golf if the Americans could compete as well. As far as I was concerned Pettersen threw down the gauntlet and challenged the USA to a duel. Very cool indeed. But, what about the rest of the world? Women's golf is now dominated by Asian golfers to the chagrin of many Americans and interest in LPGA contests have waned in recent years.
Since there is no point system for evaluating international competition in the LPGA I have decided to devise one. The results will be shown on this page for the remainder of the 2012 season. Points will be awarded to the countries represented by the top ten golfers in each LPGA tournament. Which country will win the Medal Standings (or how about the Glitzy Golf Ball Marker Rankings)? Will Suzann Pettersen be able to pull Norway to the top. Will the Americans be able to answer the challenge? Will Yani Tseng be able to win the honor single-handedly for Chinese Taipei, or will a large collection of excellent South Korean golfers be able to stage an upset? We shouldn't take this too seriously , but...
Let's watch and see.
January 26, 2013
Subsequent to this article being published the LPGA announced The International Crown, a tournament to determine the champion country in women's golf. I compliment Mike Whan, the LPGA Commissioner for his insight; however, you saw it here first.
The following are the results of a year long research project of my own to determine the dominent country in women's golf.
LPGA International Rankings (Final)
November 18, 2012 CME Group Titleholders
Keeping true to form, Na Yeon Choi won the last tournament of the year followed closely by countrywoman, So Yeon Ryu, as South Korea officially closes out the 2012 season by dominating all other countries in the field. While compiling these figures for the year was more work than I originally thought, it brought satisfaction to present a different view on how well Korean golfers have performed. Congratulations goes out to the entire South Korean team for doing something no one would have thought possible just a few years ago.
International Glitzy Golf Ball Marker Standings
South Korea - 583.242