Does the UL IC help Ko & Henderson?

This week the LPGA Tour hosts the UL International Crown, where 8 teams of 4 players compete based on nationality in a match play format. Several players have commented on how this event, plus the Olympics has made their schedules busier than normal. Christie Kerr said she is playing 5 weeks in a row because of this event and this is the most in a row she has played since her early 20s. Professional golfers have a demanding travel schedule, so getting rest and off weeks is important to rejuvenate their minds and body as professional golf requires intense focus.

Certain countries have a deeper pool of professional golfers than others. Some countries such as the US have a deep pool of high ranked players, but others only have a few top players and not much else.  Take New Zealand & Canada as examples. The top two ranked players in the world right now are Lydia Ko who is Kiwi and Brooke Henderson who is Canadian. But they are from countries without deep pools of top ranked golfers, so because of the qualifying format, their countries did not qualify for the UL International Crown.  This gives them a critical week off going into the British Open the following week.

For Brooke Henderson, a week off was a necessity. If Henderson had to play the UL International Crown, it would have meant a non-stop string of big tournaments in a row since she is the 2 time defending champion in Portland which is followed by the US Open, then the British Open, Olympics, and then two Canadian events in a row including the Canadian Open and the Manulife, and then the last major of the year at the Evian.

At the same time, I think the schedule also hurts the top ranked American and Korean players such as Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Soyeon Ryu, Ingee Chun, and Seiyoung Kim. It also helps players that don’t have to play in either/or the UL IC or Olympics such as Ha-Na Jang, Anna Nordqvist and Suzanne Pettersen, Jessica Korda, and Sung Hyun Park.  Adjust your odds, and look for the players who have got some breaks to play well at the last few majors of the year.