Story by the United States Polo Association. Main photo by LILA PHOTO.
All 20-26 Goal Tournaments Will Drop to 18-22 Goals in 2019
The United States Polo Association® (USPA) Board of Governors, Committees, Subsidiary Boards, Club Delegates, Members and staff met in the Pacific Northwest Circuit in Stevenson, Washington, September 27-30, for the 2017 USPA Board of Governors and Annual Member Meeting.
Following much discussion, the top USPA national tournaments: U.S. Open Polo Championship® along with the USPA Gold Cup®, C.V. Whitney and Butler Handicap were awarded to the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, for the years 2019-2021. In 2004, the tournament’s 100th anniversary, the U.S. Open Polo Championship relocated to the IPC, where it has been held since.
The U.S. Open is the final leg of the Florida High-Goal Winter Season, which regularly attracts the top players and teams from around the world. The USPA is pleased to announce that the U.S. Open Final will be televised on CBS Primetime from IPC for the next three years (2018-2020).
It was also decided at that these four top national tournaments will move from 20-26 goals to 18-22 goals for the years 2019-2021. This is a significant change for polo in the United States intended to support growth of the sport by increasing the number of teams participating, thereby resulting in more competitive tournaments.
“We were advocates and big supporters of this move from the beginning. It is critical for us to re-energize the sport and get more teams involved. This is a step in the right direction,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP), which owns and operates IPC.
“It is going to increase the number of participating teams and I believe we’ll see the tournament become more competitive. In addition, this will provide more opportunity for American players and lower the cost of fielding a high-goal team. We’re looking forward to hosting the U.S. Open again at IPC for 2019-2021.”
“The USPA did not take this decision lightly,” said USPA CEO Robert Puetz. “As the U.S. Open is the most respected and prestigious tournament played in the United States, we continually strive to keep the handicap level as high as possible. However, based on recommendations from the High Goal and Tournament Committees and input from team owners, the Association decided to lower the handicap level for a three-year period. We will monitor and revisit this decision over the course of the next few years.”
Together with IPC in Wellington, Florida, the United States Polo Association will host the 2018 national high-goal tournaments which will remain at 20-26 goals, with the U.S. Open Polo Championship Final culminating on April 22, 2018.
About the United States Polo Association®
The U.S. Polo Association (USPA) was organized and exists for the purposes of promoting the game of polo, coordinating the activities of its Member Clubs and Registered Players, arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions, and games, and providing rules, handicaps, and conditions for those tournaments, competitions, and games including the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.
Founded in 1890, the United States Polo Association (USPA) is the national governing body for the sport of polo. USPA is currently comprised of almost 300 member clubs with thousands of individual members, and oversees 40 national tournaments. For more information, please visit www.uspolo.org.
About the International Polo Club Palm Beach
The International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) is the premier polo destination in the world, hosting the largest field of high-goal teams and the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States. Polo enthusiasts descend upon Wellington, FL each winter season to enjoy their love of the sport at the most prominent polo facility in the country. The 2018 Palm Beach Polo Season opens Sunday, December 31, and concludes 17 weeks later with the USPA 114th U.S. Open Polo Championship® Final on Sunday, April 22. Polo matches are open to the public, with a wide range of hospitality and guest seating that includes elegant grandstand viewing, field tailgating, stadium seating, field-side champagne brunch at The Pavilion, and exclusive sponsor boxes. See more at www.internationalpoloclub.com.
United States Polo Association®
International Polo Club Palm Beach