BRADENTON, Fla. - Arnold Palmer and the Golf Coaches Association of America announced today that beginning in 2018 the Arnold Palmer Cup, a Ryder Cup-style competition that matches the top collegiate male players in the United States against their counterparts from Europe, will expand to include both men and women collegiate golfers chosen from around the world.
The Arnold Palmer Cup will continue to be contested in a match play format with team, mixed team and singles sessions. Each team will consist of 12 men and 12 women players whose combined efforts will contribute to one team score. The first seven men's and women's golfers from both teams will be selected using the Arnold Palmer Cup Ranking with the remaining team members selected by four committee selections and one coach's pick. College golfers with citizenship outside the United States will comprise the International team, including those attending colleges and universities in the United States.
"I am delighted that this event, which we started at my Bay Hill Club & Lodge in 1997, has found such prominence in the world of collegiate golf. It no doubt will continue to flourish in the years to come with the addition of women and international players," said Palmer, whose legendary career inspired the creation of the event and its expansion to include women and international players.
First hosted at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge in 1997, the inaugural event featured eight-man teams from the United States and Great Britain and Ireland. In 2003, the Arnold Palmer Cup expanded to include all of Europe. The Arnold Palmer Cup Ranking was used for the first time in 2013 to select the first six golfers for both sides and teams were expanded to 10-man squads.
"Having had the honor of coaching the United States team and players and assistant coaches who have represented their countries, I know how special it is to be part of the Arnold Palmer Cup," said GCAA President Conrad Ray. "We could not be more pleased that men's and women's collegiate golfers from around the globe will now have the opportunity for these same experiences. With the 20th anniversary of the Arnold Palmer Cup in 2017, 2018 seems the perfect time for new beginnings."
"What a tremendous honor it will be for our collegiate golfers to be a part of such a prestigious event," added WGCA President Amy Bond. "This is a very exciting opportunity not only for our players from the United States but also for our international players from around the World. Our players and coaches are thrilled to be a part of the Arnold Palmer Cup and we look forward to 2018."
In addition to Bay Hill, the list of courses that have hosted the Palmer Cup are some of the finest in the game. The Old and New Courses at St. Andrews, The Honors Course, Royal Liverpool, Baltusrol, Doonbeg, Cassique, Ballybunion, Whistling Straits, Prestwick, Caves Valley, Glasgow Golf Club Gailes Links, Cherry Hills, Royal Portrush, The Stanwich Club, The Royal County Down, Wilmington Country Club and Walton Heath have all hosted the Palmer Cup. This year's event will be played at Rich Harvest Farms June 12-14 with Formby Golf Club and Atlanta Athletic Club hosting in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
A total of 42 Arnold Palmer Cup alumni have claimed 153 victories on the PGA or European Tours including U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell, 2015 The PLAYERS Championship winner Rickie Folwer and two-time defending Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard champion Matt Every. Additionally, 19 past Arnold Palmer Cuppers have competed in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.
The United States leads the Palmer Cup series 9-8-1.