The prestigious U.S. Open Championship will remain at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington through the 2021 season but will undergo significant changes.
The U.S. Open, the USPA Gold Cup and the C.V. Whitney tournaments lose some of their luster by reducing their handicap level from 26 goals to 22 goals beginning in 2019.
The U.S. Open, the final tournament of the Florida high-goal season, has been played at IPC since 2004, its 100th anniversary. It has been played in South Florida since 1996. This year it takes place from April 4 to 22.
Teams anchored by either Adolfo Cambiaso or Facundo Pieres have won the U.S. Open nine of the last 11 years. They are considered the top two players in the world and both are under contract to Valiente in 2018.
Reducing the handicap level is intended to increase the number of teams, according to the officials from the U.S. Polo Association. And it is expected to make the tournaments more competitive as well as probably lowering the cost of teams.
Only six teams played in the 2017 U.S. Open, with Valiente, led by Cambiaso, defeating Orchard Hill, led by Pieres, 13-12 in overtime. Orchard Hill is not participating in high-goal polo in 2018.
The U.S. Open has been played at the 26-goal level since 1979 and is the highest handicapped tournament outside of Argentina. However, it has been played at several levels over the last 50 years. From 1963 to 1970, the U.S. Open was played at a minimum of 21 goals and from 1971 to 1977, the tournament limited to 22 goals, according to a USPA spokesman.
The U.S. Open final will be televised on CBS Primetime for the next three years, according to the USPA.