Excitement is beginning to build for next month’s winner-take-all $100,000 World Cup at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The World Cup is the second of two classic and prestigious tournaments that Marc and Melissa Ganzi are reviving thanks to the generosity of Glenn Straub of Palm Beach Polo.
The first tournament resurrected was the successful Sterling Cup which received rave reviews from players, sponsors and fans and was won by Travieso.
The World Cup has the richest prize purse offered for a tournament in the ten-year history of Grand Champions, the nation’s busiest and most innovative polo club.
Grand Champions Polo Club hopes to recapture the legacy and prestige of polo’s glory days.
The single-elimination, winner-take-all tournament is open to teams 0-to-26 goal on handicap.
The tournament is similar to the Copa Republica in Argentina where teams of any handicap from 0-to-40 can compete.
“We are very excited that the World Cup is coming back to Grand Champions Polo Club,” said polo manager Juan Olivera.
The prestigious World Cup is a tournament steeped in tradition. American businessman and polo player Bill Ylvisaker, then CEO of a Fortune 200 battery company in Chicago, created the Gould World Polo Championship with a prize purse of $150,000.
It was first held in 1976 at the Butler Polo Grounds in Oak Brook, Illinois. Ylvisaker’s staff sent out invitations to countries all over the world known to have top-ranked pro polo teams.
Three teams from the United States were recruited and joined Mexico, India, England and Argentina in the field. The inaugural event was won by Argentina, attracted great crowds and was deemed a success.
In 1977, Ylvisaker bought 2,000 acres to develop a polo resort. The Palm Beach Polo and Country Club was built with 14 polo fields and soon became the polo capital of the world.
The first season at the new club featured the $150,000 Michelob World Cup Polo Championship. Held April 3-15, it was the highlight of the season attracting top players and sponsors from around the world. It was the world’s richest and most premier polo event and one of the most significant polo championships.
In 1988, Landmark purchased the club for $25 million and continued the club’s growth until it was sold at auction in 1993 to Straub.
The tournament will be live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting.