The $100,000 World Cup, that showcases the sport of polo and players of all levels, returns to Grand Champions Polo Club April 1-14 with the richest prize purse in the club’s 11-year history. The tournament features sixteen teams from 0-to-26 goal rating and showcases young, American players.
Last year’s inaugural champion was Palm Beach Illustrated, a 21-goal underdog with players Jared Zenni, Santi Torres, Agustin Obregon and Tommy Collingwood, all young, talented rising stars.
“I am glad they are doing it again,” said Zenni, raised to five goals this season. “They had a lot of teams last year and I am sure they will have a few more teams this year.”
Zenni will play Wednesday in the Joe Barry Cup semifinals for Modere with teammates Hilario Ulloa, his dad Jim Zenni and Obregon, also a 5-goaler.
“The World Cup was a lot of fun, probably one of the most fun tournaments I’ve played in,” Zenni said. “I’ve known these guys forever and we’re all friends. We had great chemistry.”
The tournament was resurrected by Grand Champions owners and polo players Melissa and Marc Ganzi thanks to the generosity of Glenn Straub of Palm Beach Polo, where it was last played in the late 1990s.
What makes the tournament so unique is the fact it’s open to teams 0-26 goal on handicap, similar to the Copa Republica in Argentina where teams of any handicap from 0-to-40 can compete. Last year the lowest rated team was Equuleus at four goals and highest ranked teams were Orchard Hill, Audi, Valiente and Flexjet at 26 goals. The tournament also featured 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso playing with his son Poroto in a U.S. tournament for the first time.
“In Argentina they find that more teams in the 20-goal range end up winning the tournament,” said Tony Coppola, USPA President and voice of polo.
Many players and sponsors said the tournament was a great opportunity to showcase the sport’s younger players.
“Not all up-and-coming players have that kind of opportunity to play against the high level teams,” Zenni said. “It is a great showcase because everyone can play in it.”
The tournament will be live-streamed by Wellington-based ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting.