The most prestigious cup in women’s polo in the United States, Susan G. Komen U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ play began over the weekend. San Saba, Crossfit El Cid, Hawaii Polo Life and Cabo Wabo each took home a win after first round play. A double elimination format, the second round of bracket play games on Tuesday, March 19, were postponed due to rain. Dependent on weather, tournament play is anticipated to resume Wednesday.
The U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ has a profound history dating back to the 1930s in California. The first women’s U.S. Open tournament was presented by the United States Women’s Polo Association (U.S.W.P.A) in 1937 at the Golden Gate Field in San Francisco, California, in 1937. Riviera (Louise Tracey, Dorothy Rodgers, Audrey Scott, Ruth Cropp) defeated Santa Barbara 9-4 to capture the inaugural title. The U.S.W.P.A., the first and only women’s polo association in the history of American polo, created a women’s handicapping system mirroring that of the men, with one nine-goal player and several eight-goal players. The U.S.W.P.A. played eight to ten tournaments a year accumulating 300 members and 25 clubs in its ten-year tenure. At the onset of World War II however, the women focused their attention towards the war effort.
Women were officially welcomed into the United States Polo Association in 1972 with Sue Sally Hale becoming the first woman member. A devoted advocate of women in polo, Hale was alleged to have disguised herself as a man in order to compete in tournaments throughout the 1950s and 60s. U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ competition did not resurface until the early 1990s. On the centennial anniversary of the USPA in 1990, a U.S. Women’s Open was officially sanctioned and held at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Appropriately, Hale along with her two daughters, Sunny and Stormie captured the title with teammate Caroline Anier. In an electrifying overtime match, Empire defeated Palmera Hanalei Bay 10-9, with Anier scoring the sudden-death goal in the seventh chukker. After a few years of competition at Empire Polo Club, U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ competition once again lost momentum, this time for only a couple decades. It was officially recognized as a national tournament in 2011 and was hosted at the Houston Polo Club until 2018.
The most prestigious cup in women’s polo in the United States, the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ has relocated in 2019 with preliminary games to be held at Port Mayaca Polo Club in Okeechobee, Florida. The final will be hosted on Saturday, March 23, at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida, on the U.S. Polo Assn. Field at 11:00am ET. Featuring eight teams for 2019, the tournament is sponsored by Susan G. Komen, a breast cancer foundation. The title sponsor will be a big part of the festivities during the final as well as events leading up to the tournament.