U.S. Open Polo Championship®
Considered to be the most prestigious polo tournament in the United States, the U.S. Open is the apex of the 26-goal tournaments held during the Florida high-goal winter polo season that attracts fans and polo enthusiasts from across the United States and around the world.
The U.S. Open was originally conceived as a non-handicapped alternative to the Senior Championship tournament. The first U.S. Open had only two teams, the Wanderers and the Freebooters. It was held at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx borough of New York City. Four 15-minute chukkers were played, with a seven-minute break between each chukker.
After the inaugural U.S. Open in 1904, the tournament was not played again until 1910, when it grew to include six teams. It resumed at Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island, where it was played for several years before relocating to what became its longtime home, Meadowbrook Polo Club in Old Westbury, New York. In 1954, the U.S. Open moved to Oak Brook, where it remained for 22 years, followed by an eight year stint at Retama in San Antonio, Texas. In the late 1980s and into the 1990s, the tournament circulated among several clubs throughout the United States, including Eldorado, Lexington, Palm Beach and Royal Palm. In 2004, marking one hundred years since the tournament’s inception, the U.S. Open relocated to the International Polo Club Palm Beach, where it has been held ever since.
The U.S. Open Polo Championship® perpetual trophy was first presented in 1910 by Joseph B. Thomas. Designed by artist Sally James Farnham, the design was inspired by a seventeenth century tureen. The tall, ornate silver cup features horses and riders in relief around the top perimeter and the bottom bowl of the cup, as ornate rearing horses rise from the base of the cup.
Stolen in 2002, it was recovered a few short weeks later and is currently kept in the care and custody of the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in Lake Worth, Florida.
Photo: Valiente - 2017 U.S. Open Polo Championship® winners (L to R) - Adolfo Cambiaso, Diego Cavanagh, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Bob Jornayvaz ©David Lominska