By Ron Allen
It’s that time of year when the USPA Handicap Committee meets to decide the ups and downs of polo. Almost half the committee members are less than qualified to cast a vote since they haven’t seen any of the high goal pros play this season. Perhaps they only have input on circuit club players. Meanwhile, the high goal patrons will line up to fight for fairness to protect their individual teams.
For several decades the FIP has claimed they are working on worldwide uniform handicap system. Their results at this point are disappointing at best. The obvious discrepancies from country to country need to be addressed immediately.
At least four players are not in line with the handicaps they carry in Argentina. Gonzalito Pieres (9) has been playing under the radar for a couple of years now while rated at 10 back home in Argentina and in England. His brother Nico is rated at 8 while playing off of 10 goals in his home country. Diego Cavanagh carries a 9 in the U.S. but he is only 8 in Argentina. Rodrigo Andrade (8) is rated 9 in England.
While politics will be hard at play, in the background, two young pros have had a great season in Wellington. Twenty something Jared Zenni (5) is a well-mounted and versatile player who achieved great success, long before Team USPA recognized his talent, to excell in high goal polo and young Englishman Tommy Beresford has been playing lights out at four goals for Valiente. The USPA has a history of punishing the team that wins the Open. Something to keep an eye on once the handicap bureaucrats assembles behind closed doors.