The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Event Report | Mercedez-Benz Japan Cup

November 2013
Annual golf tournament helps strengthen business community here

By Aron Kremer
Photos by Humza Ahmad; Clas G. Bystedt

The 11th North America–Europe Golf Challenge in Japan, better known as the Mercedes-Benz Japan Cup, was held on October 4 at the Atsugi Kokusai Country Club.

The participants were Team North America, comprising members and guests of both the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ), and Team Europe, comprising members and guests of chambers associated with the European Business Council (EBC).

The winning team’s net score—calculated on the average net score from each team’s top 80 percent of players—is rarely ahead by more than 1.5 strokes. The smallest margin having been 0.06 strokes, demonstrating the very even matching of players.

The rivalry is a fun part of the tournament, but the feedback received clearly indicates that the most rewarding part of the experience is the one-of-a-kind networking and building of new relationships.

Each year, the event has been attended by about 150 golfers, of whom 60–70 percent are repeat attendees. Of those, three have attended each of the 11 tournaments.

Detailed orientation, post-event survey data, and a commitment to quality and value from both the organizing task force and Mercedes-Benz is the reason this tournament has gained the reputation of being the best-run amateur tournament in Japan for the international business community.

How it started
The idea emerged during a 2001 golf outing at the Hawaii Kai Golf Course.

Former ACCJ President Robert Grondine and former EBC Vice Chairman Erik Ullner envisioned a tournament that was modeled after the Ryder Cup. Grondine and Ullner brought the concept to the then-chairman of the EBC, Richard Collasse.

Although Collasse wasn’t a golfer, he understood how the tournament would bring the international business community closer together and threw his full support behind the idea. On September 26, 2003, the first tournament was held, and was called the DaimlerChrysler Cup. In 2008 the name was changed to the Daimler and Chrysler Cup, and in 2010 to the Mercedes-Benz Japan Cup. In 2013, the role of the CCCJ was transformed; no longer was it a participating chamber, but an official organizer, together with the ACCJ and the EBC.

A fundraising component was added to the tournament in 2006 and we have been proudly collecting for the YMCA Challenged Children Project ever since.

If you’re a golfer, this is one event you shouldn’t miss!

Team North America edged out its fourth consecutive win by 0.3 strokes bringing the total to seven wins for Team Europe’s four. The tournament’s 2013 individual winner was Team North America’s Dean Rogers, who achieved a best net score of 70. Gereon Sperling, who played for Team Europe, won the best gross with a score of 70.

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Aron Kremer is a member of the Mercedes-Benz Japan Cup organizing task force, a professional photographer, and the marketing and communications director of the Tokyo American Club. Aron served as the ACCJ deputy executive director from 2004 to 2010.