LPGA Officials Pleased With Inaugural Int'l Crown Despite U.S. Team's Early Exit
The U.S. team's failure to qualify for yesterday's final round of the LPGA Int'l Crown "isn't going to cause an overhaul" of the tournament's format, according to Randell Mell of GOLFCHANNEL.com. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan "loves the drama the U.S. vs. Korea playoff created Saturday and can even see an upside to the Americans getting eliminated early in the inaugural event." Whan said, "I really don’t think that lessens the event. Quite frankly, I think it ratchets it up a notch." He added, "I have a hard time saying I’m going to critique the format so a country or two can find their way into Sunday. I think that’s what great events and tournaments are. ... If you’re going to make it to Sunday here, you’re going to have to make it through Saturday. I’ll take one of the greatest Saturdays in LPGA history, and we’ll build on that" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 7/27). In Baltimore, Don Markus notes LPGA and Caves Valley Golf Club officials were "in a pretty good mood after the conclusion of an event that was first conceptualized four years ago and came off with barely a hitch." While admitting that the U.S.’s absence yesterday "might have cut down some on the large crowds that lined the fairways and surrounded many of the greens the previous two days," LPGA officials "declined to announce attendance figures for the event" (Baltimore SUN, 7/28). GOLFWEEK's Beth Ann Nichols wrote the Int'l Crown "was fantastic right up until the point when the U.S. got knocked out." That is "not opinion, it's a fact for all involved -- sponsors, fans, TV viewers" (GOLFWEEK.com, 7/26).
FRUSTRATED WITH THE FORMAT: GOLFCHANNEL.com's Mell noted U.S. golfer Stacy Lewis was "frustrated that the Americans failed to advance to Sunday singles," and hopes that there "will be some tweaks in future stagings of the event." Lewis on Saturday said, "It's just crazy to think that we're two points out of the lead of this thing and we're not able to play tomorrow. So that's really what's the most disappointing part about the format. We just wish we had an opportunity tomorrow, because I think that we really could win tomorrow if we had an opportunity to play." She added that she "likes the overall concept" of the tournament. Lewis: "I thought that it was a great first year. ... It's an event that has a great opportunity to grow over the years, and I was just honored to be on team USA the first year and can't wait to play with these girls again" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 7/26).
THE RIGHT KIND OF ATTENTION: In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck wrote the Int'l Crown has "provided another great opportunity to put the Baltimore metropolitan area in a global spotlight, with near-perfect conditions at Caves Valley Golf Club and the kind of community and corporate support that should bring more major golf events to the region." It is "certainly a nice change of pace to put on this kind of show without having to pave over any light rail tracks or risk millions of dollars in scarce public funds." Judging by the crowds, the Int'l Crown "brought together golf fans from all eight of the countries represented." The tournament will next be played at Rich Harvest Farms in suburban Chicago in '16, but the "hope here is that it generates enough buzz to spark more interest from the LPGA and the PGA in the region's premier golf courses" (Baltimore SUN, 7/27). GOLFWEEK's Nichols noted Whan's goal from the start was "to create something different." From "captain-less teams to walk-up music on the first tee to a third-round cut, he wanted everything about this event to be unique and not a knock-off of something in the men’s game or a dusting off of a tournament that once was." This was to be "a celebration of the global nature of the women’s game, and a reason for fans and media to turn their attention toward the LPGA for something other than a major." To that end, the Int'l Crown "was wildly successful" (GOLFWEEK.com, 7/27).