Reason for 2016 International Crown Move Remains Mystery
Rich Harvest Farms will not host the 2016 International Crown, and the reason for the sudden change in venue remains a mystery for the time being.
Keith Rich, who along with his father, Jerry, own and operate the ultra-private, members-only golf club in Sugar Grove, said Thursday that the joint statement issued by the LPGA and Rich Harvest Farms was all he could say at this time.
“That’s as far as I can go,” he said. “In a little time, we can give a little more.”
The Wednesday joint statement — widely posted in local, national and international media — said the parties have “mutually agreed to relocate” the tournament.
The UL International Crown will continue as scheduled July 21-24 at a venue to be named later.
The good news is that the LPGA “stands committed to keeping the 2016 edition of the biennial match-play event in the Chicagoland area.” The statement says the LPGA is “finalizing a new host venue.”
The Wednesday announcement was a shocker. Rich Harvest Farms and the LPGA had been promoting the event for at least a year.
The International Crown is a big deal — a first-of-its-kind, biennial, global match play competition featuring teams from eight countries battling for the right to be crowned the best in the world. Spain won the inaugural International Crown at Caves Valley outside Baltimore, MD, in 2014, and the 2018 event will still be showcased in the Republic of Korea.
For Kane County, the crown represented a substantial boost to the local economy. During a one-year-countdown media event held Aug. 31 at Rich Harvest Farms, Jerry Rich said as many as 200,000 fans might attend the event.
At the media event, the 2016 venue could not have seemed more like “a lock.” LPGA stars Belen Mozo and Minjee Lee joined corporate sponsors and local dignitaries to help kick off the event, sponsors were announced, Jerry Rich and the pros and even some local-media attendees matched skills in a chip shot and sand shot competition, LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann praised the course and the organizers.
“We need the next generation to care about golf in Chicago. We need to support people like Jerry Rich,” he said. “This is the launch of something truly special.”
Tickets for the event went on sale, and the website even posted a countdown with a ticker measuring the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the event. Tickets are no longer on sale on the LPGA website, at least for now
Keith Rich said Thursday that he and his dad already have moved on to the next big event.
“Right now, we’re focusing all our efforts on the NCAA championships in 2017,” he said. “So all of the work and planning we’ve done hasn’t been in vain.”
The National Collegiate Athletic Association Golf Committee announced in January that Northern Illinois University and Rich Harvest Farms were selected to host the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships.
It marks the first time NIU will host a NCAA Championship in any sport since becoming a major college program in 1969. The women’s championship will be held May 18-24, 2017, followed by the men’s finals May 25-31.
LPGA and Rich Harvest Farms Joint Statement
The LPGA and Rich Harvest Farms have mutually agreed to relocate the 2016 UL International Crown. Despite this decision, both parties remain open to future LPGA opportunities at Rich Harvest Farms based on the successful partnership in staging the 2009 Solheim Cup.
The UL International Crown will continue as scheduled July 21-24, and the LPGA stands committed to keeping the 2016 edition of the biennial match-play event in the Chicagoland area. The 2018 event will still be showcased in the Republic of Korea.
The LPGA is finalizing a new host venue and will comment further at the appropriate time.
About Rich Harvest Farms
Consistently ranked in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, Rich Harvest Farms is an ultra-private, members-only club located in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Owned and built by Jerry Rich, the course consists of 18 holes and is a 1,820-acre showcase of nature and agriculture. For more information visit www.richharvestfarms.com.
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