Lawsonia Golf in Green Lake Wisconsin. 36 holes and Stay and Play Packages. Stay on the grounds of this historic Chicago architect William Langford 1930 design. See Lawsonia.com. Now under the operation of Oliphant Golf.
BY: RORY SPEARS
THEY MADE IT HAPPEN. Above right Rich Harvest Farms owner Jerry Rich the host of the 2016 International Crown, and LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan (on the 4th tee at Caves Valley CC) have spent several years pulling this event together. Today it’s happening.
Whan spoke with the Gog Blog yesterday while playing during the pro-am and remembered a meeting in Rich’s kitchen almost 5 years ago to start mapping out the details. Rich called it two guys with a napkin launching a good idea. now it’s more than good. It’s a great idea and 32 players from eight countries are playing for there countries and loving every minute of it. The format is match play, and what countries will move on from their pool of teams, to Sunday’s finals.
Rich wanted the first Crown event but realized there was too much on his calendar to make that happen, when Whan decided to have the event start in 2014 instead of 2016 when Olympic golf was returning to the schedule.
2015 will be an exciting year at Rich Harvest Farms, with the Western Amateur and the Palmer Cup all in one summer. Then Rich and his team will start digging in even more for the International. Rich has a staff that works on the Crown already, this weekend they have organized watch parties around the Chicago area.
Rich doesn’t know exactly what dates he will have in 2016, but it’s expected to be in late July, about one month before the Olympics begin.
Meetings continue here in Baltimore this week for a title sponsor to come on board, an announcement could come within the next 24-48 hours as to who that company will be.
When asked how the first International Crown ended up at Caves Valley, Whan said it came via a recommendation from the USGA.
“We asked the USGA for a few clubs that could host an event like this and whose membership who get energized and involved,” said Whan. “Then we started to make site visits after they gave us four names. Caves Valley was the second stop, after we saw Caves the search ended right there, we were done.”
When asked about why the teams were decided when they where, and if there has been any fall out about Michelle Wie the new U.S. Women’s Open champion not on the U.S. Team Whan added this.
“With this being a new event and there being a gap on our schedule, we had to get this on the players schedule as soon as possible,” says Whan. “There might have been a chance that some of the players could have left the USA and gone home for vacations. But I think once the players play in this event, it’s something that will always be on their calendars.”
Whan and Rich are looking forward to Rich Harvest Farms in 2016. Whan calls RHF “an outstanding facility and I know Jerry will have it ready and in great shape.”
When Rich is asked if he gets to keep the event in 2018, he says he will want it every two years. Rich wants his Rich Harvest Farms to have the Crown every time it’s played. He would like to think this event will be the Masters of Women’s golf, and they don’t move the Masters from Augusta National.
If the demand of the Crown ever takes the event to the Far East, Rich would take the new format LPGA Championship or the U.S. Women’s Open in it’s place. But he had another idea too. “People miss the Western Open in Chicago,” said Rich. ” How about bringing back the Women’s Western Open, it’s been 50 years. Wouldn’t that be something.” Well yes it would.
The Golf Channel has over 30 hours of programming planned the next few days, Chicago fans go watch the championship that is headed your way, now less than two years and counting.