Rich Harvest Farms has been chosen to host the 2016 International Crown, a new LPGA event that will pit teams from eight nations against one another, LPGA officials said Thursday at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla.
Clearly designed with the popularity of the Ryder Cup in mind, the International Crown will debut on July 21-27, 2014, at Owings Mills, near Baltimore. The second event will be played in 2016 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, where the 2009 Solheim Cup was held.
The International Crown will feature three days of four-ball competition, plus singles matches on Sunday and will have a total purse of $1.6 million. It will be played in even years, when the Solheim Cup is not contested. Each team will have four players.
``The International Crown will take women's golf to the next level and allow fans to rally behind their homelands,'' LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan said. ``In sports, there's nothing greater than wearing your nation's flag, fans singing your national anthem, and bringing the crown home.''
The Rolex rankings will be used to select the countries and players who will participate. Under the current rankings, the United States, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Taiwan and England would be competing.
``We need this type of event,'' said Stacy Lewis, the top-ranked American. ``People always want to know why golfers from Asia are so good. Now we can see how all the countries stack up. Representing your country is the ultimate thing. Getting announced on the first tee when you are representing the USA, it doesn't get any better than that. It's a goal of mine to be in the event.''
It's also another opportunity for Rich Harvest Farms, ranked 58th in Golf Digest's list of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses, to showcase itself.
``We're honored to have the International Crown at Rich Harvest Farms,'' owner Jerry Rich said. ``We look forward to welcoming the wonderful spectators and fans of women's golf, including the youth in our community, to witness this global tournament.''