The biggest event on Chicago’s golf calendar for 2016 is off. At least the UL International Crown won’t be held as planned at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove.
According to a surprise announcement by the Ladies Professional Golf Assn., the LPGA and Rich Harvest Farms owner Jerry Rich “mutually agreed’’ that the event won’t go on as scheduled next July 21-24. Rich could not be reached for comment and no reason was given for the decision.
The LPGA announcement said the Florida-based organized organization is in the process of “finalizing a new venue’’ for the 2016 Crown.
Rich played a major role in the creation of the unique global team competition, the first finals of which were played at Cave’s Valley near Baltimore in 2014. The event, which involves top players from the top five women’s golf nations, is to be held every two years and the 2018 staging will be played in Korea.
Whether it will return to Rich Harvest after that is uncertain. According to the LPGA “both parties remain open to future LPGA opportunities at Rich Harvest Farms.’’
Rich Harvest hosted the 2009 Solheim Cup matches, pitting the women’s teams from the U.S. and Europe. It was a rousing success, and Rich initiated discussions about a different style team event with LPGA commissioner Mike Whan immediately afterwards.
When the Crown was unveiled both the Cave’s Valley site for 2014 and Rich Harvest were announced as host venues. Rich has called the Crown “my legacy.’’
Rich Harvest has been Chicago’s most active tournament course thanks to Rich’s involvement. This season the private venue hosted both the Palmer Cup matches, between college stars from the U.S. and Europe, and the Western Amateur championship.