HARRISON, N.Y. – The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship made its debut Thursday with all the ingredients necessary to a major championship looking to elevate its status – except one.
There’s a quality test with Westchester Country Club offering shot-making value and the grandeur the LPGA was looking for.
There is a major championship presentation and look, from scoreboards to grandstands and concession stands.
There are first-class amenities for players, from courtesy cars to player dining.
There are good early storylines, with Hall of Famer Karrie Webb and 17-year-old Brooke Henderson making early runs on the leaderboard.
All that seemed to be missing Thursday were big crowds.
While there were good pockets of fans around the featured groupings, the galleries were sparser than expected for a major championship billing. LPGA and PGA officials, however, are expecting that to change on the weekend.
“The crowds were good today, but I expect to see them grow more every day,” said Cristie Kerr, who has a home in New York. “It's still a working crowd. A lot of people live in this area, go to work on Wall Street and take the train in, etc. So I think it will be a lot bigger [Friday] and then on the weekend. I think the crowds will be huge.”
Championship director Bob Jeffrey told local media outlets before the event that crowds of up to 7,000 a day were expected. Tournament officials don’t release attendance figures, but totals seemed to fall well short of that on Thursday with bleachers half empty.
“We really want the bleachers filled and people around the course, and I definitely think we’ll get there,” Jeffrey told The Journal News of Westchester County last month.