Whan likes Crown format despite early U.S. exit


OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The United States’ failure to make it into Sunday singles isn’t going to cause an overhaul of the International Crown’s format.

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan loves the drama the U.S. vs. Korea playoff created Saturday and can even see an upside to the Americans getting eliminated early in the inaugural event.

“I really don’t think that lessens the event,” Whan said Sunday. “Quite frankly, I think it ratchets it up a notch.”

Spain clinched the international team event on Sunday. Whan was pleased with the inaugural competition’s start.

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“I have a hard time saying I’m going to critique the format so a country or two can find their way into Sunday,” Whan said. “I think that’s what great events and tournaments are. I’m sure the San Francisco 49ers felt like they were the best team in the NFL, but they lost in overtime in the game to get to the big game. The reality is to get to the Super Bowl, you have to win the game before the Super Bowl, and if you’re going to make it to Sunday here, you’re going to have to make it through Saturday. I’ll take one of the greatest Saturdays in LPGA history, and we’ll build on that.”

Whan does foresee changes in moving qualifying for the event later into the year. To help insure that the best players would commit to the first International Crown, the LPGA closed qualifying for countries near the end of last year and closed individual player qualifying for their teams on March 31 of this year. That precluded players like Michelle Wie from making the team with strong runs in the three months leading into the event.