Whan confirms Olympic-style event in LPGA future


Details continue to be worked out for the LPGA’s first Olympic-style competition.

As GolfChannel.com first reported last month, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan, while co-hosting Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” Monday, confirmed that there will be a new biennial international team competition on future LPGA schedules with the format calling for six to eight countries made up of teams of four or more women.

Jerry Rich, the owner of Rich Harvest Farms in suburban Chicago, told GolfChannel.com Monday that he wants to be in the mix among rotating hosts of the event but isn’t sure his course will host the inaugural competition. Navistar, which is based a few miles from Rich Harvest Farms, is also amid negotiations as a potential sponsor. A number of Navistar executives are members at Rich Harvest Farms.

“We will play a global team event every other year,” Whan said. “We are going to play for countries, as opposed to regions. One of the things I’ve struggled with in some of the other international team events is that I don’t know what flag you fly for ‘Rest of World’ or what anthem you sing. I don’t know how to wear that flag on my shirt. We really want countries playing for countries.

“We are going to have six, seven, eight countries coming together every couple years competing for countries in a truly Olympic like setting. We want to see who is, in fact, the best golfing country in the world when it comes to professional women’s golf.”

While this Olympic event was tentatively penciled in for July of 2012 on a proposed schedule Whan released to players this fall, Whan didn’t divulge if a date or site has yet been determined for the first event.

“We are going to start in the not-too-distant future and the first few times we play we will play in America,” Whan said.

Rich said he has been in discussions for two years with the LPGA over potentially hosting this event and has offered up his own ideas for its planning. The Solheim Cup was played at Rich Harvest Farms in 2009.

“It’s really in the hands of the commissioner right now in determining where it’s best to locate this event,” Rich said. “It would be very difficult for us to host it in 2012. I’ve suggested it might be best to move it around where we could possibly have it here for the second or third event.”

While specific details remain uncertain, Whan made it clear the event is coming.

“We think it’s going to create country pride like you’ve never seen before,” Whan said.