INCHEON, South Korea – The UL International Crown’s footprint gets a lot larger in South Korea this week.
Barring weather issues, the LPGA expects to smash attendance records for the event, which is in its third year.
They’ve already smashed corporate sales records.
“I don’t know if this will be the springboard that takes the event to the next level, but this event will, in every way, feel different now,” said Dennis Baggett, the LPGA’s vice president of events and executive director of the Solheim Cup. “It will be bigger and grander than it has felt in its first two renditions.”
Baggett said between 25,000 and 30,000 spectators are expected every round with more than 100,000 expected for the week. That will come close to Solheim Cup attendance records.
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A two-story corporate hospitality structure towers along the right side of the 14th hole at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, featuring 30 corporate suites. There were just six corporate suites built at the last International Crown at the Merit Club in Libertyville, Ill.
The corporate investment in the Crown in Korea is about five times what it was when the event was held in the Chicago area, LPGA officials said.
“What we’re seeing this week is how quickly this event has come around,” Baggett said.
Two Korean television stations (JTBC and MBC) will air live coverage.
South Korea’s love of women’s golf is elevating the event.
“The LPGA is strong in Korea, and they’ve got a strong team this year,” Baggett said. “That’s given us the ability to do things we haven’t been able to do.”