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2016 UL International Crown Title Sponsor and Dates Announced

Crown sponsorship climaxes big golf week for Chicago

By Len Ziehm

Chicago's golf season may be in its final days as far as 2014 goes, but you wouldn't know it by developments over the last few days.

On the PGA Tour Wheaton's Kevin Streelman made a final-round charge in the Shriners Hospital for Children's Open in Las Vegas on Sunday. Making five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, Streelman took over the lead before third round leader Ben Martin rallied to overtake him.

Streelman shot 65 in the final round but wound up as the runnerup, two strokes behind Martin, who posted a 20-under-par 266 to claim his first PGA Tour victory.

Before Streelman made his charge the PGA's Champions Tour announced a change in leadership. Greg McLaughlin took over as president of the 50-and-over circuit, replacing Mike Stevens. McLaughlin was the long-time tournament director of the Western Open before directing the Tiger Woods Foundation for 14 years.

The biggest news, though, was made on Sunday in Korea when the Ladies PGA Tour announced that Underwriters Laboratories will be the sponsor for its International Crown event.

UL, a premier global independent safety science company with a headquarters location in Northbrook, has been in operation since 1894 and has more than 11,000 employees world-wide. UL was an ambassador sponsor when the LPGA introduced its International Crown at Caves Valley in Owings Springs, Md., this season.

Jerry Rich, owner of Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, was a leader in the creation of the global team competition that was won by Spain in its first staging. The second staging will be at Rich Harvest, with the dates of July 18-24, 2016, revealed when UL's involvement was announced.

Rich had hoped the International Crown would be based at his course, but LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said the third playing in 2018 would be in Korea - a country that has produced a number of top players on the LPGA circuit in recent years.

In making the announcement Whan declared that "Big is coming to Chicago,'' but said a staging in Korea was appropriate as well.

"The Republic of Korea has clearly demonstrated their support for the LPGA by hosting 18 different tournaments over the years with tremendous fan support,'' Whan said. "It made perfect sense that the first time we take the International Crown out of the U.S. was to a country with so many dedicated fans who support women's golf.''

Rich's private layout has become Chicago's best tournament venue in recent years. The biggest event there so far was the 2009 Solheim Cup matches between the LPGA stars of the U.S. and Europe. The Western Amateur and Palmer Cup, a prestigious team competition for collegiate players, will be played at Rich Harvest in 2015 before the International Crown makes its appearance.

Revised: 10/21/2014 - Article Viewed 30,651 Times

About: Len Ziehm

Len Ziehm My 41-year career on the Chicago Sun-Times sports staff ended with my retirement on June 30, 2010. During that stint I covered a wide variety of sports, but golf was a constant. I was the paper's golf writer for 40 years, during which time I covered 27 U.S. Opens, 10 Masters, 17 PGA Championships, four U.S. Women's Opens and the last 34 Western Opens in addition to a heavy load of Chicago area events.

For 20 years I was a columnist for Chicagoland Golf, a newspaper that suspended publication following the death of founder and good friend Phil Kosin in 2009. (This is not to be confused with the publication of the same name which was introduced in 2013 after being known as Chicago Area Golf for three years). I also contributed a chapter to a history book on the Solheim Cup and have been a member of the selection committee for the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame.

As a player I remain just an avid hacker with a handicap that never has dipped below 16.

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