TPC Harding Park to Host International Team Competition
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 11, 2022 – The LPGA today announced that Hanwha, a global business conglomerate based in the Republic of Korea, will serve as title sponsor for the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown. The team match-play competition, an event that showcases the best female golfers from the top eight countries across the globe, will return to the LPGA Tour calendar for the first time since 2018 and will be held at San Francisco’s famed TPC Harding Park on May 4-7, 2023.
Hanwha LIFEPLUS is a joint brand of Hanwha financial affiliates (Hanwha Life, Hanwha General Insurance, Hanwha Investment & Securities, Hanwha Asset Management, Hanwha Savings Bank). Through this sponsorship, Hanwha Financial Group hopes to promote its brands to the global market, aligning with the worldwide nature of the International Crown, particularly targeting the recent surge in interest in golf from younger generations.
"Hanwha's financial affiliate brand LIFEPLUS has been carrying out various activities to provide better value to customers' lives. Golf is a sport that can be played by both men and women of all ages, and it is in line with LIFEPLUS' goal, which is enriching our customers’ lives," said Seung Joo Yeo, President and CEO, Hanwha Life. "While the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown provides an opportunity for golfers to play for the glory of their country, we hope that this competition will bring joy and inspiration for the golf fans all around the world."
Held biennially, the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown celebrates the world’s best female golfers. The four-day competition sees players represent their countries rather than a continent or region, highlighting the global nature of the game of golf.
“The Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown is a true marker of the global reach of the LPGA. The 32 athletes who will compete at TPC Harding Park in 2023 will have the ultimate honor of playing under their national colors and representing their countries, one of the most exciting opportunities an athlete can experience,” said Mollie Marcoux Samaan, LPGA Commissioner. “We are very happy to bring the International Crown back to our schedule and are incredibly thankful to our partners at Hanwha, TPC Harding Park and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department for their shared vision and dedication to providing our players and our fans with a world-class experience.”
The field of eight countries for the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown will be determined by the combined Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings of the top four players from each country as of Nov. 21, 2022, immediately following the CME Group Tour Championship. The final field of 32 players will be determined via the Rolex Rankings as of April 2, 2023, immediately following the Palos Verdes Championship.
The competition will take place over four days, but will have a new format for Sunday’s final day. Thursday, Friday and Saturday will feature four-ball competition. The top two countries from each pool will advance to Sunday. Two semifinal matches will be played Sunday morning, with each match consisting of two singles matches and one foursomes match. The winning semifinal countries will compete in the final match on Sunday afternoon, along with a third-place match between the two losing semifinal countries. The final and third-place match will be played in the same format as the semifinals.
The 2023 Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown will mark the first elite women’s competition to be held at TPC Harding Park. Named after U.S. President Warren G. Harding, the course initially opened on July 18, 1925, with a course designed by Willie Watson and Sam Whiting, who also designed the Lake Course at The Olympic Club. For the next few decades, the course hosted elite amateur and professional events, but eventually fell into significant disrepair.
A $16 million restoration in 2002-2003 featured a complete re-design to the course, which reopened on Aug. 22, 2003. Since the renovations, TPC Harding Park has hosted such events as the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship; the 2009 Presidents Cup; the 2010, 2011 and 2013 Charles Schwab Cup Championship; the 2015 WGC Dell Technologies Match Play; and the 2020 PGA Championship.
“Harding Park has always been a special place — one of the best municipal golf courses in the country with a history of inclusivity. That’s why we’re so honored to host the world’s top golfers here at one of the city’s most iconic locations,” SF Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown to TPC Harding Park,” said Tom Smith, general manager, TPC Harding Park. “There is a rich history of professional competition here and we can’t think of a more appropriate venue and ideal city to host the International Crown. We’re looking forward to providing a strong test to the best players in the world.”
In 2018, the team from the Republic of Korea (In Gee Chun, Sei Young Kim, Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu) won the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown on home soil at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, with the USA and England tied for second. The 2016 edition was also won by the host nation, with the U.S. Team (Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Gerina Mendoza, Lexi Thompson) emerging victorious at Merit Club in Illinois. The inaugural competition in 2014, held at Caves Valley Golf Club in Maryland, was won by the team from Spain (Carlota Ciganda, Azahara Munoz, Belen Mozo, Beatriz Recari). The 2020 competition was scheduled to be played in England, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Information on tickets and sales packages, as well as the official logo, will be available later this year.