Gurnee, Ill. – The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announced today that Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Songdo International Business District, Incheon, Korea – site of The Presidents Cup 2015 – has been selected as the host course for the 2018 UL International Crown, when the biennial team match-play competition will be played outside the United States for the first time.
The announcement was made at the Merit Club in Gurnee, Ill., on the eve of the second staging of the UL International Crown. UL CEO and President Keith Williams, LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan, Jack Nicklaus Golf Club General Manager Joon-Hee Lee, Gale International Executive Vice President Tom Murcott and major champion and two-time Team Korea team member at the Crown So Yeon Ryu were on hand to make the announcement.
“After receiving an overwhelming amount of interest from prospective hosts, we are pleased to announce that we will be playing at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in 2018,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “We are looking forward to working with the JNGCK staff, who has extensive experience in hosting premier golf competitions, to put on a terrific event.”
The UL International Crown, which was first played in 2014, features the best female golfers from the top eight countries across the globe, based on the combined Rolex World Ranking of the top-four players representing their respective country. The first playing of the event was at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mill, Md., where Team Spain triumphed as the inaugural champions.
Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, which is located 40 miles west of Seoul in the Incheon Free Economic Zone, the country’s largest development zone, was developed by New York-based Gale International and POSCO E&C. The facility opened in September 2010. In addition to staging The Presidents Cup the first time the prestigious event was played in Asia, the club has also hosted prominent international events including the Songdo Championship on the Champions Tour in 2010 and 2011 and the 2012 Korea Women’s Open on the LPGA of Korea (KLPGA). The 2016 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which is conducted in partnership between the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters Tournament and The R&A, will be staged at JNGCK this October, with the winner receiving an automatic invitation to the 2017 Masters Tournament.
“In a very short period of time, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea has established a tremendous reputation for its ability to stage significant golf events at any level, and for both men and women,” said Jack Nicklaus, Co-Chairman of the Nicklaus Companies, Founder of Nicklaus Design, and the globally acclaimed designer of JNGC Korea. “From the year it opened in 2010 with a PGA TOUR Champions event to last year’s hugely successful Presidents Cup to the upcoming Asia Pacific Amateur Championship, the course, club and the Gale International ownership group have made a commitment to showcasing Korea and Songdo IBD by staging some of the most important events in the game of golf. With Korea’s global reputation for developing so many of the world’s finest female players, I think bringing an LPGA event to the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club will be yet another source of pride for the country and the club.”
JNGCK, highlighted by its par-72, 7,413-yard Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, offers world-class amenities, including an award-winning, LEED Certified, 60,000-square-foot clubhouse. The course has retained all modifications and renovations from The Presidents Cup, and tournament officials have indicated they will use a similar setup for the 2018 Crown.
“In envisioning Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea we asked Jack Nicklaus to create a golf course worthy of hosting the world’s most prestigious golf competitions,” said Stan Gale, Chairman of JNGCK and Chairman and CEO of Gale International. “The UL International Crown reinforces our commitment to bring renowned international sporting events to Songdo IBD and the City of Incheon. We look forward to yet again welcoming the golf’s best competitors to Korea and are confident the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea will provide a most memorable venue.”
Today’s announcement only adds to an impressive résumé of high-profile championships, tournaments and events played on Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses. Nicklaus’ first design was Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C., a collaboration with Pete Dye that opened in 1969 and to this day still hosts an event on the PGA TOUR. Since then, no fewer than 140 Nicklaus Design courses have hosted close to 900 professional tournaments or significant national amateur championships worldwide.
2018 will mark the third time the LPGA will stage two events in one season in the Republic of Korea and first time since 2008. The Tour annually plays on the nearby Ocean Course at Sky 72 Golf Club, a Nicklaus Design course in Incheon, for the KEB-HanaBank Championship.
“We are thrilled to take the UL International Crown to Korea in 2018,” said UL CEO Keith Williams. “Not only is Korea a strategic market for us, it’s also home to some of the most enthusiastic golf fans in the world. We expect a lot excitement for the ULIC.”
Nicklaus’ first design project was Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C., a co-design with Pete Dye that opened in 1969. Since then, no fewer than 140 Nicklaus Design courses have hosted close to 900 professional tournaments or significant national amateur championships worldwide. As many as 100 Nicklaus Design courses have appeared in various national and international Top-100 lists. Among his numerous course design honors, Nicklaus was recognized most recently as Architect of the Year by Golf Magazine for 2014.
For more information about the UL International Crown, visit www.ULCrown.com, follow @ULIntlCrown on Twitter and find us on Facebook.
ABOUT JACK NICKLAUS GOLF CLUB KOREA
At 7,413 yards (6,773 meters) from the tournament tees, the par-72 Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea is the first and only golf club in Korea to carry the name of the Golden Bear. Its dramatic parkland, links and sculptural rock formations are in perfect harmony with the panoramic views of Incheon Bay and the skyline of Songdo IBD. Crafted by the hand of the master himself, the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course features unique fairway routings, a variety of tee locations, and greens protected by strategically located bunkers that provide a special challenge to golfers of all levels.
Songdo International Business District is a new smart city, free trade zone and travel destination built from scratch on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land along Incheon’s waterfront just minutes from the Incheon International Airport. It is being co-developed by Gale International and Korean construction company POSCO E&C, under the governance of the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority. Songdo IBD is a sustainable city with more than 40 percent of its area reserved for green space, and to date boasts more than 22 million square feet of USGBC LEED certified space, making it the single largest concentration of green buildings in the world.
ABOUT THE UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN
The UL International Crown is the first-of-its-kind biennial, team match-play competition, featuring the best female golfers from the top eight countries across the globe, based on the combined Rolex World Ranking of the top four players representing their respective country.
The countries that qualified to compete in 2016 were Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, England, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United States and Thailand. For the latest on the 2016 and 2018 UL International Crown, follow Twitter @ULIntlCrown and www.ULCrown.com.
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