September 19, 2017
|Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic|
|Representatives from the Oneida Nation and LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan announce the LPGA Classic at Thornberry Creek.|
By E. NolanWelcome to Thornberry Creek at Oneida, official home of the Green Bay Packers and prestigious host of the LPGA's newest Tour showcase. That's right, the luminary locale in northern Wisconsin, at the gateway to famous Door County, will shine a little brighter this summer - next month already!
This is the first time the LPGA Tour has partnered with a tribal nation, and ALSO the first time a sanctioned Professional Golf event will be held in the Green Bay area. Major credit is due to the members of the Oneida Nation and Thornberry Creek's management for their ambitious pursuit, diligent and tireless efforts, and the long-term commitment to the Ladies Professional Golf Association (three years for sure with hopes of keeping it for 30). Pre-sales for the event have been fantastic and local businesses are amping up their own promotions to coincide with the event. To say that the community is abuzz would be a vast understatement, and that buzz is growing by the day. The LPGA only has 34 events a year... how great is it that one of them is up here now?!
The highest domestic purse on Tour, outside of the Majors - at $2 million - has garnered a lot of attention, and should provide quite the player draw. Official player appearances will be confirmed in early June, as we're now only a month away from the event, but fan favorite Lexi Thompson, Canadian Brooke Henderson and Olympic Gold Medalist Inbee Park have made verbal commitments already, and hopefully they will be joined by some of the other LPGA Superstars listed below. It's worth noting that though the University of Wisconsin's Carly Werwie played on the Symmetra Tour in 2016, Wisconsin hasn't had a representative on the LPGA Tour since 2011, so maybe (hopefully) this tournament will help fuel the fire of local girls to chase their golf dreams. Here are some Tour Stars already pursuing those dreams...
Lydia Ko: The #1 ranked player in the world started golfing at age 5 and turned professional in October 2013. Lydia has already accumulated two Major wins and an assortment of other major accomplishments. One thing missing from her resume: A tournament win in Wisconsin. That should be motivation enough to get her here, right?
So Yeon Ryu: She is on FIRE this year, #2 in the world, and winner of 2017's first Major - also the current money leader on the Tour. So Yeon started golfing in second grade, loves playing the violin and her first LPGA win was actually a Major, the 2011 U.S. Women's Open.
Lexi Thompson: At the age of 12, Lexi was the youngest person to qualify for the Women's US Open in 2007. She turned professional at 15 in June of 2010 and won her first Major in 2014. Majorly popular among fans on Twitter (@Lexi) this girl is going places... great places (like northern Wisconsin in July)!
Cristie Kerr: Started playing golf at age 8, turned professional in 1996, and has two Major victories since then. As generous as she is awesome, Cristie launched the "Birdies for Breast Cancer" program and partnered with LibertyHealth to open the Cristie Kerr Women's Health Center.
Inbee Park: As bright stars go on the LPGA Tour, few shine brighter than Inbee, who qualified for the tour in 2006 and has won 7 Majors since then. She was the youngest player to ever win the U.S. Women's Open, in 2008 - at 19 years, 11 months and 17 days, and she won the Olympic Gold Medal in Brazil last year.
Stacy Lewis: An inspirational story if there ever was one, Stacy had to wear a back brace 18 hours a day for nearly 8 years just to be able to play golf. That testament to her mental fortitude and her two Major victories are big reasons why she is so beloved on Tour.
Suzann Pettersen: Having competed in an incredible 8 Solheim Cups already, and with this year's Solheim Cup in neighboring Iowa, maybe Suzann will make a run for her 16th professional victory (two Majors). We love Norwegians up here. She'd surely feel at home.
Michelle Wie: Michelle made the Tour in 2005 and draws a crowd everywhere she goes, with good reason. Fearless, tall, and fun-spirited, she has a Major to her name, and massive length to her game.
Brooke Henderson: Canada's best female player began playing at age 3, and turned pro in 2014. Her "cuts made" percentage in 2016 was absurd (30 of 31) and she won her first Major last year at the Women's PGA Championship, as the second youngest major winner ever.
Chief Operating Officer of Thornberry Creek, Josh Doxtator, promises, "The entertainment value will FAR exceed the ticket price; it will be a tournament unlike any other!"
This is the first time the LPGA has been in Wisconsin since the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in 2012. 144 of the best LPGA Tour Players in the world will be competing, with over 70,000 spectators expected to be in attendance. The event will be covered by NBC Sports and The Golf Channel, so millions around the world, in over 160 countries, will have access to follow along. And the best part is...this is a course that YOU TOO can play!
Yes, Thornberry Creek is public access, and extremely popular locally. Officially, there are two courses - 27 holes of exceptionally conditioned golfers paradise. The original, 9-hole "Iroquois Course" was rated "Best 9-Hole Course in the State" (in 2015) by the Wisconsin Golf Course Owners Association, and "Best 9-Hole Course in America" by Always Time For Nine. The Iroquois Course is one of only ten official PGA Family Courses in Wisconsin, with bonus Junior Tees at 1,100 and 1,800 yards (and two greens for each hole). It's a wonderful complement to the championship 18.
At 6,934 yards from the tips, the Par 72 Legends Championship Course is playable for all levels of golfers, but intentionally built to challenge the most skilled players, too, with dozens of bunkers and nearly a dozen water hazards. The course kicks off over the famous Green Bay Packers logo and snakes around the creek, wetlands and Thornberry Creek's spectacular lakes, with plenty of links-style holes scattered about. Rick Jacobson and Bob Lohmann's design is a rewarding round of smooth transitions, from trees to no trees, tight to anything but, and challenging to easy, then back again. (Check out their incredible rating on GolfAdvisor.com)
The Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic will provide an economic boost to the entire area, similar to that of a Green Bay Packers home game, and plenty of other fun, fan-based festivities will be taking place on Thornberry Creek's pretty premises. There will be a tailgate on the practice tee with a DJ taking players request for "warmup songs." A Party Deck on the great Par 3, 17th hole, will have Foamation (the original cheesehead maker) creating exclusive headwear for the tournament, and player birdies will reward patrons with $2 beers and Klement's Brats. Tito's Vodka will be doling out signature cocktail samples, and you'll find booths by an abundance of brands including Prevea Health and The Green Bay Packers (helping out with the Pro-Am - hosting the pairings party and maybe even providing a Packer or two.)
The Radisson, Green Bay will serve as the Official Hotel of the Classic, with Ticket Packages already available, and likely to be gone soon, given the value and proximity of the properties. The LPGA Classic at Thornberry Creek is bound to be quite the party and you're invited. Get your RSVP in today!
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