As the world returns to normalcy, audiences are once again eagerly gathering at stadiums and fields to watch their favorite sports.
During the pandemic, sports remained an important part of keeping people entertained, healthy, and connected to their friends and loved ones. Specifically, participation in solo sports saw an increase, as they were considered safer alternatives and could be done without the need for interaction with a team or other players. As an outdoor sport played solo or in small groups, golf also surged in popularity during the pandemic, with the number of golfers just in the U.S. increasing by 500,000 – the largest net increase in 17 years.
Despite the increase in group sports participation as pandemic measures eased, golf’s popularity did not slow, with fans and players continuing to flock to the course and tournaments. After a five-year hiatus, the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown, an LPGA team-match golf tournament between eight countries, has also returned, once again bringing fans together to enjoy an exciting competition featuring some of the world’s top female golfers.
Enriching Lives Around the Globe
This year’s Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown was the fourth edition of the tournament, with some of the best female golf talents showcasing their prowess as fans offered support from the sidelines. After a fierce tournament, Ariya Jutanugarn, Patty Tavatanakit, Moriya Jutanugarn and Atthaya Thitikul of Team Thailand took home the glory. Over the four-day tournament, golfers and attendees alike were able to watch the various matches up close while connecting with other fans as well as the LIFEPLUS brand. As the title sponsor of the International Crown tournament since 2023, LIFEPLUS aims to enhance customers’ lives through diverse products, services, and activities, including golf.
LIFEPLUS is a joint brand representing Hanwha’s five financial affiliates: Hanwha Life, Hanwha General Insurance, Hanwha Investment & Securities, Hanwha Asset Management, and Hanwha Savings Bank. Under its mission of promoting ‘holistic wellness,’ the brand aims to offer products and services that integrate the four concepts of wellness central to the brand – financial, physical, mental, and inspirational – to help its customers plan their lives.
LIFEPLUS offers a variety of personalized digital services, such as its STEPS app, which allows users to invest in fractional shares, giving them more financial freedom. By offering fractional share purchases, STEPS lets everyone reap the benefits of investing, even if they don’t have much cash on hand. Additionally, the LIFEPLUS TRIBES app connects users to ‘tribes’ of people who share their unique interests and hobbies, providing new ways for users to engage these interests through events and partnerships and helping them set goals to complete challenges.
LIFEPLUS began its sponsorship of the International Crown in line with its aim to promote holistic wellness and provide valuable experiences to its customers on a larger scale, seeking to connect with golf players and fans all over the globe.
A Match to Crown the Champion
Since its inception in 2014, the tournament has showcased some of the best golf talent from nations around the world in team-centric matches.
Each year has awarded a different champion, with Spain taking home the Crown at the first tournament in 2014, the U.S. nabbing first place in 2016, and South Korea winning in 2018. As the defending champion this year, South Korea went up against the U.S., Japan, Sweden, Thailand, England, Australia, and China in a fierce competition for the Crown. The competing teams were determined by world rankings, specifically from the combined Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings of the top four players from each country.
This year’s tournament held several thrilling victories along with a host of unexpected twists. The reigning champions from Korea suffered early losses, knocking them out of the semifinals despite later wins. Sweden started off strong with a 4-and-3 victory over England, creating momentum that would ultimately land them a spot in the semifinals. However, the top-seeded American team defeated Sweden 2-1 in the third-place match. Ultimately, it was sixth-ranking Thailand that secured a surprise victory. The team’s impressive perfect streak through round-robin play on Sunday ousted the U.S. team from a spot in the finals. Thailand went on to complete their near-perfect tournament run with a 3-0 victory over Australia in the final battle for the Crown.
To add to the excitement of the event, attendees could enjoy a suite of new features at this year’s venue of TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. The Sunday matches utilized a different format for the semifinals and final matches, with the teams playing two singles matches and one foursome match in order to determine the top country.