The event match was held in Busan at the end of the regular season. The organizers were worried that the players’ reactions would be cool, let alone the gallery.
The Wimix Championship 2023 was held at Haeundae Beach Golf & Resort (Par 72) in Gijang-gun, Busan on the 18th and 19th.
The winner was Lee Ye-won (20-KB Financial Group), who won 3&2 (3UP with two holes remaining) in match play with Hanjin (Kakao VX) on the first day and shot a 5-under-par 67 on the second day.
The tournament was notable for incorporating non-fungible token (NFT) technology into every aspect of the tournament, from prize money to tickets to gallery prizes. The prize pool was the center of attention. The total prize pool was set at 1 million WEMIX, with the first prize of 250,000 WEMIX.
Although the market price fluctuates, as of the afternoon of the 19th, the first place WEMIX was approximately 2,300 Won. This translates to a total prize pool of around KRW 2.3 billion and a whopping KRW 575 million in prize money.
The event was held after the regular season ended, and there was some concern that players who were physically exhausted after a long season in Busan would not be able to participate. However, it was a two-round tournament with the largest prize pool of any major tournament, and all of the top players showed up, with the exception of Lim Hee-jung (Doosan E&C), who was unable to attend due to a conflict with her sister’s wedding.
The first day was played in match-play, a new format where the top 12 players in the weekly points were able to pick their opponents. Most of the players were lower-ranked, but No. 5 Park Hyun-kyung (Korea Land Trust) pulled off a surprise by picking rookie Bang Shin-sil (No. 17 KB Financial Group), who has had a terrifying run this season. The lower-ranked Bang shocked the world by taking out Park Hyun-kyung.
The second round was played in stroke play, with Lee coming out on top by five strokes. He eagled the 12th (par-5) and had a scare on the 16th (par-5) when his tee shot went into the OB area, but he held on for pars on the 17th and 18th to end 2023 on a high note.
After sponsoring a regular tour event last year, WeMade wanted to do things differently this time around. Kim Ji-young, head of the sports marketing team at WeMade, who organized the tournament, said, “We thought about how to promote NFTs. “We wanted to do something that no one else was doing, so we came up with the idea of using WeMix as a prize, which has never been done before in any sports competition. We thought it was something that hadn’t been done before in any sporting event, and we thought it would be a fresh challenge that would motivate the athletes to work harder.”
Even though it was a two-day event, the prize pool was larger than a regular tour event, and the budget to organize it was higher. Due to the system utilizing NFTs, we needed twice as many people and twice as many machines to guide it. We made sure to create an environment that didn’t lack for anything, and had enough food and amenities so that fans could enjoy the tournament without any inconvenience.
And it worked. Not only the younger generations, but also the galleries where NFTs were unfamiliar to many 40+ year olds who came to the event, were able to purchase tickets through this method and receive detailed guidance on site, which helped them understand the technology. The live broadcasts and articles also had the desired effect of introducing the value of WeMix, the size of the prize fund, and how the players would receive their prize money. The organizers also expressed their satisfaction that the NFT system and Weemix were widely known beyond their expectations.
Players were also intrigued by the new approach and the idea of using cryptocurrency as prize money. “The combination of match play and stroke play is fun and the players are excited about it,” said Park. I hope there will be more competitions like this,” said Park Min-ji, while third-place finisher Sung Yoo-jin said, “This was my first experience with the game, but it’s good that there are so many different rules and competitions so many players can have fun and gain a variety of experiences.”
The winner, Lee Ye-won, said, “It’s the first time I’ve ever won a prize like this, so it still doesn’t feel real. I don’t have the concept of cryptocurrency, so I wasn’t as nervous as I was on the regular tour,” he said, adding that his understanding of the tournament had improved, “I think I’ll be nervous next year because I know the value of the prize money.”
Fans who visited the site in the cold weather praised the tournament, saying, “Although it was held after the regular tournament, it ended after only two rounds and did not seem to put much physical strain on the players,” “The prize money is large enough to be attractive,” and “I have been to many other tournaments, but it was noticeable that even though it was an event tournament, it was prepared as well as the regular tour.”
Of course, you can’t give away the first drink. Some fans were unhappy that their favorite players were eliminated on the first day and had to play a second day with no real sense of purpose. “If we’re going to do this, it would have been nice to have a way to penalize the Final B players and still give them hope for an upset,” said one.
However, this could have been compensated to some extent by the Daily Best. Park Ji-young, who lost 1DN to Lee Ga-young on the first day and was pushed to Final B, dropped five strokes on the day to tie with Lee Ye-won. Due to the way the tournament was organized, the winner had to be chosen from among the Final A players, but in the Daily Best, the winner was chosen in order of performance (back nine, back six, back three), so Park Ji-young’s three strokes on holes 16-18 allowed her to take home the Daily Best prize of 50,000 WIMIX, or approximately KRW 115 million. 캡틴토토 주소
The prize pool was the same size as the sixth place prize, which could have been a motivating alternative for the Final B players.