Latin America Amateur Championship Announcement: Remarks by USGA Executive Director Mike Davis

January 22, 2014

Buenos Aires, Argentina:  

Thank you, Miguel for inviting us to your beautiful country in which to make today’s exciting announcement. It is always a pleasure to visit Argentina, whose people are as passionate about golf as those of any nation in the world. Conducting world-class championships could not be possible without the strong support of organizations like the Asociacion Argentina de Golf, and we all are grateful for your leadership and collaboration.

I would also wish to thank our host venue, Pilar Golf, especially Juan, for their commitment to serve as the inaugural site of the Latin America Amateur and for your hospitality this week.  Given its undulating topography and beautiful landscape, Pilar Golf, which has twice hosted the Argentina Open and other national events, will surely deliver a wonderful test of the game to the region’s very best amateur players.

And a very heartfelt thanks to my colleagues, Peter Dawson and Billy Payne. Our trip here together and this joint endeavor represent another significant milestone in our friendship and in the long commitment that our three organizations share in advancing the game of golf around the world.

It truly is an honor for the United States Golf Association to be part of the development and founding of the Latin America Amateur Championship -- a meaningful new competition aimed at inspiring greater participation in the game across the Western Hemisphere. Golf truly transcends borders, and all of us here today share a common passion for the game and its enduring values and traditions that bring us closer together.

The USGA’s connection to the game in Latin America spans over a century to 1905, when Willie Smith, the head professional at Mexico City Country Club, became the first entrant from Latin America into the United States Open.

From that very beginning to the present day, the USGA’s connection to the game in this region has continued to grow. From the 14 times that your countries have hosted our World Amateur Team Championships to the Latin American players who have won 11 USGA competitions, including Argentina’s own Angel Cabrera, winner of the 2007 U.S. Open (who has joined us here today), the USGA’s connection to golf across this region of the world is strong.

The Latin America Amateur Championship that we are announcing today is an exciting new opportunity to advance our shared commitment to preserve, foster and develop the amateur game.

For our part, the USGA is pleased to bring our capabilities and expertise in conducting national and international amateur championships to this endeavor.

We are also pleased to announce that, beginning in 2015, the champion of the Latin America Amateur will receive a full exemption into the U.S. Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible and, along with the runner(s)-up, an exemption into final stage qualifying for the United States Open, America’s national championship. Given the 10,000 entrants from around the world and the highly competitive nature of U.S. Open qualifying, we believe our exemption to the Latin America Amateur winner is significant and will be exciting to the player who earns it.

As founding partners of the Latin America Amateur, we are excited about the impact this competition can have on the emerging new era in the game’s history. The return of golf to the Olympic Games in 2016 has spurred expansion of the game around the world. From Asia to South and Central America, and to Mexico, golf is growing as new cultures embrace the game.  With the development of this new championship, we are all helping to advance golf’s global footprint.

On behalf of the USGA, it has been an honor to address you today, and to have been included in the founding of the Latin America Amateur. Together with Augusta National and The R&A, we look forward to leading its long-term success. Thank you.

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