Little risk, big reward with Latin America Amateur


There are plenty of professional golfers not exactly enamored with Wednesday's announcement of the Latin America Amateur Championship.

Golfers ranked, say, just outside of the world's top 50. Or those who have won opposite-field PGA Tour events. Or those who haven't won, but own a handful of close calls in the past year.

Any pro who doesn't have a Masters invitation now – or perhaps more to the point, won't have an exemption into next year's edition of the event – will likely be grumbling over the fact that the winner of the newly founded LAAC will have one.

But that would be missing the point.

With the implementation of this tournament coming on the heels of the Asian Amateur Championship, Masters chairman Billy Payne and the powerful green jackets – teaming this time with the USGA and R&A – have found a simple way to help grow the game.

Many of golf's organizing bodies have implemented this idea as their mission, each one helping to serve the game in various ways. This latest idea is like aiming for the fat part of the green on a par 5: There's little risk, but huge potential reward.

Much like Augusta National has done in Asia, this is a way to grow interest and excitement in the game by offering a spot in the field. And as any grumbling touring pro will hear early and often, the winner won't be stealing a spot from anyone else; he'll be an addition without any subtraction.

To steal a line from the recycling industry, these governing bodies have decided to think globally and act locally. No, they're not saving the world; and yes, this implementation could be perceived as self-serving, since it brings more eyeballs to their events.

But in an industry which continually preaches growing the game, this is certainly another step in the right direction.