Slumbers Hails ‘Extraordinary’ Impact of AAC

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, speaking ahead of the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool. Picture by Richard Heathcote/R&A via Getty Images.

Hoylake, Liverpool, England: Martin Slumbers has hailed the remarkable impact of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC).

Speaking at his annual pre-Open Championship press conference, The R&A’s Chief Executive Officer described as ‘extraordinary’ the fact that 18 players in the starting line-up at Royal Liverpool Golf Club had progressed from the AAC.

Created in 2009, the AAC was established to further develop amateur golf in the Asia-Pacific region. The champion receives an invitation to compete in The Open and Masters Tournament, while the runner(s)-up gain a place in Final Qualifying for The Open.

What no-one dared to predict at the championship’s launch 14 years ago was that success would come quite so quickly, highlighted by the victory of Australian Cameron Smith in the 150th edition of The Open Championship at St Andrews last year.

Smith, who appeared in the AAC in 2011 and 2012, is defending his Open title this week at Hoylake, where he is accompanied by 17 other players for whom the AAC proved to be an important stepping stone.

Asked how he quantified the success of ventures in which The R&A invests, Slumbers said: “At the end of the day, the real driver is how many people are playing golf … and how many elite amateurs are coming through and winning major championships.

“I think the Asia-Pacific should be very proud. In 14 years, 18 people are in the field of one of the best four championships in the world. Extraordinary.

“We are really focused on the global picture and working to strengthen areas of weakness, and especially the pathways for the most talented players to progress through all levels of the game.”

The 14th edition of the AAC will be held at Royal Melbourne Golf Club from October 26-29.

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