In a press conference at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico, venue for the 8th Latin America Amateur Championship, USGA CEO Mike Whan confirmed that, for the first time, the winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship will earn a place in the field for this year’s US Open Championship.
The winner of the event has received an invitation to play in The Masters Tournament since the inception of the LAAC in 2015, and the champion has also earned a place in the field for The Open Championship since 2020. Now, the USGA has completed the set by announcing that this year’s champ will be eligible to play in the 123rd US Open at Los Angeles Country Club.
“The USGA is maybe a little late to the party,” quipped Mike Whan. “But obviously we think this reflects the strength of this field, the athletes that come out of that and the opportunity to put them on a grand stage.”
Last year’s winner Aaron Jarvis became the first player from the Cayman Islands to play in The Masters and The Open Championship. He made the cut in the 150th Open at St Andrews.
The winner of the LAAC also receives full exemptions into The 128th Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible.
Runner(s)-up will be exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The 151st Open and the 123rd U.S. Open Championship.
Panama To Host 2024 LAAC
Also in the founding partners press conference in Puerto Rico, featuring Fred Ridley - Chairman of Augusta National, Martin Slumbers CEO of The R&A and Mike Whan of the USGA, it was announced that the 2024 Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Panama for a second time. The event will be contested at Santa Maria Golf Club.
The 2017 LAAC was played at the Club de Golf de Panama where Chile’s Toto Gana won the event in a playoff against Joaquin Niemann and Alvaro Ortiz – Both of whom went on to become LAAC champions, in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The Santa Maria Golf Club in a Jack Nicklaus design that opened for play in 2012. It’s a stunning layout that offers skyline views over Panama City.
“It is an honor to host the top men’s Latin American amateurs at our beautiful venue for the 2024 Latin America Amateur Championship,” said José Ignacio Olea, General Manager of Santa María Golf Club. “Santa María Golf Club will provide a quality backdrop to showcase some of the best players in our region.”
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Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly.
Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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