The R&A - Working for Golf

Latin America Amateur Championship Returns

The Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) returns to the golf calendar this week as the region’s leading men’s amateur golfers chase the coveted title in the Dominican Republic.

After last year’s intended staging in Peru was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the seventh edition of the championship takes place from 20-23 January at Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog course.

Founded in 2014 by the Masters Tournament, The R&A and the USGA, the LAAC was established to further develop amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The championship annually moves to top courses throughout Latin America and showcases the sport’s rising talent in the region.

Launch pad for careers

The 108-player field, comprised of the top male amateurs in the region, will compete in the 72-hole stroke play event.

Argentina’s Abel Gallegos returns to defend the title he won in 2020 at Mayakoba’s El Camaleón course in Mexico, triumphing by four strokes as the 17-year-old became the second-youngest LAAC champion.

The championship has served as a launching pad for the careers of leading professional golfers, with Chilean Joaquin Niemann a past champion in 2018. 

“I am very grateful to the LAAC for how it inflated my career and gave me so many opportunities to come to the United States to play in the Masters and grow in professional golf,” said Niemann, who sits 32nd on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Exemption opportunities

The rewards for the LAAC champion are notable, with this year’s victor receiving an invitation to compete in the 2022 Masters Tournament in April and automatic qualification for The 150th Open at St Andrews in July. 

The winner also receives full exemptions into The Amateur Championship, US Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible and is exempt into the final stages of qualifying for the 2022 US Open Championship. The runner(s)-up will be exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The 150th Open and the 2022 US Open Championship.

The LAAC’s extensive broadcast coverage helps the championship reach more than 100 million homes around the world. 

High-definition broadcast includes two hours of live coverage on each of the four competition days, with ESPN providing event coverage in this year’s host country as well as throughout Latin America. 

Broadcast coverage

Other broadcasters include ESPN2/ESPNEWS (United States), Fox Sports (Australia), SuperSport (Southern Africa), TSN (Canada), Sky (New Zealand), GolfTV throughout Europe, SBS Golf (Korea) and Sky Sports (United Kingdom). All of the coverage will also be streamed live on LAACgolf.com.

The broadcast’s English-speaking commentary team features Rich Lerner as host, Andy North as analyst, Dottie Pepper and Colt Knost as on-course reporters, and John Sutcliffe handling interviews. Viewers may check local listings for specific broadcast times.

The LAAC follows a model established by the Masters and The R&A when, in 2009, the organisations created the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) for the purpose of advancing the sport in that part of the world and creating heroes for other aspiring golfers.

The field is comprised annually of the top male amateurs in Latin America representing the 29 IOC-recognised countries and territories from this region that are current members of the International Golf Federation.

The championship is supported by six partners: 3M, AT&T, Bank of America, Delta Air Lines, Mercedes-Benz and UPS. In addition, the event is supported by two scoring partners: IBM and Rolex.

For more information, please visit LAACgolf.com