In one of the clubs most radical moves yet, Augusta National announced on Wednesday that it will be hosting the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship in 2019. The announcement came as the eyes of the sporting world fell on the start of the Masters Championship.
It’s official: The Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship will be held at the prestigious club in 2019. Featuring the best 72 female amateurs in the world, the tournament will finish on the Saturday before the start of Masters week, one day before the Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship.
Fred Ridley, Chairman, announced:
"Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts left behind a legacy of always trying to contribute meaningfully to the game of golf... The Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship embodies that principle, and we believe this event will have a significant and lasting impact on the future of the women's game. Our hope and expectation is that this event will further energize those who already love the sport and inspire others through the dream of competing at Augusta National”.
Based on their amateur world ranking position and tournament wins, 72 of the world’s best female amateur golf will compete in the 54-hole stroke-play event; the first 36 holes will be played at the Champions Retreat Golf Club nearby, with 30 players advancing to the final round at Augusta National the next day after the cut.
The decision to host the event comes only a matter of years since female members were admitted to join the club. For decades, Augusta National was an all-male club before the out-dated rule was changed in 2012. Now with the best female amateurs in the world set to stamp their mark on the course next year, the event reflects a significant and positive shift in the world of women’s golf.
"We have an obligation to give back to the game," Ridley said. "In recent years, we've been able to do a lot more."
And whilst the announcement of the event is obviously a positive step in the right direction, it does seem that in future years we could see even more from Augusta National, with the tournament being televised globally and on digital platforms.
The Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship is likely to run at the same time as the ANA Inspiration — the first major on the LPGA schedule. Based on the magnificent display of golf that gripped us all at this year’s ANA Inspiration though, the addition of the amateur championship at the same time is likely to be another a win for women's golf; with both the world’s best professionals and amateurs competing at the same time, it's likely that the women will be making a lot of noise in the sporting world- and we can't wait!
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