Short on elite players but (very) long on perks, the fledgling Asian Amateur is a bold experiment by two of the game’s most powerful entities hoping to stimulate interest in golf’s next frontier

by DAN WASHBURN
Golf World, Nov. 1, 2010

Kasumigaseki CC may have waived its longstanding jackets-only policy for October’s Asian Amateur Championship, but jackets—green ones, to be exact—remained in vogue at the suburban Tokyo club’s historic West Course all week. Men wearing golf’s most iconic blazer could be found around every corner. So could Southern accents. If not for the chopsticks and all of the bowing, it might as well have been the clubhouse at Augusta National.

But it wasn’t. It was some 7,000 miles to the west. And that Augusta National would make a point to fly its chairman and 12 members (and their 13 green jackets that almost never make it beyond Magnolia Lane) all the way to Japan for a fledgling amateur tournament shows just how serious the club is about the event it launched last year with the R&A and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation.

“It’s great to see the green jackets—it really shows how important this event is,” said Singapore’s Lam Zhiqun, 21, who led this year’s tournament after two rounds before falling to 13th, 16 shots back of Japanese teenager Hideki Matsuyama, who dominated the weekend and rolled to a five-stroke victory at 15 under. “In America you have the U.S. Amateur. In Europe you have the British Amateur. In Asia and the Pacific it is now the Asian Amateur.”

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