Golf: Billy Payne excited to bring AAC to New Zealand

Chairman of Augusta National, Billy Payne at Augusta National Golf Club. Photo / Getty Images
Chairman of Augusta National, Billy Payne at Augusta National Golf Club. Photo / Getty Images

With the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship teeing off overnight the Masters Chairman Billy Payne arrived to be part of the round one action and officially open the tournament in its eighth year.

Payne has come straight from Arnold Palmer's funeral where he paid his respects to the late great 'King' and to be on the next flight here shows what this tournament means to him and the Masters.

The chairman of the world's best tournament obviously played a big part in awarding New Zealand hosting rights for 2017 where Royal Wellington will enjoy having the world's best amateurs in their back yard.

In front of a packed out press conference, Payne's excitement for next year was nice to hear.

"We've been honestly looking at New Zealand for a number of years and we have been pushed in that direction by one of our own members who is very proudly a New Zealander," said Payne.

"We have been introduced to a wonderful golf course in Royal Wellington that we know will be a perfect fit for this championship and it will be a great venue.

Payne then lifted the roof with a small, yet comical comment which complimented our country with perfection.

"I can speak for Augusta National when I tell you that virtually our entire membership will want to come to New Zealand and Royal Wellington next year."

New Zealand being awarded the hosting rights to this tournament is far more significant than most think with the broadcast reaching over 160 and coupled with the golfing bodies that come with it, it's going to be an amazing week next year.

The 2018 Asia Pacific-Amateur Championship venue was also announced today that the Sentoza Golf Club in Singapore will play host to this great tournament.

- NZ Herald

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