ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- The winner of the British Amateur will be awarded a place in the U.S. Open for the first time this year, U.S. Golf Association officials have announced.
Australian Bryden Macpherson, the champion at Hillside last year, will play at the Olympic Club in San Francisco in June, as will American Patrick Cantlay by virtue of leading the amateur world rankings at the end of last season.
England's 16-year-old Lauren Taylor, the youngest winner of the Women’s British Amateur title, has also been given a spot in the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin on July 5-8.
"It is appropriate that these champions earn a full exemption," said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. "These exemptions reflect our strong partnership with the R&A (Royal and Ancient Club) and the value we place on amateur golf and our support for the World Amateur Golf Ranking."
ECONOMIC BENEFITS: The 2012 British Open, to be staged in July at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, will deliver a total economic benefit close to $142 million to the regional economy of the North West of England, according to an independent study commissioned by the R&A. The figure includes a forecast economic impact of $50 million and a destination marketing benefit of $83 million gained through global television exposure of the weeklong event.
Researchers at the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University base their economic impact forecast on 185,000 spectator admissions and the established spending pattern of players, the media, event staff, sponsors and organisers measured over the last two championships.
“The Open Championship comes to England’s Golf Coast to provide the best players in the world with a true test of golf and it is good to know that we also bring an important financial boost to the host economy,” said R&A Executive Director for Championships Johnnie Cole-Hamilton.
ALOHA, EN ESPANOL: The European Tour will return to Aloha Golf Club on Spain’s Costa del Sol for the first time since 2008 next month when the 2012 Andalucía Open takes place. The Marbella venue, which hosted the 2007 and 2008 Andalucia Opens, has been confirmed for the tournament from March 15-18, which carries a $1.6 million prize fund.
The last time the event took place over the par-72, tree-lined course, Thomas Levet triumphed over then-teenager Oliver Fisher in a playoff to claim his fourth European Tour title. A year earlier, Lee Westwood won by two shots over Phil Archer and Fredrik Andersson Hed.
In the intervening years, the Andalucia Open has been played at the Real Club de Golf of Seville (2009), where Soren Kjeldsen was the champion, and Parador de Malaga Golf, where Louis Oosthuizen claimed his first European Tour title in 2010 and Paul Lawrie triumphed in 2011.
Aloha is designed by the late Spaniard Javier Arana, who has been also the architect of other golf clubs in Spain.
The event again will be organized and promoted by 18-time European Tour champion Miguel Angel Jimenez’s company, Fade and Draw Target. It will be the 11th edition of the event and sixth in a row since it returned to the European Tour schedule in 2007.