This will be my second last message as Chairman APGC – a position I have been privileged to hold for nearly four years.
The new constitution – which I had a big part in creating – states that the chairman can do at the most two terms of two years, which is what it should be as there are many within APGC who are capable of filling that role.
I will be replaced on the Board by John Hopkins, Chairman of Golf Australia – if for no other reason than the constitution states that being incorporated in Australia, there must be two Australians on the Board – the other being Company Secretary Stephen Pitt.
It is of some interest to note that I took over from John Hopkins as the Australian representative on APGC in 1995. So I have seen significant changes in APGC which has grown in every way – the most important change has been the affiliation with women, but there have been many others including the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC), Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy, Patsy Hankins Trophy, the APGC Mitsubishi Junior Championships and our structured subscription.
I wish I could have added the Women’s Amateur – Asia Pacific but it is too early to make any announcements.
APGC would not be in the position it is currently in without the support of our sponsors. The most important and long-lasting is The R&A, on whom we depend for significant funding but also for their expertise and guidance.
It has been a great pleasure for me and APGC’s previous President Kwan Soo Hur to accompany Dominic Wall around developing member countries in our region so we can identify how The R&A and APGC can best help those countries to develop golf in their region.
Our relationship with them has been strengthened by the appointment of Nick Shan as our Tournament Director, once again with significant assistance from The R&A. The other two major sponsors we now have are Rolex and Mitsubishi and the APGC is grateful to have two such benevolent corporations with a love for golf. I hope that they can see their significant contributions to our events allows travel and accommodation for competing teams who without that assistance would probably not be able to compete.
The AAC is funded by our proud partners, Augusta National and The R&A. Their long-standing commitment has allowed this event to develop into one of the leading amateur events in the world and the most televised of any amateur event and now the winner gets a start in the Open Championship and the Masters Tournament.
Understandably, this event has grabbed the attention of most male golfers in the APGC and as a consequence the growth of golf in not only developed golfing nations but also in developing golfing nations.
The standard of the players who miss the cut has increased significantly, as has the behaviour, dress standards and the camaraderie between players of vastly different backgrounds which goes back to my belief about what APGC stands for: the equalisation through golf of the various economic, cultural, language and now gender differences we are fortunate to have.
The recently completed Queen Sirikit Cup (QSC) outside of Shanghai, China, was again a great success and a tribute to its founder RaeVadee Suwan. The winner was again Korea and the individual winner was Korea’s Hye-Jie Choi, who is destined to be another Korean Professional at the top of the golfing world.
What was a great and pleasant surprise was how close China came in both the teams event and the individual. Our Patsy Hankins Trophy team will certainly benefit long-term from China’s contribution. Next year the QSC is scheduled to be held in Suwan’s home country of Thailand and it will be a time to reflect upon her great contribution to women’s golf in the region.
At the forthcoming board meeting in Wellington, New Zealand, coinciding with the 2017 AAC, I will be proposing Keisuke Muratsu from Japan as the incoming Chairman and Taimur Amin from Pakistan as the incoming Vice Chairman. Members will note that our constitution states those positions are now voted upon by the Board from nominations from the Board. This, of course, does not prohibit any other Board nominations.
I will also be speaking to a proposed change in our constitution to appoint a chief executive officer, once again unpaid, as the day-to-day running of our progressively busier corporation requires a rapid turn around.
The Mitsubishi APGC junior event is our next major event and I encourage all members to seriously consider entering players into this event, which is growing in stature. APGC will do what it can to help via the Mitsubishi Corporation, by partially financing attending members – this is a mixed event which to my surprise has been thoroughly embraced by both girls and boys. I intend to be there to see stars of the future.