Jeff Kennett (centre) with tournament founders Peter and Angela Mann

Australia’s highest-rated Amateur golf event, the Australian Master of the Amateurs, has scored another win with the recent announcement that former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett will be the honorary chairman for the event.

Mr Kennett – an unabashed lover of golf – eagerly agreed to support the event after watching it grow over the years.

“I have watched Peter and Angela [Mann] develop this event to the stage where, in my opinion, it is one of the most exciting events to be associated with. The fact that they’ve developed this event into the 17th most highly-ranked amateur event in the world is an extraordinary achievement,” Kennett told Inside Golf.

“It’s an event of high quality for amateur golf.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen some of the best amateurs in the world play. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to see these young players, and then be able to track them for the rest of their careers. I find myself tracking Rickie Fowler every weekend, seeing what he’s doing. And there’s Mark Anderson and Jason Day. So it’s not only an event for amateurs per se, but it can also be the launching pad for some amateurs into their professional life.”

But Mr Kennett is quick to add that a career in professional golf is not the ‘be-all, end-all’ for many golfers, as the status of Amateur Golfer can carry its own level of prestige.

“Some of history’s finest golfers have remained amateurs. I asked a friend of mine the other day who he thought was the finest golfer who ever played the game of golf. And he answered ‘Bobby Jones’. Jones won 13 majors in 14 years. He retired fairly young after winning the “grand slam” of his era, and he upheld all the ideals of amateur golf.

“The Australian Master of the Amateurs builds on that fine and wonderful tradition: that there is more to golf than money. It’s about the spirit of the game. It’s about the relationships you develop in the game. It’s about competing and winning — or losing – in such a way where the individuals are more important than the outcome.”

Kennett’s involvement with the Australian Master of the Amateurs is more than just a footnote on his CV; on the contrary, he genuinely loves his golf. A member at Metropolitan, The National, Peninsula and a few interstate clubs, Kennett’s eyes light up when he discusses the game, despite being a self-professed ‘hacker’ who plays off a 19 handicap.

“I am very grateful that the new scale of handicaps has come in,” Kennett adds with a grin, “because it has let me out a couple of points. And I have a feeling that I am going to continue to go out! But I enjoy it very much, and I play every week. There’s nothing better than a walk in the park.”

But the game of golf is more than just the physical aspect of hitting the ball, Kennett believes, adding that the interpersonal aspect is equally fulfilling.

“I met a guy the other day… I got up to a par-3 and an elderly gentleman spoke to me. It turns out that he taught me at school! That’s 40-something years ago! That’s the beauty of golf — this is a game that you can play till you drop. And that’s remarkable. And the friendships associated with that involvement can sustain you throughout your life.”

Spots are still open for the lone Australian qualifying round for the Australian Master of the Amateurs – which will be played on Monday 16th August at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club. All players must have an official handicap not exceeding 3.4 (endorsed by Golf Australia or the international equivalent.)

Visit: www.masteroftheamateurs.com.au to download entry forms. Alternatively, ring (03) 9877 9155 or email: amann@masteroftheamateurs.com.au

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