Tour de las Americas to tee off in Argentina

The Tour de las Americas, Associate Member of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is set to start its eighth season as the leading professional golf Tour in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Right before the season opening series of four consecutive events in Argentina, Colombia and Chile in late March, the TLA will be represented by its top players in two Nationwide Tour events to be played over the next two weeks in Panama and Mexico.
“We begin 2008 with renewed energy and confident about the great future lying ahead of us. With the support of The R&A, our association to the International Federation of PGA Tours and the opportunities we have created for our members, our Tour is as solid as ever!” commented the TLA Commissioner Henrique Lavie, optimistic about the new season.
At the end of March, the 2008 TLA season will get off to a strong start as four events have been scheduled between March 27th and April 21st. The first three tournaments will be co-sanctioned by the European Challenge Tour and will feature the best from the TLA and the Challenge Tour as well.
The three co-sanctioned events will be the Abierto del Centro in Cordoba, Argentina (March 27-30, US $200,000), the AAG’s 103rd Abierto de la República in Buenos Aires (April 3-6, US $200,000) and the second edition of the Club Colombia Masters in Bogota, Colombia (April 10-13, US $180,000).
Following those events the TLA will sanction the 82nd Abierto de Chile, which is organized by the Golf Federation of Chile (April 18-21, US $100,000). This prestigious tournament, which counts Gary Player and Roberto De Vicenzo among its former champions, is part of the Tour’s schedule for the second consecutive season.
The Tour will continue in May with three consecutive events, starting with the Venezuela Open. The US $70,000 tournament will be played May 8-11 at a venue to be confirmed soon. Venezuela’s premier event will be followed by the Copa Tres Diamantes Mitsubishi, an event supported by the TLA at the Barquisimeto GC (May 15-18). The final event on the schedule announced so far will be the Televisa Players Championship, a US $70,000 Pro-Am hosted by Televisa in Acapulco, Mexico (May 19-25).
With the season opener still a few weeks away, the top players from the 2007 TLA will have the chance to measure themselves with the best from the USA’s Nationwide Tour starting next week. In the Panama Championship (January 24-27), the TLA will be represented by nine players: Argentina’s Miguel Rodríguez, Emilio Domínguez, Gustavo Acosta, Rafael Gómez, Fabián Gómez, Rodolfo González, César Costilla, Paraguay’s Marco Ruiz and Colombia’s Jesús Amaya.
Because Fabián Gómez, sixth on the 2007 TLA Order of Merit, will enter the event as a Nationwide Tour member, the eight and final exemption granted to the TLA was given to Amaya, ninth on the Tour last season.
Meanwhile, at the 50th Abierto Mexicano (Jan 31 – Feb 3), which will be the second Nationwide Tour event in our region, the TLA exempts will be the top four Argentines listed above: Rodríguez, Domínguez, Acosta and Gómez.
These Latin American stars will try to follow in the footsteps of Argentina’s Miguel Carballo, who took advantage of an exemption via the TLA to win the 2007 Panama Championship. By virtue of that victory, the 28-year-old received an automatic exemption to play the Nationwide Tour, where he finished 30th on the money list.