24 Jan 17
Former chief executive of the European Tour, George O’Grady CBE, has been announced as the incoming honorary president of the PGAs of Europe, taking over from Pierre Bechmann at the Association’s AGM last week.
O’Grady will take up the prestigious role after more than 40 years in golf, bringing a vast array of experience and knowledge with him that will help support the PGAs of Europe in its mission to advance golf, golfers and the golf profession.
“It’s a great privilege to be the next Honorary President of the PGAs of Europe following such a great list of former presidents,” said O’Grady at the 2016 Annual Congress where the presidency was formally handed over.
“I would hope that the relationships I have forged throughout the world, and in particular with PGAs in so many countries, will see the current structure of the Professional game enhanced to reflect the formidable position the game of golf is in and the success it is currently enjoying.
“We’re in a time in golf’s development, building on the Olympic experience, that really means it’s an exciting time with all bodies pulling in the same direction.”
Having joined the European Tour as a tournament administrator in 1974, O’Grady played a key role in its growth along with the Ryder Cup, initially under the leadership of the late-great John Jacobs OBE and then Ken Schofield CBE.
He held the positions of chief referee at The Ryder Cup in 1977 and staging director for The Ryder Cup in 1981, 1985 and 1989, and was also instrumental in the development of the Tour’s commercial arm where, together with Schofield, he developed what eventually became European Tour Productions.
In 2004 he formally took over from Schofield at the helm of the Tour and oversaw vast expansion with activities such as the creation of The Race to Dubai in 2009 and The Final Series in 2013.
In August 2015, he stepped aside from the position of chief executive and assumed the president of international relations role for the Tour, where his prime focus was helping the successful delivery of golf back into the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.
“The PGAs of Europe have been blessed with many significant and influential ambassadors accepting the role of honorary president throughout our history,” said Ian Randell, chief executive of the PGAs of Europe.
“There is no doubt that George, just like Pierre Bechmann before him, is respected across the golfing and corporate community.
“As honorary president George will play a key ambassadorial part in continuing to promote the important role that the PGAs of Europe, our Member PGAs and PGA Professionals play across the continent and beyond.
“George has a wealth of knowledge, experience, and relationships throughout golf and, having played such a prominent role in the development of the Tour and recently golf’s return to the Olympics, he will be a fantastic asset to the Association and its strategy for the future.”
O’Grady will follow in the footsteps of some of golf’s most influential figures such as his aforementioned predecessors at the European Tour, John Jacobs, and PGAs of Europe Board Director, Ken Schofield, as well as Jean-Etienne Lafitte, Donato Di Ponziano, Sir Michael Bonallack OBE, Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, Manuel Agrellos, Heinz Fehring and Christer Lindberg.