Tributes have been paid to former PGA Chief Executive Sandy Jones, who has died aged 74 following a short illness.
The Scot joined the Association in 1980, where he remained until he retired in 2017. Over his 37-year career he was credited with the evolution of the PGA, the Ryder Cup and the growth of the game worldwide.
Jones began his PGA career as the Scottish region's secretary, and current PGA Chairman Alan White recalled his time in the role fondly. He said: "He did the job from home in those early days as there was no office. The region was also fragmented but Sandy united it during the time he worked there."
Robert Maxfield stepped into the Chief Executive role following Jones’s retirement, and he also had warm words for the job he did. He said: “Sandy led The PGA for more than 25 years, instigating significant change and improvement to the way the Association was run. Through his work with the Ryder Cup, the PGA World Alliance, and PGAs of Europe, he was a significant figure in the world of golf as well as in Great Britain and Ireland."
DP World Tour Deputy Chief Executive Guy Kinnings also highlighted the significant contribution Jones made to the game. He said: “Over the last 40 years, Sandy made a huge contribution to golf at all levels of the game, from the grassroots right through to the Ryder Cup. He was hugely respected and his passion for our sport was obvious to all of us who were fortunate to meet him and work closely with him."
Former Chief Executive of the R&A, Peter Dawson, added: “Sandy was obviously very experienced and always had a level head in a crisis, although there weren’t too many of those, thankfully. He was a delight to work with.”
Jones’s responsibilities stretched beyond his role as PGA Chief Executive, too. He was also President of the Golf Foundation, the charitable organisation that helps introduces youngsters from all backgrounds to golf. Chief Executive Officer of the Golf Association Brendon Pyle said: “Sandy was a huge supporter of the Golf Foundation and believed in making golf as accessible to as many youngsters as possible.”
By 1991, Jones’ remit encompassed all seven PGA regions as Chief Executive. Alan Walker, a PGA Master Professional former Captain, said: “His resolve and steadfastness changed the PGA from what it was in the late 70s and early 80s right the way through to where we are now in so many areas.”
Jones also played a pivotal role in improving PGA golf education, with the Association’s training manual updated in 1993 and the National Training Academy at the Belfry opened a year later.
Meanwhile, the Ryder Cup was staged at the Belfry twice on Jones’ watch and he also played an important role in it being held at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014. Former Ryder Cup director Richard Hills said: “He was a great lover of the game and passionate about the Ryder Cup and Ryder family. He and I worked together with Ken [Schofield] and George [O’Grady] in the modernisation of the Ryder Cup."
Former Chief Executive of the European Tour Ken Schofield added: “All of us are just so grateful that we were touched by Sandy. The term ‘great’ is often over-used but never in Sandy’s case. He was a great man and a great friend to the game. He was my friend. He was golf’s friend. We are all saddened he has not enjoyed a long and happy retirement with [his wife] Christine.”
Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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