sport

R&A chief Dawson to retire

Peter Dawson will step down as chief executive of the R&A and secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in September next year.

He succeeded Sir Michael Bonallack as R&A chief 15 years ago and has been instrumental in changes to the running of the Open Championship as well as the R&A's relationship with the United States Golf Association.

Dawson was also appointed joint secretary of the International Golf Federation in 1999 and played a pivotal role in earning golf a return to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

He was elected as President of the IGF in 2010 and his term in office has recently been extended until 2016.

Dawson was also a key figure in the decision to ban the use of anchored putters from 2016, a ruling that sparked huge debate worldwide.

By the time of his retirement, Dawson is likely to oversee the admittance of women members to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews for the first time, 260 years after it was founded.

Speaking last month, Dawson said the club believes it has "strong support" for a vote on September 18 to allow women members, although he was keen to play down his personal role in the move.

"I think the general committee had a very full discussion about it on several occasions," he said. "Obviously as secretary I am party to these discussions and prepare papers for it and so on.

"But I wouldn't say my role was pivotal. I am more than happy with the decision."

Evolution

An R&A statement read: "Mr Dawson will step down in September 2015 after 16 years leading the body which organises The Open Championship and governs the sport worldwide in conjunction with the United States Golf Association.

"Having succeeded Sir Michael Bonallack as Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 1999, Mr Dawson took over in an important period in the Club's history.

"In 2004, the same year that the Club celebrated its 250th anniversary, the private members' club formed a separate group of companies to run The Open and conduct its governance responsibilities.

"This evolution enabled The R&A to focus on its governance role, running successful championships and supporting the growth of the game around the world and the Club to concentrate on catering for the needs of its more than 2,000 Members.

"The Open Championship has enjoyed continuing commercial success throughout Mr Dawson's tenure enabling The R&A to invest substantially in supporting the development of golf around the world.

"The R&A now works with 152 affiliated organisations from the amateur and professional game in 138 countries and jointly administers the Rules of Golf, the Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and the World Amateur Golf Ranking with the USGA.

"The recruitment of Mr Dawson's successor will be handled by international executive search firm Spencer Stuart and the position will be advertised this weekend.

"An appointment is expected to be made in sufficient time to allow for an appropriate handover period in 2015."