Former Ryder Cup player and European Senior Tour referee Guy Hunt has joined the PGA Rules Panel.
Hunt, who is the first ex-Tour player to referee on the European Tour, spent more than two decades roaming the fairways in his officiating capacity but, having hung up his Tour hat, is now bringing some of his expertise to the PGA’s schedule.
A qualified PGA pro, Hunt was a talented player who won the 1977 Dunlop Masters and played in the 1975 Ryder Cup at Laurel Valley in Pennsylvania.
After Hunt’s playing career ended he return to his first love of coaching and also undertook some course design including redesigning East Horton Golf Club in Hampshire.
However it was a chance meeting with the European Tour’s chief referee John Paramor at the 1990 Open at St Andrews which was to spark a change in career direction leading to two decades as a referee on tour.
His first year as a referee was eventful – not least because he was the man on duty over the famous ruling on the last at Valderrama with the legendary Seve Ballesteros in 1994.
The Spaniard needed a par on the last to tie Bernhard Langer but his ball ended in loose soil behind a large cork tree and called for a ruling claiming it was made by a burrowing animal.
Hunt summoned assistance from Paramor and following a 25 minute discussion, the Spaniard was denied relief and had to chip out, making a bogey and leaving Langer to win by a shot.
“John didn’t think it was a burrowing hole and Seve was saying ‘prove to me this was a hole not made by a burrowing animal’,” said Hunt. “I learnt a lot from that. It’s very important not to say too much, make sure you listen to what the player says and then give yourself time, don’t just jump in.
“John Paramor has been fantastic for me. It’s about how you apply the rules rather than the rules themselves because there are a lot of grey areas.
“There is more to refereeing than meets the eye. As I player I wasn’t aware of all that happened behind the scenes. You just think about yourself and playing but as a referee everyone pitches in. If something needs to be done, we just do it.
“Having come from a playing background, I enjoyed setting up the course. As a player, a good general knowledge suited me as far as refereeing was concerned. It’s very easy to make mistakes in course set up.”
Sandwiched in between his refereeing he returned to play three years on the Senior Tour.
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