Jaime Ortiz-Patià±o, owner of Valderrama, Peter Dawson, secretary of the R&A and Ken Schofield, executive director of the European Tour, were three of the many leading administrators who acclaimed the PGA of Europe’s initiative in staging the ‘Working Together’ Congress at Atalaya Park, Costa del Sol.
All three echoed the feelings of the delegates from PGA’s and amateur unions and federations from 36 countries that the sport in Europe will benefit greatly from the principle of professional, amateur and ladies organisations co-operating more closely in future.
Ken Schofield told the assembly, that in its new status as partners in the Ryder Cup and with the hugely successful ‘Working Together’ message it was imparting, the PGAE had not only ‘come of age’ but would play an increasingly pivotal role in liaison between all sides.
Retiring PGAE president, Jaime Ortiz-Patià±o, received a rousing, standing ovation when he closed the Congress with a speech underlining his ‘wonderful two years of pride and pleasure’ as president during which he had watched the growth of the association at first hand.
Like Ken Schofield, he expressed the view that the PGAE was an expanding body which would have an increasing influence on European golf, especially in the field of education where big strides had already been made during the PGAE’s 13 year history.
The St Andrew’s Address, delivered by Peter Dawson, covered a range of issues of great relevance to the game. He and other speakers collectively touched on such crucial topics as a possible coaching licence for professionals, a more uniform handicapping system, ‘missionary’ work in emerging golf nations, easier reinstatement as amateurs for professionals requiring it, recruitment of juniors, particularly girls, the pace of play, and many more.
Finally, the chairman of the PGAE, Sandy Jones, called on all of the delegates to undertake a ‘Chairman’s Challenge’ which was to pick out one particular topic of relevance to their own organisation and to implement the information they had received. They could then return to Congress next year and explain how they had ‘made a difference’.