This year, for the first time since the feature started in 1999, the editors of American golf business magazine Golf Inc. have included in their list of ‘The Most Powerful People in Golf’ individuals who hold leadership positions outside of the United States.
The number of nominations has been increased from 25 to 35 in order to encompass the wider world of golf.
Highest ranked European is Sandy Jones, 13th overall, the chief executive of the PGA and chairman of the board of the PGAs of Europe. He is followed by George O’Grady, in 22nd spot, executive director of the European Tour, who has continued the Tour’s worldwide growth since he took over in 2004. Marcel Welling, president of the European Golf Course Owners Association – now with more than 600 members in 12 European countries – is placed 25th overall and Peter Dawson, chief executive of The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, is 27th.
Other notable inclusions in the list are Dr David Chu (16th), founder and chairman of Mission Hills, China, the world’s largest golf facility, and David Spencer (18th), chief executive officer of Istithmar Leisure, the developer of Jumeirah Estates in Dubai who is now expanding his company’s interests outside of UAE.
For the fourth year in succession the list is headed by Jack Nicklaus. As the editors say, Tiger Woods may be getting close to Jack’s record of major victories, but in terms of golf course designs he is still around 300 projects behind. “So while this list is subjective,” they conclude, “and doubtless open to debate, we salute each of these 35 people for their stature and accomplishments in the business of golf.”
Golf Inc. www.golfincmagazine.com