The Board of the Professional Golfers’ Associations of Europe Ltd. (PGAE) has announced that Lawrence Thornton, General Secretary, resigned from his position with effect from 19th August 2005.
The news, which will surprise many in the golf world, came in a two sentence letter dated 2nd September and signed by Sandy Jones, better known as chief executive of The Belfry based PGA but also Chairman of the PGAE, whose letter concluded, “I am sure you will join with me and the Board in thanking Lawrence for his services to the Association and wish him well in the future.”
So far there has been no announcement about a replacement for ‘Lawrence’, better known as Lawrie, and the day to day administration of the PGAE will continue in the very capable hands of Eve Spellar and Steve Hewitt.
Lawrie Thornton, 62, joined the PGA in 1984 as the secretary of the Midland Region and in 1988 became assistant to the then executive director of the PGA, John Lindsey. Initial discussions with the European PGAs in 1989 led to the formation of the PGA of Europe and he acted as secretary, a position that was formally confirmed on 1st January 1993.
His belief in the future of the PGAE was unshakeable. In the PGAE’s first yearbook, published in 1993, he announced that his objective was to make the PGA of Europe “one of the most professional and respected bodies in European golf today”. There will be few who would argue that he did not achieve that ambition.
The PGAE now represents over 12,000 professionals through 34 member countries and works with 13 corporate partners. In May 2004, reflecting the make-up of the European team, the PGAE became a new Ryder Cup partner with 20% ownership of Ryder Cup Europe LLP, the same percentage as the PGA.