English Golf Courses

Euro Tour lucky to have Pelley

New chief executive’s ‘get stuff done’ attitude is a refreshing change from what we’re used to

Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s new chief executive, doesn’t seem to fit in with the ‘old guard’ of golf. And it’s got nothing to do with his funny glasses.

These days, most of the folk at the top end of sports administration seem to take an age to make a decision. But it feels like Pelley has jumped into the job with the sole intention of actually doing something constructive.

That’s not exactly normal practice in today’s world of sports governance. The SFA’s seemingly endless - and at times laughable - attempts to combat sectarianism is a wonderful example of a sporting body completely failing. The International Olympic Committee has struggled to sort its doping scandal, the Tour de France isn’t worth discussing, and where do you even start with the credibility of FIFA?

CROWING

Golf, though, seems to be going against the grain - but you wouldn’t know it according to the mainstream media.

I vividly remember listening in to BBC Radio Scotland last year waiting for the new Chair of Scottish Golf, Eleanor Cannon, to be interviewed. Before she took to the air, the head of Scottish athletics was taking part in a Q&A, where he was crowing about what an exciting time it was for athletics. He faced no questions about doping, cheating, cover-ups or how drug-taking athletes have littered the sport for years. Lucky him. Cannon, though, wasn’t so lucky, as she faced the usual questions about golf snobbery and women’s status in the game. Yes, the sport has its problems - but that’s all we seem to hear about from the BBC, in particular. No wonder they don’t want the TV rights...

MEASURES

What I like about Pelley is that he’s dived straight in, head first, and started making changes straight away. He deserves credit for that. He wanted to fix slow play on the tour, and since new measures were introduced during the Desert Swing, round times have improved, if only slightly.

At a time when the sport needs to stand up for itself, it’s only going to be in golf’s favour that Pelley is at the helm right now. Here’s hoping he can continue to make his mark on the European Tour, even if the rest of the sporting world - and the BBC - sit back and tut at golf’s very existence.

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