R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers to resign by the end of 2024
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R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers to resign by the end of 2024

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R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers announced he's resigning from the position by the end of 2024, ending a nine-year run as the head man of the governing body.

Slumbers, who will also resign as the secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, made the announcement via press release.

“It has been a privilege to serve golf at the highest level,” said the 63-year-old Englishman. “It is a role that I have been proud to carry out on behalf of the R&A's employees, the members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and all our global partners. In any career, there is a time to allow the next generation to have its turn. I am grateful to have had the honor, for nearly a decade, to have been the custodian of all that the R&A and the game of golf more broadly represents.“

Slumbers has been a tremendous advocate for women's golf, initiating a merger with the Ladies' Golf Union to bring advocacy for elite and competitive golf under one roof. The R&A has sought to develop golf concepts that differ from a traditional 18-hole, full-length course, with many new programs designed to get more people playing the game, including Golf It! in Scotland.

The R&A has taken over running the AIG Women's Open, and in that span the purse has increased dramatically, from $3.25 million in 2018 to $9 million in 2023. The G4D Open was created for all-abilities golf, and Slumbers has worked with the European Tour Group to expand competitive opportunities for adaptive golf. A new Africa Amateur Championship will debut in 2024 to go alongside the Asia-Pacific and Latin America amateur championships.

In addition, Slumbers led the R&A in working with the USGA to modernize the Rules of Golf in 2019 and introduce a singular World Handicap System.

He has modernized the business operations of The Open, finding new income streams and also new ways to connect with fans. The R&A has long-term rights deals in place for The Open, which offers financial stability for the organization.

Slumbers has also been at the head of the R&A for one of the most tumultuous eras in golf history. He was the head of the organization for the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the cancellation of the 2020 Open Championship that precipitated a delay of the 150th Open at St. Andrews.

He, along with USGA CEO Mike Whan, have been the most public figures in the dual governing bodies' announcement of a planned, universal golf-ball rollback -- which has been lauded and dragged, depending on the corner of golf that's reacted to it.

Slumbers has also been indirectly dragged into the professional golf wars involving the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LIV Golf and the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Slumbers has talked about seeking some investment in the grassroots recreational game from the Saudis -- a notion supported by Rory McIlroy.

An executive search firm has been hired to look for the next R&A chief executive.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is a scratch golfer...sometimes.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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