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Renton Laidlaw
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Renton Laidlaw

Renton Laidlaw, the renowned broadcaster and journalist whose voice became synonymous with the European Tour’s world feed, has died aged 82.

Renton Laidlaw 2013 Masters Tournament 

In a remarkable career spanning more than 60 years across print, radio and television, Laidlaw narrated some of golf’s most iconic moments, including 15 Ryder Cups and more than 150 Major Championships.

A hugely popular and generous figure in TV compounds and media centres around the world, his distinctive Scottish voice documented the rise of European golf globally, while he was also an accomplished author and writer, contributing to numerous newspapers, magazines and publications, including editing The R&A’s Golfer’s Handbook.

Born in Edinburgh, Laidlaw’s journalism career began in 1957 at the age of 14 as a copy-taker in his home city and he followed in the footsteps of his father as a sports reporter for the Edinburgh Evening News.

Renton Laidlaw Commentary 

He covered his first Major Championship at The 1959 Open at Muirfield, when Gary Player lifted the Claret Jug aged 23.

After working as a freelancer for Reuters covering golf globally, he then moved into broadcasting, firstly with Scottish Television and then as a news anchor for Grampian TV and the BBC. Following a stint as golf reporter for London’s Evening Standard, he spent 15 years as BBC Radio’s golf correspondent, before joining British Satellite Broadcasting - which later became Sky – in the early 1990s.

He went on to become of the voice of the European Tour globally, anchoring European Tour Production’s world feed broadcast throughout the 1990s and 2000s until his retirement in 2014. His incredible contribution to the Tour, and to the wider game of golf, was recognised that year by the Tour’s then Chief Executive George O’Grady at the Tour’s Golfer of the Year celebration and it was one of many awards Laidlaw received across a decorated career.

Renton Laidlaw and George O'Grady

In 2003, he received the distinction of becoming the first European winner of the PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism and he was awarded the 2012 PGA in Scotland Lifetime Achievement Award.

Three years ago, Laidlaw was awarded the Special Recognition Award by the PGAs of Europe (now the Confederation of Professional Golf) for his services to, and impact upon, European golf.

He received the award at the same time as his friend and fellow broadcaster Göran Zachrisson, who also passed away earlier this year. Like Zachrisson, Laidlaw was a hugely popular and respected figure with his peers in the media. He was a member of the Association of Golf Writers from 1963, Secretary from 1978 – 1995 and Chairman from 1995 – 1998, before holding the position of President from 2004–15.

In those roles, he helped foster strong relationships between the golf media and the various governing bodies, and Scott Crockett, the European Tour’s Communications Director, today paid tribute to him.

He said: “The word ‘legend’ can often be overused in sport but there is no question it is a fitting one to describe Renton in the world of sports broadcasting and journalism. His loss will resonate across our sport and the thoughts of our Chairman David Williams, our Chief Executive Keith Pelley and everyone at the European Tour go out to his sister Jennifer and his many friends and family at this sad time.

“On a personal level, I will be forever grateful for the help and support he gave me over decades; from my many years in journalism in Scotland and throughout my time with the European Tour; indeed he even let me stay in his Sunningdale cottage during my first year at Wentworth. These are priceless memories that will stay with me forever.

“From an AGW perspective, it is tremendously sad to think that the organisation has, within the past six months, lost three of its most recent Presidents in Jock MacVicar, Goran Zachrisson and now Renton. While we feel their loss at this time, we should smile at the thought that, wherever the three of them are meeting up right now, the golf chat will be lively and full of fun.”

Tributes today poured in from the world of golf, including The R&A:

The Association of Golf Writers:

AGW Chairman, Martin Dempster:

Sky Sports commentator Ewen Murray:

Former world feed commentator Dougie Donnelly:

BBC Golf correspondent Iain Carter:

Golf Channel contributor Rich Lerner:

The Confederation of Professional Golf:

Broadcaster Kirsty Gallacher:

Players also paid their own tributes to Laidlaw. Scotland’s most recent Major Champion Paul Lawrie said:

Six-time Major Champion Sir Nick Faldo:

Four-time European Tour winner and Scottish Ryder Cup star, Stephen Gallacher:

European Ryder Cup legend, Ian Poulter: