Most Powerful Europeans in Golf 2015

Keith Pelley

While the European Ryder Cup Team is a cohesive body that works together toward a common aim, the same can’t be said for the European golf industry.

For starters, national attitudes toward the sport vary greatly. Golf, to a Scot, is an integral part of the community. To a Frenchman, it is quite alien. To a Turk, it might be a source of tourist revenue. To a German, it is a pastime that requires licensing to ensure a certain level of proficiency and understanding of etiquette.

But despite the differences, there are men and women who are influencing the entire region through their prestige, knowledge, innovation or charm. The Golf Inc. editors reviewed the landscape to identify the people who have the greatest potential to influence golf courses in Europe.

Britons dominate our list this year, which is a reflection of the country’s historical domination of the market and the sheer size of its golf industry. The list includes a mix of golf course operators, association leaders and professional golfers. We profile 15 in order of power.

1. Keith Pelley

Chief Executive, PGA European Tour

Pelley is a 51-year-old Canadian who was recently hired to replace George O’Grady. He brings with him extensive experience in media and rights management and negotiations. He also brings with him great promise that the European Tour can compete with the PGA Tour in the U.S. for talent and sponsorship dollars. Pelley has his work cut out for him, but if he is successful, the entire continent should rise with the tide.

2. Martin Slumbers

Chief Executive, The R&A

Slumbers ranked No. 14 in Golf Inc.’s World ranking, above Pelley. But that was partly due to The R&A’s influence outside Europe. He is new to this power ranking, having replaced Peter Dawson as The R&A’s chief executive in September. Slumbers hopes to improve golfer participation. He has said golf needs to get back to grass roots and find something that appeals to each generation.

To learn about the 13 other powerful Europeans in golf, read the free Nov/Dec issue of Golf Inc. Magazine here.

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