O'Grady to step down as chief exec of European Tour

Another stalwart of the European golf community is retiring. George O’Grady, Chief Executive of the PGA European Tour announced he will step down when a replacement is found. O’Grady has been on Golf Inc.'s list of the Most Powerful people in golf for the past 8 years. However, his power has eroded in recent years, dropping him from seventh on the list in 2012 to 23 in 2014. 

O’Grady was the third Chief Executive of The European Tour, succeeding John Jacobs in 2005. He has been with the Tour for more than 40 years. As Chief Executive, he oversaw the creation of The Race To Dubai and The Final Series, oversaw the growth of The Ryder Cup (not to mention a stellar record for the Europeans) secured key TV and sponsorship agreements, and supported the reinstatement for golf into the Olympic Games. He is credited with placing the European Tour on firm financial footing.  

But there has also been negative aspects to his tenure. The European Tour lost key events in Spain over a lack of sponsors, and Volvo recently announced it would end its sponsorship of the World Match Play Championship. Even more damaging, O’Grady was also criticized for comments he made during the the controversy over Sergio García’s “fried chicken” comment towards Tiger Woods before the 2013 PGA Championship. On live television, O’Grady referred to García's “coloured athlete” friends, a comment that was meant to defuse the situation but only made it worse. 

The fallout from that incident hurt his standing in the industry, thus leading Golf Inc. to drop him in its Most Powerful rankings. 

Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the R&A announced his retirement earlier in the year. He was ranked No. 13 in this year's Most Powerful people in golf. Ted Bishop, president of the PGA and No. 22 on Golf Inc.'s list of the Most Powerful people in golf, was impeached last month.

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