R&A chief Martin Slumbers, in surprise move, to step down by year’s end

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, speaks during a press conference at the AIG Women's Open at Walton Heath Golf Club on August 09, 2023 in Tadworth, England.

Martin Slumbers, R&A CEO, will step down from his post by the end of 2024.

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After serving as the R&A’s CEO and secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews for nine years, Martin Slumbers will step down from his role by year’s end, the R&A said Wednesday.

The announcement, which comes at a time when the world of men’s professional golf is at a deeply uncertain crossroads, came as a surprise to most observers outside the walls of the R&A’s St. Andrews headquarters, though The Guardian did report that Slumbers had planned to stay in the post for no more than a decade.

Slumbers, 63, is credited with seeing the governing body through a period of growth, especially with regard to the Open Championship and the Women’s British Open. His primary initiatives included making the game more accessible and inclusive.

Under Slumbers’ leadership, the R&A increased its financial commitment to the game and created new international amateur championships for women and golfers with disabilities.

“In any career, there is a time to allow the next generation to have its turn,” Slumbers said in a press release. “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.”

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Slumbers’ tenure included oversight of many major changes, including the 2019 modernization of the Rules of Golf, the introduction of the World Handicap System in 2020 and the Distance Insights process. Most recently, the R&A, in partnership with the USGA, announced plans for a golf-ball rollback.

Before stepping down, Slumbers will oversee the 2024 Open Championship at Royal Troon, the 2024 AIG Women’s Open at St. Andrews and the 2024 Curtis Cup match at Sunningdale.

An executive search firm has already been appointed to search for Slumbers’ successor.

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