Golf: Macgregor's new posting is just champion

LOTHIANS golfing legend George Macgregor is looking forward to helping organise the tournaments he once starred in after taking up a new role with the Scottish Golf Union.

Having come to the end of a four-year stint on the R&A's Championship Committee, the Glencorse man has been appointed as the SGU's Director of Championships, succeeding Robert Burns after his seven years in the post.

Macgregor, who played in the Walker Cup five times before captaining Great Britain & Ireland in 1997, feels as passionate about amateur golf today as he was at the outset of his playing career and is delighted with his new role.

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"I'm very pleased to be asked to continue my involvement in amateur golf," he said. "I have always been very passionate about the amateur game and for me to be involved with my country 41 years after I made my Scotland debut speaks volumes for that aspect of our sport.

"After being involved at club, county and international level as a player and then having my spell with the R&A, I suppose it would feel as though I'd had an arm or leg cut off if I wasn't involved in amateur golf in some shape or form."

Macgregor, who represented Scotland for 18 years, believes the SGU has an excellent championship team in place and, while the modern-day calendar is a lot fuller, he's not expecting to see the tournaments being run too differently from his own playing days.

"I feel very comfortable with the prospect of working with Euan Mordaunt (the SGU's Events Manager] and his team," he added. "Euan was working for the SGU when I was the Scotland team captain in 1999-2000 and I know what an excellent job he does.

"The SGU events are organised very professionally and, while it is difficult to say until I have attended one of the tournaments, I can't see any changes that I'm likely to propose being major ones.

"It's not as if I'll be going in there after being with the R&A for four years and trying to re-invent the wheel, put it that way.

"One big difference, of course, is the communications side and the fact you can get live scoring from the top amateur events these days is fantastic.

"The fixture list also seems to be ever-expanding with the addition of events like the Junior Tour and it is certainly a lot different to when I started out. My playing experience began before the Scottish Stroke-play Championship was introduced (in 1968]."

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In his role with the R&A, Macgregor enjoyed being involved with The Open but was equally happy if he was attending junior events in Britain or even further afield.

"It was a great experience," said the former company secretary at Dalmore Mills. "The Open was the creme de la creme but I also got tremendous satisfaction from attending events such as the Mizuno Open in Japan."

While still playing off a highly-respectable handicap of one, Macgregor's own golf these days is restricted to club duties and the occasional society event.

"As you get older and stiffer, it definitely becomes more difficult but I still play for Glencorse in the Winter League, if and when required, and also get a bit of society golf now and again."

One of the events Macgregor will be overseeing in his new role is the Allied Surveyors Scottish Championship. That returns this year to Gullane, where Charlie Green lifted the title in 1983, the year after he'd beaten Macgregor in the final at Carnoustie.