Having spent the final few years of his tenure as Scottish Football League chief executive dealing with administrations and then seeing the organisation dissolved, David Longmuir is hoping a switch of sports can see him achieve new career goals.
The 50-year-old has been appointed by the PGA to explore sponsorship and commercial opportunities, initially focusing on Scotland and the north of England but, if successful, then having his remit extended to cover all seven of the PGA’s regions in Britain and Ireland.
Longmuir’s appointment comes hot on the heels of Shona Malcolm taking over as the PGA in Scotland secretary and will allow her to concentrate on delivering a new-look Tartan Tour next season, as well as looking after club professionals as their roles continue to evolve.
“It is an exciting challenge for me,” said Perth-based Longmuir, who was with spirits firm Diageo for 20 years before he moved to the SFL in 2007, staying there until the end of the 2012-13 season, when he lost out to Neil Doncaster for the chief executive’s post for the SPFL, the newly amalgamated body.
“When I went to the SFL, I went there predominantly – although it didn’t turn out that way – to bring commercial revenue in and I managed that the first year by bringing in Irn-Bru and Ramsdens, as well as extending the Co-op deal for the League Cup.
“That was brilliant but, in my time at the SFL, I had five administrations to deal with, starting with Gretna then Livingston, Dunfermline, Dundee then, of course, the Rangers scenario, and the politics in football were quite difficult due to the intensity that comes with the game in Scotland.
“Rangers were a challenge for everyone as no-one had a firm grip on how to handle the situation. I reckon the SPL handled it as well as could have been expected.
“In many ways the SFL had the same opportunities as the PGA through assets such as the League Cup and the Championships. It’s maybe slightly different, but it’s the same principles and the PGA in Scotland has some strong assets in events such as the Scottish Championship, which celebrates its 100th staging next year, and the Northern Open.”
During his spell with Diageo, Longmuir, who did some consultancy work for Airdrie last year, was involved in the launch of the Scottish PGA Championship, which subsequently became the Johnnie Walker Championship, won by the likes of Adam Scott, Paul Casey, Marc Warren, Paul Lawrie and, in its most recent staging in 2013, Tommy Fleetwood.
“I’d like to think my background is quite suited to this new role as I have known the PGA for a long time,” he added, speaking with Malcolm, the first woman to hold a PGA secretary’s post, at his side in the Scottish Region headquarters behind the first tee on the Kings’ Course at Gleneagles.
“Everyone is fishing in the same pond in Scotland – a nation of 5.2 million that has four governing bodies for just about every sport – for commercial opportunities, but I think the PGA in Scotland has a massive opportunity to really enhance their commercial revenue streams due to the pull and power of the brand.
“I think it is important that after the major high of the Ryder Cup here at Gleneagles last year we don’t lose any momentum. Yes, we want to have a legacy. But, at the same time, we need to attach a premium element to the Tartan Tour and that can manifest itself through good quality partnerships.”
Longmuir will report to Rob Maxfield, the PGA’s joint chief operating officer based at The Belfry. “Scotland has probably done better than some of the other regions over the years, but we have recognised that the role of regional secretary has changed, with a bigger need to support the members,” Maxfield said.
“The changing times in golf with clubs trying to get more membership means that the demands on the pros are greater than they have ever been. This is very much a test bed. Rather than spreading him thinly over the seven regions, we said, ‘let’s focus on six or seven good opportunities that we have in Scotland, with the 100th staging of the Scottish Championship, and the north of England, where the Leeds Cup is 100 years old. Let’s get some success with those then spread it across the rest of Britain and Ireland’.”