Renton Laidlaw's life celebrated in St Andrews

Familiar faces in the golfing world gathered in St Andrews on Monday to celebrate the life of Renton Laidlaw, the legendary broadcaster and journalist who died in October at the age of 82.

Due to Covid restrictions at the time, only a small private funeral took place after his passing, but plans for a memorial service had been put in place by his sister, Jennifer.

The Holy Trinity Church in the heart of St Andrews was packed for an hour-long service, which was conducted by Reverend David D. Scott.

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Ken Schofield, the former executive director of the European Tour who later worked alongside Laidlaw for The Golf Channel, delivered the eulogy while other speakers touched on Laidlaw’s newspaper and television career, as well as his service to the Association of Golf Writers.

Among those in attendance was three-time Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher, who became one of Laidlaw’s closest friends after writing about him as a rising star in the Edinburgh Evening News.

Others in the congregation included Bill Longmuir, who led the 1979 Open at Royal Lytham after the first round, and well-known Australian professional Mike Clayton.

From the administration side of the game, Schofield was joined by his successor, George Grady, as well as former R&A chief executive Peter Dawson and ex-Scottish Golf Union chairman Alistair Low.

Representatives from the broadcasting world included Ewen Murray, Ken Brown, Dougie Donnelly, Warren Humphreys, Jay Townsend, Julian Tutt and David Begg.

Renton Laidlaw's life was celebrated in a service held in Holy Trinity Church in St Andrews

After the service, a two-hour celebration of Laidlaw’s life took place in the Old Course Hotel, with guests enjoying videos, audio clips and interviews about the Edinburgh man.

Two of the game’s greatest players, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, were among those to pay warm tributes to Laidlaw, who was the recipient of the Jack Nicklaus Memorial Award for golfing journalism and earned a lifetime achievement award from the PGA of America, the PGAs of Britain, Scotland and Europe.

The final speech of the day was delivered by Gallacher, who signed off by quoting a line from The Scotsman’s tribute to Laidlaw: “He was the finest human being I have ever met.”

Meanwhile, a Thanksgiving Service for Peter Alliss, who died towards the end of 2020, is to be held in St Andrews in July during the week of the 150th Open.

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