Heat on golf rules official after 'ill-judged' speech

An official at the rules and development body for golf, the R&A official is likely to come under increasing pressure to resign from the organisation’s rules committee after a number of people were offended by comments he made in an after-dinner speech during this week’s Open at Carnoustie.

An official at the rules and development body for golf, the R&A official is likely to come under increasing pressure to resign from the organisation’s rules committee after a number of people were offended by comments he made in an after-dinner speech during this week’s Open at Carnoustie.

Graham Brown, a member of last year’s Open venue Hoylake, spoke at the Association of Golf Writers (AGW) annual dinner.

Several guests subsequently complained that some of Brown’s jokes were racist, but R&A chief executive Peter Dawson insisted he would not be asked to resign.

“First of all, this was a private dinner. Graham was a guest invited in a private capacity and was speaking as such. He was in no way representing the R&A,” Dawson said.

“We know Graham Brown very well and I can say absolutely that he is certainly not a racist. I have spoken to him today. He is horrified at learning the effects or the impact of some of his remarks.

“He accepts that his comments were ill-judged and he apologises unreservedly to the chairman and members of the Association of Golf Writers for any offence he has caused.”

Martin Kippax, chairman of the R&A’s championship committee, added: “Graham Brown is a very good golfer; he’s a very knowledgeable individual with regards to the rules of golf. He’s a very useful member of our rules of golf committee.

“What happened last night is something that is quite independent.

“I think it was a mistake, and he would say so. But I don’t think that it makes him incapable to be a valued member of our committee. I think he realises the error of his ways, if I can put it that way, and apologised unreservedly - and that’s the way we see it.

“As far as we’re concerned, that is the end of the matter.”

A statement from the AGW read: “The AGW regrets that offence was caused at its annual dinner and apologises unreservedly to the guests of the association and its members. We will make every effort to ensure this does not happen again.”

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