St Andrews, Scotland: Renton Laidlaw, one of golf’s most respected broadcasters and journalists, has passed away at the age of 82.
With his distinctive Scottish lilt, Laidlaw’s voice became synonymous with golf for fans across the world, including the Asia-Pacific region, where he had a large following.
With a career in golf commentary, presenting and journalistic reporting that spanned over 60 years, Laidlaw provided the narration for many of golf’s greatest moments.
For the best part of four decades, Edinburgh-born Laidlaw was a fixture in commentary booths and media centres across Asia and in Australia.
He was part of the commentary team at the inaugural Volvo China Open at Beijing International Golf Club in 1995 – the first live golf broadcast from mainland China. Despite a few technical hitches, Laidlaw held the commentary together in typically witty and professional manner.
In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, he was also the lead commentator at the Alfred Dunhill Cup’s Asian qualifier and Johnnie Walker Classic, among the first star-studded international golf events to be staged in Asia and broadcast globally.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, paid affectionate tribute to one of golf’s most prominent and respected media personalities.
“We are all deeply saddened to hear of Renton’s passing and our thoughts are with his family and many friends at this sad time. Renton’s knowledge, insight, wit and wonderfully distinctive voice made him an immensely popular figure in golf and sport in general.
“He was admired by so many of us who grew up listening to his commentary or reading his reports from The Open and the other Major championships.
“Renton made a remarkable contribution to golf over a long and successful career. He will be greatly missed by players and fans throughout the world and by his many friends in The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.”
Until its last publication in 2014, Laidlaw edited The R&A Golfer’s Handbook whilst also authoring many of his own books about the game.
After retiring in 2014, he was awarded the 2015 Masters Major Achievement Award in recognition of his coverage of Masters Tournaments, becoming the first non-American journalist to win the award.
This joined a significant list of awards received throughout his esteemed career, including the title as first European winner of The PGA of America Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism in 2003, and the 2012 PGA in Scotland Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was also recipient of the Jack Nicklaus Memorial Award for golfing journalism and earned further awards from The PGA and the PGAs of Europe.