PGA to Honor Renton Laidlaw


Renton Laidlaw, whose lifelong love affair with golf evolved into his becoming The Golf Channel's voice of the European Tour, has been named recipient of the 2003 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism..
Renton LaidlawLaidlaw, 63, will be honored April 9, at the 31st Golf Writers Association of America Annual Spring Dinner and Awards Ceremony in Augusta, Ga.
Laidlaw, who has residences in Drumoig, Scotland, and Sunningdale, England, has been the original anchor for European professional golf since The Golf Channel began in 1995. From 1973 to 1998, Laidlaw was golf writer for the London Evening Standard. He has been covering golf continuously in print or through broadcasting since 1959.
'The PGA of America is proud to present this award to Renton Laidlaw whose professional career best exemplifies the global reach of golf,' said PGA of America President M.G. Orender. 'Few journalists today can match Renton's lifetime travels in golf. Beyond his love for people, Renton communicates his sincere passion for the game through an entertaining and insightful delivery.'
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Laidlaw spends most of his time at his Scotland residence 15 minutes from legendary St. Andrews. His career spans nearly 45 years in covering golf in print, radio and television.
'I'm overwhelmed by this honor,' Laidlaw said. 'When I look at the impressive list of previous winners it makes me both proud and humble. I never believed that I could ever be considered for such a prestigious award, far less chosen to receive it.
'I've had an amazing life traveling the world doing something I enjoy. I've been very lucky. Golf is a great sport to be involved with. I have been in the right place at the right time and when The Golf Channel came along, I was fortunate enough to be selected by them to front the European golf each week. I just try to be myself and say what I think.'
Laidlaw began his professional career in 1957 as a junior reporter for the Edinburgh Evening News, where he was first given the opportunity to cover golf. A decade later, while working in a freelance capacity for Reuters covering golf worldwide, he switched to television. He began as sportscaster for Scottish Television in Glasgow, and later with Grampian TV in Aberdeen where he became an evening news anchor. Later, the BBC recruited Laidlaw to return to his hometown of Edinburgh as news anchor.
Laidlaw returned to print journalism in 1973 when he was offered a golf writer position with London's Evening Standard. By 1975, he was combining television and BBC radio assignments on weekends. For 15 years, he was BBC Radio's golf correspondent. In 1990, Laidlaw was spending his full time in broadcasting with British Satellite Broadcasting, which was later taken over by SKY.
In 1995, Laidlaw broadcast his first European Tour event for The Golf Channel from Dubai, site of the Desert Classic.
In November 1997, at the conclusion of the golf season, Laidlaw underwent double bypass heart surgery but was back on assignment by the following January at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia.
'I was hardly gone and nobody had missed me,' laughed Laidlaw. 'I had gone in to have my gall bladder removed and the specialist discovered that I had an 85 percent blockage. I never had a heart attack, but it must have been close. I consider myself lucky to have been able to continue covering events worldwide.'
Laidlaw, a former longtime secretary and past chairman of Great Britain's Association of Golf Writers, is also editor of The Golfer's Handbook, a popular publication that originated in 1899.
'I think that everyone in Europe has benefited from the tremendous working relationship between the golf writers and the various ruling bodies over the past 25 years,' said Laidlaw. 'Because of the close cooperation, the working conditions for journalists covering golf are superb and that helps us all cover the game to the very best of our ability.'
The PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism honors members of the media for their steadfast promotion of golf. Past award winners include: Dick Taylor, Herbert Warren Wind, Jim Murray, Frank Chirkinian, Bob Green, Dan Jenkins, Furman Bisher, Jack Whitaker, Dave Anderson, Ken Venturi, Jim McKay, Kaye Kessler and Nick Seitz.
The award selection committee is composed of representatives from The PGA of America, PGA Tour, USGA, LPGA Tour, Champions Tour, European Tour, Golf Superintendents Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association, American Society of Golf Course Architects, the National Golf Foundation and past recipients.