George O'Grady - July 18, 2012

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George O’Grady is the Chief Executive of the European Tour. In his opinion, he feels that the European Tour may be a little more prepared for Open Championship weather because they play links courses more often but because so many players compete around the world, no one will have a huge advantage this week based on the weather.

A few Champions have been honored with plaques at Royal Lytham & St. Annes and when asked if Seve would be added to that group, he said that he was not entirely sure if he would be but he would expect that to happen eventually. Seve not only has an incredible history at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, he also is beloved by the people in Lancashire, England.

Royal Portrush did a great job in hosting The Irish Open a couple of weeks ago and the R&A is well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of Portrush as an Open Championship host. While O’Grady acknowledged that there would be challenges in terms of infrastructure and weather, the atmosphere and the ambiance of The Irish Open this year was truly something to behold and he thinks that Royal Portrush as well as the host city did a wonderful job.

He could not explain why there are 157 players in the field for The Open Championship but added that the R&A has a large number of qualification categories which allow for the potential of having more qualifiers than usual. The European Tour has policies in place which set the field at a certain number no matter what in part because there are fewer ways to qualify for events.

When asked about the new 8-man event in Turkey later this year and the addition of the Turkish Open in 2013, O’Grady acknowledged that this will be something that the European Tour will go along with as part of an effort to grow the game of golf in that part of the world. However, he is not entirely comfortable with the fact that an exhibition will be held against events on the European Tour and the PGA TOUR. He hopes that the scheduling will change after this year so that it will have its own week but he added that he is looking forward to the addition of the Turkish Open to the European Tour schedule in 2013.