George Macgregor began his captaincy of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews with a bang as he completed the traditional ‘driving in’ ceremony on the first tee of the Old Course.
A large crowd of spectators had gathered to watch the ceremony, and Macgregor didn’t disappoint, hitting a long drive down the middle of the fairway that finished just short of the Swilcan Burn.
After hitting his shot, Macgregor spoke of his excitement at being made captain of the St Andrews club, and his hopes of continuing his predecessor’s good work.
“It’s a pretty unique tradition in the world of golf,” he said. “To be captain is a fantastic honour and I am very much looking forward to it. The R&A is making great strides with initiatives in different parts of the world.
“I think my role is to build on the work that previous captains have done. Sandy Dawson, whom I am following, has travelled thousands of miles around the world and has made a great effort to go out there and meet with golfers and organisations all over the world. That’s an important part of this role.”
Part of the tradition of the ‘driving in’ ceremony is that a gold sovereign is paid by the new captain to buy his golf ball back from the caddie who retrieves it and returns it.
That honour was given for a second time to Oliver Horovitz, a writer and filmmaker from New York, who is now in his ninth season on the links.
The 28-year-old said afterwards: “The last time I caught it on the fly and my hand swelled up to twice the size, so this time was a little less dramatic. It’s a big honour.”