The world of professional golf will witness the end of an era in October when John Paramor and Andy McFee, the two most celebrated and respected rules officials in the game worldwide, call time on their storied careers.
The duo have administered the rules of the game on the fairways of the world for a combined 80-plus years, John (65) having started with the European Tour in April 1976 while Andy (62) saw his time with the tour begin in September 1983.
However, both have decided that the time is now right to step down. Their final event together will be this year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth from October 8-11, the tournament taking place, fittingly, in the shadow of the European Tour headquarters.
In recognition of the impact they have had on the game of golf, the European Tour recently invited the pair to reminisce about their careers in a fascinating face-to-face discussion.
The topics covered ranged from how they got into refereeing in the first place to what being a European Tour referee actually entails. They also touched on their interactions with the greats of the game such as Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els and José María Olazábal, and also with a certain golf-mad US President!
Typically modest about their many achievements over the years, the duo, instead, preferred to offer an opinion on each other.
“The great thing about Andy is that if I have a problem and I simply cannot see a way through it, I know I can ring him and he will be able to find a way,” said John.
“The word I would use about John is gravitas,” added Andy. “He has empathy with the players and he is honest and fair. When John Paramor speaks about the rules of golf, people listen.”
Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “The word ‘legend’ is sometimes used too often in sport but in terms of golf, and the administration of the rules of our sport, it is the perfect word to describe both John Paramor and Andy McFee.
“They are rightly recognised for being the best in the business and have represented the European Tour with honour and distinction across the world for decades, bringing professionalism and integrity to the role not only inside the ropes, but also outside them in the important work they have undertaken with the R&A and the USGA to constantly develop and modernise golf’s rule book.
“I am convinced that neither John nor Andy will be lost to the game for good but, at this time, I join with everyone at the European Tour, to wish them both all the very best for the future.”