New R&A captain drives in at Old Course

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The traditional driving-in ceremony took place at the Old Course this morning, as Clive Brown started his year in office as captain of the R&A.

The 70-year-old who lives in Conwy, Wales, hit the ceremonial shot down the widest fairway in golf at 8am this morning, as a cannon fired alongside the tee.

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As the captain of the R&A, he will serve as an ambassador for the governing body, and attend its championships around the world.

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The seven handicapper, who has represented Wales on the international stage, as well as captained two Walker Cup teams, said he was pleased to get the ball down the fairway.

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“I was really nervous so I’m absolutely elated that the ball got in the air and it went a reasonable distance. I had the benefit of Peter Forster’s advice, as well as being on the practice ground this morning to prepare.

“The Captaincy of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is a historic role and it’s an honour and great thrill for me to represent this very special institution both at home and overseas.”

In 1971, Brown won the Welsh Amateur Championship, which led to him making 65 appearances for his country. That came along with a spot in the GB&I team of 1972 at the European Golf Association Trophy.

He has been a member of the R&A since 1995 and has served on a number of committees, working in both professional and amateur events.

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As is tradition, the ball was collected by a caddie on the fairway of the opening hole of the Old Course, with Martin O’Brien successfully returning the ball to the new captain.

“I’ve attended the drive in since 2019 and this is the first time I’ve collected the ball,” O’Brien said. 

“I felt that he was going to hold the club a little tighter with the cannon going off at the same time, which generally means the ball is going to go left. 

“It was worth the early morning start, but now it’s back to work as normal.”





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