Links superintendent to retire after 26 years

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THE GREENKEEPER who helped bring the Open Championship back to Carnoustie Golf Links has announced that he is to retire.

After 26 years working as the Links Superintendent, John Philp will leave his position at the end of June after overseeing his final tournament which will be Ladies’ Open Amateur Championship.

The announcement comes as chairman of the Golf Links, Gordon Murray also decided to step down from his post, although he will remain on the Links board.

Mr Philp (64) first came to Carnoustie from St Andrews 26 years ago in 1986 and played a pivotal role in restoring he course to its former glory.

And his hard work and expertise was rewarded when Carnoustie was announced as the 1999 Open Championship venue for the first time in 24 years.

Since then he has helped in attracting the Open once again in 2007 as well as the Alfred Dunhill Championships since 2001 and more recently the Senior Open in 2010 and the Ricoh Women’s British Open last year.

Mr Philp announced his decision to retire in a letter to the Carnoustie Golf Links chairman in which he praised the directors and his staff for their support during his years of service.

He wrote: “I consider it to have been a privilege to have been part of a great team effort whose original target was the resurgence of Carnoustie Links in world golf and for many years now has provided the highest standards possible.

“I must convey my sincere thanks to the present and previous management committees for their support and substantial investment in the Links without which the success we have enjoyed would not have been possible.

“Attention to detail has been the by-word and it has been most rewarding for me to have seen so many improvements on the courses achieved by a talented staff of whom I am most proud.

“I have cherished many moments experienced over the last 26 years and none more so than the return of The Open to Carnoustie.

“That was the major highlight of my greenkeeping career.”

Meanwhile, at a meeting on Monday, Gordon Murray who has served as chairman of Carnoustie Links announced he would be stepping down from the post after five years.

He explained: “It has been a great privilege to be involved at this level of the golfing world for the past five years, but I feel it is time to pass on the baton to a new chairman.

“I have enjoyed every minute of my time as chairman, and have been involved in three major tournaments, with the Open Championship of 2007 being the highlight.”

Vice chairman Gordon Wilson has now been elected chairman with Pat Sawers elected as the new vice chairman. Mr Murray will now become finance convener.

Further details about the appointment process for a new links superintendent will be announced in due course.