Tributes paid as ex-R&A chief Sir Michael Bonallack dies aged 88

Tributes paid to former R&A chief and World Golf Hall of Famer Sir Michael Bonallack as Britain’s greatest post-War amateur golfer dies aged 88

  • Sir Michael Bonallack was regarded as Britain’s greatest post-War amateur golfer
  • Bonallack became one of golf’s leading administrators after his amateur career
  • Mail Sport’s new WhatsApp Channel: Get the breaking news and exclusives here

Sir Michael Bonallack, widely viewed as Britain’s greatest post-War amateur golfer, has died at the age of 88. 

Bonallack won both the Amateur Championship and the English Amateur Championship five times during his career.

He represented Great Britain and Ireland against the United States on nine consecutive occasions in the Walker Cup.

Bonallack captained GB and Ireland to victory on two occasions in the amateur golf event, with their 1971 triumph at St Andrews marking the first time they had lifted the trophy since 1938. 

‘I was playing captain that year when we won,’ Bonallack said when reflecting on the achievement. ‘It does not get, cannot get, any better than that.’ 

Former R&A chief and World Golf Hall of Famer Sir Michael Bonallack has died at the age of 88

While opting to remain an amateur, Bonallack achieved an 11th place finish at the Open Championship in 1958 and played at the Masters on three ocassions.

He was twice the leading amateur at the Open in 1968 and 1971, with the British golfer leading after the first round at the former, a feat not matched by an amateur for five decades.

Bonallack became one of golf’s leading administrators, serving as the secretary of the Royal and Ancient for 16 years from 1983 to 1999, where he was credited with expanding and modernising the event.

He was also the chairman of the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland for four years and led the European Tour between 1976 and 1982.

Tributes are expected to be paid to Bonallack at the upcoming Ryder Cup. 

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A and Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, led the tributes to Bonallack.

‘We are deeply saddened to hear of Sir Michael’s passing. He made a huge contribution to golf not only as one of the finest amateur golfers in the history of the sport but also as an extremely effective leader and administrator,’ Slumbers said.

‘Sir Michael was the outstanding amateur golfer of his era and his achievements in The Amateur Championship and the Walker Cup will truly stand the test of time. He led The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at a time of change and did so with great courage, enterprise and foresight.

‘In recent years he continued to serve the sport through his work on Committees and I personally am extremely grateful for his gracious guidance and support.

‘He will be a huge loss to all of us in golf but particularly here in St Andrews. On behalf of all at The Royal and Ancient Golf Club and The R&A I would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to the Bonallack family.’

Bonallack received an OBE for for services to golf in 1971 and became the third golfer to be knighted in 1998.

He was a member of Augusta National Golf Club and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.

Bonallack had reportedly been suffering from ill health in recent times but attending the opening ceremony of this month’s Walker Cup match at St Andrews where he was given a standing ovation.

His wife Lady Angela Bonallack, who was also one of Britain’s leading amateur golfers, died last year. 

Source: Read Full Article