Kinnings takes over as European Tour Group CEO

Fatiha Betscher

Guy Kinnings (Image: Getty Images)

Fatiha Betscher

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Guy Kinnings has officially begun his new role as the European Tour Group’s Chief Executive Officer, declaring he looks to help bring unity and alignment to the current controversy-plagued ancient club and ball game.

Kinnings, who succeeds Keith Pelley, has been the European Tour Group’s Deputy CEO, Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Director – Ryder Cup since 2018, and now becomes only the fifth person in the CEO position since the Tour was established in 1972.

Prior to joining the European Tour Kinnings worked for near on 30-years with management giant IMG, and among his then duties was managing the affairs of eight-time European Tour No. 1 Colin Montgomerie.

The 60-year-old Kinnnings could not be stepping into the role at a more troubled time in the history of men’s professional golf with no resolution as yet to the events that rocked the game nearly three years ago.

However if there is any advantage in Kinnings taking over from Pelley it is that Kinnings has been by Pelley’s side since LIV Golf kicked off in June 2022, while Kinnings has also been a party to dealings with the PIF Fund that all golf fans hope with help mend the many broken bridges.

“Today is a very proud day for me and my family. It is a real privilege to become the Chief Executive of the European Tour Group and it is a responsibility I do not take lightly”, said Kinnings.

“Our Tour has such a wonderful history, and I am delighted to have this opportunity to help shape the next exciting phase in its evolution.

“I have been working closely with our players, our Board, our partners and our staff over the past six years and I feel we have a great opportunity to look forward and to focus on unity and alignment in the game. There has been a shift in our sport to a more global mindset and that is something, as golf’s global Tour, that we welcome.

“We have a widely recognised international footprint, stemming from 50 years of building relationships and staging tournaments in many different countries and continents and this allows us to appeal to golf fans from a wide variety of different backgrounds and demographics. We very much look forward to continuing that.”

Eric Nicoli, Chairman of the European Tour Group, said: “This is a hugely significant day for the European Tour Group as a whole and on behalf of the entire Board, I am delighted to welcome Guy to the role of CEO.

“He is vastly experienced, is hugely respected throughout the golf industry and has strong relationships right across our sport. Our deliberate and purposeful succession planning will ensure a seamless transition in our leadership at this pivotal time in the evolution of the men’s professional game.

“We are looking forward to working closely with Guy to take advantage of the opportunities that await us, and to take our Tour to even greater heights on behalf of the entirety of our membership.”

Kinnings has been an influential figure in golf for more than three decades. A law graduate from University of Oxford, he left Freshfields law firm to join IMG’s legal team in London in 1989 and moved to its golf division in 1991 where he worked with some of the world’s leading players in the professional game.

He went on to become IMG’s Senior International Vice President and Global Head of Golf, leading the company’s worldwide golf business comprising both clients and events, as well as managing its key relationships with all governing bodies and brands involved with the sport.

He joined the European Tour Group prior to the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in France and as Executive Director – Ryder Cup, he has overseen the growth of the biennial contest’s Worldwide Partner programme.

Kinnings also had overall responsibility for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome – the most successful edition to be staged in Europe – as Luke Donald’s European Team defeated the United States 16½-11½ at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

As Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Commercial Officer, he also oversaw the growth of the Tour’s commercial operation.

Alongside the Board and the Executive Leadership Team, he helped to secure the Strategic Alliance with the PGA TOUR in 2020 which has helped grow the DP World Tour prize funds to record levels. He was also central to the ground-breaking agreement for DP World to become the title partner of the main Tour at the start of the 2022 season.

Kinnings follows John Jacobs (1972-1975), Ken Schofield (1975 – 2004), George O’Grady (2005-2015) and Keith Pelley (2015-2024) in the CEO role.

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