Scudamore returns to sporting arena at new Ryder Cup Committee

The European Tour has today (Thursday) named former Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and Premiership Rugby chairman Ian Ritchie to a new body designed to drive the commercial and brand value of golf’s Ryder Cup.

The European Tour is the managing partner of Ryder Cup Europe and has formed the Ryder Cup Committee, which will be chaired by Sir Damon Buffini, a non-executive director on the European Tour board who made his name as founder and managing partner of European private equity firm Permira.

Scudamore’s appointment to the committee represents his first paid role since leaving his position as head of the top division of English club football at the end of 2018. The Premier League has yet to find a permanent replacement for Scudamore after Susanna Dinnage in December made the shock move of backtracking on her decision to take up the post, instead opting to remain with US media giant Discovery.

Along with Buffini, Scudamore and Ritchie, formerly chief executive of the Rugby Football Union and the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the Ryder Cup Committee will comprise European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and Guy Kinnings, European Tour deputy chief executive, Ryder Cup director and chief commercial officer. Paul McGinley, European Tour board member and Europe’s victorious 2014 Ryder Cup captain, has also been appointed to the committee.

The European Tour said that while Ryder Cup has demonstrated substantial growth over the past two decades and since its inception in 1927, there are opportunities to grow revenues and profits from the 2022 tournament in Italy and beyond.

This will include closer collaboration with the PGA of America, managing partner of the Ryder Cup in the United States, through the expansion of the worldwide partner and supplier programme. The Committee will also oversee investment in Ryder Cup infrastructure to enhance delivery in key areas including sales, hospitality, ticketing and merchandise.

European Tour chairman David Williams said: “The success of the 2018 Ryder Cup in France demonstrated the global appeal of the modern-day Ryder Cup, but there remains significant growth potential. This Committee will look at ways of optimising that while also protecting the contest’s rich heritage.

“In many ways, the Ryder Cup Committee mirrors precisely what we have on the board of the European Tour in terms of a balance between sports professionals and business leaders. It is also illustrative of the best practices of corporate governance that I am proud we have initiated in recent years.

“I am delighted to welcome Ian and Richard to the Committee. They will bring valuable insight from their time in the business of other sports, to add to the considerable golfing expertise brought by Paul, Keith and Guy. And in Sir Damon, who has worked alongside me on the European Tour board since 2015, the Committee has a chairman who is one of the most experienced businessmen in the country.”

A record 270,000 fans attended Le Golf National on the outskirts of Paris last September to witness Europe triumph 17 ½ – 10 ½ over the United States. The three-day match was broadcast over 40 global television networks to a total household reach of some 620 million. There were also more than 22 billion social media impressions across the week – the highest in the event’s history.