Guy Kinnings is in line to become the next European Tour chief executive after today’s announcement that he’s leaving IMG to become European Tour Deputy CEO and Ryder Cup Director.
Kinnings should step seamlessly into the top job when current incumbent Keith Pelley moves on. Anyone who can handle Colin Montgomerie on a daily basis should be able to cope with leading the Euro Tour.
Currently IMG’s Senior Vice President and Chairman of Golf, Kinnings is one of the most respected men in European golf. He’s worked for IMG since 1989, during which time he’s managed Montgomerie, European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and many other big names, as well as promoting important European Tour events such as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Ricoh Women’s British Open and others.
The Englishman is set to replace Richard Hills as European Ryder Cup director when Hills retires after this year’s match.
“To bring someone of Guy Kinnings’ undisputed experience to the European Tour is a massive coup,” Pelley said. “His experience in the Ryder Cup, stretching back over a quarter of a century is unparalleled and his business know-how is equal to that.”
Kinnings was rumoured to become the next European Tour CEO when George O’Grady retired three years ago. He was also linked with the top job at the R&A when Peter Dawson retired in 2015.
Appointing Kinnings to the look after the Ryder Cup is a shrewd business decision. Cash from the biennial match is what keeps the European Tour afloat.
“I have watched with interest the remarkable changes that have taken place in recent times and I see The Ryder Cup at the heart of future growth,” Kinnings said. “Over twenty-five years in the game has given me an insight into the power of The Ryder Cup.”
Kinnings’ appointment should provide a seamless future for the Tour when Pelley moves on. The Canadian hasn’t averaged long in his previous roles with Rogers Media, Canada’s Olympic broadcast media consortium and the Toronto Argonauts. Pelley was challenged at two board meetings last year about his long-term future with the tour, amid concerns his tenure was going to be shorter rather than longer.