May 6, 2020 / 7:54 PM / 20 days ago

Pandemic leads R&A to break with tradition over captaincy

FILE PHOTO: General view of the clubhouse during a practice round ahead of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The COVID-19 pandemic has led the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews to break with tradition and nominate, for only the second time in 266 years, its captain to serve for two successive terms.

Clive Edginton, 68, took office last September but the club said in a statement that past captains had nominated him to continue “due to the disruption” caused by the new coronavirus.

The only other captain to serve successive terms at the club founded in 1754 was Major John Murray Belshes, who held the position in 1835 and 1836.

The role is mainly ambassadorial, supporting the R&A in developing golf around the world and attending its professional and amateur championships.

This year’s 149th Open Championship due to be held at Royal St George’s has been cancelled because of the pandemic.

The 2021 event was to have been held at St Andrews but will now return to the ‘home of golf’ in 2022 with St George’s hosting it next year instead.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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