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Schofield confirms retirement from Tour

Ken Schofield, one of the longest-serving administrators in any sport, has confirmed he will step down after completing 30 years as the executive director of the European Tour in 12 months' time. George O'Grady, the deputy executive director, will succeed him.

In Schofield's first season in 1975, there were 17 events with prize money of under £430,000. Last season there were 45 tournaments worth over £71m.

The former bank manager confirmed to a joint meeting of the board of directors and the tournament committee earlier this month his intention to retire. It was unanimously agreed to invite O'Grady to take over.

With a background in marketing and stockbroking, O'Grady, 54, joined the European Tour as a tournament director in 1974. He later became Schofield's No 2 and played a part in the success of the circuit by running the Tour Enterprises arm and overseeing the Tour Productions operation.

European Ryder Cup and major championship victories helped boost the Tour in the 1980s, and a decade later it further developed through the introduction of worldwide television coverage, including on the Golf Channel in the United States.

Schofield, who is fiercely determined to get his way, was not always popular and only three years ago fought off an attack on his administration by four leading players, including Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros. But the Scot is happier at leaving now that matters are more stable.

"To stand aside is always difficult, but 30 years is a long time, indeed a rare privilege, and to go beyond would be selfish," he said. "The Tour today is stable and will continue to progress and can be in no better hands than with George leading a talented management team."