The R&A

David Rickman to retire from The R&A in 2024

The R&A
28 Nov 23
3 mins

One of the most widely respected figures in golf, David Rickman, is to retire from The R&A in 2024.

After what will be 37 years of employment with the St Andrews-based governing body, Rickman will bring an end to a long and successful career in golf administration next October. As an expert Rules official, he will have refereed at almost 130 prestigious events in golf by the time he retires. In serving as Chief Referee at The Open next year at Royal Troon, Rickman will mark his 34th Open Championship as a Rules official and 28th as Chief Referee. His final R&A championship will be the AIG Women’s Open at St Andrews in August. Rickman has also been a consistent presence at other major championships and prestigious professional and amateur events around the world, including working as part of the Rules teams at 16 Masters Tournaments, 15 US Opens, seven AIG Women’s Opens, 21 BMW PGA Championships and 15 Walker Cups. In his time at The R&A, Rickman has worked closely with the USGA and been involved in some of the most significant governance initiatives in the history of the game including the modernisation of the Rules of Golf in 2019 and subsequently the Rules of Amateur Status, in Equipment Standards the Joint Statement of Principles in 2004 and the Distance Insights project as well as the introduction of the World Handicap System in 2020. He has also overseen the production of eight editions of the Rules of Golf which are usually published quadrennially.

Future of The R&A in safe hands

“It has been a privilege to work in a sport I love for a special organisation like The R&A and to have been involved in so many important and progressive governance initiatives,” he said. “I have worked with a wide range of talented and dedicated people and experienced some of the finest golf events and venues in the world. I am extremely grateful to those who gave me a chance initially and to everyone who has worked with me and supported me over the years. I’m looking forward to being able to play more golf and enjoy more time with my family. I know that the future of The R&A is in safe hands.”
As an expert Rules official, he will have refereed at almost 130 prestigious events in golf by the time he retires including the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

37 years at The R&A

Born in St Andrews and educated at Madras College, Rickman graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Business Studies and Accountancy.  He returned to St Andrews and joined The R&A in 1987 before taking over as head of the Rules department at the end of 1995. Rickman served as The R&A's Executive Director – Governance from 1996 to the end of 2022 and led its governance functions – the Rules of Golf, Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and Handicapping. Since 2016, he has been The R&A's Chief of Staff, with responsibility for the HR and Facilities departments. In January 2023 he was also appointed to lead on the development of the new R&A staff building at St Andrews West. A planning application was submitted last week and the building is scheduled to open in 2026.

One of the most respected figures in golf

Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A, said, “David has been at the heart of The R&A and so influential in all that we do for so long that it is hard to believe he will be leaving us next year. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with him and I have benefited enormously from his expertise, knowledge, wise counsel and friendship in my time here. He is undoubtedly one of the most respected figures in golf and will be greatly missed not only by all of us in St Andrews but by many, many people throughout the golfing world. On behalf of all us at The R&A and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, I would like to thank David for all his hard work and dedication over many years and wish him the very best for his retirement when it comes next year.”