May 19, 2024

Ivor Robson, the official starter for the British Open for 41 years, has died at age 83, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club announced Tuesday.

He delivered his famous “on the tee” announcement in his distinctive sing-song tone and Scottish accent for every golfer who played in the Open from 1975-2015, famously avoiding bathroom breaks in order to not miss a tee time.

He also served as the official starter of the PGA European Tour for 40 years.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of Ivor’s passing,” R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said in a statement. “As official starter at The Open for over 40 years, his voice was instantly recognisable and synonymous with the Championship for players and millions of golf fans worldwide.

“He was popular and well respected among all golfers who played in The Open and I know that they will share in our sadness at this news. On behalf of all of us at The R&A, I would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife of 61 years, Lesley, and the Robson family.”

Robson was born and made his home in Moffat, Scotland. Described by the R&A as a “fiercely private man who enjoyed playing when he could at his beloved Moffat Golf Club,” Robson worked his first and last Open championships in his home country, at Carnoustie in 1975 and at St. Andrews in 2015.

“It has been a wonderful career,” he said at the time of his retirement. “It’s been a great honor. The way I have been treated by players, officials, sponsors … thank you all very much.”

Tiger Woods and others posted on social media Tuesday to express their appreciation for Robson, who is said to have announced nearly 19,000 golfers during his career.

“Thank you Ivor for making each one of my Open starts so memorable,” Woods posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Three-time Open champion Gary Player posted: “The voice of the Open Championship. So many incredible memories with Ivor over the years. Rest in Peace, my friend.”

Ian Poulter wrote: “Ivor Robson the Voice of the Open Championship. You sadly have left us today but your voice and happiness hasn’t. #RIP My Friend. First tee memories will last forever.”


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