The International Golf Federation Board convened a virtual meeting yesterday focused on long-term strategic planning and progress toward next summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Originally scheduled for the Olympic House in Lausanne but moved online due to the continued impact of COVID-19, the Board was addressed by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on the status of the Olympic movement and then followed by IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell, who provided updates and answered questions regarding preparations for Tokyo. The overarching message was one of determination and confidence that the Olympic competition will proceed as scheduled with particular focus on health, safety and the simplification and reduction of the complexity of the Games. The Board expressed support and a shared commitment to deliver the golf competition with safety for the athletes and all involved a top priority.
During his presentation at the beginning of the meeting, Bach recognized and thanked outgoing IGF President Peter Dawson for his 10 years of leadership and service. Dawson notified the Board that he would not seek reappointment when his current two-year term expires at the end of the year.
In light of Dawson’s decision, the IGF Board has elected Annika Sorenstam as the IGF President, effective January 1, 2021.
“It has been a great pleasure and privilege to serve as IGF President,” Dawson said. “Golf’s reinstatement to the Olympic programme was a landmark for our sport and it was a true thrill to witness our return at Rio 2016. Our Olympic status has been a strong catalyst for increasing cooperation and coordination between the major organisations in golf and has significantly strengthened the bonds between the IGF and our National Federations.
“My thanks go to so many people in golf and in the Olympic family for their support over the past 10 years,” he added. “Their help and goodwill have been invaluable. I wish my successor, Annika Sorenstam, every success. The IGF could not be in better hands.”
IGF Board Chairman Jay Monahan commended Dawson for his decade of service with the IGF.
“On behalf of the IGF Board, I want to extend our sincere gratitude to Peter for the outstanding job he has done over the past decade on behalf of the IGF, including helping to assure golf’s highly successful return to the Olympic Games,” said Monahan, Commissioner of the PGA TOUR. “Peter has had a distinguished career dedicated to the growth of golf and the IGF has been fortunate to have him as such a strong advocate.
“With Peter’s impending departure, we are thrilled to have someone as accomplished and universally respected as Annika Sorenstam to move into the role as IGF President. As a generational talent in women’s golf, Annika played a prominent role in golf’s successful Olympic bid by serving as a Global Ambassador with Jack Nicklaus and since retiring from competition, has been dedicated to promoting women’s golf at all levels through her foundation. She is the ideal person to succeed Peter in this role.”
“Peter did a great job the last 10 years as IGF President and I am humbled and honored to have been asked to succeed him,” Sorenstam said. “As an international player, having golf back in the Olympics means so much to me and to our sport. I very much look forward to working with the Board, the IOC and the governing bodies of golf in their efforts to continue to grow the game globally.”
In addition to naming Sorenstam as the new IGF President, the Board appointed PGA TOUR executive Ty Votaw to another term as IGF Vice President.
In other business:
- The Board approved the IGF’s Strategic Business Plan for 2021-28 and a budget for 2021. The Business Plan reflects the culmination of a 12-month process of consultation, input and guidance from the IGF Board and the IGF Administration. The plan lists the IGF’s key strategic priorities and outlines the activities it will deliver going forward and the finances required to do this.
- Beyond receiving an update on planning and preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the Board received an update on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
- The Board also approved the revised version of its Policies and Charters, following the IGF Administration’s recent, thorough review of its governance and Policies and Charters to ensure they comply with statutory requirements, the IGF’s commitments with the Olympic Charter and in response to the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations’ third review of the IGF’s governance.