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Home The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews welcomes a new captain

As summer begins to fade and the days grow shorter, so begins another cycle in both life and golf. As the leaves change color, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club provided its traditional driving-in ceremony for its new Captain. A year ago, Alistair Low a retired actuary and graduate of St Andrews University had the honors. This year it is Pierre Bechmann, a lawyer and member of the Paris Bar. Since 1806 the R&A Captaincy has been an elected office. Previously, the R&A’s ‘Captain of the Golf' was originally determined by the annual Challenge for the Silver Club with the best player on the day becoming Captain for the year. Bechmann is the first Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club from Continental Europe. His role as has been the case with his predecessors, will see him representing The R&A and supporting its work in developing golf around the world. He will attend R&A Championships in the professional and amateur games and assume an ambassadorial role for the Club.

His first order of business was the traditional driving-in ceremony, which took place on the first tee of the Old Course today. His duties called upon a drive at precisely 8am as a cannon fired alongside the tee. A large crowd gathered to witness the ceremony and saw him fire a long drive down the middle of the fairway running to around 30 yards short of the Swilcan Burn. After completing his firs order of business, a relieved Bechmann said, “It is a daunting prospect teeing off in front of such a large gallery but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I am greatly looking forward to my year in office and hope I can contribute to the important work The R&A does for golf around the world. I have been heavily involved in supporting the development of talented young players and I look forward to continuing that work in my new role.”

Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris in 1957, Bechmann has been President of his home club, Golf de Chantilly, since 2010. He is a former member of the R&A’s General Committee, and has served on the Championship and Rules of Golf Committees as well as The R&A Coaching Panel. In 2008/09 he was Captain of Royal St George’s Golf Club. Mr. Bechmann lives in Chantilly and plays to a handicap of nine. He is said to be particularly active in amateur golf, sitting on the Executive Committee of the French Golf Federation and the Championship Committee of the European Golf Association.

As part of the tradition of taking office is a gold sovereign is paid by the new Captain to buy his golf ball back from the caddie who successfully retrieves and returns it. This year’s recipient of the sovereign was Scott Bechelli. The 44 year old from St Andrews said: “I have been caddying here since I was 13 years old and this is a real honor for me. My brother received the sovereign in 2008 so it’s nice to follow him.”