One of golf’s most influential men, John Jacobs, dies aged 91

Englishman was a former Ryder Cup captain and key figure behind start of European Tour

John Jacobs of England poses for a photograph next to a charcoal drawing of himself at his home on July 3rd, 2012 in Lyndhurst, England. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

John Jacobs, who helped found the European Tour and was twice European Ryder Cup captain, has died at the age of 91.

Born in Woodsetts, Yorkshire, Jacobs led the Ryder Cup teams in 1979 and 1981, which were the first two competitions to feature a combined European side. His death was announced on the European Tour website.

In 1954, Jacobs led the calls for the modernisation of the game, to include an increase and better distribution of prize funds.

Jacobs took up the role of tournament director-general of the PGA Executive Committee in October 1971 and would go on to establish a ‘Continental Swing’ which embraced the French, German and Spanish Opens, with the latter becoming the first official European Tour event at Pals Golf Club in Girona during April 1972.


Recalling the developments during an interview which marked the European Tour’s 40th anniversary, Jacobs said: “If you look at where the Tour started when Ken (Schofield) took over and where it was when he left, it is almost unbelievable, and George (O’Grady) followed that on by moving things even further forward.

“Great credit must go to both of them.”

Jacobs was made an OBE in 1997 and in 2000 was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.