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Duke of York to captain R&A in 2003

THE Duke of York is to captain the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews for the year 2003-2004, to coincide with the club’s 250th anniversary.

The Duke, a keen golfer with a handicap of seven, is an honorary member of the R&A along with his father the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of Kent.

The Duke of York was previously linked with the post for this year to mark the new millennium. The news of his nomination now is seen by some as a major coup for both the club and the town, and follows the recent announcement that Prince William is to begin his studies at St Andrews University next year. The Duke will be the fifth member of the Royal family to be R&A captain since the late 19th century.

Traditionally, the new captain is not announced until May of the preceding year after a decision is taken by past captains, who hold discussions to consider likely candidates.

Explaining the unprecedented early decision, Peter Dawson, secretary of the R&A, said: "The nomination of His Royal Highness as captain for the year 2003-2004 has caused the past captains to bring forward this announcement to facilitate the administration of the special events planned in celebration of this occasion."

The Duke of York is a regular visitor to St Andrews and has taken part in several of the club’s competitions. He attended the Millennium Open Championship over the Old Course in July.

He became a member of the club in 1992 and currently serves on the R&A’s Amateur Status Committee.

As captain of the R&A, the Duke of York will be required to take part in the tradition of playing himself into office by driving off the first ball on the final day of the club’s autumn medal meeting over the championship Old Course. It is a ceremony which dates back to the early 1830s.



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