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Ken Schofield to retire after 29 years in charge

European Tour executive director Ken Schofield is planning to retire from his position after 29 years at the helm, the tour said on Tuesday.

"Ken will have considered discussions with the European Tour board of directors, who will next meet on December 11 prior to making any further statement," Mitchell Platts, director of corporate affairs and public relations, told Reuters.

"I can confirm he is considering moving to one side, but I would think that Ken would be working as hard in his 30th year with the tour in 2004 as he did in his first year."

Schofield, 57, succeeded John Jacobs as executive director on January 1, 1975 and has been instrumental in upping the tour's annual prize fund from 430,000 pounds ($720,700) to a record 72 million pounds ($120.7 million) this season.

Under his guidance, the European Tour has become financially secure and a prime target for companies wishing to become involved with sponsorship in sport.

Prize money and overall conditions for players competing on the tour have also been considerably enhanced.

Although the PGA Tour in the United States has always set the global standard, the European Tour has closed the gap during Schofield's period in charge.

"Nothing lasts forever," Schofield was quoted as saying in Tuesday's Daily Telegraph.

"I've been in the post for nearly 30 years and the right route, now, is for me to think about it over the next few weeks before deliberating with the board in December."

Schofield's successor as European Tour supremo is expected to be George O'Grady, the current deputy executive director.

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