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Golf News: - Posted 24th March 1998

European Tour mourns the death of Laddie Lucas

In the pioneering days of the European Tour when every sign of support counted for the future of professional tournament golf, it was an amateur, Percy Belgrave "Laddie" Lucas, who contributed one fo the most selfless and vital acts of encouragement.

But Laddie's death, of cancer, on Friday 20th March, 82 years after his birth in the clubhouse at Princes, Sandwich, where his father was a co-founder, saddens more than the Tour, for every corner and level of golf benfitted from his inspiring influence.

When, in 1971, John Jacob's fellow tournament professionals took the first steps to forming an autonmous Tour and asked him to lead the way as their Director General, he was deeply involved in a major business partnership with Laddie for the building of public golf centres.

Instead of seeing the approach as a severe personal problem. however, Laddie said: "John you must do it for the good of the game." Jacobs accepted his advice, and the job, and the Tour was born to flourish ever since.

As an outstanding left-handed player (British Boys' Champion to Walker Cup captain), an administrator (Sports Council) gifted with great perception (he fought for the introduction of the big ball, guaranteeing it would raise standards which it has), courageous fighter pilot in the Second World War, member of Parliament, Fleet Street journalist (Sunday Express) and author, Laddie touched the heights in many spheres of life. And he made countless friends in all of them.

At his death, Laddie Lucas, CBE, DSO, DFC, was still proudly serving as a vice president of both the Golf Foundation and the Association of Golf Writers.

"Laddie was a unique person, a hero for me," says Jacobs. "He made a huge contribution to golf as a forthright and honest man who was always madly thrilled when we, the Tour, did well."

Golf in general and the Tour in particular, was fortunate to have such a friend and supporter.