Ivor Robson, whose familiar Scottish accent became as synonymous with The Open as the Claret Jug and the deep heather of the links courses, has died, the R&A announced Tuesday. He was 83.
Robson introduced 18,995 players, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, on the first tee as the official starter at The Open from 1975 to 2015. Fans flocked to the No. 1 tee box at Open Championship venues to hear his famous “On the tee …” introductions.
Most impressively, Robson never took a break from the first tee time to the last at 41 straight tournaments.
Ivor Robson. 1940 – 2023.
A voice synonymous with The Open. pic.twitter.com/NTEvkrggQl
— The Open (@TheOpen) October 17, 2023
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Ivor’s passing,” R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said in a statement. “As [the] official starter at The Open for over 40 years, his voice was instantly recognizable and synonymous with the Championship for players and millions of golf fans worldwide. He was popular and well respected among all golfers who played in The Open and I know that they will share in our sadness at this news.”
Robson, from Moffat, Scotland, started his career at The Open at Carnoustie in Scotland in 1975. He retired after The Open at St. Andrews in Scotland in 2015. He also worked for the DP World Tour and at Ryder Cups.
“It has been a wonderful career,” Robson said at his last Open Championship. “It’s been a great honor. The way I have been treated by players, officials, sponsors … thank you all very much.
“I feel you can’t go on forever, and if you’re going to step off, there’s no better place to do it than here. I’ve had some nice ones, but this is special, St. Andrews. It is just magnificent.”
South Africa’s Gary Player, who won The Open in three different decades, in 1959, 1968 and 1974, also honored Robson on social media, writing that he had “so many incredible memories with Ivor over the years. Rest in Peace, my friend.”