“Quite simply, JP was the Tour.”
European golf has lost one of its all-time greats. John Paramor (pictured above right) has gone to that great rules office in the sky.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who shed a few wee tears upon hearing the news that this great man, this gentle giant, had passed away aged just 67. Seve Ballesteros, another legend taken too soon, once said the European Tour was like one big family. Those of us who were fortunate enough to know JP feel as if we’ve lost a member of that family.
Many golf fans will remember JP from their TV screens as the man who refused Seve Ballesteros relief during the 1994 Volvo Masters at Valderrama. He was the rules official called in to sort out Jordan Spieth’s practice ground predicament in the final round of the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Those of us lucky enough to call him friend will remember him for his generosity of spirit.
Myself and others golf journalists were lucky enough to share a few meals, a few glasses of red wine with JP over the years. No wonder he was a unanimous choice and a hugely popular winner of the 2018 Association of Golf Writers Outstanding Services to Golf award.
He could play too. He was a former Surrey Amateur champion, and I saw why during a round with him at San Roque many years ago.
JP contributed hugely to my understanding of the Rules of Golf. I don’t know how many times I asked him for clarification of a certain rule, both at tournaments and over the phone. He never refused me. Indeed, he usually ended every conversation with the words, “Any time Ali” after I’d thanked him for his help.
Not just me, he was only too willing to help anyone who took the time to seek him out and ask him about the rules of golf.
Fellow former chief referee and JP’s good friend Andy McFee (pictured above left) put it best when he said:
“He was such a kind, knowledgeable man who was always available to help you.”
McFee also said JP…
“…was a huge influence worldwide. He was the finest, fairest referee in the world whose word all players respected absolutely. He mentored all referees on all Tours and gave them support, confidence and made them better. He was simply the best.”
I was privileged to sit and pass the R&A Rules of Golf and Referring Exam at St Andrews many moons ago. JP gave a presentation during the three days of seminars and workshops preceding the exam. There were over 60 delegates from golf unions and associations around the world. JP seemed to have time for all of them.
And players too. He treated every player the same, with fairness. As David Garland, the European Tour group’s Director of Tour Operations, said:
“He was hugely respected the world over by players, caddies, officials and officialdom – they may not have always agreed with him, but the respect was always there.”
Paramor had been with the tour since 1976 – he was the Tour’s sixth employee – until his retirement in 2020. As Garland said:
“Quite simply, JP was the Tour.”
RIP JP. You were the best.
#JustSaying: “‘Legend’ is a word used too often in sport but in terms of golf, and the administration of the rules of our sport, it perfectly describes John Paramor.” European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley
Photograph by Getty Images courtesy of the European Tour