Tributes have been paid to Douglas Sewell, winner of the inaugural PGA Professional Championship and member of the first Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team, who has passed away at the age of 87.
Sewell, who was granted Honorary Life Membership of The PGA in 1994, enjoyed a successful career as an amateur before turning professional.
He represented Great Britain & Ireland in the Walker Cup in 1957 and 1959 as well as the Eisenhower Trophy a year later. In the latter event’s individual competition he was runner up to the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
Sewell won the Brabazon Trophy in 1957 and followed that with victory in the English Amateur Championship a year later. He then repeated the sequence in the subsequent two years.
His first role after becoming a professional in 1961 was as an Assistant to Tom Haliburton at the Wentworth Club. He remained there for six years before succeeding four time Ryder Cup player Percy Alliss as head PGA Professional at Ferndown in Dorset.
Sewell’s best achievement as a professional came in the Martini International at Conwy Golf Club, Wales, in 1970, when he tied for first place with Australia’s Peter Thomson. In doing so he joined a list of winners that includes Sir Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros.
He also played in the Open Championship, finishing tied 20th at Muirfield in 1966 and fifth of Britain’s representation at Royal Birkdale in 1971.
As a proud PGA Professional, Sewell made history by becoming the first winner of the PGA Professional Championships back in 1973 at Calcot Park. He repeated his victory at the same venue in 1975 and remains one of only six to have won the event twice.
Sewell, who played in the three PGA Cup matches, spent 27 years at Ferndown before retiring in 1994.
He went on to become club president at Ferndown and was granted honorary membership of the club where he continued to play.
Sewell, who passed away in Bournemouth earlier this month after a prolonged period of ill health, leaves behind his widow Carol also a long term member of Ferndown Golf Club. Sadly their two children are no longer with us.
Ian Walton, General Manager at Ferndown Golf Club, said: “Doug was a great supporter of the juniors at Ferndown Golf Club and donated the Doug Sewell Bowl. He would attend the juniors’ annual prize giving evening and personally congratulate each and every winner.
“He was also a keen supporter of the adult members with several competitions named in his honour. The Sewell salver mixed foursomes matchplay would see Doug walking the fairway with the players and reminiscing with them afterwards over a cup of tea and cake.
“More recently he donated the salver he won in the Martini International as the annual trophy for a mixed greensomes competed for by the members on Easter Monday. Whilst a private man Doug will be remembered fondly by all who knew him and will be sorely missed.”
Robert Maxfield, Chief Executive of the PGA, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Doug Sewell’s passing at the weekend.
“Doug will always be remembered for representing his country in no fewer than three PGA Cup meetings and of course his name is etched in the history books as the first winner of the PGA Professional Championship.
“He will be fondly remembered by those who watched him play, those he taught and all those who had the privilege to know him.”
David Wright, Heritage & Member Support Executive, added: “The timing of Doug’s death has added poignancy during PGA Cup week, bearing in mind he played such a significant role in the competition in its early days.
“He will be sadly missed by friends, professionals and those in the amateurs alike having also represented Great Britain & Ireland in two Walker Cup matches, including 1959 against what many feel was the greatest American Walker Cup side, which included Jack Nicklaus.”
Tribute by Professional Golfers Association