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Eventful term will be defined by a moment

Once he's finished stuffing his pay-off under the mattress, perhaps David Moyes could check out a nice little vacancy in St Andrews?

Peter Dawson with the Open Championship trophy

After 16 years at the helm, Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, will retire in September 2015.

By then, of course, he will either be viewed as the progressive-thinking leader who ended hundreds of years of male only dominance in the R&A or the hapless heid honcho who couldn't break down those long-standing barriers. Will he go out in a blaze of glory or limp away quietly like a wounded animal? The result of this September's vote on whether to allow female members will, ultimately, decide his legacy.

For a career to be defined by one vote is somewhat unfair, given the changes and developments this thoroughly decent man has implemented during his tenure.

The focus and the furore surrounding the single sex issue, however, will no doubt ensure that, whatever the result of the R&A's very own Yes/No vote on Scottish referendum day, Dawson will be inexorably linked to it.

Having succeeded Sir Michael Bonallack as secretary of the R&A in 1999, Dawson, who had forged a career for himself in the engineering industry, has steered the evolution of the game's governing body. He oversaw the division of the private members' club into a separate companies; one to run the Open and conduct its variety of governance responsibilities, the other to concentrate on the needs of the R&A's 2000-odd members.

Dawson's eventful watch has also included the addition of the word 'female' to the Open Championship entry form while the bountiful financial spin-offs from the R&A's flagship championship continue to bolster the growth of the game at all levels, and in all corners of the globe.

He was instrumental in bringing golf back to the Olympics - it will return at the 2016 Games in Rio and Dawson will remain in his post as president of the International Golf Federation until then - and, in cahoots with his counterparts at the United States Golf Association, he unveiled that the two governing bodies would ban the method of anchored putting as of 2016.

Dawson's term in office has certainly not been one of rampant thumb twiddling and kettle boiling.

"You never want to overstay your welcome; if there's ever a hint of that, I'll be gone," said Dawson, during an interview with Herald Sport two years ago.

As far as this year's vote on female members in concerned, Dawson is in the 'Yes' camp. "We are a governing body for the game, for the rules of the game and so on. Society is changing, sport is changing, golf is changing or indeed has changed, and I think it's appropriate for the governing body to take this step."

If the R&A members decide 'No', Dawson may be tempted to bring that retirement date forward.

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