Legendary golf writer dies aged 96

Former newspaper editor and respected golf writer Alan Booth, who worked at The Open for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 96.

Booth, who was at St Andrews for The Open just last year, used his celebrated shorthand skills to cover player interviews in the Media Centre and became a well-known figure to both press and R&A staff.

He started his eight decade career in journalism as a messenger with the Daily Mail in Manchester, eventually rising to become editor of the Herts Advertiser until his retirement in the mid-1970s.

However, a passion for golf led him to embark on a second career as a freelance golf writer and he got to know many of the greats including Sir Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros as he travelled the world following the game.

He continued to cover The Open into his 90s and even drove the 1,000 mile round trip himself to Turnberry for the 2009 Open Championship.

David Birtill, freelance writer and former Golf Correspondent at the Manchester Evening News, said: “The last time I was in Alan Booth's company was during The Open at St Andrews in 2010.

“At 95, no-one was likely to dispute his exalted position as not only the most senior journalist in the Media Centre but probably the oldest in history to cover The Open!

“Alan confided in me that he would not be at Royal St George's this year - and he was true to his word. ‘It's nothing to do with my age,’ he stressed. ‘That's just a number but I guess I know it's time to stop’."

Booth, who lived for many years in St Albans with his late wife Isobel, was living in Garston at the time of his death from pneumonia at Watford General Hospital.