Ask the Referee: Andrew Langford Jones

In the final instalment of our short series interviewing some of the top referees in the game, this month it is the turn of Andrew Langford-Jones (Chief Referee, PGA Tour Australasia) to answer your questions, and to share his vast knowledge and experience of refereeing.

How did you get started in refereeing?

Unlike most Rules referees I became involved more by accident than choice. I became involved back in 1988 when the Director of Tournaments for the Australasian PGA Tour, Trevor Herden rang me up and asked if I would be interested in helping. Basically he needed another set of eyes on course to assist with pace of play. I enjoyed the experience so much it was not long before I had read the Rule book from cover to cover and with the practical experience I soon became a fulltime Rules Official on the Tour. In 2002 Trevor moved on and I now hold the position that he previously held. Trevor now holds the position of Director of Championships for Golf Australia.

What do you enjoy most and least about your job?

Most. Working with elite sportsmen in any area is great fun and being involved on a day to day basis with the best in your field is a most rewarding experience. The people I have met in this job are also extraordinary. Apart from the golfers I have also been lucky enough to meet people from all walks of life and other sports. People such as Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana, Prince Andrew, three American Presidents, sportsmen such as Jordon, Botham, Ponting, and of course several Australian Prime Ministers. The list goes on. Golf is a great equaliser.

Least. Definitely the travel and hotel rooms and the time spent away from the family. Often people will remark to me that I have the best job in the world. Maybe I have, but at times the thought of another hotel or plane trip is quite depressing.

Are you a good golfer? Does it help to be a good golfer to be a good referee?

Good is Tiger, Scott and McIlroy. Alright golfer is probably a more appropriate term to describe my ability. I have always managed to keep a single figure handicap and while I don’t think it is totally necessary, it does help in assessing whether a players shot is reasonable or not. Well, in theory it should.

I remember back in my early days I had a ruling with Jean Van de Velde. After assessing all the information at hand I denied him relief on the basis I did not believe his choice of shot was reasonable under the circumstances. Jean wanted to hit a shot through a small hole in the tree canopy. I denied him and Jean went ahead and played the perfect shot. As he left the area he turned, pointed at me, and said, “Don’t you ever put your ability on my