There was sad news in the golf world this week when one of the game’s most respected referees, John Paramor, died at the age of 67.
Paramor worked as a referee for 44 years on the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) before retiring in 2020, and in that time built a reputation as one of the best in the game.
Not surprisingly, the news that he had passed away on Friday due to an unspecified illness left the golf world shocked and saddened. PGA Tour players wore black ribbons to honour him during the third round of the Genesis Invitational, while a minute’s silence was held before the start of the third round of the Thailand Classic on the DP World Tour.
Many key figures in the game paid personal tributes to the Englishman, too. Following Tiger Woods’ second round at Riviera Country Club, the 15-time Major winner spoke to the press and expressed his shock at the news, describing Paramor as one of the all-time best rules officials.
When asked about Paramor’s passing, the 47-year-old said: “I did not know that. One of the all-time best rules officials. John was around when I first turned pro and had been a staple obviously on the European Tour and all the World Golf Championships, when he came over here and was a rules official. Just a great guy. I’m a little bit taken back by that.”
Rory McIlroy, speaking at the same tournament, explained Paramor would be warmly remembered by everyone in the game. He said: “Even before I came on Tour, John was a beloved character within the game of golf and I got to know him quite well over the past few years. And yeah, it’s really sad. He was always a friendly face to see out on Tour and I always loved my conversations with him, so yeah, it’s a sad day and he’ll be very fondly remembered by the whole golf community.”
Shane Lowry had equally warm words for Paramor. He said: “It came as a shock to me, it’s very sad for everyone. It’s obviously very sad for his family and everyone on the DP World Tour and to be honest I wish John was out there today. The pace of play might have been a bit better. He was always a great man at keeping the pace of play going well and yeah, he was a great referee and just a great person.”
Players pay their tributes to John Paramor. pic.twitter.com/givqS9X0aTFebruary 18, 2023
Tommy Fleetwood is another competing in this week’s tournament in Los Angeles, and said: “He was such a staple part of the tour and somebody that you looked up to. He it was just a great person to be around.”
Elsewhere, 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn paid his own warm tribute to Paramor, describing him as a father figure. He said: “John was head referee when I came out and as a young player I think more importantly, more than just as a referee and just a member of staff on the Tour, he very easily became a father figure for a lot of young players.
“I can’t think of anyone within the European Tour that’s probably put an imprint on the game of golf as much as John Paramor. That probably says the most about him. He did a lot fpr the game of golf but he lived it well and he was always part of our family and he’ll always be a part of our hearts in the future.”
Others paid tribute on Twitter. LIV Golf player Graeme McDowell wrote: “Sad loss for golf with the passing of John Paramor. He was a great man who had a huge impact on my golf career and I’m thankful for his leadership and the ever present fairness he did a difficult job with. Thoughts and prayers with his family.”
Sad loss for golf with the passing of John Paramore. He was a great man who had a huge impact on my golf career and I’m thankful for his leadership and the ever present fairness he did a difficult job with. Thoughts and prayers with his family. pic.twitter.com/cmKUAwLsFcFebruary 17, 2023
Another LIV Golf player, Patrick Reed, also shared his thoughts on Twitter, writing: “Very sad to hear the news of Mr. John Paramor’s passing… he was an official who was so well respected by all players. May you rest in peace. We send our deepest condolences to your family and loved ones.”
Very sad to hear the news of Mr. John Paramor’s passing… he was an official who was so well respected by all players. May you rest in peace. We send our deepest condolences to your family and loved ones. https://t.co/wcKWj8Ew2gFebruary 18, 2023
Former World No.2 Colin Montgomerie also used Twitter to write: “Very sad to hear of the passing of JP as he was known to us all. The world of golf will miss a great referee and a fine man. My thoughts are with Katie and his family.”
Very sad to hear of the passing of JP as he was known to us all. The world of golf will miss a great referee and a fine man. My thoughts are with Katie and his family. https://t.co/jvKClpgw0gFebruary 17, 2023
Other Twitter tributes came from players including Scott Hend, Adrian Otaegui and Ross Fisher as the golf world united to honour one of the most respected figures in the game.