The Confederation of Professional Golf’s prestigious Christer Lindberg Bowl has been awarded to former Ryder Cup Match Director Edward Kitson in recognition of his enormous behind-the-scenes impact on the development of the Ryder Cup across a career spanning 15 renewals of the biannual matches.
His Ryder Cup career began just a few weeks before the 1989 Ryder Cup at The Belfry and developed into the role of Match Director which he fulfilled from the 2010 matches at Celtic Manor through to Whistling Straits in 2021. Most recently he assumed the role of Match Director for the hugely successful 2023 Junior Ryder Cup staged at Golf Nazionale and Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Italy.
Kitson collected the award that recognises significant and impactful service to golf at 2023 CPG Annual Awards Supported By Rolex that took place at Fontana in Austria, as part of the CPG Learning & Performance Summit.
He said: “It’s a great honour and I am incredibly humbled to win this award following on from so many illustrious past winners. It’s all about the team of colleagues that I’ve been lucky enough to work with on the delivery of the Ryder Cup for many years. I’ve had great times with them, and when it comes to the Ryder Cup itself, then when it finishes on Sunday it’s the relief and the enjoyment we all have right at the end that makes it so special.”
Starting off as a caddie for Tour Professionals Bill Longmuir and Barry Lane, Kitson was able to work as a runner during the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth after which he was offered the opportunity to work on the 1989 Ryder Cup. Since then, along with roles inside European Tour Properties and European Golf Design, he has been a part of the Ryder Cup makeup and Championship Management Department across a huge number of events.
The 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama marked a large step in Kitson’s journey when he took on the role of Staging Director, and he has since gone on to be a significant influence in the development of the matches in general. Elements such as the spectator experience, hospitality, transport and logistics, venue management and even the golf course itself have been elevated to a level that sees the Ryder Cup as one of the top sporting events in the world and a significant lasting legacy of his impact on the event.
2018 was a clear highlight of his Ryder Cup career where, as Match Director, he led Ryder Cup Europe to host a game-changing event under his leadership. While 2023 saw a change of role, but the same hugely successful delivery of the Junior Ryder Cup where Team Europe won the event for the first time since 2004.
Kitson joins a significant list of recipients of the Christer Lindberg Bowl, many of whom he worked with both at Ryder Cup Europe, the European Tour and through the various matches he was a part of, including Neil Coles, Emma Villaceiros, Jaime Ortiz-Patino, John Jacobs, George O’Grady, John Paramor, as well as other key figures in global golf.
Ken Schofield, another winner of the Christer Lindberg Bowl Award and current CPG Board Director, presented Kitson with the award before the pair were joined by CPG Chief Executive and current Ryder Cup Europe Board member Ian Randell in taking part in a Ryder Cup panel discussion that capped off the Gala Awards evening.
“When I joined the European Tour, it was less than 30 people and Ken was a great leader,” added Kitson. “He taught me so much of what I know now and how to deal with people. He’s been a wonderful ambassador to the game of golf, and it was an honour to receive this award from him.”