European Tour boss George O'Grady to retire

Luke Donald of Britain and George O'Grady (L), Chief Executive of The European Tour, pose with the Race to Dubai trophy after the final round of the Dubai World Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai December 11, 2011. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

By Andrew Both SHANGHAI (Reuters) - European Tour chief executive George O'Grady will retire after a decade in charge of the organization. O'Grady, 65, announced his decision on Wednesday on the eve of the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai. "I felt this was the right time to ask the board to begin the search for my successor," O'Grady said in a statement. He has overseen the world's second biggest professional tour behind the United States-based PGA Tour, though it endured some difficult times and loss of sponsors during the global financial crisis a few years ago. "It's a shame that he's stepping down but I think he's had a good reign," Englishman Justin Rose, the world number six who won the 2013 U.S. Open, told reporters in Shanghai. Rose said he had been talking recently with O'Grady about resurrecting some historic British tournaments that have fallen off the schedule in recent years due to loss of sponsorship. The European Tour, based in Wentworth, England, employs 155 people. O'Grady will remain in charge until a successor is chosen. (Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)