Former AGW President Goran Zachrisson was born on 14th May, 1938.
From 1964 to 1967, Goran was Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Svensk Golf. From 1966, he was a commentator for Swedish TV at the Open Championships and many other golf tournaments. In the early 1990s, he was hired by Viasat, where he continued his passion in reporting on golf. Goran also wrote about golf for many periodicals, including Svensk Golf, Golf-Store Magazine and Golf Digest.
Goran joined the ranks of the AGW in 1987. In 2015 he replaced dear friend, Renton Laidlaw as President of the AGW and in stepping down in 2018, Goran was awarded Life Membership of the AGW.
Sadly, Goran passed away on 11th August, 2021 at age 83.
Henrik Stenson – 2016 AGW Golfer of the Year
Very sad news that Göran has left us. Everyone who follows golf knows what Göran has meant to the game, but his knowledge and skills as a journalist and interviewer extended widely outside the world of sports.Göran was more than a commentator and journalist for me, he was also a friend and I felt his support in both success and adversity through all my years on the world Tours.
The evening at Royal Troon after my win is a memory that I will always cherish. I am incredibly happy that we got to experience it together. I miss him already and our thoughts go to his family.
Lewine Mair (AGW President)
Goran Zachrisson was a talented all-round media man who played an important role in the advance of Swedish golf. He had an enviably strong relationship with all his players, and the same applied with the world’s media. Everyone respected him and I think we all felt honoured when he became the President of the AGW in 2015. For his part, he treasured his membership of the organisation and contributed to a situation in which many more overseas writers were anxious to join our ranks.
I think we were all moved to see how much Henrik Stenson’s Open championship win meant to Goran in 2016 – and how much it meant to Henrik to have Goran sharing in the celebrations.
I doubt whether anyone has made more of his life in the golfing media than Goran Zachrisson.
Martin Dempster (AGW Chairman)
Goran, who was our first non-British AGW President, was one of the game’s great characters, sharing many of the same qualities as his close friend, Henrik Stenson.
He was great company and many of our members, including another of his dearest friends and the man he succeeded as President, Renton Laidlaw, will be raising a glass in his memory.
Got an email I hated reading today at 3:54 Swiss time like all of you, even these who never met the Swede Mr. Golf, a great man by all means. This is the kind of news I don’t want to hear about.
Göran passed away, deadly hit by an awful cancer like many other nice people around us. But among these nice people we love, he was the best definition of a word that tends to disappear nowadays. Kindness… Oh, he wasn’t alone in this club. Jock was there too. With Maria Pia, Dai, André-Jean, Jan, all gone with too many others I’m still mourning since they stopped smiling.
A Swiss reporter in the world of golf, you must be kidding Sir… Better be seen in the mountains around the ski slopes or the cow fights, could then be heard in the early 80’s. Yes, they were right, I was indeed in the mountains of the Valais state, for the first live report on the National Open in a Swiss daily (Tribune de Genève). That was a bit later in the 80’s.
Through the years, it was a renewed pleasure to exchange with Renton Laidlaw, the Evening Standard golf correspondent, and Göran Zachrisson for Viasat TV after Svensk Golf magazine, having met them first in a tiny and awful press office at the Swiss Open.
Beginning 90’s when I was in the need of the AGW membership for a better execution of my job, as indicated in the home rules, I was amazed to have these two world of golf references to propose and second me to join the association, but also teaching me friendly what patience meant in the world of golf.
A Swiss journalist joining… Still is a premiere amazingly, possibly because the other guys are miles away from the XXL heart of these two good friends. SelfishIy, I don’t care. And the “Bonjour, comment ça va Monsieur” with Göran’s light Swedish accent is sadly now mine for ever. Phiippe
Mark Garrod (Past AGW Secretary)
Very sad to read of Goran’s passing and his struggles of recent years. He was a true gent, a worthy holder of our Presidential office and wonderful company. He cared so much and thought so deeply not only about the sport, but our profession. He willbe sorely missed and I hope there will be a way of remembering him
Honestly I have to say that when I took the photographs of Goran and Henrik on the evening of his great triumph at Royal Troon the tears were streaming down my face I could see how much that momewnt meant to Goran. He was a tremendous friend to me and we always had great coversations about the world of golf whenever our paths crossed. What a very sad piece of news this is. Golf has lost a truly amazing person who was devoted to the game. DC
Isabel Trillo Amores
Goran was special, perhaps because of his Continental condition. Perhaps that united us more in a basically British world in which we move in golf.
Tall, blond, eyes clear as the skies of the North, he always received you with a warm smile, even in the hardest moments. His slow and reassuring tone was a reflection of a great inner calm and the product of a deep knowledge of Life.
Always ready to listen, always ready to help. Affable, conciliatory. His presence did not go unnoticed in a Media Center.
The maelstrom of the work of those 3 or 4 tournaments that we coincide a year only allowed us brief moments of conversation, which were always scarce. Fragments of wandering lives who briefly exchange opinions.
Goran was one of those people who leave their mark, who always said the most appropriate at each moment, thinking of each sentence, knowing the power of words; an old-fashioned Viking knight.
You will be missed a lot, cuore
Have a safe journey to your Valhalla, escorted by the bravest Valkyries. At Ragnarök we will all meet.
Hejdå, Goran. Vila i frid .. D.E.P
So sad to hear of the passing of Goran. He was a very good friend for many years.Goran was so passionate about golf, a very erudite man altogether. His command of English was superb and he not only knew everything that was to be known about Swedish golf but all golf. He had a remarkable memory for facts and figures. His intense, sometimes cutting, observations were the epitome of constructive criticism. Many a Swedish pro owes him much for what he or she achieved. That was his professional side. Goran was a wonderfully friendly, witty, man, warm and loyal to us all, the perfect choice for president. He embraced our way of life wholeheartedly and Britain was his second home. He had a place at Hoylake I recall, and his lovely old classic Triumph 2000 – in British Racing Green, of course – was his pride and joy. Norman
Bob Davies (Past AGW Treasurer)
I have very fond memories of Goran, having spent time with him whenever our paths crossed at tournaments.
But the highlight of our friendship came a few years ago when, quite out of the blue, Goran called me to explain that he was a member at Royal Liverpool Golf Club and invited me to have a game there with him.
I can’t say that either of us took the course apart but I will never forget Goran’s generosity in asking me to spend time with him at such a prestigious golf club. It summed up, for me, what a true gentleman he was and I treasure the memories of the times we spent together. Bob
What can I say about Goran that hasn’t already been said? I was so sad to hear of his death and send my condolences and best wishes to his family and friends. He was such a joy to be with, so erudite and entertaining, you never met him, however briefly, without learning something or being amazed at how his mind worked, the twists and turns he took! I remember time after time walking away smiling and shaking my head in awe. That famous, fabulous speech of his at the AGW dinner was a prime example. Stunning. A tour de force. At least he’ll always be in our hearts, Patricia.
For me personally Göran was a role model and an idol. In many ways his voice, both as a writer and a commentator, became synonymous with the game of golf and he has, perhaps more than anyone, been monumental in the game’s growth in Sweden. We are many that will miss him and are forever thankful for what Göran has done.Göran, thank you for everything!
I remember Goran as a wonderfully caring colleague with a mischievous sense of humour. My first contact from him was almost 40 years ago when he was anxious for anything I could offer on the emerging Ronan Rafferty. He had a forensic approach to research on golf and when I felt I had satisfied his needs, he would come back with a fascinating aspect of a player that hadn’t crossed my mind. His ability to communicate so effectively in what was for him a second language, was most impressive. But I have to say that what really won me over was seeing him during a BMW/PGA Championship at Wentworth, heading for the press car-park where he had left a vintage Austin Healey 2000. Always classy, even down to his cars!
Renton Laidlaw (Past AGW President, Chairman and Secretary)
With the death of Goran Zachrisson the game of golf has lost a worthy champion and I have lost a loyal and valued friend and confidante. I spoke regularly with Goran over the last few years and you had to admire his love of golf and how proud he was to be part of it as a commentator on Swedish television, a broadcaster on radio and as an author.
Although, perhaps not surprisingly, skiing was another sport he excelled in, golf was in his blood and he was proud to be unanimously elected the first European President of the Association of Golf Writers – a post he held for three years.
He had a unique and erudite style of commentating unlike anyone else. He was a delight to work with – modest, unassuming and unaffected by his massive popularity and the great esteem in which he was held not only in Sweden but around the world. Top sporting personalities, not only in golf but in a wide range of sports, were always ready to make time to be interviewed by him because of his reputation for fairness and integrity in everything he did.
I do not think he ever recovered fully from the death of his wife Gunilla and son Jonas both from cancer nor the drink driving incident which led to his being charged. He felt that he had let himself down badly. He immediately was dropped by his television employers and that was another blow to a man who had diligently devoted 40 years to the job. I am sure he felt his world at the end was falling apart.
On the last occasion we spoke he was distressed that he could no longer take his beloved Scottish terrier Greta (see photographs above) for walks simply because of his lack of energy . It must have been difficult for him to realise that a new home would have to be found for his constant companion.
Once a chatterbox on the phone Goran become more reserved and latterly stopped speaking about his medical problems always promising to ring back when you did make contact but always failing to do so.
In my mind Goran was close to being Swedish Royalty – a man with such a loving and hugely popular reputation that he even made the front cover and was the lead story in the Swedish edition of the magazine “Newsweek” .
Winner of many awards, including the PGA’s of Europe Lifetime Achievement accolade, Goran brought an extra dimension to golf with his writing – he was a former editor of Sweden’s top golf magazine – and had a distinctive broadcasting style. A proud member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Goran left a wonderful golfing legacy.
I shall miss my regular chats with someone who was a very special person.
Mike Woodcock – Director, Corportate Communications, R & A
Goran was a lovely guy who was very knowledgeable and passionate about Swedish golf in particular. I remember his delight when Henrik won The Open. He will be greatly missed by many of us at The R&A as I’m sure he will be in the AGW.
Donald Steel (Past AGW President & Treasurer)
Goran Zachrisson was the voice of Swedish golf and much else. A keen observer of the game’s traditions, he won the respect of listeners and readers alike. My contacts with him were more in his own country where golf grew in popularity year in year but that is true of the whole of Scandinavia- a hefty chunk down to his influence. It was his global knowledge that made him ideally suited to become our first President from outside the UK. His is a hard act to follow in every respect. Donald
Bernie McGuire (AGW Secretary)
Since my first meeting, I was struck that Goran was always so elegantly and smartly dressed though in getting to know him, he was so down-to-earth, engaging and he always had time to speak to you. I learned in the early 1990s reporting on the Tour that if there was anything you needed to know about the emerging Swedish presence, you could turn to Gordan. Then as I joined my UK-based colleagues in travelling to the Scandinavian Masters, I realised the enormous esteem in which Goran was held in his beloved homeland.
Could there have been a prouder moment for Goran in a 30th anniversary of joining the AGW then at the AGW’s 2017 annual dinner where, and fittingly as President of the AGW, he should have the honour of handing the Golf Writer’s Trophy to long-time close friend, fellow Swede and reigning Open Champion Henrik Stenson?
In Sweden last Sunday (August 15) they observed a minute of silence in all golf clubs – up and down the country. They don’t do that just for anybody. Mr. Golf (in Sweden) – a true gentleman – a handsome one (he was a model for a while) – and a role model for us all in this part of the world – has left us, and although I am from the neighboring country Denmark – I feel compelled to write a little about why Göran Zachrisson was such a unique person – both as a man and as a journalist.
In order to understand the impact that Göran had on golf in general in Sweden – and golf on tv in particular, you have to understand that he did not copy his British or American counterparts – who were the only ones to look up to when he started more than 50 years ago. He created his very own style. Maybe there was a touch of Longhurst or even Darwin or Wodehouse – but certainly none of the speedtalking modern type. He simply loved to tell a good story – all in his own good time. Although both his knowledge and passion for golf were second to none, it was as a storyteller that Göran became both famous and loved in his home country.
He was part of the sports team at SVT – Swedish State Television – who in the days of the monopoly often were required to report on everything from skiing to cycling. But ‘Zache’ – as he was known – did not report. He told stories – in his very own style – about the fascination of this or that sport. Often spell binding the viewers and stirring their curiosity.
When golf started booming he was right in his element. He had been introduced to the game as a teenager and was already a bit of an Anglophile. And the pace of golf suited his storytelling. So he was the one who introduced golf to the Swedish public. The was a hockeystar – Sven Tumba – probably the most popular sports personality in the country at the time – who was smitten by the golf bug, and he is often credited with popularizing the game in Sweden. But Zache brought it to the viewers.
Along the way he was a writer and editor of golf magazines, wrote books with his golf stories, and although very much a Swede he cultivated his own Anglophile tendencies. He would become a member of Royal Liverpool and the R&A, and when Göran turned up at the Scandinavian Masters, he would not only be elegantly dressed and wearing one of his British
Club ties – he would arrive in an old Austin Healey – complete with half a set in a leather carry bag in the back seat.
The present Head of Sport at SVT Åsa Edlund Jönsson wrote on their website, that: ‘Görans influence on sports journalism on tv and golf in Sweden cannot be measured’. And she tells us of a pioneer in Swedish tv who said: ‘He who tells the best story wins’. She figures that Göran is now sitting somewhere in golf heaven – highest on the podium – fondling his gold medal – and still telling stories.
The well respected sports journalist Jens Lind paid tributes to Zache in many ways. He often told of how Görans enthusiasm for golf had rubbed off on not only him, but thousands of Swedes. ‘His unique whispering voice and tone put a spell on us’ and ‘he – more than anyone else – wanted to take us behind the performance – to understand what made the
The former European Tour player Magnus Sunesson – who later became a commentator colleague, wrote the other day: ‘Dear Göran – I managed to thank you in person, but I will do it again. Thanks for all that you have done for golf in Sweden – and for countless hours in front of the tv. The members at Heavenly have been waiting for you’.
When the owner of TV3/Viasat in Sweden entered a boat for the America’s Cup he not only insisted that his tv channels covered the races – he also made sure that Göran was the commentator. Because as Jens Lind put it: ‘no one told the story like Zache’.
For those of us working with golf on television in this part of the world – there is a big void right now. He always insisted that we should try to ‘find our own voices’, but this is not easy – because we all wanted to be a little bit like him. Many have tried to copy his unique style. Equally as many have failed. Henrik Knudsen
Tributes By Swedish Players – Jepser Parnevik and Pierre Ulrik Johansson (Tribute on dn.se)
Jesper Parnevik, born in 1965 in Stockholm, describes a childhood in the 1970s and 1980s where few or even anyone in Sweden had a particularly good grasp of golf, whose modern history stretches all the way back to 15th century Scotland.
“Göran got a whole lot of people interested in golf without them even knowing what it was. He himself was a good golfer and had an ability to explain what happened on the courses”, said Jesper Parnevik
“Today everyone knows but when I started playing no one knew. I remember that you brought a golf club and a ball during the fun hour at school and had to explain. That was how it looked for a long time, but Göran Zachrisson and (Sven) Tumba made people start watching.
“He became like a sponsor for us”.
How did it feel when he commented on your competitions?
Jesper Parnevik laughs and looks for words.
“A broadcast I have seen a few times was when I won the Scandinavian Masters as the first Swede (1995). It is very fun to listen to how excited Göran became. I remember him saying, ‘Here comes Jesper, blessed is our son’/
“He was unique and a wonderful person that everyone loved”, says Parnevik.
When DN reaches Jesper Parnevik, he is out cycling with Per-Ulrik Johansson, another former professional golfer who remembers Göran Zachrisson’s importance for the sport.
“Goran had a unique voice and it is a legend that has passed away. He was incredibly knowledgeable and skilled at capturing the audience. I will always remember his kindness, humility and integrity”, says Johansson.
Göran Zachrisson died on Wednesday, aged 83.
Roger Andersson, one of Zachrisson’s close friends and for several years communications manager at the Swedish Golf Association, is on a similar track as Parnevik and Johansson.
“If you look at the most important people in public, it is Tumba, Göran and Annika Sörenstam. The three are outstanding. What Tumba did was popularize golf and Göran became popular because he did different things. He had a characteristic voice and a way of telling that made one interested”, says Roger Andersson.
Göran Zachrisson worked as a journalist for SVT, Viasat, the current Nent, and for the magazine Svensk golf. He died on Wednesday after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this summer.
According to Andersson, few other sports journalists have become so synonymous with a sport as Göran Zachrisson.
“In my eyes, he was unique and for golf, it has meant a lot to have a voice that goes home. It is not even possible to put a value on. It is extremely sad that that voice is silent”, he says.
European Tour/Swedish website tributes/articles –
The European Tour paid tribute to Goran with a website piece that includes comments from Mats Lanner, one of the early Swedish pioneers on the Tour along with SKY Sports Ewen Murray plus Richard Bunn, MD of European Tour Productions.
The Tour’s tribute article also includes the comments (as above) from AGW Chairman, Martin Dempster on behalf of the Association.
Swedish Golf Association – https://golf.se/for-klubben/zachrisson/
golfgolfbranschen.se – https://www.golfbranschen.se/nagra-ord-om-goran-zachrisson/
SVT Sport – Tribute story: Göran invented the sports report for television. Click on – https://www.svt.se/sport/golf/goran-uppfann-sportreportaget-for-tv
The SVT TV tribute includes a wondeful 6-minute video highlighting moments in Goran’s TV career reporting on many sports including cycling, the Olympics, tennis and with golf including Goran reporting on the 1986 Open at Turnberry, interviewing Tony Jacklin and ending with his commentary on Henrik Stenson’s Open win in 2016 at Royal Troon.
Near the end of the video clip there’s black-and-white TV coverage of a very young-looking Goran reporting from the middle of a road but looking surprised when a car (Volvo, of course) tries to get past him – well worth the look to see that!
Also, the translation of the words attributed to Goran also near the close of the video clip reads in English: “The only thing I know about the putt that it’s a quarter to three”.
Newsfounded.com – Tribute: https://newsfounded.com/swedeneng/legendary-tv-profile-goran-zachrisson-has-died/
Dormy Magasin – https://issuu.com/dormygolf/docs/dormymagasin_nr_1_2018_150ppi
Twitter Tributes –
Henrik Stenson @HenrikStenson A dear friend has left us. Mr Golf in Sweden, Göran Zachrisson, has moved on to the fairways above. We will miss you dearly!
Colin Callander @ColinCallander Dreadful news. One of the most charming men you could ever meet.
Martin Dempster @DempsterMartin Was a pleasure to be in Goran’s company and he had the same sense of humour as his great friend and fellow Swede Henrik Stenson. RIP
Mike Woodcock @MikeWoodcock2 One of golf’s keenest and most knowledgeable observers, Goran was a lovely guy who always had a good story to tell. He will be greatly missed.
Annika Sorenstam @ANNIKA59 Sad to hear that one of Sweden’s most decorated sport journalists have passed. Göran Zachrisson was a trailblazer in golf commentary. His passion & knowledge brought many to the game. Thanks for all the years of entertainment! #RIP #media
Andrew Coltart @AndrewColtart Replying to @henrikstenson Very sad mate. Göran was a great guy, always funny and enthusiastic with a wicked sense of humour. He loved all golfers but was especially fond of his country folk. Won’t be the same without him. #ripGöran
Ewen Murray @ewenmurray77 Replying to @henrikstenson An outstanding man, wonderful colleague and a person it was a privilege to share time with Henrik. A conversation with Goran was a sheer joy and all his friends will miss that. Sad day
Goran Nilsson @gnilsson Replying to @henrikstenson Göran was a master at commenting on golf. Knowledgeable, funny, and had the ability to be quiet at times – did not have the need to constantly talk. Wish I had heard him comment on your British Open win, Henrik. Rest in peace, Göran.
Sébastien AUDOUX @SebastienAudoux Goran was one of those familiar faces from major tournaments with whom I always enjoyed chating, Swedish golf, golf itself .. #sadness