When Jim Armstrong took over as general manager of Augusta National Golf Club in 1979, he noted in an interview that the position “encompasses everything.”
Three decades later, that still rings true. From renovations to the course and clubhouse of the famous private club to the continued growth of the Masters Tournament, Armstrong has seen it all. Now the club’s executive director, he plans to retire in September.
Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National and the Masters, announced the move on Tuesday. Armstrong will be replaced by Will Jones, the club’s senior director of business affairs.
Armstrong, 65, became the club’s assistant manager in 1978 after Phil Wahl, the club’s longtime manager, was killed in a car accident. Augusta National made
Armstrong the general manager a few months later, launching a career that saw him work for all of the club’s chairmen except for the first, Clifford Roberts.
“Jim Armstrong has given Augusta National Golf Club more than three decades of exceptional vision, impressive leadership and outstanding service as our executive director,” Payne said in a prepared statement. “Jim has certainly earned and deserves his retirement. As a consequence of his longtime commitment, he is leaving a permanent and positive impression upon the legacy of Augusta National, its membership and the Masters. On behalf of our members and staff, I sincerely and genuinely thank Jim for his personal and professional dedication.”
Armstrong will stay busy during the transition period.
“My career at Augusta National Golf Club has been one of remarkable good fortune, and my affection for this wonderful place is immeasurable,” he said. “It is nearly impossible to put into words the privilege I have experienced in serving the club in this role, and I thank Mr. Payne, Mr. Hootie Johnson and all previous chairmen, the membership, my fellow employees and the countless other friends, associates and partners that made my career so rich and fulfilling.”
Jones, 46, has worked at Augusta National since 1993. Armstrong and Jones will work together through the summer, and Jones will serve in his current role until Armstrong’s retirement.
“Jim’s commitment and dedication to this organization have established a standard of excellence that I know will endure under the future direction of Will Jones,” Payne said. “The successes we have enjoyed during Jim’s tenure have often been a direct result of his passion for what Augusta National and the Masters represent in the game of golf. … Jim’s influence will be felt for many, many years to come.”