Late Mr Matthew Emoghene Jacob came into golf at his teen’s age. And ever since he never stays out of golf until death snatched him away. In fact he lived his life for golf. Through his hard work he rose to be selling golf items at Ikoyi Club 1938 before a United Kingdom golf professional in the name of Mr John Norsworthy under the sponsorship of Nigeria Tobacco Company (NTC) was invited to open the a formal pro-shop in the Club. Late Mr Matthew Jacob joined Mr Norsworthy to run the pro-shop and later formed the Nigeria Professional Golfers Association (NPGA, as it was called then) with the four Nigerians that just returned from Pro Golf Course in the U.K. After some years when Mr Norsworthy was leaving the country he handed over the pro-shop to Late Mr Matthew Jacob.
We in the PGA of Nigeria would be right if we call him Mr Golf.
As one of the founding fathers of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of Nigeria he served as the Captain, which was the highest position in the Association. After the review of the Constitution of the Association the position of the Captain was changed to Director and by virtue of his passion for the game and pro golf, he became the Director of the body. As an achiever that he was, he was made the Director of the Association for many years before he left the position for new blood. The PGA of Nigeria owes what it is today to the work of this great Achiever. He was passionate over the game. He contributed immensely to professional golf development in the country. As a pioneer indigenous Director of the Association, his legacies shall not be forgotten in many years to come.
The history of the most prestigious golf event in Nigeria like other golfing nations all over the world – The Nigerian Open – would not be completed without a mention of the enormous role he played right from its inception in the early 70’s till it went moribund after the 1999 edition. He played a vital role in organizing the British/West African Matchplay sponsored by the British Caledonian Airways and NTC for many years. As a visionary leader that he was, he struggled for the formation of the African PGA when he was the Director of NPGA. Though he succeeded in putting the African PGA in place for some time but later faded out for lack of commitment from some African countries. He paved ways for West African PGAs to be part of the European PGA, though this membership could not be sustained after some years. The World PGA Federation which became a reality in July 14th 1981 at Royal St. George’s G. C. in Kent had in its Council a representative each from Australia, U.S.A, Germany, Nigeria, New Zealand, and Great Britain. Our dear country was represented by Late Mr Matthew Jacob.
Through his connections he sought and ensured very many tournaments and opportunities for the pros in the country. He assisted many potential and promising young golfers to be golf professionals who have made huge success out of the career.
In his life time, he was full of ideas on pro golf development. He was an epitome of golf professionalism. In recognition of his immense contributions to professional golf, he was honoured with Life Membership of the Association in 2010, meaning that he would not pay the annual membership subscription for the rest of his life.
It’s rather unfortunate that the hands of death snatched Late Mr Matthew Jacob away on the 15th of June 2017 at a time when the entire members of the PGA of Nigeria and the golfing community in the country look unto him for fatherly advice and guidance in golf. He lived an exemplary life that depicts a golfer gentleman. In his life time, he was exceptionally passionate over the game and always ready to give to its development. We believe God knows best.
Our prayer is that the Almighty God grants the entire Family the fortitude to bear the loss. And may his gentle soul rest in perfect peace (Amen).
PGA of Nigeria