Aussie golfing legend Jack Newton dies at 72
One of Australia’s best known golfers, Jack Newton, has passed away overnight at the age of 72.
Newton’s family released a statement this morning saying the popular golfing figure, who had revealed his battle with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2020, had died from ‘health complications’.
Jack Newton (Credit: Anthony Powter)
“On behalf of our family, it is with great sadness I announce that our courageous and loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, and mate, Jack Newton OAM has passed away overnight due to health complications.”
“Dad was a fearless competitor and iconic Australian, blazing a formidable trail during his professional golfing career between 1971 and 1983 before his career tragically ended following an accident involving an aeroplane propeller at the age of 33.”
In an illustrious career, Newton won tournaments on both the PGA Tour and European Tours and went close to victory at both the Masters and the Open Championship.
He finished second to Spanish great Seve Ballesteros at the 1980 Masters and earlier lost by one stroke in an 18-hole playoff to Tom Watson at the 1975 Open Championship.
Locally he claimed the New South Wales Open in 1976 (10 strokes) and again in 1979 (9 strokes). A fortnight later he won the 1979 Australian Open by a shot over Graham Marsh and Greg Norman.
However, in 1983 aged 33, Newton’s career would come to a sudden end following an horrific accident resulting in the loss of his right arm and eye along with severe abdominal injuries after walking into an aeroplane propeller during a storm at Sydney Airport.
Newton spent two months in intensive care but managed to overcome the odds and return to normal life after the accident. He taught himself to play golf one-handed and redefined himself as a successful golf commentator, golf course designer and chairman of the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation.
Through the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation, Newton helped launch the careers of many young Australian golfers, who may not otherwise have got the chance to play the game he loved so much.
“Every journey starts somewhere, mine was in golf tournaments under the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation. RIP mate,” tweeted PGA Tour player Greg Chalmers.
“Absolutely gutted. Jack Newton gave so many young Aussies opportunities – not just in golf but in life. Every top golfer [Australia] has produced since the 80s has come through the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation to some extent. More importantly, he got numerous kids off the street and playing golf giving them the chance to develop life skills. What a legendary man!,” said Ewan Porter.
“Jack has been such an influential figure in Australian golf and his contribution and legacy will live on for many decades to come,” said PGA of Australia CEO, Gavin Kirkman.
“He was as tough off the course as he was on it yet underlying everything was his deep passion for the game of golf and the positive impact it could have on people’s lives, particularly young people.”
Newton is survived by his wife Jackie, daughter Kristie, son Clint and six grandchildren.