Australian great Kel Nagle passes away aged 94

One of Australia’s golfing greats, Kel Nagle, has passed away peacefully overnight surrounded by his family. He was 94.

Born in 1920 in New South Wales, Nagle has been one of the PGA’s most revered Members for the past 75 years.

Kel Nagle Kel Nagle (Credit: PGA Australia)

“It’s a sad day for golf, we’ve lost a Champion of our game,” said Brian Thorburn, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA.

“On behalf of the PGA and the Membership, our thoughts and sympathies are with the Nagle family at this difficult time,” he added.

Known as Mr. Modesty, Nagle won a tournament every year for 26 years and was a true gentleman of the game.

Nagle, who turned Professional in 1946, was a consistent victor around the globe from 1949 to 1975; securing 61 wins on the PGA Tour of Australasia and two on the PGA TOUR.

Nagle’s first big victory came in 1949 at the Australian PGA Championship – an event he went on to win a further five times between 1950 and 1968 and still holds an unbroken record of six wins.

The Aussie favourite also experienced significant success in New Zealand, where he won the New Zealand PGA Championship and the New Zealand Open, seven times respectively.

In Britain and America, Nagle won the 1960 Open Championship (in its centenary year) at St Andrews and finished second in a playoff with Gary Player in the 1965 US Open.

At the time, Player was quoted as saying that Nagle was “one of the best short game players he had ever seen.”

Nagle’s other achievements have included wins at the 1954 World Cup (Montreal), and 1959 World Cup (Melbourne), both in partnership with five-time Open Champion, Peter Thomson, and the 1964 Canada Open.

Nagle teed off in 145 events on the PGA TOUR throughout his career.

He continued to play in Australia before joining the PGA Senior Tour (now Champions Tour) in America in the 1970s where he played 102 events from 1981-1989.

In 1980, Nagle was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to the sport of golf and following this, in 1986, was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Nagle’s outstanding performances in Australia and around the globe were formally recognised in 2007 when he received golf’s highest honour – induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Nagle first joined the PGA in 1939 and holds Life Member status.

Nagle’s legacy will continue to live on through the Australian PGA Championship, with the Kel Nagle Plate awarded annually to the best performing rookie.

Nagle had a distinguish career admired by many and will be forever remembered as a champion of Australian golf.

Majors

  • 1960 The Open Championship

PGA Tour

  • 1964 Canadian Open

PGA Tour of Australasia

  • 1949 Australian PGA Championship
  • 1950 WA Open
  • 1951 North Coast Open, New South Wales Open, WA Open, ACT Open
  • 1952 North Coast Open, WA Open, NSW PGA Championship
  • 1953 NSW PGA Championship, Adelaide Advertiser, McWilliams Wines
  • 1954 Australian PGA Championship, North Coast Open, Lakes Open, ACT Open
  • 1955 North Coast Open, NSW PGA Championship
  • 1956 NSW PGA Championship
  • 1957 New South Wales Open, New Zealand Open, New Zealand PGA Championship, Lakes Open
  • 1958 New Zealand Open, New Zealand PGA Championship, Australian PGA Championship, Lakes Open, Adelaide Advertiser
  • 1959 Australian Open, Australian PGA Championship, Queensland Open, NSW PGA Championship, Ampol Tournament (T1)
  • 1960 New Zealand PGA Championship
  • 1962 New Zealand Open, Victorian PGA Championship, Adelaide Advertiser
  • 1964 New Zealand Open, Queensland Open
  • 1965 Australian PGA Championship, NSW PGA Championship
  • 1966 Wills Masters, West End Tournament (T1)
  • 1967 Victorian Open, New Zealand Open, West End Tournament
  • 1968 New South Wales Open, New Zealand Open, Australian PGA Championship, West End Tournament
  • 1969 New Zealand Open, Victorian Open
  • 1970 New Zealand PGA Championship
  • 1971 NSW PGA Championship
  • 1972 West End Tournament
  • 1973 New Zealand PGA Championship
  • 1974 New Zealand PGA Championship, West End Tournament
  • 1975 New Zealand PGA Championship, South Coast Open
  • 1977 Western Australia PGA Championship

Other Wins

  • 1954 Canada Cup (with Peter Thomson)
  • 1959 Canada Cup (with Peter Thomson)
  • 1961 French Open, Hong Kong Open, Swiss Open, Irish Hospitals Tournament, Dunlop Tournament
  • 1962 Bowmaker Tournament
  • 1963 Esso Golden Tournament
  • 1965 Bowmaker Tournament
  • 1967 Esso Golden Tournament
  • 1971 Pringle of Scotland
  • 1973 Pringle of Scotland

Source – PGA Australia