Five-time major champion Peter Thomson dies at 88

The family of Australian golfing great Peter Thomson have announced his passing on Wednesday 20 June 2018.

The 88-year-old had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for more than four years and lost his battle at home in Melbourne surrounded by family at 9.00am this morning. Born on 23 August 1929, he was two months short of his 89th birthday.

“The PGA is deeply saddened by the passing of Peter Thomson AO, CBE,” said Gavin Kirkman, CEO of the PGA of Australia.

“A gentleman of the game, a legend of Australian sport and an Immortal of the PGA of Australia, Mr Thomson’s contribution to golf and our Association was immense and will live forever in our hearts and the pages of history.”

“This is a sad day for Australian golf but we reflect on the life of Peter Thomson with respect and pride knowing that it was a great privilege to have a man of his talent, passion, wisdom and grace be such an integral part of the PGA of Australia and our sport.”

Peter Thomson Peter Thomson

The first Australian to win the British Open went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equalled in the 20th and 21st Centuries only by American Tom Watson.

He won a total of 84 professional title across the globe including 33 times in Australia and across the Tasman with nine New Zealand Open and three Australian Open titles amongst his impressive resume.

On the American senior circuit, he won nine times in 1985, setting a record that may never be broken.

As well as a great player he was an outstanding contributor to the game, serving as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organisation where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

In 2016, he was the inaugural inductee of the newly created PGA of Australia Immortal title.

“Most people have nice things said about them at their funerals when it is too late for their own enjoyment, but you’ve all jumped the gun as it were and given this lovely tribute for me to hear,” said Thomson at the ceremony.

“Success came slowly but sweetly and I would like to say in fairness, that I have always felt that I never worked a day in my life, such was the pleasure and challenge this wonderful game of golf provided.”

“Life has been very kind to me and I’ve much to be thankful for.”

Peter is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Source – PGA Australia