Australian golfing great Peter Thomson has passed away at age 88 after battling Parkinson’s disease.
His family announced his passing on Wednesday, June 20, at his home in Melbourne. Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for more than four years and passed away surrounded by family at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, according to a statement by Professional Golfers Association of Australia.
Vale Peter Thomson AO CBE, a legend of Australian sport and an Immortal of the PGA of Australia
— PGA of Australia (@PGAofAustralia) June 20, 2018
Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, and the families of son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast, and Fiona Stanway, including 11 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
He was the first Australian to win the British Open. He then went on to claim the title five times between 1954 and 1965. The only other person who has achieved the same record is American Tom Watson.
He broke another record in 1985 by winning the American senior circuit nine times.
Thomson served as the president of the Australian PGA for 32 years. During that time, he designed and built golf courses in Australia and around the world, helped establish the Asian Tour, and served as the chairman of the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organisation for five years.
He was also an avid writer, contributing to newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years, and was a patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.
He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1979 for his service to golf, and became an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001 for his contributions as a player and administrator, as well for his community service.
Many people have since paid tribute to the Australian sports legend.
Australia's greatest male golfer has left us. Peter Thomson: 84 professional wins, 5 British opens…3 in a row – a national treasure. He represented all that is good in sport: a true gentleman.
— Richard Marles (@RichardMarlesMP) June 20, 2018
An Icon, a personal inspiration & a wonderful human who appreciated his opportunity to play the great game of golf.
A huge legacy to Australian & world golf.
Thanks Peter. RIP
— Andrew Marchbank (@MarchbankAndrew) June 20, 2018