Five-time Open champion Peter Thomson dies aged 88

Peter Thomson

Tributes have been pouring in for five-time Open champion Peter Thomson, who has died at the age of 88.

The Australian golfing great had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and lost his brave battle at home in Melbourne surrounded by family.

Thomson was the first Australian to win the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in 1954 and went on to win golf’s oldest major a further four times over the next 11 years, with his five titles matched in the 20th and 21st centuries only by Tom Watson.

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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.

Peter Thomson1

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.

Martin Slumbers, chief Executive of The R&A, led tributes to Thomson, saying: “It is with great sadness that we have awoken to the news of the passing of Peter Thomson.

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“Peter was a true gentleman and will be forever remembered throughout the world of golf as one of the great champions of our wonderful sport. He was a distinguished Honorary Member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and will be sorely missed by all of us at The R&A. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.

“Our deepest condolences go out to Peter’s wife, Mary, and his four children, Diana, Peta-Ann, Fiona and Andrew.”

There were also plenty of tributes to Thomson on social media, led by 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and his wife, Juli, who described him as 'a legend of the game'.

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