Peter Thom­son

Au­gust 23, 1929 – June 20, 2018

Golf World (UK) - - XXXXXXXXXXXX -

Peter Thom­son was the best Aus­tralian golfer to ever play the game and one of the finest links play­ers the world has ever seen. He learnt the game on a nine-hole course in the work­ing-class dis­trict of Brunswick, Mel­bourne, where he grew up. The course was hard and bouncy, and largely de­serted, so Thom­son worked out for him­self how best to tackle it. His so­lu­tion was a low, pen­e­trat­ing ball flight and a pas­sion for creative shots that utilised the nat­u­ral un­du­la­tions rather than try­ing to fight against them. The skills he de­vel­oped and his love of links cour­ses helped Thom­son dom­i­nate The Open Cham­pi­onship for most of the 1950s. He lifted the Claret Jug three years in a row from 1954 to 1956, a feat no one else has man­aged since the 19th cen­tury, won it again in 1958, and fin­ished no worse than se­cond from 1952 to 1958. Thom­son’s fifth Open vic­tory, his 1965 win at Royal Birk­dale, was per­haps his most im­pres­sive of all. Whilst his first four came when Bobby Locke was at his peak, it was a time when few of Amer­ica’s top stars en­tered The Open. His fi­nal vic­tory, how­ever, came when golf had gone global, mean­ing Thom­son had to over­come a field con­tain­ing the ‘big three’ of Palmer, Nick­laus and Player. He won by two clear shots. Al­though it was Thom­son’s five Open vic­to­ries that se­cured his place in golfing his­tory, they weren’t the limit of his suc­cess. He won 84 pro­fes­sional ti­tles in to­tal, be­fore a suc­cess­ful se­nior ca­reer saw an­other 12 wins, in­clud­ing the PGA Se­niors’ Cham­pi­onship and his last ever vic­tory, the 1988 British PGA Se­niors Cham­pi­onship in his home coun­try. Thom­son was in­ducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame that same year and cap­tained the In­ter­na­tional Team to vic­tory in the 1998 Pres­i­dents Cup.

Thom­son’s golfing ta­lents ex­tended be­yond just play­ing. He de­signed more than 100 cour­ses and was an ac­tive golf writer, con­tribut­ing to The Age for 50 years from the early 1950s.

We at GW sa­lute the writer, the player, and above all the golf lover that was Peter Thom­son.

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