Tributes paid by R&A as Open great Peter Thomson passes

15-07-2015. Picture Michael Gillen. The 144th Open, The Old Course, St Andrews, 12 - 19 July 2015. Wednesday 15 July. Champion Golfers' Challenge. Peter Thomson.
15-07-2015. Picture Michael Gillen. The 144th Open, The Old Course, St Andrews, 12 - 19 July 2015. Wednesday 15 July. Champion Golfers' Challenge. Peter Thomson.

The R&A has led tributes to legendary five time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson AO CBE who passed away this week.

Mr Thomson’ first appearance in The Open came in 1951 at Royal Portrush where he finished sixth and went on to produce arguably the finest stretch of results in the history of the Championship.

In the next seven years, the Australian was either first or second, winning on four occasions: Royal Birkdale in 1954,

St Andrews in 1955, Royal Liverpool in 1956 and Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1958.

He went onto win a fifth time in 1965, defeating Christy O’Connor Snr by two strokes to claim his second Championship victory at Royal Birkdale.

His 89 professional wins came all around the world including six PGA Tour titles, one European Tour title and a victory on the Japan Golf Tour.

He also won the Australian Open three times and the New Zealand Open on eight occasions.

Mr Thomson also enjoyed a successful senior career, winning nine times on the Senior PGA TOUR in 1985 to finish first on the money list. His last tournament victory came at the 1988 British PGA Seniors Championship.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said, “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.

“Peter gave me a number of very interesting and valuable thoughts on the game, how it has developed and where it is going which demonstrated his genuine interest and love of golf.

“He was one of the most decorated and celebrated Champion Golfers in the history of The Open, winning the Championship five times in total and becoming the only golfer of the 20th century to lift the Claret Jug on three consecutive occasions between 1954 and 1956.

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

Following his retirement from playing, he became involved in golf course design.

Mr Thomson was one of a small number of Australians to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988.