09 Jan 2022 | Professional golf |

'Giant of the game', Bob Shearer dies aged 73

by PGA of Australia

Bob Shearer image
Bob Shearer won the men's Australian Open and multiple events around the world. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

PGA of Australia Life Member and 1983 Australian PGA champion Bob Shearer has passed away at age 73.

One of Australia’s most decorated professionals and a gregarious personality who was popular among both his playing partners and the adoring galleries, Shearer suffered a heart attack on Sunday morning.

Born and raised in Melbourne, Shearer shot to prominence by winning the 1969 Australian Amateur and then joined the professional ranks the following year.

In his playing career that stretched across four decades, Shearer amassed 27 professional wins including the 1983 Australian PGA Championship at Royal Melbourne Golf Club and the 1982 Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney, defeating Americans Jack Nicklaus and Payne Stewart by four strokes.

Shearer won twice on the European Tour in the 1975 season (Madrid Open and Piccadilly Medal) and in 1982 won the Tallahassee Open on the PGA Tour and lost in a playoff to Ed Sneed at the Houston Open that same year.

He was a four-time winner of the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit and will be sadly missed by all those who he touched throughout his career around the world.

“Bob was a giant of the game here in Australia in the ‘70s and ‘80s and I am just absolutely devastated that I have lost another of my great mates,” said PGA Chair Rodger Davis.

“Bob and I travelled a lot together playing in Europe and as tough as he was to beat on the golf course you couldn’t find a better bloke to have a beer with after the round.

“On behalf of the PGA of Australia I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to his wife Kathie and all of Bob’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”

Golf Australia paid tribute to Shearer’s life in the game. “The entire golfing community in Australia is mourning the passing of one of our greats,” said Andrew Newbold, the Golf Australia chairman. “Bob Shearer was a legendary figure as a player who was known for the easy beauty of his golf, but also for his gregarious and very Australian way on and off the course. He had a ready smile and he was a favourite of fans around the country on his way to winning our biggest tournaments. To the doorstep of his untimely passing he was a regular fixture at his home club of Southern in Melbourne and a tremendous advocate for the game that he was so passionate about. “Golf Australia’s board, executive and staff on behalf of all golfers passes on our heartfelt sympathies to Kathie Shearer and all the Shearer family.”

A four-time winner on the European Seniors Tour, Shearer was also prolific course designer, joining the Australian Society of Golf Course Architects in 1993 with his most significant work taking place at his beloved Southern Golf Club where his golf journey began almost 60 years ago under resident professional Harold Knights.

He played golf at Southern on Thursday and was planning to play again on Monday, his wife Kathie paying this tribute.

“I’d like to say he was what he needed to be. He was golf. It was his life and his love.

“He played three or four times a week and it was everything to him.”

Shearer is survived by his wife Kathie and their two sons, Brett and Bobby.

* Hear Bob Shearer on his 1982 win in this podcast recorded in 2017.

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