26 Jan 2023 | Industry news |

Icons of Australian Golf receive OAMs

by Australian Golf Media

Alex Mercer image
Alex Mercer with his wife, Shirley

Australian golf icons Alex Mercer and Bob Shearer have been honoured for their service to golf after receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Australia Day 2023 Honours List. Long-time golf administrator Annette Court has also been recognised for significant service to golf administration and the community by being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). One of the most revered figures within Australian golf for his work with tour players such as Steve Elkington, Jan Stephenson, Peter O’Malley and Michael Campbell, few have influenced the game more than Alex Mercer. Mercer was the PGA Professional at Royal Sydney Golf Club for 35 years and is one of just three PGA Members recognised as ‘Immortals’ alongside Peter Thomson and Charlie Earp. While he was an accomplished player, he made a lasting impact through his teaching, gentle nature and innate understanding of the golf swing, providing an entry point for thousands of Aussie golfers. A PGA of Australia Life Member, the late Robert (Bob) Shearer sadly passed away at age 73 in January 2022, with the golfing community mourning and remembering him as one of Australia’s most decorated professionals. In a 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. PGA of Australia Chair, Rodger Davis, said it was special to have two golfing greats acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to the game “Bob and Alex are both legends of golf in Australia, and we’re incredibly proud to see them recognised and awarded the Medal of Order of Australia,” Davis said. “It’s just over a year since we lost Bob, and while we would love to be celebrating this moment with him, I know Kathie and their two sons Brett and Bobby will be as grateful and proud as Bob would be. “Bob was one of the best golfers Australia has produced, and Alex is one of the best coaches and teachers having guided players such as Steve Elkington and Peter O’Malley to the very top of the game, while always maintaining a passion for helping young amateur players. “He was made an Immortal of the PGA back in 2017 and it is wonderful to see his contribution to the game honoured in such a way.” PGA of Australia CEO, Gavin Kirkman, said that Mercer and Shearer’s recognition was indicative of the role that PGA Professionals play in the promotion and success of golf. “The late Bob Shearer and Alex Mercer are icons of golf in Australia and have played a major role in influencing and inspiring thousands of Australians to play the game,” Kirkman said. “Alex is without question one of the most accomplished and respected figures in the history of the PGA of Australia, and the tributes paid to Bob when he passed show what a monumental figure he was. We could not be prouder to see two of our members awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM),” he said. Court, a member of Barwon Heads Golf Club and Royal Melbourne Golf Club, was honoured for service to golf administration. She was President and an executive member of Women's Golf Victoria and vice-president of Women's Golf Australia for many years, refereed for more than 30 years, and is the current patron of the Golf Society of Australia as well as a life member of that organisation. Golf Australia Chair Andrew Newbold paid tribute to the trio of award recipients. “These are three great servants of our game in different ways,” said Newbold. “Alex Mercer with the incredible legacy he has left for golf, the late Bob Shearer for his playing record and his remarkable love for the game, and Annette Court for her selfless work at club, state and national level administration over many years. Golf Australia is forever grateful for their tireless and inspirational efforts to make the game better.” Golf Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said: “Our congratulations to the recipients of these awards, and we know that their families must be very proud. They have been tremendous servants of the sport of golf and we are thrilled that they have been acknowledged in this way.”

Bob Shearer Open image
Bob Shearer's 1982 Australian Open win was the high point of his career.

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