Golf Australia

Death of Peter Thomson AO, CBE

Peter Thomson
Peter Thomson became the first Australian to win The Open at Royal Birkdale in 1954.

The family of Australian golfing great Peter Thomson announce his passing on Wednesday 20 June 2018.

He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and lost his brave battle at home in Melbourne surrounded by family at 9.00 a.m. Born on 23 August 1929, he was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win the British Open went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equalled in the 20th and 21st Centuries only by American Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985, setting a record that may never be broken. 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. He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

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. 

Peter is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. .

They ask for privacy in their bereavement and will announce funeral arrangements in the next few days. Requests for further information can be directed to Brendan Moloney on 0412 362 000 or at


Posted by Andrew Ramsay at
28/12/2018 04:20 PM
A privilege to have met. worked and played a round with this doyen of Australian Golf. he has left an indelible mark on Australian and World golf.
Posted by Gail Dawson at
25/06/2018 05:01 PM
I met Peter Thomson several times at Moonah Links. Peter would have been about 73. I would love a chat with him and at times I would have to pinch myself. This is the great legend that my parents would speak of. I found him to be always humble, friendly and an amazing inspiration. He is truly one of the greats.
Posted by Tom Cameron at
22/06/2018 04:27 PM
Not just the closure of a special chapter in golf, but the sad onward passing of time in Australian history. These people, true post war cultural chieftains, will never be again. Manning Clark, Arthur Boyd, Teddy Whitten, Margaret Olley, Gough Whitlam... now the great Peter Thomson. Calm souls of brilliance and wisdom. The history of nations is measured in centuries and heroes. We will never have them again.
Posted by ron crafter at
21/06/2018 07:48 PM
Sad to hear the passing of Peter Thompson a great champion of our game may he forever walk the fairways in heaven RIP Peter.
Posted by Steven Marshall at
21/06/2018 07:13 AM
The father of Aussie golf who showed you how to be a gentleman. A man who did not care who you are he still help a convert whit you as he did with me at Royal Adelaide I will never forget it or him.
Posted by John Banting at
20/06/2018 10:16 PM
Vale Peter. Our greatest ever male golfer. Showed the yanks in 1985 what a great player he was with his 9 wins on the Senior tour. He may well have won other majors if he had the opportunities of current non Americans. Very generous person who gave so much to the game.
Posted by Ian Godsell at
20/06/2018 09:00 PM
Played golf the way it should be played; a humble gentleman and champion human being.
Posted by Jane morgan at
20/06/2018 08:35 PM
Absolute gentleman. Grew up 4 doors down from them. He and Mary were my insperation. Loved them dearly as a teenager. Rip Peter xxl
Posted by Rob Dawson at
20/06/2018 05:24 PM
RIP Mr Thompson great to have been introduced to you.
Posted by Mick Stephens at
20/06/2018 04:32 PM
Not only a great golfer but also a great Australian. Amazing golf swing and contributing significantly to the game of golf and the community.
Posted by mick at
20/06/2018 04:17 PM
an inspiration to all golfers
Posted by John Anderson at
20/06/2018 03:56 PM
In 1958, I caddied for Peter for a week, at Victoria Golf Club.Dennis Dennahey, the Pro, arranged it for me. I was 18 years old.
Posted by Peter Brassington at
20/06/2018 03:38 PM
Lovely gentleman. He gave me a putter at Darwin airport in 1972. I was12, and dad pointed out who he was, he overheard and walked over and gave me the putter. Was thrilled to bits, and still remember it.
Posted by Kevin tormey at
20/06/2018 03:35 PM
Sad to hear of Peter Thompsons passing what a great ambassador he was to AU's golf R I P
Posted by John Coupland at
20/06/2018 03:18 PM
Sorry to read this news. Many special memories of Australia and Victoria Golf Club and the generations Peter inspired.
Posted by Warren at
20/06/2018 02:03 PM
The flag bearer for Australian golf. Other than Norman the man who did more for Aust. Golf than any other. RIP
Posted by Peter Styles at
20/06/2018 01:09 PM
a true legend and gentleman, in life as well as golf. well played and RIP..
Posted by Phillip at
20/06/2018 11:23 AM
Vale a true champion of the game and life in general, may you forever walk heavens fairways. RIP.

Post a new comment

19 February 2019
From this point there is no reason she cannot become the dominant American player and one to match the best Asian players who have taken the ... Read more
11 February 2019
10 February 2019
20 December 2018
04 December 2018
Inside The Ropes
Golf Australia