ABERDEEN, Scotland – Royal Aberdeen Golf Club’s flag flew at half-mast at the start of the match play rounds of the 123rd Amateur Championship in honor of five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson, who died overnight at the age of 88. The Royal & Ancient’s flag in St Andrews was also at half-mast to commemorate the passing of one of the club’s most preeminent members.
Thomson, who had been ill for some time, goes down in history as a true golf legend. He won five Open Championships between 1954 and 1965, including three consecutive titles from 1954.
“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,” said R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers. “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.
“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.”
The news moved former players to take to Twitter to express their condolences and admiration for Australia’s most successful golfer.
Thomson was born on Aug. 23, 1929, and raised in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick. He turned professional in 1949. The 1950 New Zealand Open was the first of over 100 professional victories, a tournament he went on to win nine times. He won the Australian Open three times and had 24 European Tour victories.
Thomson played at a time when international travel was more difficult. He only played the U.S. Open three times, finishing fourth in 1956. He appeared in only five Masters, with fifth in 1957 his best performance. There’s no telling how many more majors this self-taught player might have won if travel had been easier in his time.
Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, and his four children, Diana, Peta-Ann, Fiona and Andrew.