Peter Thomson (golfer)

Peter William Thomson AO, CBE (23 August 1929 – 20 June 2018) was an Australian professional golfer. He won the Open Championship five times between 1954 and 1965.[2] Thomson is the only golfer to win a modern major three times in succession – The Open 1954, 1955, 1956.

Peter Thomson
Thomson in Tasmania
Personal information
Full namePeter William Thomson
Born(1929-08-23)23 August 1929
Brunswick, Victoria, Australia
Died20 June 2018(2018-06-20) (aged 88)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Height1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Nationality Australia
SpouseLois Brauer (m. 1952)
Mary Kelly (m. 1960)
ChildrenDeirdre, Andrew, Peta-Ann, Fiona
Career
Turned professional1949[1]
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
European Tour
Australasian Tour
Senior PGA Tour
Professional wins94
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour6
European Tour1
Japan Golf Tour1
PGA Tour of Australasia43
PGA Tour Champions11
Other28 (European circuit)
13 (regular)
1 (senior)
Best results in major championships
(wins: 5)
Masters Tournament5th: 1957
PGA ChampionshipDNP
U.S. OpenT4: 1956
The Open ChampionshipWon: 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1965
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame1988 (member page)
Arnold Palmer Award
(Champions Tour)
1986

Life

Thomson was born in Brunswick, a northern suburb of Melbourne, Australia. His Open Championship wins came in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, and 1965. He was the only man to win the tournament for three consecutive years in the 20th century.

Thomson was a prolific tournament champion around the world, winning the national championships of ten countries, including the New Zealand Open nine times. He competed on the PGA Tour in 1953 and 1954 with relatively little success (finishing 44th and 25th on the money list), and after that was an infrequent competitor. However, in 1956, playing in just eight events, he won the rich Texas International Open, and achieved his best finish in one of the three majors staged in the United States (fourth at the U.S. Open), to finish ninth on the money list.

In the era that Thomson won his first four Open Championships, few of the leading professionals from the United States travelled to Britain to play in that event. At that time, the prize money in the Open was insufficient for an American to cover their expenses. However, Thomson demonstrated with his win in 1965 that he could beat a field of the world's best players, as that victory came against a field that included Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Lema, three of the top four American golfers from the 1964 money list.

Thomson enjoyed a successful senior career. In 1985 he won nine times on the Senior PGA Tour in the United States, and finished top of the money list. His last tournament victory came at the 1988 British PGA Seniors Championship. He was president of the Australian PGA from 1962 to 1994 and a victorious non-playing captain of the international team in the 1998 Presidents Cup.

He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.[3]

Thomson was active as a golf writer, contributing to The Age of Melbourne for some 50 years from the early 1950s. He was an honorary member of Royal Melbourne Golf Club. Thomson designed over a hundred golf courses in Australia and around the world.

Death

Thomson died in Melbourne on 20 June 2018 after a four-year battle with Parkinson's disease at the age of 88. [4][5]

Amateur wins

  • 1947 Australasian Foursomes Shield (with Dick Payne)
  • 1948 Victoria Amateur Championship

Professional wins (94)

PGA Tour wins (6)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
19 Jul 1954The Open Championship−9 (72-71-69-71=283)1 stroke Bobby Locke, Dai Rees, Syd Scott
28 Jul 1955The Open Championship−7 (71-68-70-72=281)2 strokes John Fallon
34 Jun 1956Texas International Open−13 (67-68-69-63=267)Playoff Gene Littler, Cary Middlecoff
46 Jul 1956The Open Championship+2 (70-70-72-74=286)3 strokes Flory Van Donck
55 Jul 1958The Open Championship−6 (33-72-67-73=278)Playoff Dave Thomas
69 Jul 1965The Open Championship−3 (74-68-72-71=285)2 strokes Brian Huggett, Christy O'Connor Snr

Major championships are shown in bold. The Open Championship was not sanctioned by the PGA Tour in Thomson's era, but pre-1995 Open wins were retrospectively classified as PGA Tour wins in 2002.

PGA Tour playoff record (2–0)

No.YearTournamentOpponent(s)Result
1 1956 Texas International Open Gene Littler, Cary Middlecoff Won with birdie on second extra hole
2 1958 The Open Championship Dave Thomas Won 36-hole playoff (Thomson:139, Thomas:143)

Australasia wins (43)

European circuit wins (28)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
19 Jul 1954The Open Championship72-71-69-71=2831 stroke Bobby Locke, Dai Rees,
Syd Scott
22 Oct 1954News of the World Match Play38 holes John Fallon
38 Jul 1955The Open Championship71-68-70-72=2812 strokes John Fallon
46 Jul 1956The Open Championship70-70-72-74=2863 strokes Flory Van Donck
521 Jun 1957Yorkshire Evening News Tournament65-67-64-68=26415 strokes Harry Bradshaw
69 May 1958Dunlop Tournament70-69-71-71-67=3483 strokes Harold Henning
714 Jun 1958Daks Tournament70-67-69-69=275Tie Harold Henning
85 Jul 1958The Open Championship33-72-67-73=278Playoff Dave Thomas
911 Oct 1959Italian Open69-67-68-65=2691 stroke Alfonso Angelini
1017 Oct 1959Spanish Open71-73-72-70=2862 strokes Jean Garaïalde, Syd Scott
1111 Jun 1960Daks Tournament74-66-67-72=2792 strokes Tom Haliburton, Jimmy Hitchcock
1217 Jun 1960Yorkshire Evening News Tournament70-66-65-67=2685 strokes Bernard Hunt
1320 Jun 1960Bowmaker Tournament67-65=1321 stroke Bernard Hunt
1424 Jul 1960German Open71-67-72-71=2812 strokes Roberto De Vicenzo, Jean Garaïalde
1523 Jun 1961Yorkshire Evening News Tournament70-69-70-73=2621 stroke Dai Rees
1626 Aug 1961Esso Golden Tournament21 pointsTie Dave Thomas
179 Sep 1961News of the World Match Play3 & 1 Ralph Moffitt
1816 Sep 1961Dunlop Masters70-71-72-71=2848 strokes Christy O'Connor Snr
195 May 1962Martini International66-69-72-68=2754 strokes Eric Brown
2020 May 1962Piccadilly No. 1 Tournament72-69-73-69=2833 strokes Christy O'Connor Snr
215 Jun 1965Daks Tournament70-71-68-66=2754 strokes Guy Wolstenholme
229 Jul 1965The Open Championship74-68-72-71=2852 strokes Brian Huggett, Christy O'Connor Snr
2310 Sep 1966News of the World Match Play2 & 1 Neil Coles
2422 Jul 1967Esso Golden Tournament20 pointsTie Kel Nagle
2510 Sep 1967News of the World Match Play4 & 3 Dai Rees
268 Oct 1967Alcan International69-71-73-68=2815 strokes Tony Grubb
2714 Sep 1968Dunlop Masters66-69-73-66=2745 strokes Dave Thomas
2813 Jun 1970Martini International65-68-68-67=268Tie Doug Sewell

European Tour wins (1)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner-up
123 Sep 1972W.D. & H.O. Wills Tournament71-69-66-64=2703 strokes Peter Butler

Japan Golf Tour wins (1)

Other Japan wins (5)

Other wins (8)

Senior PGA Tour wins (11)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 16 Sep 1984 World Seniors Invitational −7 (69-69-69-74=281) 1 stroke Arnold Palmer
2 9 Dec 1984 General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship −2 (67-73-74-72=286) 3 strokes Don January
3 17 Mar 1985 The Vintage Invitational −7 (69-73-69-69=280) 1 stroke Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer
4 31 Mar 1985 American Golf Carta Blanca Johnny Mathis Classic −11 (70-64-71=205) 1 stroke Don January
5 5 May 1985 MONY Senior Tournament of Champions −4 (70-70-71-73=284) 3 strokes Don January, Dan Sikes
6 9 Jun 1985 The Champions Classic −6 (68-72-70=210) 2 strokes Billy Casper, Jim Ferree
7 16 Jun 1985 Senior Players Reunion Pro-Am −14 (68-66-68=202) 2 strokes Lee Elder
8 21 Jul 1985 MONY Syracuse Senior's Classic −9 (70-64-70=203) 2 strokes Miller Barber, Gene Littler
9 18 Aug 1985 du Maurier Champions −13 (64-70-69=203) 1 stroke Ben Smith
10 15 Sep 1985 United Virginia Bank Seniors −9 (69-69-69=207) 4 strokes George Lanning
11 20 Oct 1985 Barnett Suntree Senior Classic −9 (70-68-69=207) 1 stroke Charlie Sifford

Senior PGA Tour playoff record (0–1)

No.YearTournamentOpponentResult
1 1985 Merrill Lynch/Golf Digest Commemorative Pro-Am Lee Elder Lost to eagle on first extra hole

Senior major championship is shown in bold.

Other senior wins (1)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner-up
1 26 Jun 1988 Trusthouse Forte PGA Seniors Championship +7 (78-67-72-70=287) 2 strokes Denis Hutchinson

Major championships

Wins (5)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner(s)-up
1954The Open ChampionshipTied for lead−9 (72-71-69-71=283)1 stroke Bobby Locke, Dai Rees, Syd Scott
1955The Open Championship (2)1 shot lead−7 (71-68-70-72=281)2 strokes John Fallon
1956The Open Championship (3)3 shot lead−2 (70-70-72-74=286)3 strokes Flory Van Donck
1958The Open Championship (4)2 shot lead−6 (66-72-67-73=278)Playoff 1 Dave Thomas
1965The Open Championship (5)1 shot lead−7 (74-68-72-71=285)2 strokes Christy O'Connor Snr, Brian Huggett

1 Defeated Dave Thomas in 36-hole playoff: Thomson (139), Thomas (143)

Results timeline

Tournament 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament T36 T16 T18 5 T23 DQ
U.S. Open T26 CUT T4 T22
The Open Championship T6 2 T2 1 1 1 2 1 T23
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament T19 CUT
U.S. Open CUT
The Open Championship T9 7 T6 5 T24 1 T8 T8 T24 T3
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open
The Open Championship T9 T9 T31 T31 CUT CUT CUT T13 T24 T26
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open
The Open Championship CUT

Note: Thomson never played in the PGA Championship.

  Win
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut (3rd round cut in 1975 and 1984 Open Championships)
DQ = disqualified
"T" indicates a tie for a place.

Summary

TournamentWins2nd3rdTop-5Top-10Top-25EventsCuts made
Masters Tournament00011586
U.S. Open00011253
The Open Championship5311018233026
PGA Championship00000000
Totals5311220304335
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 10 (1954 Open Championship – 1958 Open Championship)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 4 (1955 Open Championship – 1957 Masters)

Champions Tour major championships

Wins (1)

YearChampionshipWinning scoreMarginRunner-up
1984aGeneral Foods PGA Seniors' Championship−2 (67-73-74-72=286)3 strokes Don January

a This was the December edition of the tournament.

Team appearances

Honours

See also

References

  1. "Peter Thomson Turns Professional". The Chronicle. 91, (51, 183). South Australia. 21 April 1949. p. 38. Retrieved 22 February 2017 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  2. "1954 Peter Thomson". The Open. Archived from the original on 26 November 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  3. "Peter Thomson AO CBE". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  4. Blake, Martin (20 June 2018). "Golf loses a legend in Peter Thomson". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  5. Mason, Peter (20 June 2018). "Peter Thomson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  6. "Thomson Beats Locke". The Singapore Free Press. 20 February 1952.
  7. Thomson, Peter William MBE, It's an Honour, 1 January 1957.
  8. Thomson, Peter William CBE, It's an Honour, 31 December 1979.
  9. "Peter Thomson". Sport Austtralia Hall of Fame website. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  10. "Peter Thomson Trophy". Sandbelt website. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  11. Thomson, Peter William, It's an Honour, 1 January 2001.
  12. Thomson, Peter William AO, It's an Honour, 11 June 2001.
  13. "Victorian Golf Industry Hall of Fame". Golf Victoria website. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  14. "PGA of Australia mourns the loss of inaugural Immortal". PGA of Australia website. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
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