Singapore: Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) members are among those who have been paying rich tribute to Peter Thomson.
The Australian golfing great passed away on Wednesday at the age of 88.
Posting on the AGIF’s Facebook page, Danny Potter, Managing Director of Centaur Asia Pacific, wrote: “A very sad day. What a great man. I was lucky enough to drink tea with him at his hotel in Hong Kong for a one-on-one chat for two hours.
“To this day that remains a couple of the best hours of my career in the golf industry. An absolute gentleman. He should never, ever be forgotten.”
Owen Hester, Managing Director of Green Dynasty, said: “One of the true gentlemen of world golf. He had a big impact on golf in Asia Pacific and inspired so many of us who work in the industry today. RIP Peter. Your early words to me I will never forget. It inspired me to be where I am today.”
Responding to the comments, Warren Duncan of Thomson and Perrett wrote: “It’s been a very sad day for us all here in the Thomson Perrett Golf Design office on hearing of the passing of our great friend and colleague Peter Thomson.
“I first worked with Peter on Hope Island and Twin Waters in the late 1980s and early 1990s and continued to enjoy a wonderful working relationship and friendship with him for 29 years.
“Together with Michael Wolveridge and Ross Perrett we worked on projects in Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Scotland. To travel and work alongside a man with such tremendous knowledge and wisdom was an absolute privilege. Peter was a true gentleman and will be sadly missed, but certainly not forgotten.”
In a statement released from St Andrews, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “It is with great sadness that we have awoken to the news of the passing of Peter Thomson.
“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. 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. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.
“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.
“He was one of the most decorated and celebrated Champion Golfers in the history of The Open, winning the Championship five times in total and becoming the only golfer of the 20th century to lift the Claret Jug on three consecutive occasions between 1954 and 1956.
“Our deepest condolences go out to Peter’s wife, Mary, and his four children, Diana, Peta-Ann, Fiona and Andrew.”
The PGA of Australia said Thomson will be remembered as one of Australia’s greatest ever golfers. Over a playing career that celebrated 89 professional tournament wins, Thomson’s mental strength and ability to perform under pressure were considered a key part of his success.
Across his career he won the national championships of 10 countries, including the New Zealand Open nine times.
In 1998, the same year that Thomson captained the International Team to victory in The Presidents Cup, he was also elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
As a PGA Professional, Thomson’s contribution was remarkable. Serving as Chairman of the PGA of Australian for 32 years, Thomson was a role model for many and led to his induction as an Immortal of the Association in 2016.
An accomplished man, Thomson authored books, magazine articles and newspaper columns for major outlets around the globe.
Following his successful playing career, Thomson began designing courses with Wolveridge in the 1960s. Over 51 years, he and his business partners, including Perrett, developed more than 180 courses in over 30 countries.
His legacy to the golfing industry and charitable community work was recognised over the years with the awarding of many honours including a Member of the Order of the British Empire (1957), Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1979), as an Officer of the Order of Australian (2001) and one of 39 Legends of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame (2001).
Thomson epitomised the values important to the PGA and his memory will continue to inspire golfers all over Australia and the world.
“The PGA is deeply saddened by the passing of Peter Thomson,” said Gavin Kirkman, CEO of the PGA of Australia.
“A gentleman of the game, a legend of Australian sport and an Immortal of the PGA of Australia, Mr Thomson’s contribution to golf and our Association was immense and will live forever in our hearts and the pages of history.
“This is a sad day for Australian golf but we reflect on the life of Peter Thomson with respect and pride knowing that it was a great privilege to have a man of his talent, passion, wisdom and grace be such an integral part of the PGA of Australia and our sport.”
David Stretton, Interim Chairman of the PGA of Australia, added: “Mr Thomson was Australian golf and this is a truly sad day for our sport. He embodied all the traits of a true gentleman of our sport; he was talented, respectful and passionate.
“Mr Thomson was an incredibly intelligent man who successfully guided the PGA as Chairman for 32 years; his legacy will certainly continue to influence current and future PGA leaders.
“He leaves a legacy like no other and his achievements and memory will continue to inspire up and coming Australian professional golfers.”