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Peter Thomson
, 1970

by Ern McQuillan

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 40.5 cm x 30.3 cm)

Peter Thomson AO CBE (1929-2018), golf champion, began to play the game at the age of 12. Winning Melbourne’s Royal Park Club Championship at 15, at 20 he turned professional and at 24 won the British Open using a set of borrowed clubs. Dubbed ‘Placid Pete’ for his unemotional play, he relied on accuracy rather than power to win the British Open five times (1954-56, 1958, 1965), the Australian Open 3 times and the New Zealand Open 9 times. He won the Canadian World Cup with fellow Australian Kel Nagle in 1954 and 1959, and in a professional career spanning nearly 40 years he won open championships in many countries; in the Senior PGA tour of 1985 he won a record 9 tournaments. He is a foundation member of Sport Australia’s Hall of Fame and the US Golf Association Hall of Fame and was ABC Australian Sportsman of the Year in 1957. His career outside golf encompassed journalism, television commentary and golf course design. In 1999 he was awarded runner-up in the Golf Course Designers of the Year award for his work on the Golden Pebble Golf Club in China. The National Sports Museum at the MCG mounted Blazing a trail: Peter Thomson at the British Open in 2014.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2004
Accession number: 2004.37