Golf’s greats have lined up to celebrate the 80th birthday of legendary golfer and five-times Open Champion Peter Thomson.
The ‘Melbourne Tiger’ will celebrate his 80th birthday on Sunday, August 23 and to mark the occasion, Thomson received tributes from three of the game’s biggest names – Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
Nicklaus recalled his first Major, the US Open of 1957, where, as a 17-year-old, he missed the cut but stayed for the weekend to watch Thomson compete.
He said: “I crawled on my hands and knees up the back of one tee to watch Peter Thomson and Roberto DeVicenzo tee off. At that age, when you watched the swings of great players, you could not help but go out the next day or so and emulate them.”
Thomson was the last man to win a hat-trick of Opens (1954-56), and such was his dominance of Open golf between 1952 and 1958 that if he didn’t win, he finished second.
Arnold Palmer said: “I knew how fine a player Peter was all along, but, since he didn’t play over here a great deal during his best years, a lot of American golf followers didn’t know just how good he was. Peter certainly showed them when he came here several years to play the Senior Tour and had that remarkable 1985 season when he won nine times.”
Thomson is still extremely active, working every day in the office of his golf course design firm, Thomson Perrett & Lobb, and squeezing in three rounds of golf a week, playing off a handicap of five.
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