Peter Thomson (1929 - )
Born Melbourne, Australia, Thomson is remembered as the father of Australian golf and one of the world's leading golfers during the 1950s.
Thomson took up golf when he was 12. He immediately demonstrated a natural talent for the game and within 3 years was champion of his local club. However he did not consider golf to be a career for him and instead became an industrial chemist working for Spalding. However he very quickly changed his mind because in 1949, aged 20, he turned professional.
He didn't care much for American golf courses and instead played in Europe and the Far East. Although he played his first Open in 1951, coming 6th, it was not until 1954 that he won the event and therefore his first Major. In all, he went on to win the Open 5 times. His most memorable victory was in 1965 when he beat Palmer, Nicklaus and Player.
Thomson promoted golf in Australia and the Far East and was instrumental in establishing the reputation and prestige which tournaments played there now enjoy. He was duly elected president of the Australian PGA.
Later in his career he became a course designer, golf writer and correspondent. He was also a popular speaker on many subjects not just golf. Despite his dislike of American courses, he joined the Senior Tour in the US and in 1985 earned over US$1m prize money. He is now retired partly due to a wrist injury which proved detrimental to his form later in his career.
Thomson is a great golfer not just because of his outstanding victories but also for his contribution in establishing the game in the Far East. He is a great ambassador for Australia and for professional golf.