Peter Thomson dead aged 88 – Australia’s five-time British Open winner passes away at home

GOLF legend Peter Thomson has died at the age of 88, his family confirmed.

Australia's five-time British Open winner passed away at his home in Melbourne surrounded by relatives on Wednesday morning.

 Peter Thomson, 88, passed away at his home in Melbourne this morning

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Peter Thomson, 88, passed away at his home in Melbourne this morning

Thomson had suffered from Parkinson's disease for more than four years, his family told PGA Australia (PGAA).

Fellow star of Australian golf Karrie Webb was the first to offer her condolences and described him as an "Aussie legend and true gentleman of the game".

Marcus Both, an Australian who plays on the Asian Tour, tweeted: "Heavy hearts in the Australian golf community today with the passing of the Great Peter Thomson. Grew up idolizing him. One of the best swings in the history of the game."

Aged 24, Thomson became one of the youngest winners of the British Open Championship with a victory at Royal Birkdale in 1954.

 Thomson had suffered from Parkinson's disease for more than four years, his family told PGA Australia

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Thomson had suffered from Parkinson's disease for more than four years, his family told PGA Australia
 Australia's five-time British Open winner, pictured in the Seventies, died at his Melbourne home today

Getty – Contributor
Australia's five-time British Open winner, pictured in the Seventies, died at his Melbourne home today

He went on to win the Claret Jug a further four times over the next decade, a record only matched by the US's Tom Watson and Scotsman James Braid in the 20th century.

All-time record holder Harry Vardon won only one more British Open, with six victories between 1896 and 1914.

Born Vale Peter Thomson on August 23, 1929, in Brunswick, Victoria, he began playing professionally at 19 and won his first open in New Zealand in 1950, a competition he would win on a further eight occasions.

His British Open victories in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958 and 1965 were among 89 professional tournament wins during his career.

 Champion Peter Thomson celebrates at the 1966 News of the World Tournament in Walton Heath, Surrey

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Champion Peter Thomson celebrates at the 1966 News of the World Tournament in Walton Heath, Surrey
 Peter Thompson of Australia practises his swing on 1st September 1965 at The Walton Heath Golf Club in Walton on the Hill

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Peter Thompson of Australia practises his swing on 1st September 1965 at The Walton Heath Golf Club in Walton on the Hill

Thomson played only a few seasons in the US, which saw one victory at the 1956 Texas Open.

Made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf in 1979, in 2001 he became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

He was awarded an honorary degree from St Andrews University in 2005 alongside British stars Peter Alliss and Nick Faldo.

Thomson served as president of the PGAA for 32 years, during which time he also helped design and build courses in Australia and around the world.

Asked  in 2011 how he'd like to be remembered, Thomson replied: "A guy who always said what he thought."

He is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, his 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

GOLF legend Peter Thomson has died at the age of 88, his family confirmed.