Peter Thomson - AO, CBE and 5 times Open Champion
“Thommo” was a Founder Member of the James Braid Golfing Society. He and his co-conspirators at Brora in 1996 were of one mind in believing that the legacy and example set by Braid should be captured, honoured and maintained, as a benefit to future generations of golfers.
Peter Thomson had a glittering playing career, most notable in the Open Championship. His record of 5 wins between 1954 and 1965, plus 3 runner-up placings, is as good as anyone in the game. Given the depth of quality players at that time, compared with 50 years earlier, it is arguably out on its own.
We in the JBGS have been most fortunate to have had him as our President.
The following tribute to Peter Thomson was written by Malcolm Campbell, the Founding Captain:
It was with heavy heart that we heard of the passing of our President Peter Thomson on June 20, 2018 at the age of 88.
The sad news marked the end of an era and the loss of not only one of the greatest figures in the history of our game but also the passing of a great humanitarian and a genuinely gentle man.
There is no need to recall in detail here Peter Thomson’s outstanding achievements as a player – they are well documented and known to us all. As a Society we remember him as much, if not more, for his warm friendship and fellowship and the qualities he encouraged all of us to foster in the name of his great hero, James Braid, than for his wonderful playing record. When Peter first suggested the formation of the James Braid Golfing Society, during a visit to Brora, a course and club he came to love, he did so to encourage us all to help preserve the simple values that define those who play our game as ‘golfers’ rather than mere hitters of golf balls. He encouraged us to play modest, village courses and to gather together in friendship to enjoy fellowship through our Society, to help youngsters into the game and to give a lead in maintaining the values and traditions of the game he held so dear. Our own endeavours to continue to do so are the greatest tribute we can pay to him.
Our Society remembers Peter for his support over so many years; for the warmth and humour he and his lovely wife Mary brought to our meetings at Brora and further afield. They were a wonderful team; golf and our Society could not have found better ambassadors.
Peter Thomson was honoured many times in his long and brilliant golfing career but great as his influence was on our game his contribution to society on a much wider front was just as important to him. His enduring influence was recognised when he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf in 1979 and in 2001 as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.
Peter was a man of many talents away from the golf course. He loved opera and painting and once stood as a Liberal candidate for the legislative assemble in his home state of Victoria. He was also a highly respected journalist, writing for newspapers and magazines.
I well recall my first meeting with Peter Thomson. It was the 1970 Open Championship at St Andrews. As I approached the media centre to work on my newspaper story for the day, Peter emerged carrying in one hand a bag of practice balls (the days when players brought their own) and in the other his portable typewriter. He had just filed his copy to his Australian newspaper and was on his way to the practice ground to prepare for the next day’s play. Indeed a man of many talents.
Peter Thomson was not just one of the all-time greats in a sport that has been fortunate to be blessed with so many, he was a great man and the world became a much, much poorer place for his passing.
His legacy will last as long as our royal and ancient game and as long as the world recognises the goodness in people.