Australian golf legend Jack Newton dies aged 72

Australian golfer Jack Newton has died at the age of 72.

The golf world has been rocked by the news of Jack Newton’s death.

A statement released by Newton’s family on Friday morning announced that Jack Newton had passed away overnight.

The PGA of Australia and the Australian Golf Media reported:

Newton had been battling Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years, he and his family sharing his plight with the broader community as his health deteriorated.

Born in Cessnock in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales on January 30, 1950, Newton’s athletic prowess was ultimately channeled into golf and he turned professional at the age of 21.

He would go on to win tournaments on the PGA TOUR (1978 Buick-Goodwrench Open), European Tour (1972 Dutch Open, 1972 Benson & Hedges Festival of Golf, 1974 Benson & Hedges Match Play Championship) and was a three-time winner on the PGA Tour of Australasia, most notably the 1979 Australian Open at Metropolitan Golf Club.

But his playing career is perhaps best remembered for his runner-up finish to Seve Ballesteros at the 1980 Masters at Augusta National and his playoff defeat at the hands of Tom Watson at the 1975 Open Championship at Carnoustie, a tournament many fellow Australians felt he deserved to win.

An accident involving an aeroplane propeller brought his playing career to an end at just 33 years of age but he would continue to impact Australian golf in a myriad of wonderful ways.

A no-holds-barred TV commentator and acclaimed course designer, Newton’s greatest legacy is the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation that has fostered the careers of many elite professionals and impacted the lives of thousands of others while the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic has raised millions of dollars towards diabetes research.

“Jack has been such an influential figure in Australian golf and his contribution and legacy will live on for many decades to come,” said PGA of Australia CEO, Gavin Kirkman.

“He was as tough off the course as he was on it yet underlying everything was his deep passion for the game of golf and the positive impact it could have on people’s lives, particularly young people.

Perhaps the best read on Newton’s legacy is the one penned by Mike Clayton over at Golf Australia:

Jack suggested the position of the pin and the angle of the wind had a lot to do with it, but Hay wasn’t having it.

In his post post round television interview Couples was informed there was some dispute in the commentary box about the strategy on the final hole.

“Well, we all thought the direction of the wind and the position of the pin advantaged a drive further left than normal”

“Well, Alex’ said Jack, “I guess that’s why you were a club pro and I played the tour.”

He never worked for the BBC again but that was Jack. He called it as he saw it and he didn’t suffer fools.

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