SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s former British Open winner Kel Nagle died on Thursday, aged 94.
Tributes began flowing in after the PGA of Australia released a statement saying Nagle had passed away at a Sydney hospital.
“It’s a sad day for golf, we’ve lost a champion of our game,” said Brian Thorburn, chief executive officer of the PGA.
Nagle was one of Australia’s most successful and popular golfers, winning 81 professional titles in his long career, including at least one every year between 1949 and 1975.
His finest moment came in 1960 when he won the Centenary British Open at age 39, beating Arnold Palmer by a stroke at St. Andrews.
He also finished runner-up at the 1965 U.S. Open, beaten by Gary Player in an 18-hole playoff and was inducted into golf’s Hall of Fame in 2007.
“Kel was a giant of the game – he had an incredible record with wins at the Open and Australian Open that make him a legend,” Golf Australia Chief Executive Stephen Pitt said.
“But much more than that, he was an ambassador for his sport and his country, universally liked and admired by his peers.
“His victory in the 1960 Open Championship was one of the most memorable by any major champion – the way he did that will never be forgotten.”
Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Peter Rutherford