Australian golfer Jack Newton has died at the age of 72, his family has announced.
He had been battling Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years, his son Clint Newton said in a statement early on Good Friday.
“On behalf of our family, it is with great sadness I announce that our courageous and loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, and mate, Jack Newton OAM has passed away overnight due to health complications,” the statement said.
“Dad was a fearless competitor and iconic Australian, blazing a formidable trail during his professional golfing career between 1971 and 1983 before his career tragically ended following an accident involving an aeroplane propeller at the age of 33.”
“He fought back from tremendous adversity as only he could, and chose to selflessly invest his time, energy, and effort towards giving back to the community through his Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation, sports commentary, golf course design, and raising significant funds for several charities, most notably, diabetes.
“His passion for sport and contributing to future generations of golfers and the Australian community demonstrates the character of our father, beloved husband, proud brother, adoring grandfather, and maverick mate”.
His son added: “In true Jack Newton style, we will celebrate his incredible life; however, for now, our family asks for privacy and we appreciate everyone’s love, support, and friendship throughout his life.”
Newton won numerous titles in the 1970s including the British Matchplay in 1974, the Buick-Goodwrench Open in 1978 and the Australian Open Championship in 1979.
But he is best known for his play-off defeat to Tom Watson at The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, in 1975, as well as finishing runner-up to Seve Ballesteros at the 1980 Masters.
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Good Friday tweeted it was mourning the passing of an “esteemed member”, while Golf Australia paid tribute to an “incredible character and golf legend”.
The PGA of Australia said it was “deeply saddened” by Newton’s death.
“His playing career and promotion of junior golf through the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation will ensure his legacy forever remains embedded within Australian golf,” the organisation added.
Newton is survived by his wife Jackie, daughter Kristie and son Clint as well as six grandchildren.