At the age of 72, champion Australian golfer Jack Newton died of health issues.
The former Australian Open champion, who came close to winning the British Open and US Masters, suffered a tragic accident in 1983 when he walked into an aviation propeller at Sydney Airport and lost his arm and eye.
His family confirmed the news in a statement released on Good Friday morning, saying Newton’s love of the sport and the community would continue on.
Clint, his son and former NRL player and CEO of the Rugby League Players’ Association, issued a statement that was read out on the Today Show not long ago.
“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 read.
“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 was given a 50:50 chance of survival following the accident that ended his career, and he spent several days in a coma and two months in critical care.
Newton then learned himself to play golf one-handed and founded the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic, a prominent charity golf tournament.
Newton went on to become a golf pundit, course designer, public speaker, and Chairman of the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation after retiring.
Newton’s annual Celebrity Classic and corporate tournament collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity in favour of junior golf and diabetes awareness.
He scored in the mid-80s while playing golf one-handed, swinging the club with his left hand.
Newton’s celebrity tournament became well-known for attracting television personalities and sporting figures each year, with most dressed up in extravagant outfits to play a game.
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke was a regular attendee, and became well known for performing a stirring rendition of Waltzing Matilda at the event’s annual supper.
Newton was also well-known for his love of rugby league, namely the Newcastle Knights.
Former Knights playmaker and Queensland Maroons coach Michael Hagan fought back tears as he spoke of Newton’s sense of humour and cheeky smile at his funeral.
“One of the greatest honours you can achieve at the Newcastle Knights was to be named players’ player, which was the player every other player wanted to play alongside,” he said.
“Today’s winner is Jack Newton and today we’ll be having a beer in your honour this afternoon.