Australian golf great Peter Thomson dies

Melissa Woods

Australian golfing great Peter Thomson has died after a battle with Parkinson's disease.

The five-time British Open champion had been fighting the disease for the past four years.

Based in Melbourne, Thomson was 88.

Thomson died at home surrounded by his family on Wednesday morning.

Thomson is presented with his fifth British Open trophy in 1965. Pic: Getty

Tributes quickly began pouring in on social media once news of his passing spread.

He is survived by his wife Mary, a son and three daughters, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The first Australian to win the British Open, Thomson claimed the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equalled only by American Tom Watson.

Thomson died aged 88 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. Pic: Getty

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

As well as a great player, Thomson served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world.

He also helped establish the Asian Tour and worked behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organisation where he was chairman for five years.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.