The mantle as Australia’s Greatest Golfer will be put in the hands of the public as the PGA of Australia launches a head-to-head battle of Australia’s 64 most accomplished professionals.
To be conducted through the PGA Tour of Australasia’s Facebook page and in a matchplay-bracket formula that will see 32 first-round matches, the best players our country has seen will have to progress past fellow legends in a fan vote in order to ultimately be crowned our No.1 of all time.
Five-time Open champion Peter Thomson has been seeded No.1 and will face Japan Tour winner and all-around larrikin Peter McWhinney in Monday’s first match.
Greg Norman, the No.2 seed, has been pitted against Stewart Ginn and third favourite Karrie Webb against two-time Australian PGA and 1949 Australian Open champion Eric Cremin in other first-round matches.
Whenever Australia’s greatest ever golfer is discussed the names Thomson, Norman and Webb come to the fore but PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman says the path to get to the final will provide some compelling matches along the way.
“What excites me the most is seeing all the different generations of golfers mixed in together and it will be interesting to see how the different generations of Australian golf fans vote over the coming weeks,” Kirkman said.
“I’ve worked in golf for the past 35 years of my life and I know myself I have had so many favourites throughout that time.
“Growing up I was a huge Greg Norman fan but when my father was alive it was Norman von Nida, Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle.
“What excites me the most is seeing all the different generations of golfers mixed in together and it will be interesting to see how the different generations of Australian golf fans vote over the coming weeks.” – Gavin Kirkman, PGA of Australia CEO
“Working in golf retail during Norman’s 331 weeks as World No.1, I saw first-hand the influence he had on the entire industry. People were flooding into pro shops wanting to buy something with the Shark logo on it and go and play nine or 18 holes.
“Then I went into a time where I got to know people such as Wayne Grady, Peter Senior and Ian Baker-Finch and they became my heroes because it was clear to me that not only were they great golfers but great people as well.
“I was fortunate to deliver so many Australian Ladies Masters titles to Karrie in my time at RACV Royal Pines Resort and you look at her playing record and in Australian golf it is unparalleled. No one has won more majors than Karrie, not to mention her other tournament victories.
“Then you move into the modern-day players such as Adam Scott and although he has only won one major to date, he is another great person who continually gives back to Australian golf.
“Add in those guys slightly younger than Adam such as Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith and I am really excited to see how that crop develops and the careers they put together.
“It’s an incredible list of our highest-achieving golfers and I’m sure as we progress everyone is going to have their own favourites who they want to vote for.”
An independent panel of golf experts has assembled a list of 64 of our greatest ever golfers. Each player has been seeded and placed into four brackets.
Each day a golfer will go head-to-head with another of our country’s stars.
The two-month-long competition comprises of 63 matches across 69 days.
WEEK 1 MATCHES
Monday: Peter Thomson v Peter McWhinney
Tuesday: Greg Norman v Stewart Ginn
Wednesday: Karrie Webb v Eric Cremin
Thursday: David Graham v Brad Kennedy
Friday: Kel Nagle v Roger Mackay
Saturday: Jan Stephenson v Randall Vines
Sunday: Adam Scott v Jarrod Lyle