Newton to be inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame
October 11, 2016
By Mark Williams, PGATOUR.COM
- October 11, 2016
- Jack Newton won the 1978 Buick-Goodwrench Open for his lone TOUR win. (PGA TOUR archives)
Australian golf icon Jack Newton will be recognized for his contribution to Australian golf and his work with juniors by being inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame later this month.
Newton, 66, earned one title on the PGA TOUR, winning the 1978 Buick-Goodwrench Open in a playoff over Mike Sullivan after both players finished at 8 under at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Sullivan is now a long-time rules official on PGA TOUR Champions.
In 1980, Newton made headlines again when he finished runner-up in back-to-back weeks, finishing six strokes behind Craig Stadler at the Greater Greensboro Open before heading to Augusta National to tie for second with Gibby Gilbert, four strokes behind the legendary Severiano Ballesteros in the Masters Tournament.
On his home Tour, Newton collected four titles, with the 1979 Australian Open being the most important. He won three times on the European Tour but made perhaps his greatest impact when he finished runner-up finish to Tom Watson at The Open Championship, losing a playoff to World Golf Hall of Fame member at Carnoustie in 1975.
After tragically losing his arm and right eye in 1983 in a near-fatal accident, when he walked into the spinning propeller of a Cessna aircraft he was about to board at Sydney Airport, Newton returned to public life as a television commentator and golf course designer.
Newton also dedicated a lot of his time to help to develop young talent on a path towards a professional career. Some of Australia’s best current players competed as youngsters in the tournaments run by the Jack Newton Golf Foundation, including Adam Scott, Jason Day and Karrie Webb.
"The kids playing the game today are incredibly refreshing," Newton told Golf Australia in a recent interview. “When Jason (Day) was 16 he had the most technically talented swing of the golf club I’d seen and I predicted big things for him. I told the journo’s ‘this kid is going to be a sensation one day’ and they all laughed at me – but I have the last laugh now.”
In 2007, Newton was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to golf. He and his wife, Jackie, have two children, Kristie and Clint. Clint Newton is a former rugby league star, having finished his playing career for the Newcastle Knights in 2015, while Kristie is a professional golfer.
Newton will be inducted at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame awards night on Oct. 13, at the Crown Palladium in Melbourne, Australia.