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Jack Newton, Golfer Whose Profession Was Ended by an Accident, Dies at 72



Jack Newton, who misplaced to Tom Watson in a 1975 British Open playoff and tied for second behind Seve Ballesteros on the 1980 Masters earlier than his skilled golf profession led to a near-fatal plane propeller accident, died on Friday. He was 72.

His household mentioned in a press release that Newton, who had been dwelling with Alzheimer’s illness, died from “well being problems.” The assertion didn’t say the place he died.

Newton gained the Buick Open on the PGA Tour in 1978 and the Australian Open in 1979, in addition to three tournaments in Europe, earlier than his profession — and almost his life — ended when he walked into the propeller of a small airplane he was about to board at Sydney airport on July 24, 1983.

His proper arm was severed, he misplaced sight in his proper eye, and he sustained extreme accidents to his stomach. Docs gave him solely a 50-50 likelihood of surviving, and he spent almost two months in intensive care earlier than present process an extended rehabilitation.

Regardless of his near-death expertise, Newton returned to public life, his jovial persona intact. He turned a well-liked tv, radio and newspaper golf commentator, a golf-course designer and the chairman of the Jack Newton Junior Golf Basis, which raised a whole lot of hundreds of {dollars} for up-and-coming gamers in Australia.

The inspiration’s annual match attracted a who’s who of celebrities and professional golfers in Australia, most of whom dressed up in outlandish costumes as inspired by Newton.

He taught himself to play golf one-handed, swinging the membership together with his left hand in a right-handed stance. He repeatedly had scores within the mid-80s for 18 holes — which interprets to a handicap of about 12 or 14, one that almost all able-bodied novice gamers would aspire to.

Newton turned skilled in 1971 on the European Tour and gained his first occasion, the Dutch Open, the subsequent 12 months. Every week later, he gained a match in Fulford, England; in 1974, he gained the tour’s match play championship.

His playoff loss within the 1975 British Open got here after Watson had just a few fortunate photographs. A wire fence stored Watson’s ball in bounds on the eighth gap, and he chipped for an eagle on the 14th to assert the Claret Jug by a shot over Newton.

“I at all times felt that if I got here into a significant with some good kind, then I could possibly be harmful,” Newton mentioned. “That’s the way in which I performed golf. As soon as I obtained my tail up I wasn’t afraid of anyone.”

On the 1980 Masters, he completed the match tied for second with the American Gibby Gilbert, 4 strokes behind the 21-year-old Ballesteros of Spain.

Gavin Kirkman, the chief government of PGA of Australia, mentioned that Newton’s “contribution and legacy will reside on for a lot of a long time to return,” including that he “was as robust off the course as he was on it.”

Newton is survived by his spouse, Jackie; two kids, Kristie and Clint; and 6 grandchildren. His daughter was a professional golfer, and his son performed rugby in Australia and Britain.


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