One of golf’s greatest advocates and a revered figure in Australian sport, Jack Newton OAM, has passed away overnight due to health complications. He was 72.
The Newton family released a statement on Friday.
“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.
“His passion for sport and contributing to future generations of golfers and the Australian community demonstrates the character of our father, beloved husband, proud brother, adoring grandfather, and maverick mate.
“Dad’s legacy will live on through his wife Jackie, daughter Kristie, son Clint, grandchildren Matilda, Hope, Jessie, Noah, Paige, and Indie.
“In true Jack Newton style, we will celebrate his incredible life; however, for now, our family asks for privacy and we appreciate everyone’s love, support, and friendship throughout his life.”
A Sports Australia Hall of Fame member, Newton’s career was cut short in his prime due to an accident with an aircraft propellor, losing his right arm & eye and sustaining severe abdominal injuries.
Born in Cessnock, NSW, Newton was a prolific winner of state titles, including the NSW Amateur in 1968. After turning professional in 1971, he claimed two NSW Opens; his first in 1976 and another in 1979.
Newton recorded one US PGA Tour victory (The Buick-Goodwrench Open) along with three wins on the European Tour and an Australian Open Championship (1979).
Newton’s exploits in The Open at Carnoustie in 1975, where he lost in a playoff to American Tom Watson and his runner-up finish to the great Spaniard, Seve Ballesteros, at the Masters in 1980 were notable highlights.
Michael Medway, Chairman of Golf NSW, said the organisation was devastated by the passing of Newton overnight.
“Jack’s influence on the development of many of our game’s finest athletes cannot be understated. In his forty-plus years of involvement, He has inspired so many of our sport’s current stars, notably through the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation.
His impact in the game will likely never be matched in NSW or Australian golf,” Mr Medway added.
News of Newton’s death impacted many of the sport’s stars he nurtured during their formative years, with tribute flowing in from across the globe.
Nick Flanagan, whose thrilling win in the 2003 US Amateur at Oakmont as a fresh faced 19-year old JNJG graduate, remembered what a powerful influence Newton was on the formative years of his career.
“Jack was hugely influential in my career from the start. With his wife Jackie and the (JNJG) foundation He gave me the opportunity to start golf and play tournaments.
“He gave me some incredible advice as a young man making my way in the sport, and as an adult I couldn’t wait to get back the Jack Newton celebrity classic every year and have a beer with him.
“He truly always wanted to help grow the game and protect all of us kids future. A True legend.”
Former PGA Tour Player Aron Price, who won on the Web.com tour in 2008 and is now living in Jacksonville, Florida, was another former junior star who posted a tribute.
“RIP Jack. You did so much for so many in NSW Junior Golf… A big part of my life, Thank You,” Price posted on Facebook.
Every journey starts somewhere,mine was in golf tournaments under the Jack Newton Junior Golf https://t.co/KEzwCDLid4 mate#JNJGF— Greg Chalmers (@GregChalmersPGA) April 14, 2022
Freshly minted Professional and a recent graduate from the JNJG, Jordie Garner also remembered the iconic News South Welshman.
“Such a sad day for golf. .. He’s done so much for so many young golfers in Australia… RIP Jack.”
PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman said Jack was an influential figure in Australian golf and his contribution and legacy will live on for many decades to come.
“He was as tough off the course as he was on it yet underlying everything was his deep passion for the game of golf and the positive impact it could have on people’s lives, particularly young people,” Kirkman said.
Jack Newton not only an amazing golfer but what he and his family did for charity and junior golf in Australia was truely amazing. Rest In Peace.— James Nitties (@JamesNitties23) April 15, 2022
Dale Hughes, Tournament and Event Manager with Jack Newton Junior Golf said his loss to the organisation would be profound.
“Our thoughts and best wishes are with the Newton family and the countless friends he met along the way but Jack Newton’s name will forever hold an important place within Australian golf,”
The Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation has been instrumental in growing the game of golf in NSW for more than 35 years, with so many people better off for having been involved with Jack.
I’ve been so lucky to know Jack as a player in his foundation and now an employee in his organisation. He is one of a kind and my life is better for having had Jack in it.”