IT was a tough start to the year for Australian professionals and golf fans with the passing of Bob Shearer.
Shearer, a PGA of Australia life member, suffered a heart attack and passed away on January 9, aged 73.
He ranks among the finest golfers Victoria has produced and is only one of a few players to have won the Australian Open, Australia PGA Championship and the Australia amateur championship.
In a four-decade career, Shearer amassed 27 professional wins including the 1982 Tallahassee Open on the PGA Tour and the Madrid Open and Piccadilly Medal on the European Tour, both in 1975.
And he won four events on the European Seniors Tour.
Shearer and Ian Stanley represented Australia in the 1975 World Cup and finished fourth in the teams’ competition. Shearer shot rounds of 74-68-66-69 to finish runner-up to American Johnny Miller in the individual event.
He played in all four majors with his best result being tied seventh in the 1978 Open Championship won by Jack Nicklaus at St Andrews.
He won two New Zealand Open titles and the Tasmanian, New South Wales, South Australian and Victorian opens.
In the 1986 Queensland Open at Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf Club a woman spectator picked up Shearer’s ball on the 18th fairway in the third round. She put the ball in her handbag and took off with Shearer in hot pursuit.
When he caught up with her, Shearer politely asked if he could look in her handbag for his ball. And there it was. Officials allowed Shearer to replace it from where they judged the woman had taken it and he holed out without penalty and finished his round with a 66.
Shearer also turned his hand to course design and joined the Australian Society of Golf Course Architects in 1993. His most significant work was at his beloved Southern Golf Club where his golf journey began almost 60 years ago.
PGA chair Rodger Davis said Shearer would be sadly missed by the golfing community.
“Bob was a giant of the game in Australia in the 1970s and ’80s and I am absolutely devastated that I have lost another of my great mates,” Davis said on the PGA Tour of Australia website.
Shearer is survived by his wife Kathie and their two sons, Brett and Bobby.