Ryder Cup Great Dave Thomas Passes Away Aged 79
Tributes have been paid to former Ryder Cup player and golf course designer Dave Thomas, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 79.
Thomas played in four Ryder Cups and represented Wales 11 times in the World Cup of Golf. He also finished in second place on two occasions in the Open Championship and was elected to the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, a huge honour for the Welshman.
George O’Grady said of his passing: "He was a larger-than-life character, a truly great guy,” he said. “Dave became a household name in the 1950s and 1960s when he helped to build the game in Britain and all over the world.
"Our condolences are with his partner Carol and Dave's sons Michael and Paul.
"Wherever the Tour has travelled, from Britain to the Continent to the rest of the world, we have played on courses designed by Dave. Both as a player and an architect, he leaves a lasting legacy to the game he truly loved."
Thomas turned professional in 1949 after watching great champions such as Fred Daly, Max Faulkner and Sam Snead when they competed in the Ryder Cup at Ganton.
He made his debut 10 years later in the contest at Eldorado Country Club and went on to play in three more Ryder Cups, the last of which was in 1967 in Houston, where he partnered a young Tony Jacklin in all four fourballs and foursomes, earning two-and-a-half points before having his match with Gene Littler in the singles.
In 1958 Thomas was beaten in a 36-hole play-off to Australia’s Peter Thomson at the Open at Royal Lytham. After that he finished tied for second with Doug Sanders, on stroke behind Jack Nicklaus, in the 1996 tournament at Muirfield.
Arthritis drew his career to a sudden and unfortunate end, and Thomas set his sights on a new career goal of golf course designing.
He and Peter Alliss, who most will recognise for his distinctive commentary on the BBC, designed The Belfry’s famous Brabazon Course which hosted the Ryder Cup in 1985, 1989, 1993 and 2002.
It is a sad time for all who knew Dave Thomas and both his peers and fans will be sad for his passing. Our condolences go out to Dave Thomas’ family and friends.