Peter Oosterhuis has joined the exclusive club of Honorary Life Members of The European Tour in recognition of a stellar career which saw him crowned Europe’s number one player for four consecutive seasons from 1971-1974.
The Englishman was the dominant force of European golf in the Tour’s formative years and as well as winning the first four Orders of Merit he also topped the Sunshine Tour’s money list in both 1970 and 1971.
Oosterhuis took up golf at Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club in London and went on to win seven times on the European Tour. He won a total of 20 times around the world as well as finishing runner-up in the 1974 and 1982 Open Championships. He also finished third in the 1973 Masters.
The now 67 year old moved to America to play full-time on the PGA Tour from 1975-1986, winning the Canadian Open in 1981. He represented Europe with distinction in six Ryder Cups between 1971 and 1981. That decade was during the USA’s most dominant period in Ryder Cup history, but Oosterhuis was a force to be reckoned with, winning six of the eight singles matches he contested including a famous victory over Arnold Palmer in 1971.
He made America his home and went onto enjoy a hugely successful broadcasting career in the USA which began in the company of Renton Laidlaw and saw the pair bring the European Tour to life in America through the Golf Channel. He went on to join the CBS Sports network and became one of the sport’s most respected analysts. Oosterhuis still lives in the USA, with wife Ruth Ann, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Oosterhuis was guest of honour at the annual European Tour dinner held at the Augusta Country Club during the Masters on Tuesday night, a dinner hosted by Chief Executive Keith Pelley and attended by many of the game’s luminaries including current European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke. Oosterhuis was presented with his silver Honorary Life Membership card by the Tour’s former Chief Executive George O’Grady, a life-long friend of the Oosterhuis family.
O’Grady said: “We are delighted to be able to present Peter with Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour. There are two compelling reasons for us to honour Peter in this way. First of all, his outstanding playing career which saw him dominate European golf in the early-mid 1970s, and secondly for an outstanding broadcasting career which saw Peter become the voice of the European Tour in America.
“I have had the great pleasure of knowing the Oosterhuis family for over 40 years, so it is with great delight that I can present this award to make Peter the 49th recipient. There are so many great names among that 49, and to give you a flavour of the company Peter is joining, I can tell you that our first Honorary Life Member was the great John Jacobs in 1978, while the last man to receive this award was Jack Nicklaus during The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles two years ago.”
As Oosterhuis revealed last year, he is suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s, but with the help of Ruth Ann he addressed the audience at the Country Club with an emotional and heart-warming speech, filled with stories of his career both inside and outside the ropes.
He said: “I have to be honest and say that I am completely overwhelmed by this award and the reception you all have given myself and my family this evening. To join the list of great names who have been given Honorary Life Membership is very humbling and I thank The European Tour from the bottom of my heart.”
In addition, Oosterhuis was also presented with a stunning panoramic photograph of the London skyline by European Tour Chairman, David Williams, a photograph taken from the balcony of his beloved Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club,
Williams, himself a member of the club, said: “On behalf of the membership of Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club I am delighted to present Peter with this beautiful picture of London, capturing the great city’s skyline from Heathrow in the west, to Canary Wharf in the east.
“I was speaking to some of the members last week and those who remember Peter talked of his greatness as a player and his short game genius, which is certainly required to play well around as tight a course. No would could remember Peter being beaten when he played there, and we are so proud that he began his remarkable life in golf at our club.”
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