Ryder Cup star and beloved golf commentator Peter Oosterhuis dies aged 75

Oosterhuis played in six Ryder Cups and was a two-time runner-up at The Open

Phil Casey
Thursday 02 May 2024 16:38 BST
Peter Oosterhuis (right) played in six Ryder Cups
Peter Oosterhuis (right) played in six Ryder Cups (PA Archive)

Former Ryder Cup player and much-loved television commentator Peter Oosterhuis has died at the age of 75, the PGA Tour has announced.

Oosterhuis, who topped the European Tour’s Order of Merit from 1971-1974 and twice finished runner-up at The Open, had been suffering from Alzheimer’s since 2014.

He died on Thursday, a day before what would have been his 76th birthday.

Following a successful amateur career, Oosterhuis turned professional in 1968 and quickly made his mark with a tie for sixth in the 1970 Open at St Andrews, where Jack Nicklaus defeated Doug Sanders in a play-off.

He finished top of the European Tour’s money list for the first time in 1971 and had a great chance to win the Masters in 1973 when he took a three-shot lead into the final round, but a closing 74 left him in a tie for third, two shots behind winner Tommy Aaron.

Oosterhuis also finished second in The Open in 1974 and 1982 and although all six of his Ryder Cup appearances ended in defeat at a time of American dominance, he defeated Arnold Palmer (twice), Johnny Miller, JC Snead and Gene Littler in singles.

Given honorary life membership of the European Tour in 2016, Oosterhuis is survived by his second wife, Ruth Ann, and his son Rob, a professional golfer.

Oosterhuis was a much-loved figure in the golfing world
Oosterhuis was a much-loved figure in the golfing world (PA Archive)

Former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher, who partnered Oosterhuis in the biennial competition, paid tribute to his former team-mate.

“This is an incredibly sad day for everyone who was lucky enough to know Peter, but also for the game of golf as a whole,” Gallacher told the DP World Tour website.

“I played alongside Peter at boys, youths and senior amateur level all the way through to being his partner in the 1971 Ryder Cup in Missouri, where we combined to beat Lee Trevino and Billy Casper before he went on to win both his singles matches, including beating Arnold Palmer.

“Peter was an incredibly intelligent golfer, dedicated to his craft and to practice. He excelled in course management and putting which made him a very difficult opponent to get the better of.

“He was also a very intelligent man and a lovely person to be with in company. I never heard him talk badly of anyone in the decades I knew him and that, alongside his eloquence and deep knowledge of the game, was the reason he was also such a popular and excellent broadcaster.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in