171. Peter Oosterhuis Has Died Aged 75

7th May 2024

Peter Arthur Oosterhuis has died at the age of 75, a day before his 76th birthday, in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Oosterhuis was born on 3rd May 1948 in London to Josie and Hans. Dutchman Hans had emigrated to Britain after escaping German occupation of his home country during Workd War II.

Peter was educated at Dulwich College. His mother introduced him to golf when he was 10 and he became a member of Dulwich & Sydenham Hill Golf Club, taking lessons with the pro Len Rowe.

His progress in the game was rapid and he represented England Boys’ in 1964 and went on to captain the team in 1965.

In 1966 he won the Berkshire Trophy and the R&A British Youths Open Amateur Championship at Dalmahoy. He also finished 3rd in this latter competition in both 1967 and 1968.

Interstingly he only chose to play in the Amateur Championship on one occassion. He lost in the third round at Troon in 1968 to Matt Lygate, a Scottish International who was a member at neighbouring Troon Portland.

He played in the 1967 Walker Cup match at Royal St. George’s G.C. having just turned 19. He was the first player still at school to play in the match. Paired with Scotland’s Ronnie Shade they halved one and won one of their two foursomes. He lost both of his singles; to Bob Dickson by 6&4 on Day 1 and James Grant III by 1 Hole on Day 2.

He was a member of the GB&I St. Andrews Trophy team that was victorious 20-10 against Continent of Europe in 1968, winning 3 out of 4 points at Portmarnock.

Peter Oosterhuis

The 6ft. 5” Oosterhuis turned professional in November 1968 and by the mid-1970s had replaced Tony Jacklin as Britain’s leading golfer.

In March 1969 he won the Sunningdale Foursomes with his partner Peter Benka. They beat Catherine Lacoste and Jean-Michel Lerretche in the Final 3&2.

He won the Harry Vardon Award in his rookie year, 1969, and went on to top the European Tour’s Order of Merit four times between 1971 to 1974. In 1975 he moved to the USA to compete full time on the PGA Tour, one of the first international players to do so.

The Englishman was twice a runner-up at The Open, in 1974 and 1982. He also had a good run at the 1973 Masters where he entered the final round, played on a monday after rain delays, with a 3-shot lead before closing with a 74 and having to settle for tied 3rd.

He won 20 times worldwide, with seven official victories in Europe, including the national opens of France and Spain, and one on the PGA Tour, overcoming Jack Nicklaus down the stretch in the 1981 Canadian Open.

Oosterhuis played in six consecutive Ryder Cups from 1971 to 1981 (only the last two including European players), all of which ended in team defeat, but individual success. He compiled a W14-L11-H3 overall record, including a joint European best six singles wins (out of nine games) taking the scalps of Arnold Palmer (2), Johnny Miller, JC Snead and Gene Littler. It is something of a surprise that he was never afforded the European team captaincy in the 1980’s but living full time in America obviously didn’t help his case.

His performances were built on a surprisingly sharp short game for a big man and sound strategy which he put down to his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; an ability to remember nearly every shot he ever played and staying focussed on the next task at hand.

Once his playing career ended in 1986 he took on a number of Director of Golf roles, most notably at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. He then became a highly respected TV commentator working firstly for Sky Sports and then the Golf Channel and CBS in USA for 18 years.

He was sadly diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 and retired from the public eye.

In 2016 he became the 49th honorary life member of the European Tour.

Without a major win to his name Oosterhuis could never be considered a golfing great but he was certainly a player of some ability and unquestionably a hugely popular gentleman both on and off the course.


Copyright © 2015-2023, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

One thought on “171. Peter Oosterhuis Has Died Aged 75”

  1. Mark

    A marvellous tribute to a great golfer…a man who loved the game that we all revere.

    Ian Baker Finch also made a great tribute to Oosty.

    Great golfer….but as our game always has….a gentleman.

    RIP sir

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.