Vale Ian Stanley - PGA of Australia

Vale Ian Stanley

Australian golf is mourning the loss of one of its greatest characters, Ian Stanley.

Australian golf is mourning the loss of one of its greatest characters, Ian Stanley.

""The Victorian – a winner of 19 events on the PGA Tour of Australasia, one on the European Tour and three on the Senior European Tour including the 2001 Senior British Open – died at the weekend after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.

Australian PGA Chief Operating Officer Stuart Hergt confirmed the loss.

"All in Australian golf are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of PGA Professional and Victorian Golf Hall of Famer Ian Stanley," Hergt said.

"He was a champion on the course, as many know, but also off the course, too.

"He will be very sadly missed by all in the industry."

Stanley was able to transition from his accomplished playing career into a successful role in the media as a commentator and was involved in golf course architecture.

He was also director of Tee Up for Kids, a not-for-profit organisation which raises money for under-privileged children in Victoria.

Stanley also played an integral part in creating the Jack Newton Trust and was a board member of the PGA Tour of Australasia in the 1980s.

With his trademark moustache, Stanley was loved by golf fans as a great character who wore his heart on his sleeve and celebrated heartily.

But he was a stellar golfer who sat comfortably among several great exports of his era, including Newton, Bob Shearer, Stewart Ginn and Rodger Davis.

It was no surprise to see him dominate the 2001 European senior circuit and win the Order of Merit crown with his smooth swing still obvious to all.

But a decade on, Stanley began the biggest fight of his life when, complaining of a lack of vitality that made him famous, he was diagnosed with aggressive kidney cancer which was later found to have spread to his circulatory system.

Typically, Stanley defied the odds and it was only later when it spread to his spine that he was unable to battle through for a third time.

"But we’ve put up a good fight," Stanley wrote bravely wrote in a recent Australian Golf Digest of his battles.

Several of Stanley’s lifelong mates, including Newton, Shearer, Richmond premiership coach Tony Jewell and Carlton great Mark Maclure, gathered recently at Huntingdale Golf Club for what subsequently become clear was a last farewell.

"It was a fantastic day and Jack was in great form. I would have loved to have had Peter Thomson there, too,” Stanley wrote of his hero.

Thomson visited Stanley in hospital not long before his own death on June 20.

Stanley is survived by his wife Pam, three children and seven grandchildren.

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