Bio of Australian Pro Golfer Bob Shearer

Bob Shearer was an Australian golfer who won on the European Tour in the 1970s and the PGA Tour in the 1980s. And he won a lot on the Australasian Tour in both decades. Later in his career, he had a handful of senior tournament victories and developed a golf course design business.

Full name: Robert A. Shearer

Date of birth: May 25, 1948

Place of birth: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Date and place of death: January 9, 2022

Shearer's Biggest Wins

On the PGA Tour:
  • 1982 Tallahassee Open
On the European Tour: Shearer also won 18 times on the PGA Tour of Australasia and four times on the European Senior Tour. The full list of those wins appears at the bottom of this article, the biggest of those wins are these four:
  • 1978 New Zealand Open
  • 1981 New Zealand Open
  • 1982 Australian Open
  • 1983 Australian PGA Championship

In the Majors

Shearer made 22 appearances in the professional majors, first in 1972, last in 1985. He played in all four pro majors, but exactly half of those appearances were in the British Open. His best finish in a major was tied for seventh in the 1978 British Open, which was his only Top 10 finish. He tied for 15th in the 1977 British Open.

More About Bob Shearer

Bob Shearer got serious about golf around the age of 13, when he began being tutored by the pro at Southern Golf Club near Melbourne. Just two years later, at age 15, he won the Victoria Boys' Championship. His amateur career culminated in a victory at the 1969 Australian Amateur Championship.

Shearer turned pro in 1970, then waited four years for his first pro victories. Those came in 1974 on the Australasian Tour. But he was also playing in Europe at that time, and finished 21st on the European Tour Order of Merit in 1974 without a win (he did make it into a playoff at the 1974 Benson & Hedges Festival of Golf).

Then Shearer won twice on the European Tour in 1975, and finished second on the Order of Merit. In 1976, after making it through PGA Tour Q-School, he cut back on European play to focus on playing in America. But he still placed 17th on the Euro money list.

His early years on the USPGA Tour were a mixed bag of struggles and some success. He earned only $4,000 as a rookie in 1976, but he made the Top 60 of the money list in 1977 and 1978. But Shearer then dropped far down the PGA Tour money list the next three seasons, failing to hold his exempt status.

But after a return to form spurred by successes back home, Shearer had his best PGA Tour season in 1982. He claimed his only win in the U.S. at the Tallahassee Open, beating runners-up Hal Sutton and Denis Watson by one stroke. He also made it into a playoff at the 1982 Houston Open (after blowing a 5-stroke lead in the final round), but lost that playoff to Ed Sneed. And Shearer finished second in New Orleans Open and sixth in the Byron Nelson Classic that year. The result was his best money-list finish on the PGA Tour, 34th.

Near the end of 1982, Shearer added a couple wins in Australia, the New South Wales Open and Australian Open. He capped off what was his career-best year with his biggest win at the Australian Open: Not only was it his national open, but Shearer won it by four strokes over runners-up Jack Nicklaus and Payne Stewart. Stewart wasn't yet a big name, although he went on to win three majors. But Nicklaus, of course, was Nicklaus, and a 6-time winner of the Australian Open. Shearer began the final round leading Nicklaus by two, then shot 70 to Nicklaus' 72. (The video above shows highlights of that win.)

But Shearer had some health issues in the early 1980s, and, on the golf course, developed a case of the yips. He switched to a left-hand-low putting grip, which helped, but after his big year on the PGA Tour in 1982 his career slowed. He had no other wins in America or Europe, although he did have several more in Australia.

Shearer won the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit four times, in 1974, 1977, 1981, 1982. He had 18 wins total on that tour, first in 1974 and last in 1986. He won three times in 1974, and had 2-win seasons on the Australasian circuit in 1976, 1977, 1981, 1982 and 1983. Shearer also had a perfect playoff record on the Australasian Tour, going 4-0. His first win on the tour was the 1974 Lakes Open, which he won in one of those playoffs; and his last the 1986 Rich River Classic, which he won by eight strokes. Another of his biggest wins on his home circuit was the 1981 New Zealand Open, his second win of that event. He opened with a 63 and rolled to an 8-stroke victory over runner-up Graham Marsh.

After his days playing the "regular" (non-senior) tours ended, Shearer developed a career in golf course design. He joined the Australian Society of Golf Course Architects in 1993 and launched his own company, Shearer Golf Design. He originally focused on helping existing clubs refurbish or redesign their courses, including the one he learned on, Southern Golf Club. Eventually Shearer began creating original designs and did many new courses in Australia and Asia.

After turning 50 in 1998, Shearer joined the European Senior Tour. He won almost immediately at the 1998 Jersey Seniors Open. Eventually, splitting time between senior golf and his course design work, Shearer won four times on the EST, including twice in 1999, and last in 2001.

Shearer was 73 years old when he died of a heart attack in 2022.

Full List of Shearer's Pro Wins

All of Shearer's PGA Tour and European Tour wins are listed above. The following lists cover his wins on other tours.

PGA Tour of Australia (18 wins)

  • 1974 Coca-Cola Lakes Open
  • 1974 Tasmanian Open
  • 1974 Chrysler Classic
  • 1975 West Lakes Classic
  • 1976 Chrysler Classic
  • 1976 New Zealand Airlines Classic
  • 1977 CBA West Lakes Classic
  • 1977 Colgate Champion of Champions
  • 1978 New Zealand Open
  • 1980 Tooth Gold Coast Classic
  • 1981 Air New Zealand Shell Open
  • 1981 New Zealand BP Open
  • 1982 New South Wales Open
  • 1982 Australian Open
  • 1983 Victorian Open
  • 1983 Yakka Australian PGA Championship
  • 1984 Ford Dealers South Australian Open
  • 1986 Rich River Classic
European Senior Tour (4 wins)
  • 1998 Jersey Seniors Open
  • 1999 Philips PFA Golf Classic
  • 1999 Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open
  • 2001 STC Bovis Lend Lease European Invitational

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