Golf world mourns Aussie great Kel Nagle

Australian golfing great and British Open winner Kel Nagle has died in Sydney at the age of 94. (AAP)

Australian golfing great Kel Nagle is being lauded as one of the sport's gentlemen after he died in a Sydney hospital on Thursday morning.

British Open winner Kel Nagle is being remembered as the "great gentleman of golf" after the Australian died, aged 94.

The icon died peacefully in the early hours Thursday morning at Sydney's Mona Vale Hospital, his family said in a statement.

Nagle won the Open in 1960 at the age of 39, beating Arnold Palmer by one shot at the centenary event at St Andrews.

It was his only major victory but one of 80 professional tournament wins worldwide, including at least one every year from 1949 to 1975.

His first significant title came in 1949 at the Australian PGA championship, which he went on to win another five times.

"Its a sad day for golf," said PGA of Australia chief executive Brian Thorburn.

"We've lost a champion of our game."

Gary Player, to whom Nagle finished runner-up in a playoff at the 1965 US Open, took to Twitter to pay tribute to his friend.

"The great "Gentleman of Golf", Australian Kel Nagle passed away today. My deepest condolences to his family & friends. RIP my friend," he wrote.

Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said Nagle's impressive record had made him "a giant of the game".

"But much more than that, he was an ambassador for his sport and his country, universally liked and admired by his peers," Pitt said.

Nagle is just one of five Australians inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

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