Cape Town – Former South African golfing star, Wayne Westner, left a suicide note before taking his life at the Gwala-Gwala estate in the town of Pennington on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast, last week.
He was 55.
According to the YOU magazine website, Westner left a note informing his family he “didn’t want a funeral but would like just to be cremated and his ashes scattered at his family’s farm”.
Kathy Victor, Westner’s former wife and the mother of his three children, told the magazine she was on good terms with him and very close to Alison, his wife of four years.
Alison Westner, as well as her eldest son and his wife also were in the house at the time of the incident, but were not injured.
According to Victor, the family had no idea the double SA Open winner was planning on taking his own life.
“Wayne was decorating last week and training extensively with son Matthew getting into shape. Yet Wayne planned his suicide as he left a letter to the devastation of our precious children.”
Victor added she’d like Westner not to be remembered for his last traumatic moments, but for the outstanding person he was.
“Wayne was larger than life. I hope that people will remember him as a hugely talented and gifted man with a kind and generous heart. I pray that whoever writes about dearest Wayne will only concentrate on what an amazing human being he truly was.”
Westner was best known for winning the South African Open in 1988 and 1991 – on both occasions at Durban Country Club – where his power and prodigious length off the tee enabled him to use a 1-iron to navigate his way around the notoriously tight layout.
He won 12 professional events as well as the 1996 World Cup of Golf at Erinvale Golf Club in Somerset West alongside Ernie Els.
His career was cut short through injury in 1998 when he tore ankle ligaments while playing a Pro-Am before the Madeira Islands Open.
At one point he was ranked as high as 40th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Westner had recently been coaching aspiring young professionals at the Wayne Westner Golf College in KwaZulu-Natal.
Condolences streamed in from around the world after the news broke, including from two of South Africa’s golfing greats – Gary Player and Els.