Stunning and tragic news emerged from South Africa on Wednesday morning as former pro golfer Wayne Westner was found shot dead on the Kwa-Zulu Natal Coast. The South Coast Herald first reported Westner's death, which was confirmed by local police.
Details are still fuzzy, but the South Coast Herald and sport24.co.za are reporting Westner is alleged to have held his wife hostage before committing suicide. Police say the 55-year-old South African died as the result of a gunshot wound to the right side of his head.
Westner was a two-time European Tour winner, claiming the 1993 Dubai Desert Classic and the 1996 FNB Players Championship. He also had two South African Open victories among his 11 Sunshine Tour titles. In 1996, he partnered with fellow South African Ernie Els at the World Cup of Golf, where the duo won by a record 18 shots over a U.S. team of Tom Lehman and Steve Jones.
Els tweeted this on Wednesday:
And there was this from Sam Torrance, whose father, Bob, coached Westner:
According to Golfweek's Alistair Tait, Westner "was also one of the most eccentric characters on the European Tour. Westner would often go off by himself into the South African bush and live rough for up to two weeks at a time. Asked what he did in the bush, Westner said he 'communes with nature, living off the land wherever and whenever possible.'"
Westner climbed as high as No. 40 in the Official World Golf Ranking before his playing career was cut short by injuries. According to the South Coast Herald, Westner had been running the nearby Wayne Westner Golf College, where he coached aspiring pros.