Gary Player

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Gary Player
— Golfer —
All Black.jpg
Player in 2008
Personal information
Full name Gary Player
Nickname The Black Knight,
Mr. Fitness,
International Ambassador
of Golf
Born (1935-11-01) 1 November 1935 (age 78)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Weight 150 lb (68 kg; 11 st)
Nationality  South Africa
Residence Jupiter Island, Florida, U.S.
Colesberg, South Africa
Spouse Vivienne Verwey (m. 1957)
Children Jennifer, Marc, Wayne, Michele, Theresa, Amanda
Career
Turned professional 1953
Current tour(s) PGA Tour (joined 1957)
Champions Tour (joined 1985)
Professional wins 165
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 24 (25th all time)
Sunshine Tour 73 (1st all time)
Champions Tour 19
Other 120 (regular)
14 (senior)
Best results in Major Championships
(Wins: 9)
Masters Tournament Won: 1961, 1974, 1978
U.S. Open Won: 1965
The Open Championship Won: 1959, 1968, 1974
PGA Championship Won: 1962, 1972
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1974 (member page)
PGA Tour
leading money winner
1961
Southern Africa Tour
Order of Merit winner
1976/77, 1979/80
PGA Tour Lifetime
Achievement Award
2012
(For a full list of awards, see here)

Gary Player DMS; OIG (born 1 November 1935) is a South African professional golfer, widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of golf. Over his career, Player accumulated nine major championships on the regular tour and six Champions Tour major championship victories, as well as three Senior British Open Championships on the European Senior Tour. At the age of 29, Player won the 1965 U.S. Open and became the only non-American to win all four majors, known as the career Grand Slam. Player became only the third golfer in history to win the Career Grand Slam, following Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. Since then, only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have won the Career Grand Slam. Player has won 165 tournaments on six continents over six decades and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.[1]

Born in Johannesburg, Player has logged more than 25 million kilometres (15 million miles) in travel, which is more than any other athlete.[2] Nicknamed the Black Knight, Mr. Fitness, and the International Ambassador of Golf,[3] Player is also a renowned golf course architect with more than 325 design projects on five continents throughout the world. He has also authored or co-written 36 golf books.

His business interests are represented by Black Knight International, which includes Gary Player Design, Player Real Estate, The Player Foundation, Gary Player Academies, and Black Knight Enterprises, aspects of which include licensing, events, publishing, wine, apparel and memorabilia.[4]

The Gary Player Stud Farm has received worldwide acclaim for breeding top thoroughbred race horses, including 1994 Epsom Derby entry Broadway Flyer.

He operates The Player Foundation, which has a primary objective of promoting underprivileged education around the world. In 1983, The Player Foundation established the Blair Atholl Schools in Johannesburg, South Africa, which has educational facilities for more than 500 students from kindergarten through eighth grade. In 2013 it celebrated its 30th Anniversary with charity golf events in London, Palm Beach, Shanghai and Cape Town, bringing its total of funds raised to over US $50 million.[4][5]

In 2014 the Gary Player Invitational charity series of events will be staged in Augusta, Georgia after the Masters; in London after The Open Championship; in Shanghai after to the HSBC Championship and at Sun City, South Africa just before the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club.

Background and family[edit]

Gary Player swings at the 2009 Gary Player Invitational
Gary Player swings at the 2009 GPI in Edinburgh, Scotland

Gary Player was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the youngest of Harry and Muriel Player's three children. When he was eight years old his mother died from cancer. Although his father was often away from home working in the gold mines, he did manage to take a loan in order to buy a set of clubs for his son Gary to begin playing golf. The Virginia Park golf course in Johannesburg is where Player first began his love affair with golf. At the age of 14, Player played his first round of golf and parred the first three holes. At age 16, he announced that he would become number one in the world. At age 17, he became a professional golfer.

Player married wife Vivienne Verwey (sister of professional golfer Bobby Verwey) on 19 January 1957, four years after turning professional. Together they have six children: Jennifer, Marc, Wayne, Michele, Theresa and Amanda. He is also a grandfather to 21 grandchildren.[6] During the early days of his career Player would travel from tournament to tournament with wife, six children, nanny and a tutor in tow.

Eldest son, Marc Player, owns and operates Black Knight International, which exclusively represents Player in all his commercial activities, including all endorsements, merchandising, golf course design, and real estate development.[7]

Gary Player is the brother of Ian Player, a notable South African environmental educator and conservationist who saved the white rhino from extinction.[8]

Regular PGA Tour career[edit]

Player is one of the most successful golfers in the history of the sport, ranking third (behind Roberto de Vicenzo and Sam Snead) in total professional wins, with at least 166, and tied for fourth in major championship victories with nine. Along with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus he is often referred to as one of "The Big Three" golfers of his era – from the late 1950s through the late 1970s – when golf boomed in the United States and around the world, greatly encouraged by expanded television coverage. Along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods, he is one of only five players to win golf’s "career Grand Slam". He completed the Grand Slam in 1965 at the age of twenty-nine. Player was the second multi-time majors winner from South Africa, following Bobby Locke, then was followed by Ernie Els, and Retief Goosen.

Player played regularly on the U.S. based PGA Tour from the late 1950s. He led the money list in 1961, and went on to accumulate 24 career titles. He also played an exceptionally busy schedule all over the world, and he has been called the world's most traveled athlete, clocking up more than 15 million miles. He has more victories than anyone else in the South African Open (13) and the Australian Open (7). He held the record for most victories in the World Match Play Championship, with five wins, from 1973 until 1991 when this feat was equalled by Seve Ballesteros, finally losing his share of the record in 2004, when Ernie Els won the event for a sixth time. Player was ever-present in the top ten of Mark McCormack's world golf rankings from their inception in 1968 until 1981; he was ranked first or second on those rankings in 1969, 1970 and 1972, each time to Jack Nicklaus.

He was the only player in the 20th century to win the British Open in three different decades.[9] His first win, as a 23-year-old in 1959 at Muirfield, came after he double-bogeyed the last hole.[10] In 1974, he became one of the few golfers in history to win two major championships in the same season. Player last won the U.S. Masters in 1978, when he started seven strokes behind 54-hole leader Hubert Green entering the final round, and won by one shot with birdies at seven of the last 10 holes for a back nine 30 and a final round 64. One week later, Player came from seven strokes back in the final round to win the Tournament of Champions. In 1984, at the age of 48, Player nearly became the oldest ever major champion, finishing just behind Lee Trevino at the PGA Championship. And in gusty winds at the 1998 Masters, he became the oldest golfer ever to make to the cut, breaking the 25-year-old record set by Sam Snead. Player credited this feat to his dedication to the concept of diet, health, practise and golf fitness.[11]

Player in 2008

Being South African, Player never played in the Ryder Cup in which American and European golfers compete against each other. Regarding the event, Player remarked, "The things I have seen in the Ryder Cup have disappointed me. You are hearing about hatred and war."[12] He was no longer an eligible player when the Presidents Cup was established to give international players the opportunity to compete in a similar event, but he was non-playing captain of the International Team for the Presidents Cup in 2003, which was held on a course he designed, The Links at Fancourt, in George, South Africa. After 2003 ended in a tie, he was reappointed as captain for the 2005 Presidents Cup, and his team lost to the Americans 15.5 to 18.5. Both Player and Jack Nicklaus were appointed to captain their respective teams again in 2007 in Canada; the United States won.

Legacy[edit]

In 2000 he was voted "Sportsman of the Century" in South Africa. In 1966, Gary Player was awarded the Bob Jones Award, the highest honour given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. The "Gary Player – A Global Journey" exhibition was launched by the Hall of Fame as of March 2006.

In 2000, Player was ranked as the eighth greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine.[13]

In 2002, Player was voted as the second greatest global golfer of all time by a panel of international media, golf magazines and fellow professionals conducted by the leading Golf Asia Magazine.

On 10 April 2009, he played for the last time in the Masters, where he was playing for his record 52nd time[14] – every year since 1957 except for 1973, when he was ill.[15] After Nicklaus and Palmer, he was the last of the Big Three to retire from this tournament, a testament to his longevity.

On 23 July 2009, at the age of 73, Player competed in the Senior British Open Championship at Sunningdale Golf Club, 53 years after capturing his maiden European Tour victory at the Berkshire venue.[16]

Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters announced on 5 July 2011 that Player had been invited to join Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as an honorary starter. The Big Three were reunited in this capacity starting with the 2012 tournament.[17]

In July 2013, he became the oldest athlete ever to pose nude in ESPN The Magazine's annual Body Issue to inspire people to keep looking after themselves throughout their lives whatever your age.

Professional wins[edit]

PGA Tour wins (24)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 20 Apr 1958 Kentucky Derby Open −14(68-68-69-69=274) 3 strokes United States Chick Harbert, United States Ernie Vossler
2 3 Jul 1959 The Open Championship E (75-71-70-68=284) 2 strokes Scotland Fred Bullock, Belgium Flory Van Donck
3 29 Jan 1961 Lucky International Open −12 (70-69-68-65=272) 2 strokes United States George Bayer, United States Don Whitt
4 26 Mar 1961 Sunshine Open Invitational −15 (69-68-67-69=273) 1 stroke United States Arnold Palmer
5 10 Apr 1961 Masters Tournament −8 (69-68-69-74=280) 1 stroke United States Charles Coe, United States Arnold Palmer
6 22 Jul 1962 PGA Championship −2 (72-67-69-70=278) 1 stroke United States Bob Goalby
7 13 Jan 1963 San Diego Open Invitational −14 (65-65-70-70=270) 1 stroke United States Tony Lema
8 8 Mar 1964 Pensacola Open −14 (71-68-66-69=274) Playoff United States Miller Barber, United States Arnold Palmer
9 31 May 1964 500 Festival Open Invitation −11 (70-66-70-67=273) 3 strokes United States Doug Sanders, United States Art Wall, Jr.
10 21 Jun 1965 U.S. Open +2 (70-70-71-71=282) Playoff Australia Kel Nagle
11 13 Jul 1968 The Open Championship +1 (74-71-71-73=289) 2 stroke New Zealand Bob Charles, United States Jack Nicklaus
12 20 Apr 1969 Tournament of Champions −4 (69-74-69-72=284) 2 strokes United States Lee Trevino
13 5 Apr 1970 Greater Greensboro Open −13 (70-63-73-65=271) 2 strokes United States Miller Barber
14 21 Mar 1971 Greater Jacksonville Open −7 (70-70-72-69=281) Playoff United States Hal Underwood
15 28 Mar 1971 National Airlines Open Invitational −14 (69-67-70-68=274) 2 strokes United States Lee Trevino
16 26 Mar 1972 Greater New Orleans Open −9 (73-69-68-69=279) 1 stroke United States Dave Eichelberger, United States Jack Nicklaus
17 6 Aug 1972 PGA Championship +1 (71-71-67-72=281) 2 strokes United States Tommy Aaron, United States Jim Jamieson
18 9 Sep 1973 Southern Open −10 (69-65-67-69=270) 1 stroke United States Forrest Fezler
19 14 Apr 1974 Masters Tournament −10 (71-71-66-70=278) 2 strokes United States Dave Stockton, United States Tom Weiskopf
20 26 May 1974 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic −15 (65-72-69-67=273) 3 strokes United States Lou Graham, United States Hubert Green
21 13 Jul 1974 Open Championship −2 (69-68-75-70=282) 4 strokes England Peter Oosterhuis
22 9 Apr 1978 Masters Tournament −11 (72-72-69-64=277) 1 stroke United States Rod Funseth, United States Hubert Green, United States Tom Watson
23 16 Apr 1978 MONY Tournament of Champions −7 (70-68-76-67=281) 2 strokes United States Andy North, United States Lee Trevino
24 23 Apr 1978 Houston Open −18 (64-67-70-69=270) 1 stroke United States Andy Bean

PGA Tour playoff record (3–10)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1958 Dallas Open Invitational United States Julius Boros, United States John McMullin, United States Sam Snead Snead won with birdie on first extra hole
2 1959 Memphis Open Canada Al Balding, United States Don Whitt Lost to par on second extra hole
Balding eliminated on first hole with birdie
3 1961 American Golf Classic United States Jay Hebert Lost to birdie on the second extra hole
4 1962 Masters Tournament United States Dow Finsterwald, United States Arnold Palmer Lost 18-hole playoff (Palmer:68, Player:71, Finsterwald:77)
5 1962 Memphis Open Invitational United States Lionel Hebert, United States Gene Littler Hebert won with birdie on first extra hole
6 1963 Palm Springs Golf Classic United States Jack Nicklaus Lost 18-hole playoff (Nicklaus:65, Player:73)
7 1964 Pensacola Open United States Miller Barber, United States Arnold Palmer Won 18-hole playoff (Player:71, Palmer:72, Barber:74)
8 1965 U.S. Open Australia Kel Nagle Won 18-hole playoff (Player:71, Nagle:74)
9 1967 Oklahoma City Open Invitational United States Miller Barber Lost to birdie on third extra hole
10 1968 Azalea Open Invitational United States Steve Reid Lost to birdie on second extra hole
11 1971 Greater Jacksonville Open United States Hal Underwood Won with par on second extra hole
12 1971 Kemper Open United States Dale Douglass, United States Lee Trevino, United States Tom Weiskopf Weiskopf won with birdie on first extra hole
13 1975 MONY Tournament of Champions United States Al Geiberger Lost to birdie on first extra hole

Major championships are shown in bold.

European Tour and other international wins[edit]

In addition to his wins on the PGA Tour, Player won more than 120 other tournaments in "regular", that is non-senior golf.

South Africa Tour (now the Sunshine Tour)[18]
73 wins between 1955 and 1981 including:

  • East Rand Open: 1955, 1956
  • General Motors Open: 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976
  • ICL International: 1977
  • Liquid Air Tournament: 1963
  • Natal Open: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1966, 1968
  • Nissan Skins Game: 1986, 1988, 1991
  • Rand International Open: 1974
  • Richelieu Grand Prix, Capetown: 1963
  • Richelieu Grand Prix, Johannesburg: 1963
  • South African Masters: 11 times (1960, 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979(x2))
  • South African Open: 13 times (1956, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981)
  • South African PGA Championship: 1959, 1969, 1979, 1982
  • Sponsored 5000: 1963
  • Sun City Classic: 1979
  • Trophee Boigny: 1980
  • Transvaal Open: 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1966
  • Western Province Open: 1957, 1959, 1960, 1968, 1971, 1972

PGA Tour of Australasia
18 wins between 1956 and 1981:[18]

Other
At least 25 other wins between 1955 and 1995, including:[18]

Champions Tour wins (19)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 23 Nov 1985 Quadel Seniors Classic −11 (73-64-68=205) 3 strokes United States Jim Ferree, United States Ken Still
2 16 Feb 1986 General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship −12 (68-68-73-72=281) 2 strokes United States Lee Elder
3 18 May 1986 United Hospitals Senior Golf Championship −4 (66-70-70=206) 1 stroke New Zealand Bob Charles, United States Lee Elder
4 1 Jun 1986 Denver Post Champions of Golf −8 (70-67-71=208) Playoff Argentina Roberto DeVicenzo
5 14 Jun 1987 Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship −8 (69-73-69-69=280) 1 stroke Australia Bruce Crampton, United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez
6 12 Jul 1987 U.S. Senior Open −14 (69-68-67-66=270) 6 strokes United States Doug Sanders
7 13 Sep 1987 PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational −9 (68-67-72=207) Playoff New Zealand Bob Charles
8 14 Feb 1988 General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship −4 (69-73-72=70=284) 3 strokes United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez
9 28 Feb 1988 Aetna Challenge −9 (70-70-67=207) 1 stroke United States Dave Hill
10 26 Jun 1988 Southwestern Bell Classic −13 (69-68-66=203) Playoff South Africa Harold Henning
11 8 Aug 1988 U.S. Senior Open E (74-71-70-73=288) Playoff New Zealand Bob Charles
12 11 Sep 1988 GTE North Classic −15 (70-65-66=201) 2 strokes United States Dave Hill
13 10 Sep 1989 GTE North Classic −9 (67-68=135) 1 stroke United States Billy Casper, United States Al Geiberger, United States Joe Jimenez
14 8 Oct 1989 RJR Championship −3 (65-71-71=207) 1 stroke United States Rives McBee
15 15 Apr 1990 PGA Seniors' Championship −7 (74-69-65-73=281) 2 strokes United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez
16 3 Feb 1991 Royal Caribbean Classic −13 (67-65-68=200) 2 strokes New Zealand Bob Charles, United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez, United States Lee Trevino
17 19 Sep 1993 Bank One Senior Classic −14 (68-68-66=202) 3 strokes United States Dale Douglass
18 24 Sep 1995 Bank One Classic −5 (72-75-64=211) 2 strokes United States Jack Kiefer
19 23 Aug 1998 Northville Long Island Classic −12 (68-68-68=204) 1 stroke United States Walter Hall, United States J. C. Snead

Champions Tour playoff record (4–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1986 Denver Post Champions of Golf Argentina Roberto DeVicenzo Won with par on fourth extra hole
2 1987 PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational New Zealand Bob Charles Won with birdie on first extra hole
3 1988 Southwestern Bell Classic South Africa Harold Henning Won with birdie on first extra hole
4 1988 U.S. Senior Open New Zealand Bob Charles Won 18-hole playoff (Player:68, Charles:70)
5 1990 Bell Atlantic Classic United States Dale Douglass Lost to par on second extra hole
6 1996 FHP Health Care Classic United States Walter Morgan Lost to birdie on first extra hole

Senior majors are shown in bold. See "Other senior wins" below for Player's wins in the Senior British Open.

European Senior Tour and other wins (15)[edit]

The Senior British Open is shown in bold as it is generally recognised as a major and it is now an official Champions Tour event and major. However, it was not an official Champions Tour event when Player achieved his wins, and in contrast to early wins in regular British Opens by PGA Tour members, which are now included in their official PGA Tour win tallies, wins in early Senior British Opens by Champions Tour members have not been retrospectively designated as Champions Tour wins by the PGA Tour at this time. The Senior British Open is however recognised as a major by all other international bodies, such as the European Tour, Sunshine Tour, Japanese Tour and Asian Tour.

Major championships[edit]

Wins (9)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner(s)-up
1959 The Open Championship 4 shot deficit E (75-71-70-68=284) 2 strokes Scotland Fred Bullock, Belgium Flory Van Donck
1961 Masters Tournament 3 shot lead −8 (69-68-69-74=280) 1 stroke United States Charles Coe, United States Arnold Palmer
1962 PGA Championship 2 shot lead −2 (72-67-69-70=278) 1 stroke United States Bob Goalby
1965 U.S. Open 2 shot lead +2 (70-70-71-71=282) Playoff 1 Australia Kel Nagle
1968 The Open Championship (2) 2 shot deficit +1 (74-71-71-73=289) 2 strokes New Zealand Bob Charles, United States Jack Nicklaus
1972 PGA Championship (2) 1 shot lead +1 (71-71-67-72=281) 2 strokes United States Tommy Aaron, United States Jim Jamieson
1974 Masters Tournament (2) 1 shot deficit −10 (71-71-66-70=278) 2 strokes United States Dave Stockton, United States Tom Weiskopf
1974 The Open Championship (3) 3 shot lead −2 (69-68-75-70=282) 4 strokes England Peter Oosterhuis
1978 Masters Tournament (3) 7 shot deficit −11 (72-72-69-64=277) 1 stroke United States Rod Funseth, United States Hubert Green,
United States Tom Watson

1 Defeated Kel Nagle in 18-hole playoff – Player 71 (+1), Nagle 74 (+4).

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament DNP T24 CUT T8
U.S. Open DNP DNP 2 T15
The Open Championship 4 T24 7 1
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament T6 1 2 T5 T5 T2 T28 T6 T7 T33
U.S. Open T19 T9 T6 T8 T23 1 T15 T12 T16 T48
The Open Championship 7 WD CUT T7 T8 WD T4 T3 1 T23
PGA Championship DNP T29 1 T8 T13 T33 T3 DNP DNP 2
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament 3 T6 T10 DNP 1 T30 T28 T19 1 T17
U.S. Open T44 T27 T15 12 T8 T43 T23 T10 T6 T2
The Open Championship CUT 7 6 T14 1 T32 T28 T22 T34 T19
PGA Championship T12 T4 1 T51 7 T33 T13 T31 T26 T23
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T6 T15 T15 CUT T21 T36 CUT T35 CUT CUT
U.S. Open CUT T26 CUT T20 T43 DNP DNP DNP CUT CUT
The Open Championship CUT CUT T42 CUT CUT CUT T35 T66 T60 CUT
PGA Championship T26 T49 CUT T42 T2 CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament T24 CUT CUT 60 CUT CUT CUT CUT 46 CUT
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship CUT T57 CUT CUT CUT T68 CUT CUT CUT CUT
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship CUT CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10

Summary[edit]

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 3 2 1 8 15 22 52 30
U.S. Open 1 2 0 3 9 19 29 25
The Open Championship 3 0 1 6 12 17 46 26
PGA Championship 2 2 1 6 8 12 23 21
Totals 9 6 3 23 44 70 150 102
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 37 (1970 PGA – 1980 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 6 (1962 PGA – 1964 Masters)

Champions Tour major championships[edit]

Wins (6)[edit]

Year Championship Winning Score Margin Runner(s)-up
1986 General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship −7 (68-68-73-72=281) 2 strokes United States Lee Elder
1987 U.S. Senior Open −14 (69-68-67-66=270) 6 strokes United States Doug Sanders
1987 Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship −8 (69-73-69-69=280) 1 stroke Australia Bruce Crampton United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez
1988 General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship (2) −4 (69-73-72-70=284) 3 strokes United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez
1988 U.S. Senior Open (2) E (74-70-71-73=288) Playoff1 New Zealand Bob Charles
1990 PGA Seniors' Championship (3) −7 (74-69-65-73=281) 2 strokes United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez

1 Won in an 18-hole playoff, Player (68) to Charles (70).

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 1986 1987 1988 1989
Senior PGA Championship 1 T8 1 T8
U.S. Senior Open 2 1 1 T9
The Tradition NYF NYF NYF 2
Senior Players Championship T14 1 T3 3
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Senior PGA Championship 1 T8 5 T16 T19 T60 T31 T20 T39 T43
U.S. Senior Open T3 T8 T3 T17 T13 T19 T60 T21 DNP DNP
The Tradition 2 T15 T20 T17 T27 T17 T9 T51 T17 T50
Senior Players Championship T18 T43 T18 T33 T42 DNP T49 T49 DNP T29
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Senior PGA Championship T46 T8 T45 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT DNP DNP
The Senior Open Championship -1 -1 -1 T51 CUT T61 T65 DNP CUT CUT
U.S. Senior Open CUT 57 CUT T54 CUT DNP CUT DNP DNP DNP
The Tradition T34 T19 T62 75 T64 T73 T76 DNP DNP 67
Senior Players Championship T57 T56 DNP DNP T58 DNP T74 DNP DNP DNP

1The Senior Open Championship was not a Champions Tour major until 2003, though it was on the European Seniors Tour. Player won the event three times prior to this recognition.

DNP = Did not play
CUT = Missed the half-way cut
NYF = Tournament not yet founded
"T" = tied
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

Equipment[edit]

  • Driver: Callaway RAZR Fit[19]
  • Fairway woods: Strong 4, 5 and 9 Callaway Steelhead Woods
  • Hybrid: Callaway Heavenwood 4H
  • Irons: 5-PW X-Tour Callaway
  • Sand wedges: 56 Degree and 64 Degree X-Tour Callaway
  • Putter: Odyssey Whitehot #1
  • Ball: Callaway HX Tour

Golf course designing[edit]

Gary Player and Gary Player Design have executed over 300 projects in 35 countries on five continents. They try to build long-term mutually rewarding relationships with clients and display integrity and credibility in business settings. The group proactively provides experienced solutions throughout the intricate development process of a project.

The company offers three different design brands: Gary Player Design, Player Design, and Black Knight Design. The marketing advantages of each of these brands vary according to the personal participation of Player, as well as the access to different levels of intellectual property.[20]

Gary Player Design also upholds a strict environmental policy, which includes minimizing site disturbance, promoting organic applications, and specifying environmentally-sensitive building materials in their golf course design approaches; they are refining efforts in these areas and are using state-of-the-art industry methods.

Their primary focus, however, is on water, which is one of Gary Player's greatest concerns.[21] According to Player, "Water conservation techniques are not only our fundamental responsibility, but are important to the industry of golf and the global growth of the wonderful game of golf, as real water-savings also mean real cost-savings."

With golf accepted back into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Gary Player Design was selected amongst the finalists of an official RFP in early December 2011.

The Player Foundation[edit]

The Player Foundation was established in 1983 and began as an effort to provide education, nutrition, medical care and athletic activities, for a small community of disadvantaged children living on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. The Player Foundation has since blossomed into an organisation that circles the globe bringing aid to underprivileged children and impoverished communities. Since its establishment,The Player Foundation has donated over $50 million to the support of children's charities, the betterment of impoverished communities and the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the world.

The Foundation is primarily funded by four Gary Player Invitational events presented through Black Knight International and staged in the United States, China, Europe and South Africa annually.[22] The Gary Player Invitational is a pro-am tournament that pairs celebrities and professional golfers from the PGA and Champions Tours with businessmen and other local participants. The proceeds of these tournaments and other special events provide funding for an ever-expanding number of institutions around the world, including the Blair Atholl Schools in South Africa, the Pleasant City Elementary School in Palm Beach, the Masizame Children’s Shelter in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, and AIDS infected children in Baoshan, a drug-infested city located on the China-Burma border.

Proceeds from the Gary Player Invitational have also been donated to The Lord’s Taverners in the UK and the following organisations in South Africa; Wildlands Conservation Trust, Twilight Children, and Bana Development Centre.[23][24]

Controversy[edit]

In July 2007, a media controversy emerged over his statements at The Open Championship golf tournament about the use of performance enhancing drugs in golf. Subsequently, the PGA Tour introduced a formal policy.

Player has almost always "spoken his mind" and been considered a controversial albeit frank and forthright professional golfer. He has been a pioneer of diet, health and fitness although he upset the Atkins Diet organisation by disagreeing with their "all protein" approach. He was branded a "traitor" by South African Nationalist Government supporters for inviting and bringing both black tennis pro Arthur Ashe and golfer Lee Elder to play in South Africa. He was the first golfer to call for mandatory drug testing on all tours around the world.

In 1966, Player was quoted in a book entitled Grand Slam Golf in which was written, "I am a South African, a nation which is the result of an African graft on European stock and which is the product of its instinct and ability to maintain civilized values and standards amongst the aliens".

Player apologised profusely about this statement, saying he was a young man who never proof read the book's manuscript prior to going to print and that the quote was never made by him but rather the writer of the book.[25] It is believed that Player's attitude towards the apartheid regime was always negative and he has so far raised over $100 million through his foundation to support under-privileged education in South Africa during apartheid.[citation needed]

In 2002, Player designed a golf course in Burma, named by the developers, The Pride of Myanmar, currently frequented by tourists as well as generals of the army. There are unsubstantiated accusations that the land for the courses was seized from poor farmers without compensation. Regardless, as a designer Player had nothing to do with how the land was acquired.[25]

Player has hosted the Nelson Mandela Invitational golf tournament since 2000. In October 2007, further media controversy arose about his involvement in the 2002 design of a golf course in Burma. As a result of the political uprisings in Burma, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund withdrew from the fundraising golf tournament because of Player's unsubstantiated business links with the country. Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu however accepted Player's position and statements on Burma.[26] Player refused to withdraw as he personally built the golf event from scratch and issued a statement rebutting these claims via his website. The event is now annually staged at the Fancourt Resort as the Gary Player Invitational and is South Africa's largest and most successful charity event, having raised a record amount of over R500 million for various children's charities.[25]

Distinctions and honours[edit]

  • On 8 June 1961, Player was the guest on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. In a comedy skit, he gives Tennessee Ernie Ford a golf lesson.[27]
  • Received the 1966 Bob Jones Award from the United States Golf Association.
  • Named Honorary Member of the R&A in 1994.
  • Received Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from St. Andrews in 1995.
  • Received Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland in 1997
  • The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational trophy is named the Gary Player Cup.
  • Named Honorary Member of Carnoustie in 1999
  • Received Honorary Doctorate in Law, University of Dundee, Scotland in 1999
  • South African Sportsman of the Century award in 2000
  • Received the 2003 Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monte Carlo.
  • Awarded the Order of Ikhamanga (in gold for exceptional achievement) in 2003 by President Mbeki of South Africa for excellence in golf and contribution to non-racial sport in South Africa.
  • He was the world's first golfer to be featured on any country's postal stamp in South Africa.[citation needed]
  • Has designed over 325 golf courses on six continents around the world.
  • He currently plays on the U.S. Champions Tour and European Seniors Tour occasionally.
  • He received the 2006 Payne Stewart Award from the PGA Tour.
  • Played in his 52nd Masters Tournament at Augusta National in April 2009, extending his record of for most Masters appearances
  • Inducted into the African American Sports Hall of Fame in May 2007, with Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Has played in a record 46 consecutive British Open Championships, winning 3 times over 3 decades.
  • Stars with Camilo Villegas in a MasterCard "priceless foursome" television commercial launched during the U.S. Open in June 2009
  • In November 2009 he was awarded the inaugural Breeders Cup "Sports and Racing Excellence Award" at Santa Anita Park in California which honours owners and breeders of thoroughbred race horses.
  • Was inducted into the Asian Pacific Golf Hall of Fame with Jack Nicklaus in 2011 at a ceremony in Pattaya, Thailand.
  • In December 2011, Gary Player Design was selected amongst the finalists to design the golf course for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro
  • He received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award at The Players Championship in May 2012. The first international person to receive this accolade.

Team appearances[edit]

  • World Cup (representing South Africa): 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 (winners, individual winner), 1966, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977 (individual winner)
  • Dunhill Cup (representing South Africa): 1991

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kim, Jae-Ha (2 October 2013). "Go Away With Gary Player". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Gary Player the most traveled athlete on the planet
  3. ^ "PGA Tour Media Guide – Gary Player". PGA Tour. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Sangani, Priyanka (27 September 2013). "Remain positive and confident to perform under pressure: Gary Player". The Economic Times. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Gary Player Invitational". garyplayerinvitational.com. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Golf legend Player in drugs claim". BBC News. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Roberts, Daniel (30 June 2014). "Cowboy on the Green". Fortune 169 (9): 18–19. 
  8. ^ Ian Player Official Web Site, About Ian Player. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  9. ^ Golf: Gary Player – SouthAfrica.info
  10. ^ "1959 Gary Player". The Open. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Hill, Susan: "Fit For Golf", page 34. Resort Living
  12. ^ Apfelbaum, Jim, ed. (2007). The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1602390140. 
  13. ^ Yocom, Guy (July 2000). "50 Greatest Golfers of All Time: And What They Taught Us". Golf Digest. Retrieved 5 December 2007. 
  14. ^ "Who Played the Most Masters Tournaments?". Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Masters: Gary Player's 50th appearance". Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "Gary Player takes a trip down memory lane at Sunningdale". 
  17. ^ "Player to Join Palmer, Nicklaus as Honorary Starter at 2012 Masters". 
  18. ^ a b c "All Tournament Victories". Black Knight International. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  19. ^ Lenobel, Hal (21 April 2012). "Who had the longest drive?". Longboat Key News. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Gary Player. "Our History". garyplayer.com. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  21. ^ Golf Course Management Magazine Article: The Black Knight Talks Water
  22. ^ Gary Player. "Foundation Overview". garyplayer.com. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "The Gary Player Invitational UK Continues Its Success". www.garyplayer.com. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "Beneficiaries". www.garyplayerinvitational.com. Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  25. ^ a b c Playing in the Rough Monbiot.com 16 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007
  26. ^ Burmese diplomat quits London Embassy Telegraph 10 October 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007
  27. ^ June 1961 "The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford". ernieford.com. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 

External links[edit]