Gary Player

The uncrowned monarch of South African sport, and an international icon, Gary Player did more for the game of golf in his home country than anyone else. Known for his grit and determination, Player is mentioned in the same breath as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, as one of the game’s greats.

Small in stature, but consistently a superstar on the fairway, Player has inspired a generation of golfers who now dominate on the world’s golf courses. The
ultimate role model, Player has won more Majors than Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Nick Price
combined!

Dubbed ‘The Black Knight’ for his propensity for wearing all black at tournaments, Gary Player, past US Masters champion, is a competitive perfectionist and obsessive about practicing and keeping his body in shape. His personal mantra “The harder you practice the luckier you get” epitomises the man’s attitude to the game he loves so dearly.

He, together with Gene Sarazan, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, is one of only five players to win golf’s ‘Career Grand
Slam’ – holding all four major titles at the same time. He completed his ‘Slam’ at the age of 29 in 1965.

He has won nine Majors in total:

  • Three Masters – in 1961, 1974 & 1978
  • The US Open in 1965
  • The British Open on three occasions in 1959, 1968, 1974 – becoming the only golfer of the 20th century to win a British Open title in three different decades
  • Two PGA Championships in 1962 & 1972

His last win at the Masters in 1978 was the stuff legends are made of. He started seven strokes behind the leaders entering the final round and won by one shot when he birdied seven of the last ten holes to record a back-nine 30 and a final round of 64!

Two decades later, at Augusta National, he became the oldest golfer ever to make the cut, finally breaking Sam Snead’s 25-year-old record. Player is still active on the senior’s tour and is aiming to break Arnold Palmer’s record of 50 appearances at the Masters when he turns up for the 2008 event.

Gary Player, past US Masters champion, was the first international player to lift the Green Jacket, and he is the only player to refuse to return his Green Jacket to Augusta National, as tradition dictates!