Gary Player Week

Gary Player Week

Gary Player 1

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 travelled 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 second on those rankings in 1969, 1970 and 1972, each time behind Jack Nicklaus.

He was the only player in the 20th century to win the British Open in three different decades.[6] His first win, as a 23-year-old in 1959 at Muirfield, came after he double-bogeyed the last hole, and broke down in tears thinking he had lost his chance, but none of the remaining players on the course could match the clubhouse lead he had set. 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.[7]

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