Johannesburg, South Africa
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Weight||150 lb (68 kg)|
|Residence|| Jupiter Island, Florida and |
Colesberg, South Africa
|Tours|| PGA Tour (joined 1957) |
Champions Tour (joined 1985)
|Professional wins (163)|
|PGA Tour||24 (25th all time)|
|Other|| 120 (Regular) |
|Major Championship Wins (9)|
|Masters||(3) 1961, 1974, 1978|
|U.S. Open||(1) 1965|
|The Open||(3) 1959, 1968, 1974|
|PGA Championship||(2) 1962, 1972|
|PGA Tour Money Winner||1961|
He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has logged more than 14 million miles in travel, probably more than any other athlete. Dubbed the Black Knight, Mr. Fitness, and the International Ambassador of Golf, Player is a renowned golf course architect with more than 300 design projects throughout the world. His business interests are represented by Black Knight International, which includes Gary Player Design, Gary Player Real Estate, and Gary Player Enterprises, and aspects of which include licensing, publishing, videos, apparel and memorabilia. The Gary Player Stud Farm has received worldwide acclaim for breeding top thoroughbred race horses, including 1994 English Derby entry Broadway Flyer. He operates The Player Foundation with its primary objective to promote 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 8th grade.
In July 2007, a media controversy emerged over his statements at the British Open golf tournament about the use of performance enhancing drugs in golf. Subsequently, the PGA Tour introduced a formal policy.
In October 2007, further media controversy arose about his involvement in the 2002 design of a golf course in Burma.
Player married wife Vivienne on January 19, 1957, four years after turning professional. Together they have six children: Jennifer, Marc, Wayne, Michele, Theresa and Amanda. He is also a grandfather to 20 grandchildren. During the early days of his career Player would travel from tournament to tournament with wife, 6 children, nanny and a tutor in tow.
Eldest son Marc, owns and operates Black Knight International, which represents Player in all his commercial activities, including golf course design and real estate development.
He is also the brother of world renowned wildlife conservationist Dr. Ian Player who saved the white rhino from extinction.
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 twenty four 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 14 million miles. He has more victories than anyone else in the South African Open (thirteen) and the Australian Open (seven). 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, and had those rankings been based on just the most recent two seasons (like their modern counterpart) Player would have been number one in 1969.
He was the only player in the 20th century to win the (British) Open in three different decades. 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 the leaders 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 win to his dedication to the concept of golf fitness.
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. 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.
In 1966, Gary Player was awarded the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor 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 and "Gary Player — A Global Journey" exhibition 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.
|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||Fred Bullock, Flory Van Donck|
|1961||The Masters||3 shot lead||-8 (69-68-69-74=280)||1 stroke||Charles Coe, Arnold Palmer|
|1962||PGA Championship||2 shot lead||-2 (72-67-69-70=278)||1 stroke||Bob Goalby|
|1965||U.S. Open||2 shot lead||+2 (70-70-71-71=282)||Playoff 1||Kel Nagle|
|1968||The Open Championship (2)||2 shot deficit||+1 (74-71-71-73=289)||2 strokes||Bob Charles, Jack Nicklaus|
|1972||PGA Championship (2)||1 shot lead||+1 (71-71-67-72=281)||2 strokes||Tommy Aaron, Jim Jamieson|
|1974||The Masters (2)||1 shot deficit||-10 (71-71-66-70=278)||2 strokes||Dave Stockton, Tom Weiskopf|
|1974||The Open Championship (3)||3 shot lead||-2 (69-68-75-70=282)||4 strokes||Peter Oosterhuis|
|1978||The Masters (3)||7 shot deficit||-11 (72-72-69-64=277)||1 stroke||Rod Funseth, Hubert Green, Tom Watson|
|The Open Championship||4||T24||7||1|
|The Open Championship||7||WD||CUT||T7||T8||WD||T4||T3||1||T23|
|The Open Championship||CUT||7||6||T14||1||T32||T28||T22||T34||T19|
|The Open Championship||CUT||CUT||T42||CUT||CUT||CUT||T35||T66||T60||CUT|
|The Open Championship||CUT||T57||CUT||CUT||CUT||T68||CUT||CUT||CUT||CUT|
|The Open Championship||CUT||CUT||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
Player has won over 160 professional events worldwide, including:
Major championships are shown in bold.
South Africa Tour (now the Sunshine Tour)
73 wins between 1955 and 1981 including:
PGA Tour of Australasia
18 wins between 1956 and 1981 including:
At least 20 other wins between 1955 and 1984, including:
Player also collected wins in North and West Africa, Canada, Japan and Latin America.
Senior majors are shown in bold. See "Other senior wins" below for Player's wins in the Senior British Open.
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 as recognised by the US PGA Tour 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 restrospectively 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. It is widely believed the Americans will eventually designate these as majors just as they have the regular tour's British Open
I am of the South Africa of Verwoerd...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 civilised values and standards amongst the aliens.
Player has 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.'' It is believed that Player's attitude towards the apartheid regime is very different today and has so far raised over 100 million dollars through his foundation to support under-privileged education in South Africa during apartheid.
In 2002, Gary 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.
Player has hosted the Nelson Mandela Invitational Golf Tournament since 2000. As a result of the recent political uprisings in Burma, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund has withdrawn from the fundraising golf tournament because of Player's unsubstantiated business links with the country. Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have however accepted Player's position and statements on Burma. Player refused to withdraw as he owns the event and issued a statement rebutting these claims via his website www.garyplayer.com.
The event is now annually staged as the Gary Player Invitational and is South Africa's largest and most successful charity event, having raised a record amount of money for various children's charities.