there were a Mount Rushmore of golf, Gary Player's
handsome, well-recognized face would have to be
included. Player is a member of the 'Big Three' — along
with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer — who dominated
professional golf through the 1960's and 1970's.
But Player's influence goes far beyond the golf course.
Known as the 'Black Knight', he is an accomplished
businessman and devoted family man, a life-long
philanthropist, and tireless international ambassador of
golf. He was born on 1 November 1935, becoming one of
the most successful international golfers of all-time,
travelling more miles than any athlete in history -
eclipsing twelve million miles. He is a three-time
winner of the Masters and British Opens, and one of only
five players to win all four Grand Slam titles (others
are Hogan, Nicklaus, Sarazen and Woods). He completed
the Grand Slam at age 29 in 1965.
He is the only player in the 20th century to win the
British Open in three different decades (1959, 1968,
1974). He last won the 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 ten holes for a final round 64. One week later
he came from seven strokes back in the final round to
win the Tournament of Champions. Player became the last
player to win three tournaments in a row on the PGA
Tour, when he captured the Houston Open the week
following the Tournament of Champions in 1978. Player
was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
In gusty winds at the 1998 Masters, became the oldest
golfer ever to make to the cut, breaking the 25 year-old
record set by Sam Snead. In January 2000, shut out
through the first 18 holes, Player staged the biggest
comeback in the history of the Senior Skins Game by
making a birdie on the first playoff hole to win four
skins and a $220, 000 jackpot to win the match.
He has received many other accolades, among them a
Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from St. Andrews in 1995,
a Hilton Hotel Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995, a
Honorary Doctor of Science from University of Ulster,
Ireland in 1997, and a Honorary Doctorate in Laws,
University of Dundee, Scotland in 1999.
In "The Golfer's Guide to the Meaning of Life", Player
reflects on the most important life lessons that the
game has taught him, lessons humble and profound, wise
and universal. Written for non-golfers, new golfers, and
experienced golfers alike, this is a book not about
hitting a ball into a cup, but about what a funny old
game can teach you about living life with strength,
purpose, and joy.
In a career that spans six decades, he has won 160-plus
tournaments worldwide, including 9 Grand Slam
tournaments and 19 Senior Tour victories. Player has
designed more than 140 golf courses and operates Gary
Player Golf, an equipment manufacturer. The author of
several books on golf techniques, including "The
Complete Golfer's Handbook", Player raises thoroughbred
horses on his ranch in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In 2000 South Africa honoured Gary Player as the
country's "Sportsman of the Century".