Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He coined one of the most quoted aphorisms of post-War sport: "The harder you practice the luckier you get."
Currently plays on the Champions Tour, displaying all his old desire, determination and competitiveness.
Regular tour career
Player is one of the most successful golfers in the history of the sport, ranking first in total professional wins, with at least a hundred and sixty-six, and tied fourth in major championship victories with nine. Along with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus he is sometimes referred to as one of the "Big Three" golfers of his era; the era in question being one when golf boomed in the United States and around the world, much encouraged by television coverage. He is one of only five players to win golf’s "career Grand Slam" alongside Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, which he completed in 1965 at the age of twenty-nine. He was the second multi-time major winner from South Africa, following on from Bobby Locke, and succeeded by Ernie Els and Retief Goosen.
Player played regularly on the U.S. based PGA Tour from the late 1950s. He won 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 was 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 with equalled by Seve Ballesteros, finally losing his share of the record in 2004, when Ernie Els won the event for a sixth time.
Only player in the 20th century to win the British Open in three different decades. Last won 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 came from seven strokes back in the final round to win the Tournament of Champions. 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.
Being South African, Player never played in the Ryder Cup and he was no longer an elite regular tour player when the Presidents Cup was established to give international players the opportunity to compete in a similar event. However, 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. He has been reappointed as captain for the 2005 Presidents Cup.
Player was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
Senior tour career
Won his first Champions Tour event taking the 1985 Quadel Seniors Classic in his debut. Top 10 on the Champions TOUR money list from 1986-1990. Outdueled Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino for his third Senior PGA Championship title in 1990. Largest paycheck of his career came at a Champions TOUR event winning $202,500 at the 1989 RJR Championship. Five-time winner in 1988 including the PGA Seniors and U.S. Senior Open. Won back two back titles in 1997 at the Senior British Open and the Shell Wentworth Masters...Became the second oldest winner on the Champions Tour by shooting three consecutive rounds of 68 to capture the 1998 Northville Long Island Classic. Captained the UBS Cup with Arnold Palmer in November 2001 and 2002.
Gary Player Stud Farm has received worldwide acclaim for breeding top thoroughbred race horses including 1994 English Derby entry Broadway Flyer. Operates The Player Foundation with its primary objective to promote education. The Foundation built the Blair Atholl Schools in Johannesburg, South Africa, which has educational facilities for over 500 students from kindergarten through grade 8 and is currently working on additional educational projects around the world. Renowned golf course architect with over 200 design projects throughout the world. Operates Black Knight International which includes, Gary Player Equipment, Gary Player Academy and Gary Player Enterprises, aspects of which include licensing, publishing, videos, apparel, and memorabilia.
Player has won over 160 professional events worldwide, including:
PGA Tour wins
- 1958 Kentucky Derby Open
- 1959 The Open Championship
- 1961 Lucky International, Sunshine Open, The Masters
- 1962 PGA Championship
- 1963 San Diego Open
- 1964 “500” Festival, Pensacola Open
- 1965 U.S. Open
- 1968 The Open Championship
- 1969 Tournament of Champions
- 1970 Greater Greensboro Open
- 1971 Greater Jacksonville Open, National Airlines Open
- 1972 New Orleans Open, PGA Championship
- 1973 Southern Open
- 1974 The Masters, Danny Thomas-Memphis Classic
- 1974 The Open Championship
- 1978 The Masters, Tournament of Champions, Houston Open
Major championships are shown in bold.
Other regular wins
In addition to his wins on the PGA Tour, Player won more than a hundred other tournaments in "regular", that is non-senior golf.
South Africa Tour (now the Sunshine Tour)
73 wins between 1955 and 1981 including:
- South African Open: 13 times between 1956 and 1983
- South African Masters: 10 times between 1959 and 1976
- South African PGA: 5 times between 1959 and 1976
PGA Tour of Australasia
18 wins between 1956 and 1981 including:
- Australian Open: 7 times between 1958 and 1974
At least 20 other wins between 1955 and 1984, including:
- World Cup: individual title in 1965 and 1977
- World Match Play Championship: 5 times between 1965 and 1974 (played in England, but not an official European Tour event at that time)
- World Series of Golf:1965, 1968 and 1972 (U.S. - not a PGA Tour event at that time)
Player also collected wins in North and West Africa, Canada, Japan and Latin America.
Champions Tour wins
- 1985 Quadel Seniors Classic
- 1986 Senior PGA Championship, United Hospital Classic, Denver Post Champions
- 1987 Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship, U.S. Senior Open, PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational
- 1988 Senior PGA Championship, Aetna Challenge, Southwestern Bell Classic, U.S. Senior Open, GTE North Classic
- 1989 GTE North Classic, RJR Championship
- 1990 Senior PGA Championship
- 1991 Royal Caribbean Classic
- 1993 Bank One Senior Classic
- 1995 Bank One Senior Classic
- 1998 Northville Long Island Classic.
Senior majors are shown in bold. See "Other senior wins" below for Player's wins in the Senior British Open.
Other senior wins
- 1986 Senior Skins Game (South Africa)
- 1987 Northville Invitational (United States), German PGA Team Championship
- 1988 Senior British Open (European Seniors Tour), Nissan Senior Skins (South Africa)
- 1990 Senior British Open (European Seniors Tour)
- 1991 Nissan Senior Skins (South Africa)
- 1993 Irish Senior Masters (European Seniors Tour)
- 1997 Dai-ichi Seimei Cup (Japan), Senior British Open (European Seniors Tour), Shell Wentworth Senior Masters (European Seniors Tour),
- 2000 Senior Skins Game (U.S. - unofficial event)
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 restrospectively designated as Champions Tour wins by the PGA Tour.
- Dubbed the Black Knight, Mr. Fitness and the International Ambassador of Golf
- Player bred racehorse Broadway Flyer competed in the 1994 Epsom Derby.
- 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-NEC 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
- Received the 2003 Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monte Carlo.
- Awarded the Order of Ikhamanga (in gold) by President Mbeki of South Africa for excellence in golf and contribution to non-racial sport in South Africa.
- Gary Player Profile and stats
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