|Full Name||Gary Player|
|Nick Name||The Black Knight|
|Profession (s)||Golf Player|
|Date of Birth||November 1, 1935|
|Day of Birth||Friday|
|Place Of Birth||Johannesburg, South Africa|
|Gary Player’s Income / Salary:|
- Gary Player was born on 1 November 1935 to Muriel and Harry Player in 1935 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- He was only eight when his mother died of cancer. His father worked away from home in the gold mines and obtained a loan in order to secure a set of clubs for Gary to begin playing golf.
- He began playing golf at the age of 14 and within three years he became a professional.
A Career in Golf and Achievements
- Gary Player turned professional in 1953 and in 1957 he joined the PGA Tour. He got his first PGA tour win after playing at the Kentucky Derby Open in 1958.
- Player’s first major win happened in 1959 after he bagged the British Open Championship which is the oldest of the four major professional golf championships.
- He played regularly in the U.S. based PGA Tour from the late 1950s. He also topped the Tour money list in 1961 and grabbed 24 career Tour titles in his kitty. He played an extremely busy schedule all over the world and has appropriately called the world’s most traveled athlete.
- In 1961, he got two back to back victories after winning the Lucky International Open in January and the Sunshine Open Invitational in the month of March.
- Again in 1961, he competed at one of the greatest golf tournaments called “Masters Tournament” and won it by a margin of one stroke.
- In 1961, he also became the first non-American to win the Masters Tournament when he played against Arnold Palmer of the US and won the game by one dramatic stroke.
- Gary Player was the only player in the 20th century who won the British Open in three different decades. He registered his first win, in 1959 at Muirfield, came after he double-bogeyed the last hole.
- In 1974, he got the feat of being one of the few golfers in history to win two major championships in the same season.
- In 1978, when he won the Masters in 1978, he made 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.
- Another significant victory for Gary Player happened in 1962 at the PGA Championship when defeated Bob Goalby and won the match by a margin of one stroke.
- He had registered a string of wins during the 1960s and the most remarkable one was the U.S. Open in 1965 and The Open Championship in 1968.
- 1970 was a great year too for Player as he won the Open Championship in 1974 and the Masters Tournament twice in 1974 and again in 1978.
- However, his best time was the year of 1980, as Gary Player was at the top in his form and grabbed more than 20 titles. His major wins in this period included PGA Senior Championship (1986 and 1988), U.S. Senior Open (1987 and 1988), and British Senior Open (1988).
- He opened the year of 1990 by winning the British Senior Open, a feat which he repeated in 1997. He also won the Bank One Senior Classic twice—in 1993 and 1995.
- Age did not seem to take a toll on Player as he did not stop playing golf and won the Senior Skins Game in 2000 and 2001.
- He has also been involved in the design of several golf courses. He also wrote several books on golf.
- In 2003, he got the Order of Ikhamanga (Gold for exceptional achievement) by the president of South Africa for excellence in golf and contribution to non-racial sport in South Africa.
- In 2006, he was awarded the Payne Stewart Award by the PGA Tour in 2006 to honor his utmost commitment to the game of golf.
- He received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award which is given to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the PGA Tour over an extended period of time, in 2012.
- He played in the World Cup team for South Africa in 1965 in Madrid and got the best individual score and won the trophy.
- In 1965, Gary Player became the first non-American to win the US Open. He also became the third player ever to win all the four major golf championships—the “Grand Slam of Golf”.
- In 1974, he hit his famous shots in the Masters Tournament when he made an iron shot on the 71st hole. The shot was considered to be the most important one played during the year and that also helped him get the victory.
- He shot a 69 during the final round of the British Open in 1988 and registered another win in his name.
- In the 1990 PGA Seniors Championship, he shot 29 on the front nine during the third round, beating Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, and Chi Chi Rodriguez to win the trophy.
- Gary Player married his friend’s sister, Vivienne Verwey in 1957 and two had six children.
- Gary Player established the Player Foundation in 1983 to raise funds for providing opportunities for education, nutrition and medical care to the impoverished children in South Africa.
Other interesting facts about Gary Player
- Gary Player was the only golfer of the 20th Century to win a British Open title in three different decades.
- He has the record of playing the most times in the Masters Tournaments as he played 52 Masters Tournaments, the last one in 2009.
- In 1970, Player released a record album of 10 songs. The album was called Gary Player Sings and can be heard on YouTube.
Gary Player Quotes
- “It’s a marriage. If I had to choose between my wife and my putter, well, I’d miss her.”
- “When you play the game for fun, it’s fun. When you play it for a living, it’s a game of sorrows.”
- “We create success or failure on the course primarily by our thoughts.”
- “You must work very hard to become a natural golfer.”
- “Golf is a puzzle without an answer. I’ve played the game for 40 years and I still haven’t the slightest idea how to play.”
- “Simply by making the effort to start something, you will be miles ahead of almost everyone else.”
- “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
- “The closer you can live to be a vegetarian the better.”
- “When a rules man gives you a ruling, that’s it. Amen.”
- “If you are going to keep company with me, don’t embarrass me.”
- “The ideal build for a golfer would be strong hands, big forearms, thin neck, big thighs, and a flat chest. He’d look like Popeye.”
- “I am tired of all these golfers who are happy with second place. The only one who will like you if you come in second place is your wife and your dog. And that is only if you have a good wife and a good dog.”
- “I try to work with God as a partner.”
- “There is absolutely nothing humorous at the Masters. Here, small dogs do not bark and babies do not cry.”
- “To succeed in life one must have the determination and must be prepared to suffer during the process. If one isn’t prepared to suffer during adversities, I don’t really see how he can be successful.”
- “Perhaps the most important thing I can tell you about equipment is to experiment and keep an open mind.”
- “I got so strong I felt like a giant…..When I stood on the tee with Arnold and Jack, I was tiny compared to them. But I never believed they were bigger than me. So the mind is so fascinating.”
- “You can always speak with great authority on how well you played today, but never on how you’ll play tomorrow.”
- “I wish I could put a patent on that thing. That was so straight I had to lean over sideways to see the flag!”
- “The player who expects a lesson to ‘take’ without subsequent practice just isn’t being honest with himself or fair to his profession.”
- “The pressure gets worse the older you get. The hole starts to look at the size of a Bayer aspirin.”
- “Enjoy the game. Happy golf is good golf.”
- “The more I work and practice, the luckier I seem to get.”
- “Golf is a puzzle without an answer.”
- “A strong mind is one of the key components that separates the great from the good.”
- “Everyone wants to be known as a great striker of the ball for some reason. Nobody wants to be called a lucky, one-putting s.o.b.”
- “I’ve traveled more than any human being who’s ever lived.”
- “If you think your hands are more important in your golf swing than your legs, try walking a hole on your hands.”
- “I’ve studied golf for almost 50 years now and know a hell of a lot about nothing.”
- “If there’s a golf course in heaven, I hope it’s like Augusta National. I just don’t want an early tee time.”
Wins, Awards, and Honors
1. PGA Tour Wins
- 1958 Kentucky Derby Open
- 1959 British Open
- 1961 Lucky International Open
- 1961 Sunshine Open Invitational
- 1961 Masters Tournament
- 1962 PGA Championship
- 1963 San Diego Open Invitational
- 1964 Pensacola Open
- 1964 500 Festival Open Invitation
- 1965 U.S. Open
- 1968 British Open
- 1969 Tournament of Champions
- 1970 Greater Greensboro Open
- 1971 Greater Jacksonville Open
- 1971 National Airlines Open Invitational
- 1972 Greater New Orleans Open
- 1972 PGA Championship
- 1973 Southern Open
- 1974 Masters Tournament
- 1974 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic
- 1974 The Open Championship
- 1978 Masters Tournament
- 1978 MONY Tournament of Champions
- 1978 Houston Open
2. Champions Tour Wins
- 1985 Quadel Seniors Classic
- 1986 Senior PGA Championship
- 1986 United Hospitals Senior Golf Championship
- 1986 Denver Post Champions of Golf
- 1987 Senior Tournament Players Championship
- 1987 U.S. Senior Open
- 1987 PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational
- 1988 Senior PGA Championship
- 1988 Aetna Challenge
- 1988 Silver Pages Classic
- 1988 U.S. Senior Open
- 1988 GTE North Classic
- 1989 GTE North Classic
- 1989 RJR Championship
- 1990 Senior PGA Championship
- 1991 Royal Caribbean Classic
- 1993 Bank One Senior Classic
- 1995 Bank One Classic
- 1998 Northville Long Island Classic
3. Other wins
- Egyptian Matchplay: 1955
- Brazil Open: 1972, 1974
- Chile Open: 1980
- Trophée Félix Houphouët-Boigny: 1980
- Dunlop Tournament (England): 1956
- PGA Grand Slam of Golf – 1979 (shared title with Andy North)
- Ibergolf Tournament (Spain): 1974
- Japan Air Lines Open (Japan): 1972
- Johnnie Walker Trophy (Spain): 1984
- La Manga Tournament (Spain): 1974
- NTL Challenge Cup (Canada): 1965
- Piccadilly World Match Play Championship: 1965, 1966, 1968, 1971, 1973
- Skins Game: 1983
- Trophée Lancôme: 1975
- Western Australia Open: 1956
- World Cup of Golf: (Team event) 1965, World Cup of Golf Individual Trophy 1965
- World Series of Golf: 1965, 1968, 1972
- Yomiuri Pro Championship (Japan): 1961
- World Cup of Golf Individual Trophy 1977
- Fred Meyer Challenge 1986 (with Greg Norman: shared title with Peter Jacobsen & Curtis Strange)