One of the greats! It's Gary Player Week!
The Black Knight. With 165 wins since turning professional in 1953, Gary Player is without doubt one of the game’s greatest. His glittering career boasts nine major championships and nine senior major championships.
In the week that Player celebrates his 82nd birthday, the Black Knight will also be inducted into the South African Hall of Fame at Sun City’s iconic Superbowl. It is fitting that Player will receive this honour eight months before the 50th anniversary of his Open victory at Carnoustie in 1968, which also happens to be the venue for The Open in 2018.
Player won The Open at Muirfield in 1959 – his first major title. In an Open in which no American player made the cut, the 23-year-old South African emerged victorious despite starting the final 36-holes eight shots off the lead. His closing round 68 ended with a double-bogey and afterwards, a distraught, Gary Player had to be consoled by his wife, Vivienne, at the recorders hut. It was soon forgotten as the leaders faded and Player became Champion Golfer for the first time.
After winning the US Open in 1965 at the age of 29, Player became the only non-American to hold all four of golf’s major championships – an achievement that he retains to this day.
In 1968 Player captured the Claret Jug for the second time, finishing ahead of Jack Nicklaus and Bob Charles after a tense final round battle at Carnoustie. His 3-wood second shot at the par-5 14th, named “Spectacles” remains one of the most famous shots in Open history. Player eagled the hole, and despite never breaking 70 during the championship, won by two shots.
Fifteen years after his first victory, Player won wire-to-wire at The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes. Having won The Masters earlier in 1974, Player produced another famous Open moment after playing a chip left-handed from the clubhouse wall to clinch a third Open championship.
Gary Player returned to Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2001 for his final Open appearance after competing in golf’s oldest major for 46 consecutive years. Since his debut at Royal Liverpool in 1956 he competed in the final round on 26 occasions and shares, with Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor, the distinction of winning The Open in three separate decades.
When asked about the Claret Jug, Gary Player answered: “If I had to choose between this and my wife… I’d miss her”.
Visit TheOpen.com/Tickets for full details on The 147th Open at Carnoustie 15 - 22 July 2018.