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Gary Player - golfing legend

The greatest South African golfer of all-time

Posted Mar 10, 2011 by Legends

Gary Player - Legend

Gary Player is quoted as once saying “the harder I work, the luckier I get,” and it is this kind of simple yet highly intelligent approach to golf and life that saw him become one of the most successful golfers of all time.
Known as the ‘The Black Knight’ for his love of black clothing, Player was one of the first golfers to realise the importance and the significance of a strict fitness regime and his practice sessions became a long-term obsession as he set about becoming the world’s best.
As with any great in any field, there is always something that sets them apart from the rest of the field – and it was no different with South African-born Player. He had the determination, the will to win and the fiercely competitive nature needed to succeed on the PGA Tour, but he will also be remembered for his courteous demeanour and his modesty.
He understood that golf was more than just a physical battle, once saying: “We create success or failure on the course primarily by our thoughts.”
It was this kind of acknowledgement that saw Player go on to win nine major titles, in the process becoming the only person in history to triumph in the Open Championship in three different decades. This longevity in the sport he cherished enabled him to 163 tournament wins worldwide including 24 on the PGA Tour and 19 on the Senior PGA Tour.
He also won all four of the majors, taking the Masters at Augusta National in 1961, 1974 and 1978, the US Open in 1965, the Open in 1959, 1968 and 1974, and the PGA Championship in 1962 and 1972.
In 1961 he won the PGA Tour money list and his achievements have been recognised by his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame and being named the South African Sportsman of the Century.
Player, and legendary pair Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were the sport’s dominant forces in the 1960s and 1970s and the trio earned the nickname ‘The Modern Triumvirate’ due to the levels of their success.
However, in his true modesty, Player also held the others in such high regard. He once said: “The first time I ever saw Arnold Palmer, I said, “There’s a star.” The first time I saw Jack Nicklaus, I said, “Superstar.””
A true great of the game, Player is still recognised as one of the best of all-time and his legacy can be seen by the approach of many golfers today who take on a similar strict fitness regime and diet. The Black Knight will be forever remembered in a sport he graced so beautifully.

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