Category: Gary Player

April 08, 2013

Gary Player's Masters Diary Day 1 -- 'Coming Home'

Posted at 11:15 PM by

By Gary Player

Gary Player will share his thoughts from Augusta all week for

Arriving at Augusta for the 56th time is really like coming home. It's a pleasure to see the old faces, to meet the new ones. And, of course, it's a pleasure to take my traditional walk down Magnolia Lane. It brings back a lot of memories - mostly of my good fortune, that I can have the record that I have at this club: Three wins, three seconds, 15 top-10s, the most consecutive cuts made with 23, the most number of Masters played with 52. It is always a thrill to return.

You're always thinking about this magnificent place. It's a tonic, the first major of the year. Lots of people are coming down here from the cold, coming into sunshine. And they all meet under the old oak tree by the clubhouse, old friends and new faces.

On Wednesday, I'll play in the Par 3 Contest, which will be broadcast worldwide. Only at Augusta. On Thursday, I'll be hitting the opening tee shot with Jack and Arnold. And throughout it all, I'll be hosting guests at the Black Knight residence, the house we rent for the week, seeing so many of the terrific people who are part of the game of golf.

But I am especially excited about playing the course Tuesday, as I haven't had a practice round at Augusta in at least four years. I'll be playing with South African golfers Branden Grace, George Coetzee, and the 2011 Masters champion, Charl Schwartzel. All in all, it's going to be a very exciting day. Hopefully we can advise and inspire some of these young players to go and win another green jacket for South Africa.

Back when I was playing, I would always practice downhill putts on Monday. I'd pick the spots where the greens were slickest, so I could fully feel their speed. The exercise would remind me where not to hit the second shots. Take the third hole. When they put the flag on the front, if you miss the bunker to the right you might only be twenty foot from the hole, but you cannot get down in two. Or at the 16th-if you miss the green to the right when the pin is on the left, you cannot get down in two.

(Unless, that is, your name is Arnold Palmer. He holed one from right of the green in 1962, when I had him by two shots with three to play. Hit it 25-feet wide of the hole, and it caught the flag like a steamroller before it dropped. By the time I'd finished counting my chickens Arnold had beaten me in a playoff.)

I may tell Branden and George and Charl stories like that, but only if they ask. They'll have to ask the questions. One thing I've learned is that I cannot tell you what another man is thinking, even when he is walking down Magnolia Lane.

Of course, I remember what was going through my mind when I first arrived, in 1957. I was absolutely in awe. I was going to see the man I considered to be the best striker of a golf ball ever to play the game: Ben Hogan. I've never seen anyone hit the ball tee to green like Hogan. I was also going to see the man I considered to be the greatest athlete ever to play the game: Sam Snead. He had the most naturally strong, supple, beautiful golf swing that ever existed. And then there was Byron Nelson. And, obviously, the great honor of meeting the host, Bobby Jones.

I thought about the history, the people. I tried to realize that for a week, I was going to be one of them, at the same dinner, in the same club, on the same course. It's a long walk down Magnolia Lane. You've got time to think about a lot of things.

April 05, 2013

Past champs pick Tiger to win the 2013 Masters in Poll

Posted at 4:31 PM by Mark Dee


Tiger Woods at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, the first of this three wins in 2013 (Robert Beck/SI).

With Tiger Woods coming in as a 3-to-1 favorite to win next week's Masters, the betting public is pretty confident Tiger is back and prowling.

But Vegas sharps aren't the only people bullish on the four-time champ's chances of adding a fifth green jacket to his wardrobe. Some guys who own a few of their own like Tiger's odds as well.

In a poll of past Masters champions, nine out of 10 respondents picked Tiger Woods to take home hardware come Sunday evening, although Arnold Palmer hedged a bit, saying he'd take the field over Woods.

The one dissenter? 2009 winner Angel Cabrera. He chose himself ("Me!!").

Here's what some of the pros -- including a few legends -- had to say about their pick:

Gary Player: "Most people will not argue with Tiger Woods as the overwhelming favourite to win the Masters.  Tiger is off to a great start this year with tons of momentum going into this year’s tournament. Plus, he is a phenomenal putter and to win at Augusta you have to putt well.  Other favourites include Phil Mickleson, and Rory McIlroy. But I like the chances of Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, and Adam Scott. I would love to see Sergio Garcia win, but I personally feel that Tiger is due to have a great year."

Arnold Palmer: "I think there are numerous people who could take a run. I think Tiger should be the favorite, no question. If I were arbitrary about it, I would still take the field."

Billy Casper: "Tiger. Tiger’s playing well. He’s won so many times there. He’s really playing well. It looks like Rory is starting to come into his own. With those two playing well, it would be a great Masters."

Trevor Immelman: "The level is so consistently high on the PGA Tour now that it’s harder to pick winners, I believe. Obviously with Tiger starting to play really well again, he’s going to have a couple of weeks off and will be arriving there with so much confidence knowing he’s already won the tournament four times, he’s going to be a hard guy to bet against purely because he’s won there in so many different styles in conditions. Nothing that happens there will be catching him off guard, so I imagine he’ll be pretty comfortable and hard to bet against."

Ian Woosnam: "You have to go with the form player: Tiger." 

Charl Schwartzel: "I’m sure there are a lot of bookmakers around the world filling their pockets with the money of punters trying to pick golf tournament winners. It’s definitely not easy. I always feel that if I am playing my best then I have the chance to win whenever I tee it up, but I would never say that I am going to win. There are so many contenders and I suppose top of that list now would be Tiger Woods, who has had such an impressive start to the season."

January 18, 2013

They Said It! Top 10 Quotes of the Week for Jan. 18, 2013

Posted at 6:55 PM by Mike Walker



 1. “From now on I'll be playing a
Method putter."

--Rory McIlroy at his Nike press conference on Monday;
he switched back to his Scotty Cameron putter on Friday



Justin_forweb2. "Monty came into the picture to combat the big name of Tom Watson, and I felt like maybe that's something that the European Team didn't need to do.”

Justin Rose on Paul McGinley being picked for 2014 Ryder Cup captain over Colin Montgomerie 


Trump_forweb3. “The amount I know about golf would fit into a teaspoon. However, I do know when I’m walking on a pathway and come to a big chasm, that’s not the best.”  

--Aberdeen, Scotland, resident Suzanne Kelly on discovering storm damage at Donald Trump's Trump International Golf Links 



4. “I’ve traveled more miles than
any human being who ever lived.”

--Gary Player on his frequent-flier status after 60 years of international golf 





5. "It would be very similar to saying that I had a rivalry with Phil two years into my career. That wasn't the case."

--Tiger Woods on whether he has a rivalry with Rory McIlroy 




6. “I was adding up my scorecard, and I was like, oh, wait, I shot 29 on the back.”

--Russell Henley on his final round at the Sony Open in Hawaii; he won



 7. “He said, golf is the way politics is. If you're grip is too far to the right, you're going to get in trouble on the left. But if your grip is too far to the left, you're going to get in big trouble on the right.”

--Bill Clinton on getting golf advice from Tom Watson



8. “If you ask most guys, they would
want to be involved in that process a
little bit more.”

--Jason Dufner on the selection of the Ryder Cup Team USA captain


  Kaymer_forweb9. “It was probably the best feeling I ever had in my life; to have the responsibility knowing that you can make something huge happen for the team and for yourself, and knowing that I can handle it.”

--Martin Kaymer on sinking the winning putt for Team Europe at the 2012 Ryder Cup



10. “Most celebrities think they're friends with everybody. And that drives me crazy. I'm not there to be a distraction to the pro.”

--The Voice host Carson Daly on playing in pro-ams

January 04, 2013

They Said It! Top 10 Quotes of the Week for Jan. 4, 2013

Posted at 11:55 PM by Mike Walker
Bubba1. Bubba Watson, on his history of panic attacks


“I’m afraid of three things: I’m afraid of crowds, I’m afraid of the dark, I’m afraid of heights.”



2. Rory McIlroy, on why he might not compete in the 2016 Olympics

"I feel Northern Irish and obviously being from Northern Ireland you have a connection to Ireland and a connection to the UK. If I could and there was a Northern Irish team I'd play for Northern Ireland.”


Johnny3. Johnny Miller, on what he expects from Tiger Woods in 2013

"I think he's due for a win at the Masters. It'll be interesting to see if he can get all the little bugs out of his head."



Carl4. Carl Pettersson, on the anchored-putter ban

“It feels a bit like a witch hunt to me. They keep harping on the younger generation using them, but I think they're going to ban it because it looks bad.”



Caroline 5. Caroline Wozniacki, denying that she received an engagement ring from McIlroy

"It was a Christmas present and it fit on this finger and I put it on."



Gary6. Gary Player, on why he supports the ban on anchored putting

“If you have a slight tremble with putting, you can never be a superstar or win majors. Straightaway, when you anchor it, it takes away the tremor.”



Hunter7. Hunter Mahan, on his off-season visit to Israel in November

“There were missiles at Tel Aviv and we were in Tel Aviv. Once we heard that and once my wife heard that, she said, ‘We're out of here.’”



Charlie8. Charlie Beljan, on disliking food

“I've eaten the same Subway sandwich five days a week for the last eight years and haven't changed it, and I'm not willing to try.”



Stricker9. Steve Stricker, on his ‘semi-retirement’ at age 45

“When I get home, I'm not there. I'm focused on where I go next. ... I've had enough of being totally focused on golf.”



Monty10. Colin Montgomerie, on being elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame

“I had my fun in America but at the same time all good banter and good competition, and I'm very competitive, and so were they and it made it quite interesting.”

October 15, 2012

Tweets of the Week: Phil Mickelson Q&A, Justin Rose wins in Turkey, and more

Posted at 1:13 PM by

Phil Mickelson answered questions from his fans:

Christine Kim and Brittany Lincicome feuded via Twitter:

The tweets that sparked it all:

Things heated up as fans took to both golfers' sides, eventually resulting in explanations/apologies from both Kim and Lincicome:

Jonas Blixt, Shane Lowry, Inbee Park and Justin Rose won tournaments:

Cristie Kerr, Annika Sorenstam, and Michelle Wie celebrated birthdays:

The Vice Presidential debate sparked strong feelings from golfers:

September 17, 2012

Tweets of the Week: Women's British Open weather woes, Ryder Cup buzz and more

Posted at 5:08 PM by

LPGA Players endured extreme weather during the Women's British Open at Hoylake this weekend:

As the Ryder Cup approaches, excitement builds:

Arnold Palmer turned 83:

Both PGA and LPGA players tweeted about their favorite sports teams over the weekend, although Bradley was presumably less excited after the game:

August 27, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Retief Goosen ends season following back surgery

Posted at 4:46 PM by Mark Dee

Retief Goosen's 2012 season is over, as the two-time U.S. Open Champ is shutting it down following back surgery, according to South Africa's Sport24 News.

Goosen first announced the surgery on Aug. 23 via a statement on his website. According to the man himself, the surgery went well.

Prognosis for a return to golf looks pretty good, too: "I am looking forward to returning to the Tour fully fit," Goosen said in the announcement, "And, in the meantime, I plan to put my feet up, enjoy watching the golf on TV and relish the opportunity to spend more time with Tracy and my children." Not bad.

Goosen last played in the PGA Championship, where he finished tied for 48th. In all, though, 2012 was a solid comeback year for The Goose, whose disappointing 2011 dropped him outside the World's Top 50, and off the Masters tee sheet for the first time since 1999. The South African is currently 23rd on the European Tour's Order of Merit.

So far, well wishes have poured in on Goosen from Twitter, including one from fellow countryman Gary Player, which he tweeted a full two hours before the Sport24 report. The Black Knight is always on point.

August 21, 2012

Top pros react to news from Augusta National

Posted at 12:37 PM by Mark Dee

Reaction from some of golf's biggest names to the news that Augusta National will admit its first female members.

Tiger Woods: "I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf...The Club continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice." (Via AP)

Annika Sorenstam: "I was delighted to hear the news this morning that Augusta National has allowed two female members into their club. The women invited, Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are highly respected women and business leaders. They will be great representatives for women in the game. I always felt that Augusta would eventually allow select female members. They are obviously a private club and I figured they would do it when they felt the timing was right and I am glad that day is here. Amazing things on the horizon for the game I love so much...Today is a historic day." (Via

Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour: "At a time when women represent one of the fastest growing segments in both playing and following the game of golf, this sends a positive and inclusive message for our sport." (Via AP)

Jack Nicklaus: "Everyone at Augusta National shares a similar passion for the game of golf, and I know they will be great additions to the club." (Via AP)

Bubba Watson: "You know, it was funny, I got a text from my manager, Jens Beck, right before I got on the plane to fly up here, so I told my wife, and so we were flying up here, and my wife said, "Do you think it'll be me? Do you think they'll announce me as a member?" So it was funny. We landed, she actually said, I'm not sure I'll say her name correctly, Condoleezza Rice, she said she thought she might be-- we knew there was going to be two. We got the text or the call from my manager that there was going to be two ladies, and so yeah, my wife joked she wanted to be one of those ladies, but obviously she didn't make the cut. Maybe she's the third lady."

"But no, it was good to see. It's always in their time. They want to do it the right way, they want to get the right membership in there what they're looking for, and obviously it's great. It's great for golf, it's great for the game." (Via ASAP Sports)

Zach Johnson:"They've got their decision, their decision making and what they want, and they'll do it when the timing is right. In my opinion, or based on what I've read and what I've seen, the timing is right to have a couple women members so far and hats off to them. If that's their prerogative and that's the direction they want to go, that's fantastic. I don't know the specifics. I know this time of year is when they start inviting new members, so I know there's a longer list than just two women...Knowing some of the members there, they're always very gracious to have new members come in, and I don't foresee that being any different. It seems like Chairman Payne is a guy -- well, I think he's great. I think he certainly has always had a pretty open mind about things, and that's why you've seen some tweaks and changes at Augusta and the Masters. Yeah, I think it's fantastic."(Via ASAP Sports)

Sergio Garcia: "It's great. I mean I'm not a member so I don't have any say on that. That's great. I hope they enjoy it and plays as many times as they can and enjoy the course." (Via ASAP Sports)

Tim Clark: "I think it's great. It's a sign of the times and Augusta is a top notch club. Obviously about time and it's a place I love and love going to. It's nice to see them make that move." (Via ASAP Sports)

Carl Pettersson: "It's probably good but, you know, it's a private club. They could do whatever they want. But it's probably about time, yeah. Probably good." (Via ASAP Sports)

Gary Player: "Great news. Augusta National admits its first female members in 80 years: Condoleezza Rice & Darla Moore." (Via Twitter @garyplayer)

April 05, 2012

Twitter highlights from first round of 2012 Masters

Posted at 9:00 PM by Jillian Whalen
April 04, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Gary Player rails against 'nose putters'

Posted at 10:57 AM by Mike Walker

Gary Player has been a longtime supporter of what golf-industry dweebs call "bifurcation" -- that is, one set of more restrictive equipment rules for pros to limit distance and another, less stringent set of rules so amateurs can bomb away -- and he made that case eloquently on Tuesday at the Masters.

Two balls? Definitely. Look, I mentioned this, and the R&A, which I'm a very big fan of, said that you they are the same game. They are not the same game. If you think they are the same game, bring an amateur to come and play against Tiger Woods, and you'll sure as hell see they are not the same game. You are oblivious to the fact that it's not the same game. It ain't the same game.

However, the fun part starts when Player talks about his distaste for long putters.

I'm just shocked when I see all these young people on the Tour, too. I see them playing with a putter up here and a putter here. I was playing with a guy the other day with a putter in his nose. This is a Pro Am and I said, "What the hell are you doing?" He said, well, he had a piece of wool and a peg in there and he had this in his nose like that (indicating with finger pushed up into nose). And then you see a Scottish pro putting with it on his chin and everybody has got it anchored to them. I mean, nerves are part of the game. That's what we try to combat. That's the whole idea of golf. The man who is the winner can control his nerves the best.

Tiger's half-brother with MS hasn't heard from Tiger since father's death
ESPN's Rick Reilly files a report on Kevin Woods, Tiger Woods' half-brother who is suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Earl Jr., Kevin and sister Royce are the children of Earl Woods and Barbara Gary, of Kansas. They're 20, 18 and 17 years older than Tiger, who is the offspring of Earl's second marriage, to Kultida Punsawad. Though they lived in different houses, the four kids visited often and say they remained close until Tiger turned "about 15 or 16," Earl Jr. says. "But the more universal Tiger got, the less we heard from him."

Royce, who also lives in San Jose, stayed close with Tiger during his two years in college, fixing him meals and doing his laundry. In thanks, Tiger bought her a house. But since the funeral, none of them have been able to contact him.

"I would live in a shack," Royce told author Tom Callahan for his 2010 book "His Father's Son," "literally a shack, if I could have my relationship with my brother back."

Earl Jr. sounds especially hurt that Tiger hasn't spoken to Kevin, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009, according to ESPN.

"I'd like to [slap] Tiger, wake him up," he says. "I'd like to say, 'Don't come knocking on the door when you need a bone-marrow transplant.' To see this is the response we get? Maybe when you see the world like he does, you don't see what other people are going through. But, seriously? You've got problems with your knee? That's nothing compared to what Kevin is going through. Nothing."

I can't help wondering what things would be like if their dad were still alive.

"A lot different," insists Earl Jr., who looks a lot like his father. "My dad was a bonding agent. He encouraged us to keep in touch, protect each other, circle the wagons."

Masters four-day badge sells for more than $2,000 on StubHub
The Masters is always the toughest ticket in sports, but the anticipation around this year's tournament has set sales records at online ticket broker, according to WRDW-TV Augusta.

Employees from the company are still working with people looking for a way into the tournament, said Joellen Ferrer of StubHub.

"The demand is like nothing we have ever seen in our 10 year history," she said.

Ferrer said the sales have set records as well, but she said Tiger Woods isn't the sole reason ticket and badge sales have hit such high marks.

"It's already our highest grossing Masters event in company history," she said. "But even without Tiger it would've been our highest grossing Masters event. It just wouldn't have had so many ebbs and flows."

One of the highest days of sales though came on March 16, the day Woods announced he would be playing in Augusta.

But with the tournament starting soon and the supply low, the prices are higher right now than in years past, Ferrer said.

On Wednesday morning, a four-day badge to the Masters Tournament cost $2,392 on StubHub, while a ticket to Sunday's final round was $740.

Luke Donald might chip with his driver at Augusta National
Don't try this at home.

Luke Donald got to the No. 1 spot with his otherworldly short game, and he might have figured out a new trick for Augusta National's notoriously difficult shots from just off the green.

Q. Do you have any particular strategies this year that is new in general about the round or on a particular hole that you could share with us?

LUKE DONALD: The only real difference I've been experimenting a little bit is off the greens, off the edge of the greens. It can be a little bit tricky around here. In the morning it's dewy. The ball tends to skip through and it's a little bit easier. When it gets drier, the grass becomes very sticky around the greens. I've experimented a little bit with actually using a driver around the greens. A lot of people use rescues, 3 woods sometimes, putters. But I just found the driver had the perfect loft, that it was able to go through the grass a little bit. Whether I'll use it this year or not, I'm not sure, but certainly something I've been playing around with.

Q. You just choke up on that?

LUKE DONALD: Choke up on it, use it like a putter, yeah.

Q. Eight degrees? Nine degrees?

LUKE DONALD: It's nine degrees.

Q. Putting grip?


Golf participation is on the rise. Really.
Not only is Tiger back, but so are you.

Rounds played at American golf course have climbed for four straight months, the first growth in five years, according to Bloomberg News.

The number of rounds played on American golf courses has climbed for four straight months through February. Club maker Callaway Golf Co. (ELY), mower-maker Toro Co. (TTC) and Nike Inc. (NKE), which makes golf gear and clothes, are registering revenue growth and stock gains outpacing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The rebound is reflected on the links. Americans are feeling secure enough in their jobs to increase leisure spending, returning to a sport basking in the media spotlight with this week’s Masters Tournament and Tiger Woods’s first PGA victory in more than two years.

“It will probably be the strongest year since the recession,” Cindy Davis, president of the golf unit of Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike, said in an interview. “I’d say it’s definitely one of the indicators that maybe consumer confidence is coming back.”

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