Oct 18th, 2017
Representing for all all the GolfPunks: Gary Player
Punch you in the stomach, you say?
Words: Johnny Bryan (+ video interview) Photography: Getty Images
He’s been raising hell for six decades. Doff the cap to the one and only Black Knight...
Press play for a rip roaring interview with the great man.
In 2000, Gary Player was voted 'Sportsman of the Century' in South Africa, a signifier not just of great achievement but also a strong hint that now is the twilight of your career and you can proudly melt into the background and let everyone buy you a pint for the rest of your days. Gary Player missed the memo.
We met him last year where the 79-year-old offered to beat us in a press-up competition and punched himself in the stomach. Ten minutes with him is enough to make you think that if you cut him open a million little Gary Players would burst out yelling "you can do it Gary, you can do it'", such is his enthusiastic and irrepressible nature.
He won a professional event for 27 consecutive years as he threw down with the best icons of the 20th century. Ladies and Gents, this is one of the few occasions where we witness a living and breathing 'representing' punk.
The Key To Representing: The Gary Player Cocktail
Gary drinks this at home every day.
• 2 spinach leaves
• 1 kale leaf
• Juice of one half lemon
• Small piece ginger
• 1 apple
• ½ cucumber
• 1 piece celery
• Combine ingredients in a juicer and drink immediately.
How GP 'Represented' for all the GPs...
– Player played his very first round at the age of 14 and parred his first three holes.
– Holes in one: GP has made twenty-seven holes in one in tournament competition.
– There’s a plaque on the double green of the 7th and 15th at Desert Mountain GC, Arizona that reads; “Gary Player: The only man to eagle the 7th and 15th in the same round.”
“On the 7th tee with the wind behind us, I took a 6-iron and knocked the ball right into the cup! Then we came back to the same green, this time on the fifteenth hole, a par-five. I managed to hole a wedge shot for my third [shot]. So, I had two eagles in the same round on the same green.”
– Gary has, however, never beaten his wife’s record of two holes in one in the same round. “ I would have given anything to go to my wife and tell her that I had also had two holes in one in the same round, but it just never worked out!”
– GP claims to have a resting heart rate of 52
– GP is the only player ever to have shot a sub-60 round in a national open; the 1974 Brazilian Open.
– Within the space of three years Player became the oldest player to make the cut in both the British Open and then in the Masters, in 1995 and 1998 respectively
– GP is grandfather to 21 grandchildren
– GP is the only player ever to have won the British Open in three different decades since WWII
– GP's stud farm bred the 1994 English Derby Champion and owns just shy of 300 race horses.
– GP has been given honorary Doctorates from three British Universities: St Andrew, the University of Ulster and the University of Dundee
– GP boasts that he is the most travelled athlete on the planet, having notched up over 15 million miles while playing tournaments, designing golf courses and raising cash for charity.
– GP doesn’t like looking at fat, lazy people and will often ask much younger people to hit him in the stomach to demonstrate a) how hard he is, and b) how fat and lazy the young are.
– GP set up the Player Foundation in 1983, to provide education, nutrition, medical care and athletic activities, for a small community of disadvantaged children living on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. The Player Foundation provides aid to underprivileged children and impoverished communities, donating over $50 million dollars to children's charities, the betterment of impoverished communities and the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the world.