Last Wednesday, one of the most recognized people that’s ever played professional golf became the 10th person to received the PGA Tour’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gary Player is the first-foreign born professional golfer to earn this award. He has joined the likes of Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus.
Player was only 14 when he started playing golf. And now, 62 years later, he has won more than 150 international tournaments that included 24 PGA Tour wins. From 1955 to 1982 he won at least one sanctioned international event every year. Because of his wins internationally, he is considered the game’s international ambassador.
In 1974, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
His career has been quite exciting to say the least. In the 1978 Masters, Player won the tournament by only a stroke. It was his third victory at Augusta.
His remarkable career opened the door to South African golfers and many of them are considered the crème de la crème of the game in their country.
Most professional South African golfers consider Player as their hero. “Growing up as a golfer, he was first and foremost the figure we looked at. I’m sure he inspired many generations of South African golfers, not just one or two,” declared Tim Clark.
Player was also excited to receive the Award. He said, “”It’s very, very exciting. A lifetime [award] and I’ve had a lifetime in this game. I’ve been a pro almost 60 years. I’ve probably traveled more than any human being that’s ever lived around the world.”