Player Marks 40 Years Since Slam

By George WhiteJune 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
It was 40 years ago this week when it happened ' something so radical that it literally shook the golf world. It was that week, at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, that Gary Player won the U.S. Open. It was the fourth leg of golfs Grand Slam, and Player won all four by the time was only 29.
 
Along with Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan, they were the only men at that point to win all four of golfs majors. Since Players dramatic playoff win over Australia's Kel Nagle, only two other players have pulled the trick ' Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
 
Gary Player
Gary Player is one of only five men to win golf's career Grand Slam.
I told everyone I would retire if I ever won the Grand Slam, but at 29 I didnt know what else to do, and thank goodness I kept playing, says Player. Today he is 69 years old and still active on the Champions Tour, having won 96 times during a career that has spanned the globe.
 
Player could actually have won the 65 Open in regulation, holding a three-shot lead with only three holes remaining. But standing on the par-3 16th, he bunkered his tee shot, then three-putted. When Nagle birdied the 17th, the score was tied and the two were headed for 18 holes on Monday.
 
Monday, however, was all Player. He led by five at the nine-hole turn and eventually won by three, becoming the first non-American to capture the Open since Englishmen Ted Ray in 1920.
 
I remember wearing the same black shirt every day and washing it myself every night and hanging it over the shower rail to dry a silly superstition perhaps, but it gave me a certain level of mental karma, said Player.
 
Another first - he played with Shakespeare prototype fibreglass/graphite shafts in all his clubs and he became the first man ever to win on tour using these types of shafts.
 
Player had a vision during this tournament, which some people later passed off as a condition somewhere between self-hypnosis and visualization. Player 'visualized' his name on the giant scoreboard beside the last green everyday before he won the title. He saw it there in his mind's eye all week. Player 'saw' his name in gold lettering in the space against the year '1965' - and he made the vision a reality!
 
However, it was what he did at the winners ceremony afterwards that endeared him to golf fans everywhere. He had contended to the end before losing the Open in 1960, and had he won, he planned to give the entire winners check to cancer research. True to his word, in 65 he donated the entire first-place sum of $26,000. He paid tribute to his mother, a victim of cancer, while donating a large portion of the check to the Cancer Association. But he also gave half to the Junior Golf Association.
 
I am doing this because I made a promise to Joe Dey (then the executive director of the USGA) five years ago, said Player. I am doing this to repay America for its many kindnesses to me over the past few years.
 
He had begun the Grand Slam quest with the British Open in 1959, added the Masters in 1961, and then the PGA Championship in 62 before snaring the U.S. Open. In only seven years' span, he completed the Slam. He added two more Masters, two more British Opens and another PGA.
 
Quite simply, I consider winning the Grand Slam as my finest achievement in golf, he says.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.