Gary Player - The Harder You Work The Luckier you Get

By Golf Fitness MagazineOctober 18, 2010, 6:11 pm

I have been fortunate enough throughout my writing career to have the honor of interviewing and meeting with some very astonishing people. Better yet, I have had the opportunity to play golf with some very interesting people as well. One great opportunity was playing with Mr. Gary Player’s son, Mr. Wayne Player, several years ago in a charity tournament in Florida.

You learn a lot about someone over 18 holes and as I walked away that day, I remember reflecting back on how very neat it was that Mr. Wayne Player spoke throughout the day with such respect and adoration for his father, throughout our round.

With that said, one of the truly great perks of being a journalist, is the opportunity to meet with, and learn about your subjects on a more personal level. As a writer, editor and golf hobbyist, I was every bit prepared to interview Mr. Gary Player. I had even had some first hand fun family stories from Wayne. However there was no way I could have truly prepared myself completely for one of the most enlightening 50 minutes of my life.

MR. GARY PLAYER was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1935. At the very young age of 8, Mr. Player lost his mother. With the passing of his mother and his father working a very labor intensive job in the gold mines of South Africa, young Player was watched after by an African American man that would encourage play and exercise outside after school. A rather small child growing up, Mr. Player recalls the day when his older brother left for WWII to fight along side US forces. He told his younger brother Gary that he “must exercise to get bigger.” Of course, a little brotherly rivalry never hurts either, so with the loss of his mother, his father working in the gold mines to make ends meet, his sister in boarding school and his brother off helping America in the war, young Gary Player, worked hard at school, played outside and truly began exercising at the young age of 9.

SIXTY THREE years later, we sit down with World Golf Hall of fame legend Gary Player to discuss the long-term benefits that fitness has given to him in all aspects of his life; his golf career, his mental outlook on life and his overall health. I would have to agree with Mr. Player, when he jokingly remarks, “that at 72 years of age, he could possibly “beat” over 85% of 40 year olds in a fitness contest, hands down.”

Of course, Mr. Player goes on to say “he truly thinks he could actually beat 85% of 30 year olds in a fitness contest but he doesn’t want to sound too boastful.” As he genuinely chuckles, to me, it is truly apparent from just looking at him and listening to his daily activities and travel schedule that he probably could make all of us 40 something’s look bad.

HIKING a small mountain behind his home in South Africa before the crack of dawn, working out for an hour and a half in his home gym, swimming and ranching until dusk, are typical of a day in the life of Mr. Player--- when he is at home that is. Having traveled more than 14 million miles, Mr. Player, has probably traveled more miles than anyone in the world.

The week prior to our interview, he had been in China, India, Singapore, to name of few. Exhaustion however is not an option for this spry 72 year old, “being fit, and exercising has enabled me to be productive,” remarks Mr. Player.

Long before the benefits of golf fitness were thought to be necessary or even appropriate, Gary Player devoted himself to strength, conditioning and proper nutrition to stay competitive. Today Gary Player is living proof that the positive effects of golf-specific fitness have enhanced the longevity of his game and prevented injuries that have enabled him to continue an extraordinary career.

Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.