PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Gary Player has watched most of the greats of the game.
Before becoming the 10th recipient of the PGA Tour’s Lifetime Achievement Award Wednesday at The Players Championship, Player reminisced.
“You talk about a journey,” Player said. “I played golf with Gene Sarazen, and I played with Tommy Armour, as well. And to play with Ben Hogan and Sam Snead, and then with Arnold [Palmer] and Jack [Nicklaus], and the young players today, it’s been a real long journey. And it’s so nice being my age, 76, and beating my age by almost six and seven shots a day.”
Player, who won nine major championships and the career Grand Slam, was asked who the greatest player he ever saw was.
“I still think Ben Hogan is the best player I ever saw in my life,” Player said. “Nobody hit the ball like Hogan. I played with Hogan in my first U.S. Open at Southern Hills in 1958. The rough was a foot high, never saw him miss the fairway. This is unbelievable.
“Had you given him this equipment today, these metal head drivers, these grooves, this ball, these fairways, this prize money, et cetera, et cetera, it would be frightening to see just how good that man would have been.”
Previous winners of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award were Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Jack Burke Jr., Pete Dye, Deane Beman, Jack Nicklaus and President George H.W. Bush.