LA QUINTA, Calif. – There are health nuts, and then there are people like Gary Player. At 77, the Black Knight still looks like his abdomen muscles are made of titanium – the product of a healthy diet and 1,000 sit-ups per day. (So, what did you do this morning?)
So perhaps it was inevitable that Player would join forces with the Humana Challenge, which Sports Business Journal selected as the “Sports Event of the Year” in 2012 because of the Tour stop’s health initiatives.
“This is probably the most important contract I’ve had,” Player said Wednesday, “because I’m now involved in saving peoples’ lives.”
This year, the Humana Challenge debuted a new initiative called the Walk-It Challenge. Attendees at this week’s tournament receive a pedometer upon arrival and are encouraged to count their steps throughout the week.
The Walk-It Challenge will also be used at other PGA Tour stops, and the tournament that comes closest to equaling (or even surpassing) the number of steps taken at the Humana Challenge will receive a KaBOOM! multi-generational playground, to be built in their local community in 2014.
“This is the single-most important event on Tour,” Player said. “If I was a professional golfer I would make it my business to be here this week.”
And for those here, Player was quick to reveal his secret to longevity. Take notes: “The less you eat,” he said, “the longer you live. Everyone eats like it’s their last supper!”