Players Business Career Sprawling Pt 3

By George WhiteMarch 11, 2003, 5:00 pm
This year marks Gary Players 50th anniversary as a pro. In this third of a three-part series, the spotlight shines on Players business empire.
 
When Gary Player left South Africa to conquer the golfing world, he had $250 in his pocket. When he goes back this year after being a professional for 50 years, he is a millionaire many times over.
 
The tentacles to the Player business empire are far-reaching. In addition to a playing career that is still flourishing, he is a course architect with more than 200 layouts up and running. His company designs golf equipment. There is a golf academy division, responsible for teaching young golfers. And his travel company introduces his native South Africa to tourists.
 
The Gary Player Golf Experience combines both the mind and body into one unit for his holistic approach. His Gary Player Development promotes worldwide development of golf-centered real estate. He has a management services arm that concentrates on the operations of a golf course. There is a Gary Player Collection of Sportswear, a Gary Player Mens Tissues, even a Gary Player Golf Gym exercise device.
 
He is most proud, though, of his stud farm, home to some of South Africas finest thoroughbreds. At his ranch home near Johannesburg, Player sponsors a school for more than 400 native children ' the Blair Atholl School.
 
Players personal motto is, Everything in business is negotiable ' except quality. With his son, Marc Player, in charge of Players empire from its headquarters in Palm Beach, Fla., the Player name looms large in the golf industry worldwide..
 
My dad aspires to be the best in everything, says Marc. Its what challenges him about life he sees life anew all the time. Most people are bored. He never is.
 
Despite all the branches, the Player businesses which most involve Gary himself are the course design, the stud farm, and Blair Atholl school.
 
COURSE DESIGN: My motto on course design is flexibility.' I like to add beauty to a piece of ground that I work on. If people work all week, when they go out to play golf they want to be surrounded by birds and nature and beauty, says Player.
 
Player also likes gentle greens. Greens should always, in my opinion, be laid out in such a way that they have some undulation, he says. However, this undulation should evolve from the creation of plateaus that enable golfers who place approach shots within a few feet of the pin to have a relatively predictable putt to the hole.
 
Player doesnt have much use for modern course architecture. He much prefers a Donald Ross or Tillinghast layout.
 
I like to build my tees strategically and with different shapes. I like to create different holes ' all 18 holes must be completely different. The holes should be built around nature. Bring nature right back into the holes.
 
Player has built over 140 golf courses that bear his name, with another 60 on which he has consulted. He has approximately 26 courses presently under construction, in locations are far-flung as India, China, Poland, Egypt and Africa.
 
STUD FARM: Players stud farm spans more than 12,000 acres near the town of Colesburg, South Africa. His thoroughbreds have some of the worlds largest paddocks ' most are at least 250 acres apiece.
 
Included at the farm are approximately 80 well-related mares of the highest pedigree and racing caliber. One Player thoroughbred is a champion race filly and two mares have been awarded Broodmare of the Year. Champion stallions include Aristis, Ashtontown, Mistrial Dancer and Wolfhound.
 
I phone it (the stud farm) every day, whether Im in China or Europe. Ive studied genetics (of horses) for more than 30 years, and Ive come to the conclusion that I know a heck of a lot about nothing. But I struggle genuinely to know which I love more ' horses or golf.
 
The horses and the ranch are one of my great loves. Working next to the earth and with these wonderful animals instantly recharges your energy. It is such a great thrill to see them win, and its a wonderful family adventure.
 
BLAIR ATHOLL SCHOOL: Not a business, but a real love of Players, nonetheless. An arm of the Player Foundation, the school teaches more than 400 children on the grounds of Garys farm, Blair Atholl.
 
The school was begun in 1983 with about 30 children of farm workers who toiled at the ranch. It contains both a nursery school and a primary school, as well as basic adult education and training.
 
The outstanding educational facilities which you are providing at Blair Atholl School are not only benefiting the disadvantaged children in your area, Nelson Mandela wrote to Gary Player, but can serve as a model for educational development and renewal in other parts of South Africa and around the world.
 
Education is the light, Player said. South Africa is at the crossroads and the children are the key.
 
People are so kind. Some send pencils. Some send computers. South Africa has so many wonderful resources, so many dynamic people. The children ' theyll lead, as usual.
 
Player is a golfer, a Hall of Famer, but so much more. I want to be remembered as more than a golfer, he said. I want to be remembered as a contributor to society.
 
Related Links
  • Gary Player, Part 1
  • Gary Player, Part 2
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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”