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GARY PLAYER PREPARES FOR BUSY TOUR OF ASIAN DESIGN SITES
Feb 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
There is no question that Asia has quickly emerged as one of the brightest spots in the golf course design industry with the increasing globalization of golf in recent years. With a continually growing portfolio of projects spanning the continent, Gary Player Design continues to solidify its presence across Asia.
The Black Knight is preparing for a busy trip in March as he is set to tour a number of sites in China and India that are currently under construction for the firm. In addition to design duties, Player will end his trip to Asia on a high note at the annual China Golf Show in Beijing where the golfing icon is slated to give the keynote address.
“This is a great time for golf globally, and it has been such a thrill to see the game evolve so much over my career,” said Gary Player. “I love being involved with the game’s growth across Asia and could not be any happier with the quality of courses that we are designing across the continent.”
Gary Player Design features a global portfolio that includes over 325 courses in 35 countries and remains one of the most active firms internationally. Gary Player Design is currently working on 16 projects across Asia, with scheduled courses openings at DLF Golf and Country Club in India and Longping Jiuhua Sports and Leisure Park in China late this year.
“Our industry has clearly turned to Asia for growth, and the potential is enormous. Our job is to contribute quality courses to the landscape, which will provide the proper foundation for the future. I’m proud to say we are doing just that,” said Gary Player Design President Scott Ferrell.
Player’s first stop will be in Delhi, India where the first nine of a Gary Player Signature Course was unveiled at DLF Golf and Country Club last Fall. The Black Knight will walk through the second nine currently under construction to ensure the design details are ready for the scheduled October grand opening.
In China, Gary Player Design counts eleven completed courses in its portfolio. More notably, the “International Ambassador of Golf” is currently working on eight courses that are in various design and construction phases.
Aside from visits to courses currently under construction, Player and the design team will visit a number of prospective project sites in China, as well as stop by the Nanjing Zhongshan International Sports Park, a 27-hole Gary Player Signature Course that was completed a decade ago.
One of the busiest hubs for Gary Player Design is currently located in China’s capital city Beijing, where two Signature Design courses will receive site visits from Player before he caps off his trip with the China Golf Show.
GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL SERIES POISED FOR FANTASTIC YEAR OF GOLF & GIVING
Feb 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Fresh off of a highly successful 30th anniversary year for The Player Foundation, the global Gary Player Invitational series is looking to make a splash once again in the annual “Union of Golf and Giving” series that spans the globe. Returning to iconic golfing venues with exciting sponsor additions, Black Knight International and Gary Player have a great deal to look forward to in 2014, as they offer golfers an exciting way to give back to underprivileged children and impoverished communities.
The first event of the year, the US leg in Augusta following The Masters, is already starting to take shape as April approaches. Confirmed celebrities include stars from the NBA and NFL, Hollywood actors, models, and trick shot artists looking to spice up the event set to take place April 13-14.
Once again hosted at Champions Retreat – the only golf property in the USA to feature 9-holes designed by “The Big Three” – participants, celebrities, and professional golfers will be welcomed to Augusta with a cocktail reception at the Black Knight International home for a final round Masters viewing with three-time Masters champion Gary Player before teeing off in the pro-am tournament the next morning.
One of the most exciting additions for the 2014 series is the announcement that Berenberg, the world’s second oldest bank, extended their multiyear title sponsorship of the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational in the UK. Held at the historic Wentworth Golf Club, home of the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship, the event will feature a new official tournament and gala auction on July 20-21 this year before expanding into a four day event in 2015.
When the GPI series travels to Shanghai on November 2-3, longtime title sponsor Coca-Cola will be joined by BMW as a major supporter of the event as the Gary Player Invitational will take place between the BMW Masters and the WGC - HSBC Champions. In the 8th edition of China’s premier charity golf event, Player and company look to continue their support of the Chinese Foundation for the Prevention of STDs and AIDS, which has assisted over 12,500 AIDS-affected children across China through funds collected at the event.
Capping off the year is the largest event of the series that travels to the Black Knight’s home country of South Africa on November 20-23. The GPI will once again be held at Sun City’s Lost City Golf Course with the gala and auction at The Palace of the Lost City.
“I can’t thank our corporate partners enough,” added Marc Player. “Coca-Cola, SAP, Berenberg, Rolex, Callaway, SAP, UPS, and BMW offer great support of our GPI series throughout the world and we would simply not be able to achieve the level of success in raising funds for underprivileged children without them.”
PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS THREE DIMENSIONAL GOLF IN ‘A GAME FOR LIFE’ INSTRUCTIONAL SERIES
Feb 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
When it comes to golf instruction, Gary Player has always felt that the best way for any golfer to improve is through a three dimensional approach that addresses the skill, mental, and physical elements of the game. This is the exact philosophy that Player and Revolution Golf, the world’s #1 golf learning website, highlight in the Grand Slam champion’s widely successful instructional multimedia series Gary Player: A Game for Life.
Skill may be the most obvious element of the Black Knight’s instructional philosophy, but Player insists on breaking the mold by refusing to concentrate on ultra-technical swing instruction that can stump any golfer - amateur or professional. In A Game for Life, Player instead reveals countless easily understood tips for on and off the course that will lead to better scores.
From his signature bunker play to the secrets on putting, accurate driving, soft fades, and powerful draws, Player offers guidance and advice on all aspects that helped propel him to 165 worldwide tournament victories and will help golfers to lower their handicap.
As a longtime advocate of fitness in golf, it should come as no surprise that “Mr. Fitness” insists that the physical aspects of golf be taken seriously. A Game for Life follows Player’s everyday fitness routine as he breaks down exercises from his home gym that can easily and quickly lead to an improved round including stretching and the importance of developing the core, forearms, and fast muscles.
Last, but not least, the golfing icon addresses the mental element, where he insists that great golfers tend to separate themselves - through mental toughness, ability to overcome adversity, confidence, and, most importantly, positivity.
“One of the most commonly overlooked aspects to the game is our mind and mental strength,” says Player.
To learn more on the three dimensional approach, Gary Player: A Game For Life is currently available in a collectible three-disc DVD box set from Amazon.
In addition to four hours of content in A Game for Life, Revolution Golf customers can expect additional content and new tips from the Black Knight later this year.
HIGH FIVE FOR POLAND’S TOP GOLF RESORT
Feb 27, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
The 2014 golf season is set to be the most significant yet for Poland’s top golf resort, according to the team at Modry Las Golf Club. Celebrating its fifth anniversary in July, the acclaimed Gary Player-designed course will be joined by a new nine-hole course in the autumn, more accommodation and the first glimpse of the property offering at the resort.
This latest tranche of work is the next step in a meteoric rise following the opening of the course in 2009. Since then, Poland’s only signature course has won a series of national and international awards and gained recognition from across the globe.
“The first five years at Modry Las have been exceptional,” said Pamela Gromadzki, the resort’s International Marketing Director. “We set out to create one of Europe’s most natural courses and welcome visitors from across the world, and that is what we have done. Now we are creating world-class facilities to go with it. As birthday celebrations go; it should be one to remember.”
Perhaps the most significant development will be the completion of the nine-hole Orli Las course to be officially opened in 2015. This championship course in miniature has been routed through a peninsula with a lake-side forest which provides incredible views towards infinity greens.
According to Gromadzki, the course has been designed to provide golfers of all abilities with a real golfing test. “Visitors to Modry Las should be under no illusions; Orli Las is far from being a pitch-and-putt course,” she explained. “Orli Las has been created so that learners and advanced golfers can play together with each enjoying the challenge for different reasons. More importantly, it is a wonderful course which is big on challenge and easily fits with your schedule - you can play a round in less than an hour.”
With over-hanging trees and dramatic lake views, this clever, compact design is due for a soft opening later in the year. To accompany the launch, the resort will also have new accommodation options with the resort’s three Swiss-style self-catering cottages being joined by six guest suites.
Like the cottages, the suites have been designed with golfers in mind with spacious, comfortable rooms situated adjacent to the course. “It has always been important for our guests to have a place to sit, relax and enjoy Modry Las,” noted Gromadzki. “We introduced the cottages last year and they proved so popular that we decided to expand our accommodation offering by introducing our guest suites.”
In addition, 2014 will also provide a foretaste of the property vision for Modry Las in the form of a two-bedroom, eco-friendly show home. With 150 plots for sale and 10% already taken, this unique property scheme is already attracting attention from possible buyers. “The property element was part of the original master plan and an important element of the vision for Modry Las,” said Gromadzki. “Modry Las will become a unique leisure community in Poland.”
The busy year ahead follows a momentous 2013 for Modry Las which saw a number of milestones reached. These included the opening of the course-side cottages and the Peter Bronson Golf Academy run by Poland’s top golf pro. There was also new collaborations with local schools, the introduction of free golf lessons for children and a programme of promotional activities that culminated in two oversubscribed press/FAM visits and new photography created by award-winning photographer Mark Alexander.
“It was a busy year,” said Gromadzki. “There was a lot going on and a lot to be proud of, but this year is set to be the busiest yet. I am particularly excited about the new properties, but what will grab everyone’s attention is Orli Las. It really is a jewel.”
2014 LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS AWARDS NOMINEES REVEALED
Feb 26, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
A glittering collection of the world’s greatest sports stars have been nominated for the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards, following a ballot by the world’s media.
Among the giants of sport who have been nominated are three-time Laureus winners Usain Bolt and Serena Williams, brilliant young Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel, short-listed for the fifth time, and Tiger Woods, who won in 2000, the inaugural year of Laureus, who is selected again after returning to the summit of world golf. Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, both two-time Laureus winners, are nominated in two categories.
Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses said: “I have never seen such a potentially close contest in so many categories before. This is going to be a classic year. There is a wonderful balance between some of the great names who have dominated sport over many years and some exciting newcomers like Missy Franklin and Marc Márquez. I am especially thrilled by the line-up for the Disability Award, where you could make a case for any of the six to win. This is really the crème de la crème of sport and it is going to be an exciting night in Kuala Lumpur discovering which of these great athletes will receive Laureus Awards.”
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year
Usain Bolt (Jamaica) Athletics – won 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m World Championship gold medals
Mo Farah (UK) Athletics – won classic 5,000m and 10,000m double in World Championships
LeBron James (US) Basketball – Miami Heat star, voted NBA MVP for fourth time in five years
Rafael Nadal (Spain) Tennis – winner of French Open, US Open and five ATP Masters event
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) Football - scored 69 goals for Real Madrid and Portugal in 2013
Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Motor Racing – won fourth straight Formula One World Championship
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
Nadine Angerer (Germany) Football – FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, captain of German team
Missy Franklin (US) Swimming – at 18, won a record six gold medals in World Championships
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica) Athletics – won three sprint gold medals in World Championships
Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia) Athletics – won pole vault world title in front of home Russian crowd
Tina Maze (Slovenia) Skiing – won Overall World Cup and three other disciplines, plus Super G world title
Serena Williams (US) Tennis – won French Open and US Open, plus eight other tournaments in 2013
Laureus World Team of the Year
All Blacks (NZ) Rugby Union – first time a national team achieved a 100% record in professional era
Bayern Munich (Germany) Football – won Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble
Brazil Men’s Football Team – won Confederations Cup, beating World Cup holders Spain in final
Bob & Mike Bryan (US) Tennis – completed doubles ‘Golden Slam’ – four Grand Slams and Olympic gold
Miami Heat (US) Basketball – won NBA title for second straight year, beating San Antonio Spurs in final
Red Bull (Austria) Motor Racing – won fourth straight Formula One Constructors’ World Championship
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year
Afghanistan Cricket Team – learned cricket in refugee camps, in 2013 reached first World Cup finals
Marc Márquez (Spain) Motor Cycling – youngest ever MotoGP world champion, at 20 years 266 days
Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany) Athletics – won Germany’s first World Championship pole vault gold
Nairo Quintana (Colombia) Cycling – first Tour de France rookie to finish on the podium since 1996
Justin Rose (UK) Golf – won his first Major Championship at US Open, at the age of 32
Adam Scott (Australia) Golf – first Australian winner in the 77-year history of US Masters
Laureus World Comeback of the Year
Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia) Athletics – won pole vault world title in front of home Russian crowd
Rafael Nadal (Spain) Tennis – winner of French Open, US Open and five ATP Masters event
Oracle Team USA - Sailing – 8-1 down in America’s Cup, Oracle fought back for a remarkable 9-8 victory
Tony Parker (France) Basketball – European Championship MVP after recovering from serious eye injury
Ronaldinho (Brazil) Football – at 33, led unfashionable Atlético Mineiro to victory in Copa Libertadores
Tiger Woods (US) Golf – US PGA Player of the Year after five tour victories, regained world No 1 ranking
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability
Marie Bochet (France) Skiing – first winner of all five disciplines at a single Alpine World Championships
Marcel Hug (Switzerland) Wheelchair Racing – won five golds and a silver medal at World Championships
Tatyana McFadden (US) Wheelchair Racing – won four city marathons and six golds at World Championships
Sophie Pascoe (NZ) Swimming – won five gold medals out of five attempts at World Championships
Sarah Louise Rung (Norway) Swimming – won four gold medals in her five races in World Championships
Olga Sviderska (Ukraine) Swimming – took five individual and two relay golds in the World Championships
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year
Jamie Bestwick (UK) BMX – only athlete in X Games history to win eight straight gold medals
Bob Burnquist (Brazil) Skateboarding – overtook Dave Mirra to win a record 25th X-Games gold medal
Mick Fanning (Australia) Surfing – clinched his third World Surfing Championship in last event of year
John John Florence (US) Surfing – scored perfect 10 for completing the Alley Oop in Bali
Maya Gabeira (Brazil) Surfing – nearly drowned after attempting to surf a 70ft wave in Portugal
Shaun White (US) Snowboarding – won sixth consecutive SuperPipe gold medal at Winter X Games
GOLFING GREAT IS AWED BY CHINA PROGRESS
Feb 24, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
The country needs to import instructors if it wants to climb the world ladder, Gary Player says.
The golfer Gary Player, who has designed eight golf courses in China, and with another five in the pipeline, says it is only a matter of time before the country produces a world-dominating player of its own.
Player, who recently turned 78, is a regular visitor to the country to inspect courses that carry his name and to host the annual Gary Player invitational tournament, which is held in Shanghai and raises money for AIDS orphans. Each time he comes, says Player, he is awed by the pace and scale of progress.
“I admire China and America because they are both nations that worked hard to attain success,” he says. “If you look at China, then the change has come basically overnight, whether it is economics or sport. With the history of China, then I am sure it will in time produce great golfers - just look at the success they have had in the Olympics.
“To really develop golf in China they need to bring in instructors from other parts of the world and have golf academies with top instructors. You also need public golf courses. We charge a substantial fee but we would do a public golf course in this country for no fee.”
Player’s most high-profile China project is at Yanxi Lake, outside Beijing, part of the showcase complex where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will be held in October. That is a Gary Player Signature Course, which means the man himself has been involved intimately with all aspects of the design - and personally inspected the course a number of times to ensure it met his standards.
“He is very concerned about the evolution of golf and making it more accessible for less-wealthy people,” says Beijing-based Justin Downes, whose company, Axis Leisure Management, represents the golfer’s business interests in the country.
“He wants young, old, men, women and children to be able to play. He wants courses to be playable and fun, rather than just making them as long and difficult as possible. We go to a site and say to him ‘We have got two hours’ and he will be there for eight. He will walk every square inch of every golf hole and stand in every bunker location and every vantage point; he will take for ever. He is very involved.
“He is very switched on and engaged, active in every single way, a long way from being a retiree. You might think that sports stars would be self-absorbed, but he is not. He is a very humble person, very proud of his accomplishments but doesn’t talk about them unless you want to talk about them. He wants to know about you and your environment. He has seen a lot in his many years he has some great stories, fun stuff and sad stuff and technical stuff.”
Player, who has six children and 22 grandchildren, is known for being an avid fitness buff, taking exercise and diet seriously long before it became fashionable; in years gone by, fellow golfers on the international circuit thought him to be slightly eccentric by insisting on seeking out a gym to perform his daily regimen. Even now, the day starts with a thousand push-ups, with a round of golf later if time permits. He follows a mostly vegetarian diet and drinks alcohol only very occasionally, and sparingly.
Home is the United States, in a Florida golf enclave, and a giant estate in South Africa with its own private game reserve. But for much of the year Player travels around the world by private jet, a non-stop schedule that has earned him the title of the world’s most-traveled athlete. He is said to have clocked up about 25 million kilometers during 40 years of competition in which he had 165 tournament victories.
Most keen globetrotting amateur golfers would have hauled their clubs around at least one of the 300-plus Player courses scattered around the world. One of the most spectacular is the Kau Sai Chau public course in Hong Kong, located on an outlying island, where golfers get to the course by ferry and play with a dramatic background of ocean and mountain.
Another China course garnering praise from golf aficionados is Jinji Lake, in Suzhou, a 27-hole development that has won numerous awards and hosted several large tournaments. Like other Player courses, there is a strict insistence on environmental sustainability, ensuring that water is recycled and pollution minimized.
Kau Sai Chau
Player has been showered with accolades over his career, but one that gave him particular pride was a lavish endorsement by the late Nelson Mandela, who had followed the sportsman’s career during his near 30 years in prison.
Writing later in Golf Digest magazine, the South African president pointed out that Player had sometimes been unfairly associated with the apartheid regime; in reality, he had lobbied for black athletes such as tennis player Arthur Ashe and golfer Lee Elder to be allowed to compete in South Africa. In addition, Mandela said that he established the Gary Player Foundation, which did a great deal to further education among young black people.
Mandela wrote: “He won tournaments in five different decades, including the Grand Slam - all four professional majors - in his career. That is impressive, but it is important to note that Mr Player also was voted one of the top five influential people in our nation’s history. His accomplishments as a humanitarian and statesman are equal to, and may even surpass, his accomplishments as an athlete. That is a legacy that will last forever.”
Another of Player’s many roles is as de facto tourism ambassador for his country, trying to persuade people to pay a visit - whether they are gourmands, nature lovers, surfers, wine buffs, big-game spotters or just lovers of big wide open spaces, clean ocean and blue skies. Golfers, of course, are also apprised of the splendid courses in South Africa.
Leopard Creek Country Club
“One of my favorites courses is the Leopard Creek Country Club,” Player says. “It is on the border of the Kruger National Park. You walk out on to the veranda and you see 22 million acres of space with wild animals and not a light, or a person, to be seen. You can be sitting down for breakfast and 15 meters from your table you will see an elephant, or a lion, or hippos in the river. They are wild animals and if you walked into their territory it is likely they would attack you. The front door has animals outside, the back door has the golf course: you have to make sure you don’t mix up the doors. I designed the course in such a way that you can see often see crocodile, hippo, antelope, buffalo and wild boar either on the course itself, or in or next to the river running alongside several holes.
“I have to nominate the home of golf, St Andrews in Scotland, as another of my favorites. The Royal and Ancient Club there is where it all began; it is inundated with history. You can tee off at 10 pm at night there and there will be people watching you. I remember playing once at night with Arnold Palmer - word spread through the town and within half an hour of us starting there were 5,000 people on the course watching.”
Article courtesy of China Daily
LEGENDS OF SPORT TO ANNOUNCE 2014 LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS AWARDS NOMINEES
Feb 20, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
Three of the greatest sportsmen in the world will be in Malaysia later this month to announce the Nominees for the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards.
French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly, top football coach André Villas-Boas and five-times world motor cycling champion Mick Doohan will reveal the names of the six outstanding sportsmen, sportswomen and teams in seven different categories, following a ballot by the world’s media,The announcement will be made in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, February 26 – exactly one month before the 15th Laureus World Sports Awards is staged in the Malaysian capital.
Laureus Ambassador and Malaysian squash legend Nicol David, seven times world champion, said: “I am so excited that the Laureus World Sports Awards are being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, my home country. I know that Kuala Lumpur will host a great Awards Ceremony. Everyone in my country loves sport and I can promise a really wonderful Malaysia welcome.”
This is the 15th year of the Laureus World Sports Awards and Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: “I am delighted that the 2014 Awards is to be staged in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is an exciting development that Laureus is being held in South East Asia for the first time, enabling the Laureus message to be extended to a new part of the world.”
Six Nominees will be announced in various categories on February 26: Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year, Laureus World Comeback of the Year, Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy will then vote by secret ballot to decide the winners.
GOLF DIGEST RANKS THE LINKS AT FANCOURT & LEOPARD CREEK AMONG WORLD’S 100 GREATEST GOLF COURSES
Jan 31, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
Two Gary Player Design courses made a statement in Golf Digest’s first ever listing of the world’s 100 greatest golf courses. The golfing icon from South Africa designed the only courses from his home country to make the list, as The Links at Fancourt ranks at the 34th spot and Leopard Creek lands as the 84th best course in the world.
“I am so pleased that Golf Digest has recognized both The Links at Fancourt and Leopard Creek as Top 100 courses in the world,” said Gary Player, whose design firm has shaped over 325 courses across the globe. “These are two great representatives of the terrific golf that can be found throughout South Africa. I’m very proud of both courses, which are two of my favorites in our global portfolio.”
The Links at Fancourt, located in George, South Africa, has long been a fixture among the listings of top courses in country. A former airfield, The Links was designed as a homage to the traditional Scottish links courses that have always been among Player’s favorites.
Fancourt Resort, which features three Gary Player-designed golf courses, was recently also voted as one of the World’s 10 Best Resorts across the globe by the global news giant CNN. In addition to The Links at Fancourt, other courses at the resort designed by the Black Knight include Montagu and Outeniqua.
“We are extremely proud of the work that we do at The Links and therefore it is an honour for it to be recognized amongst the greatest in the world,” remarked Kerrin Titmas, CEO of Fancourt. “I could not be more proud of our team as they have worked hard to raise the standards and create a piece of golfing and environmental heritage. They continually strive to achieve world-class standards in both course condition and service delivery. I want to emphasize the contribution of the rest of our team too, as I believe the overall Fancourt experience as South Africa’s premier golfing and leisure destination on the Garden Route, positively impacts on the experience of any visitor to The Links.”
Leopard Creek is also sure to provide a golfing experience that is both outstanding and unique to South Africa. The championship course annually hosts the Alfred Dunhill Championship, a European Tour event. Most notably, Leopard Creek sits along the Kruger National Park and is renowned for the variety of wildlife that regularly makes appearances adjacent to the course including giraffes, crocodiles, leopards and hippos.
Leopard Creek and The Links at Fancourt also topped the rankings in Golf Digest South Africa’s rankings which had the Player-designed courses ranked as one and two respectively.
For more information on Gary Player Design, visit http://www.garyplayerdesign.com.
GARY PLAYER VILLA UNVEILED AT TRUMP NATIONAL DORAL
Jan 27, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
As Trump National Doral prepares for the first World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship since drastic renovations to Doral, Gary Player joined Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump last week to unveil the new Gary Player Villa at the renowned Miami resort.
Player was happy to celebrate the inauguration of his namesake villa, which is the first of eight deluxe guestroom villas to be completed and each will be named after one of the world’s most influential golfers including Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - many of which have competed on the resort’s famed Blue Monster golf course.
“Doral is one of the most important golf properties in history and it is incredible to see the amazing changes that the Trump Family has delivered in such a short period of time,” said golfing icon Gary Player. “The new Villas look magnificent and I am truly honored to have the very first bear my name.”
“We are thrilled to honor the legendary Gary Player with our first Villa dedication and celebrate his incredible career,” said Donald J. Trump, Chairman and President of The Trump Organization.
The Gary Player Villa is one of eight new deluxe guestroom villas designed by Ivanka Trump and world renowned architects WATG as part of the $250 million renovation currently underway at the iconic property. Historically, Doral been regarded as one of the most exceptional golf resorts in the world and the completion of the Gary Player Villa signifies the Trump family’s continued commitment to restoring, that surpassing, that reputation while honoring the great legends of golf.
“Our vision for Doral from the onset has been to create an ultra-luxurious golf resort in the heart of Miami and the Gary Player Villa is a reflection of this,” said Ivanka Trump, Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions at The Trump Organization. “The elegant design, luxurious and spacious rooms and suites, and attention to every last detail are a few of the defining characteristics that will make Trump National Doral an unparalleled experience for our guests.”
To accent the design vision of Ivanka Trump, the Gary Player Villa at Doral features iconic images and memorabilia from the Black Knight’s career throughout the property.
DONNAFUGATA MAKES DEBUT IN LIST OF ITALY’S BEST GOLF COURSES
Jan 24, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
The position of Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa in European golf continues to soar after receiving new recognition from one of the continent’s top course-ranking websites.
For the first time in its brief history, the five-star Sicilian venue has been included in the updated list of the ‘Top 30 Courses in Italy’ from popular website http://www.top100golfcourses.co.uk – with both its 18-hole championship courses making debuts in the new standings. The Gary Player-designed Parkland course, which hosted the 2011 Sicilian Open, appears on the list at the 22nd spot.
Donnafugata has won widespread acclaim throughout the golf industry since opening in 2010 and, acknowledging its new position in the standings, The Top 100 Courses website comments: “Sicily may well be the largest Mediterranean island but, up until recently, Sicilian golf courses were in short supply.
“The introduction of the Gary Player-fashioned course that ably supports the contrasting Franco Piras-designed Links course at Donnafugata has (helped) completely raise the golfing bar on this charming island. The two championship courses at the luxury five-star Donnafugata Resort in the south of Sicily offer golfers a rather splendid 36-hole golf experience.
“The Links layout is routed around a couple of lakes that lie within two valleys while the Parkland course winds through a typical Ragusan landscape of olive and carob trees.”
Guy Roberts, Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa’s director of golf, said: “We were particularly keen to be recognised in the new list and for both courses to have been included is fantastic news for the resort.
“The two courses may both be comparatively new but everyone who plays them comments on how good and well-established they are. They are also so incredibly varied that they complement each other very well.
“Having respected ranking sites likes this one endorse their views is further proof of how highly both have come to be regarded in a relatively short space of time.”
After hosting the 2011 Sicilian Open, Donnafugata has enjoyed an outstanding period of success including becoming the first course in Italy to join IMG Prestige, an exclusive collection of some of the world’s most celebrated golfing venues, and both its courses being named in Golf World’s latest biennial list of the ‘Top 200 Courses in Continental Europe’.
Located just 20 minutes away from Comiso airport and set in the beautiful area of Donnafugata, a natural reserve and famous tourist destination known for the imposing castle which bears the same name, the resort also boasts a number of fantastic historical cities nearby. These include Val di Noto, the heart of Sicilian baroque: Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Noto and Scicli. All of them are deemed fitting of UNESCO World Heritage status.
Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa has 202 rooms, an award-winning spa and health club, swimming pools and three restaurants offering a broad selection of gastronomic delights, well accompanied by perfect Sicilian wines to enhance flavour.
For more details on the latest ‘Top 30 Courses in Italy’ list, go to http://www.top100golfcourses.co.uk/htmlsite/story.asp?id=491
GARY PLAYER GOLF SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE GRADUATES LOUIS & EDDIE TAYLOR CHASE PRO DREAMS
Jan 22, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
If Louis Taylor and his twin brother Eddie both make it through this week’s Sunshine Tour Qualifying School at Bloemfontein Golf Club and Schoeman Park Golf Club, they will be the first South African twins to play professional golf.
Louis has already made his mark nationally: He took the Freddie Tait Cup for leading amateur in the South African Open Championship last November when he was the only amateur to make the cut. He finished at one-over-par 289 after his closing 78 saw him share 59th behind winner Morten Orum Madsen of Denmark.
“I am so grateful that the South African Golf Association gave me the chance to tee it up in a tournament of this stature,” Taylor said.
“I came to see how things are run at an event like the SA Open. It was my first proper pro tournament and I wanted see how the pros play and at the same time just try to play my own game.
“After playing the SA Open, I know now this is a big step from amateur level. You can see it in every aspect and the organisation is just so professional. I’m glad that I’ve experienced it, seen it and got a glimpse of what is to come. It’s been fun to out here with all the great golfers.”
The Taylors were born in Harrismith in the Free State and then schooled at Hilton College, KwaZulu-Natal. There their sporting talent came to the fore and both were capped for the school’s first cricket team. They also excelled at hockey and were selected for the under-19 KwaZulu-Natal inter-provincial side.
Despite their success on the cricket and hockey fields, the Taylors turned to golf when they completed their schooling and relocated to Gauteng, where they attended the Gary Player Golf School of Excellence. The 22-year-olds play out of the Johannesburg Country Club and have established themselves among the leading South African amateurs.
Louis also had a runner-up finish at the IGT Race to Q-School at Kempton Park, where he lost to Eddie.
“I think the time has come for me to turn pro,” he said. “I know it is going to be tough and the way the Sunshine Tour works, you know you are going to be in for a tough year with all the qualifiers, but then you just need to wait for a break. If it happens early in the year, that’s great but if it doesn’t, you just have to grind it out.”
He has his work cut out for him after an opening five-over-par 77, while Eddie fared a little better with his one-over par 73.
Article Courtesy of SuperSport. Photo Courtesy of the Sunshine Tour.
GARY PLAYER HEADLINES 2014 JUNIOR INVITATIONAL AT SAGE VALLEY GOLF CLUB OPENING CEREMONY
Jan 21, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
Gary Player, the International Ambassador of Golf, has tirelessly considered junior golf the heart of the game and remains active in his travels across the globe in support of the sport’s growth. Player will soon have the exciting opportunity to reach many of the most promising juniors in the world during the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley presented by Electrolux, when the Grand Slam champion will be the featured speaker for the 2014 Opening Ceremony.
The Junior Invitational at Sage Valley will be held April 24th-26th at the renowned Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, SC. An invitation-only banquet will kick off the 4th edition of the tournament on Tuesday, April 22 when the Black Knight will address and pass along his insight to competitors.
The tournament features the top 54 junior boys in the world and has been recognized by Golfweek for the past 3 years as the number one event in all of junior golf.
The impressive international field has included past participants from South Africa, Denmark, Germany, South Korea, Bolivia, France, England, India, among other nations.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Player will have plenty to share with the promising young juniors. From the importance of mental strength and attitude to Player’s famous saying “The harder you practice, the luckier you get”, the Junior Invitational participants will receive many insights from a professional who accumulated an impressive nine major championships on the PGA Tour and a matching nine major championships on the Senior Tour.
The Black Knight will join Jay Haas and Bill Haas, President George W. Bush and Jack Nicklaus on the roster of distinguished, accomplished individuals that have headlined the Junior Invitational Opening Ceremony.
GARY PLAYER TOPS THE ALL-TIME FITTEST PGA TOUR PLAYERS LIST
Jan 16, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
BUFFALO COMMUNICATIONS SELECTED TO MANAGE PR PROGRAM FOR ‘GARY PLAYER: A GAME FOR LIFE’ SERIES
Jan 16, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
Buffalo Communications (Buffalo) has been selected by producers of Gary Player: A Game For Life to create and manage a public relations program for the new, four-hour instructional video series in which the legendary golfer divulges never-before-seen secrets to better golf.
Available in an attractive, three-disc DVD box set and via digital download, Gary Player: A Game For Life goes beyond standard golf instruction of explaining club positioning at different points of the swing. The only individual to win the Grand Slam on both the PGA and Champions Tours, Player provides previously-untold tips on sand play, efficient practice, short game, course management and fitness for a roadmap to improved play.
Among the entertaining and informative counsel Player shares:
• Proven strategy for turning three shots into two on every hole
• Two simple steps to hitting a perfect and powerful draw
• How toes are keys to the perfect set-up for the ideal swing
• Why high-handicappers should abandon their 3, 4 and 5 irons for accuracy from 170 to 220 yards
• A 30-second pre-bedtime exercise that will improve golfers’ games more than club technology
• Easy ways to hit great shots out of fairway bunkers, creating feel and making the most of practice
• Methods to unleash power in the full swing, even among the most inflexible golfers
• How gardening transforms bunker play and reading the morning newspapers also aids scores
• A unique technique to produce Tour-quality spin on approach shots time and again
“A Game for Life unlocks Mr. Player’s winning approach in an easy-to-digest manner compared to traditional instruction methods that can be expensive and time-consuming,” says Justin Tupper, Executive Producer of A Game For Life. “This is the type of education golfers need, and Buffalo Communications is the ideal partner to help Gary Player help more golfers.”
With proven advice to reduce strokes, produce Tour-quality spin on approach shots and remain strong later in life, A Game for Life (MSRP $99) is available for purchase on http://www.amazon.com. Four hours of high-definition content is consumed through a traditional DVD, computer or mobile device. Digital portability means the Black Knight’s legendary knowledge can be viewed on the driving range, putting green and gym and put to immediate use.
“Until now, Gary Player hasn’t gone deep conveying his inner-most secrets to help everyday golfers enjoy the game more,” says Rich Katz, Managing Director of Buffalo. “Through consistent media coverage, players of all abilities will learn how A Game For Life cost-effectively delivers cool, engaging and surprisingly simple guidance.”
GARY PLAYER AND HUMANA CONTINUE PARTNERSHIP AT 2014 HUMANA CHALLENGE
Jan 3, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
Golf legend Gary Player and Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies, announced today the continuation of their three-year partnership as the Black Knight will once again co-host at the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, California on January 13-19, 2014. Since the partnership’s inception last year, Player has served as a national spokesman for the health care company, promoting lifelong well-being and healthy living through proper diet and exercise. Player has also joined forces with Humana to help address the increasing challenges of childhood obesity.
“I firmly believe that The Humana Challenge is one of the most important events on the TOUR schedule. Humana and the PGA TOUR have created an incredible platform to raise awareness for healthy living and I am honored to play a key role in spreading a message that is close to my heart,” said Player, who has won more than 165 professional tournaments worldwide, including nine major championships, and is one of only five individuals to win the coveted Grand Slam of golf.
Sponsored by Humana and the William J. Clinton Foundation, the 2014 Humana Challenge is an annual PGA TOUR event featuring 156 professionals playing at PGA WEST and La Quinta Country Club. To date, the event has successfully raised more than $2.1 million for charity and was named “Sports Event of the Year” by The Sports Business Journal.
Player has been an advocate of healthy living through proper diet and exercise and has maintained an incredible level of fitness throughout his legendary golfing career. At the age of 78, Player is recognized as an ambassador to fitness and serves as a role model for many of today’s up-and-coming PGA TOUR stars. The 2014 Humana Challenge takes place fresh off a milestone year for Player, which included his 60th anniversary as a professional and the 30th anniversary of his philanthropic endeavor, The Player Foundation.
“I greatly admire the efforts and commitment of Humana and President Clinton to promote lifelong well-being. Over my 60-year golfing career, I placed great emphasis on fitness and a healthy diet and at this stage in my life, I am really seeing the benefits of my lifelong commitment more than ever,” Player said.
GARY PLAYER DESIGN LOOKS FORWARD TO GLOBAL OPENINGS IN 2014
Jan 2, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
The design firm of the International Ambassador of Golf, Gary Player, features a global portfolio that includes over 325 courses in 35 countries and remains one of the most active firms internationally. Gary Player Design will continue its global expansion in 2014 as four course openings are planned that span from Honduras to India to China.
“We are very pleased with how 2014 is shaping up in regard to course openings,” said Scott Ferrell, Gary Player Design President. “As the golf industry increasingly moves towards emerging golf countries, with an emphasis on Asia, our courses at Indura, DLF, Presidential, and Longping will be terrific additions to our international portfolio.”
Indura Resort, the first Signature Course for the Black Knight in Honduras, will be unveiled in conjunction with the resort’s grand opening in late Summer. Stretching along 26 miles of the Tela Bay, Indura is a flagship project for Honduras that will not only set the standard for championship golf in the Latin-American country, but will also showcase the longstanding sustainability practices of Gary Player Design.
“Our course at Indura Resort will play through a number experiences, with holes meandering through the jungle, lagoon, and along the ocean,” said Jeff Lawrence, Gary Player Design Senior Designer. “When designing this course, we made sure to emphasize playability for all levels and the ecological sensitivity that is so important to our firm.”
DLF Golf and Country Club in Guragon, India debuted the first nine of their 18-hole Gary Player Signature Design in October 2013 to fantastic reviews. The Black Knight will return to India in the Fall of 2014 to open the second nine that is currently under construction. The final championship course will utilize the top technology and sustainability practices of today.
“We feel strongly that the second nine at DLF will be a wonderful complement to the first,” said Lawrence.
China continues to be one of the brightest spots for the global golf course design industry. Gary Player Design already counts among its portfolio seven completed golf courses in China, but continues to drive expansion with another seven courses in various phases of design and construction.
“We remain very excited about the future growth potential in China and about the courses we are currently developing,” said Ferrell.
Perhaps one of the most notable design projects to debut this year will be the Presidential Golf Club in Beijing. The Signature Design located in China’s capital city is being developed in conjunction with the Chinese government’s plans to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in late 2014.
The second Chinese design to be completed in 2014 will be Longping Jiuhua Sports and Leisure Park in Changsha, which will boast an 18-hole Black Knight Design course as part of a 36-hole facility.
The second 18-hole course will be a Gary Player Signature Design that is due to open in 2015.
“Longping Jiuhua Sports and Leisure Park is progressing nicely and will be a very visually dramatic design along with a great deal of topography that will come into play,” said Steven McFarlane, Gary Player Design Senior Designer.
Beyond these course openings, Gary Player Design has additional courses in various stages of development in the USA, China, India, Montenegro, Cyprus, Gabon, Malaysia, Italy, and Peru.
SAP EXPERIENCES FARM LIFE WITH THE BLACK KNIGHT
Jan 1, 2014 | Filed Under: General News
Grand Slam champion Gary Player makes no secret of his great love of thoroughbred racehorses and his stud farm in the Great Karoo of South Africa. Guests of longtime corporate partner SAP experienced the magic of Player’s farm in a weekend to be remembered during their recent visit.
“It was such a pleasure to have our friends at SAP join my wife, Vivienne, and I on our farm for the weekend,” said Gary Player. “We made sure to show them the best of what our beautiful countryside has to offer. From interacting with our mares and stallions, as well as our new foals, to game drives and a round on my Karoo golf course, I think it was a fantastic time for all.”
Player has owned his Colesberg-based stud farm since 1974 and now makes his primary residence in the Karoo. The Black Knight has turned his passion away from the golf course into successful business that has landed Gary Player Stud among top of the National Breeders List.
After fun on the farm interacting with Player’s prized horses, guests did not have to travel far to experience South Africa’s incredible wildlife. The onsite game reserve includes a variety of herds of Wildebeest, Impala, Waterbuck, Hartebees, Springbuck, Blesbuck and Gemsbuck. Skeet shooting and a boat tour of the Gariep Dam kept guests busy following a safari and game drive.
“To experience a weekend with Gary on his farm was incredible,” said James Wilson of Experience Worldwide. “It was refreshing to see Gary in his element away from the golf course and really catch a glimpse into his everyday life on the farm.”
While Player’s horses and the African experience were the focal points of this trip, SAP clients and guests were still able to play some golf with the icon. The round was over Player’s personal golf course that utilizes water-saving techniques for an environmentally friendly golf course featuring distinctive bunker styles that plays to the arid conditions of the Karoo.
“We were amazed minute by minute by the hospitality and Gary and his wife’s warmth,” said a SAP guest. “It was something which cannot be described as it needs to be lived out!”
GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL HELPS MOBILISE MORE PEOPLE WITH BICYCLES
Dec 16, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player Foundation
The annual Gary Player Invitational (GPI) Gala Auction took place at The Palace of the Lost City on Friday 15 November and raised over R4 million for Wings & Wishes and Qhubeka, in partnership with its implementation partner, Wildlands Conservation Trust.
The GPI is Africa’s leading charity tournament, presented by Coca-Cola. This year’s event was held on 16 and 17 November and featured celebrities teamed with professional golfers and leading business executives. Golfing stars Gary Player, Retief Goosen, Tony Johnstone and Cheyenne Woods were in attendance, along with Law & Order star Anthony Anderson and CSI New York’s Carmine Giovinazzo, Westlife’s Brian McFadden and his glamorous wife Vogue, as well as South Africa’s first couple of radio Unathi and Thomas Msengana.
Here’s how the money raised through the Gary Player Invitational helped Qhubeka to mobilise more people with bicycles in 2013:
A NEW ERA OF THE NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE IS BJØRN
Dec 9, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
If Thomas Bjørn was looking for confirmation that at the age of 42 he could still compete with the best in the game, then his two-stroke victory in the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge gave him 1 250 000 reasons to keep believing. The $1 250 000 cheque he received for becoming the first Danish winner of “Africa’s Major” is nothing compared with the confidence he gained from a clinical four days at the Gary Player Country Club.
With a final round of 65 on Sunday, he claimed his second victory in 2013 on a total of 20 under par. “This is right up there with the biggest victories of my career,” said Bjørn after beating Sergio Garcia and Jamie Donaldson into second place on 18 under par. “The golf I played this week was so good. I’m 42 and to start my 14th season like this is unbelievable. This takes me into 2014 with the belief that I can compete with the best in the world.”
On Bjørn’s spectacular round, Golf icon Gary Player said, “I was thrilled to see Thomas’ victory at the GPCC. A fantastic start to the 2014 season for Thomas, and I must say that I am so happy to see the success of the Nedbank as this year represented a real milestone for the tournament.”
Bjørn went into the final round three strokes behind leader Donaldson. Garcia made the most significant move early on, but Bjørn birdied the ninth and then hit a magnificent five iron for his second into the 10th for an eagle that gave him the lead. The back nine turned into a duel between him and Garcia. Then on the par-five 14th Bjørn enjoyed some luck when his second shot pitched in the waste bunker and then skipped onto the green, from where he made another eagle.
Garcia birdied the 15th to close to within one shot of the Dane. But Garcia bogeyed 16 and Bjørn birdied 15 to see him three clear playing the last, affording him a bogey on 18.
“Golf is funny. Sometimes it takes away from you and other times it gives back to you. Today it was my time. It was a battle early on between Jamie and me, but I kind of had a feeling that either one of Henrik Stenson or Sergio Garcia were going to be there in the end.
I’m proud of the way I handled myself this week. This is one of those tournaments that have been around for so long. I’ve come close to winning it before, and I’ve always wanted to come down here and put in a good performance.”
In a moving prize giving ceremony on the 18th green, Bjørn paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, who passed away during the tournament. “He was an inspiration to human beings. To see what one man can do is an inspiration to all of us. If we all just do a little bit more then this world will be a better place.”
In a golf sense, Bjørn found the little bit more he needed. He’s now become the first Dane to win “Africa’s Major”. Does he think it possible he could become the first Dane to win a Major in 2014? “I like to think so. I want to compete and play with the best. I have no interest in being a guy on tour who just makes a living.”
Article courtesy of Sun International.
GARY PLAYER REMEMBERS NELSON MANDELA
Dec 5, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of our beloved Madiba, President Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela is one of the great heroes in my life and I believe did more for our country than any other person in our history. As a proud South African, I am certain Mandela’s legacy will endure in our nation and across the world as a figure of courage, value, spirit, and above all else, love.
Madiba’s long life inspired great change in our nation, but not without adversity. I commend him for all that he did over his 95 years. He was a courageous leader who fought for all that is right, and he possessed an aura that inspired people, and our nation, to change for the better.
When I was a young man, I stated that Madiba should be released from prison, where he spent twenty-seven years. I was labeled a traitor, yet paid no mind. Time would prove that decision right. Moreover, time would prove how truly special he was after emerging from prison with no hatred or revenge. He was never broken, just empowered.
Our nation enters into a time of mourning, but also a celebration of his great life and the spirit he instilled in our nation. May we all lovingly remember our truly remarkable former President and the father of our nation. Thank you, Madiba.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family.
BERENBERG EXPANDS GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL SPONSORSHIP
Dec 4, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Berenberg, the second oldest bank in the world, announced today an extended three year title sponsorship of the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational event in London.
The European leg of the Gary Player Invitational global charity series, staged by Black Knight International to benefit The Player Foundation, will expand to a two-day affair consisting of an official tournament, as well as nightly entertainment cumulating with the charity gala and auction.
The 2014 Berenberg Gary Player Invitational will be held on July 20-21 at the historic Wentworth Golf Club, the longtime home of the World Match Play and the current home of the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship. Hosted by Grand Slam champion Gary Player, the GPI will once again field a star-studded cast of professional golfers, celebrities and business people to compete for the tournament title, but more importantly to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children.
“Dr. Hans-Walter Peters and Hendrik Riehmer from Berenberg have been extremely generous in their support of The Player Foundation and our Gary Player Invitational series,” said Gary Player. “As a newly appointed global ambassador for Berenberg, I could not be more pleased with their shared passion for giving back.”
“Gary Player is the finest ambassador of Golf you can imagine. We are proud to present this tournament together with him and to help with the collection of funds for underprivileged children,” says Hendrik Riehmer, Managing Partner of Berenberg.
Since 2011, Berenberg has generously supported the European-leg of the GPI series in London. The multiyear sponsorship has resulted from a relationship developed over the years following the participation of Berenberg Managing Partners Dr. Hans-Walter Peters and Hendrik Riehmer in the GPI at South Africa’s Fancourt Resort.
As the title sponsor, Berenberg has been a trusted partner in raising funds for underprivileged children and impoverished communities. In addition to The Player Foundation, the global bank’s charity, BerenbergKids, will remain a beneficiary of the event.
“Berenberg has been a longtime supporter of The Player Foundation, and we could not be more thrilled to see their commitment grow as we aim for the tournament to raise record funds to help in creating a brighter future for those in need,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “We look forward to a fantastic event this coming July that truly represents a ‘Union of Golf and Giving.’”
Over the years, golf stars and celebrities joining the European GPI have included Ronan Keating, Tim Henman, Kenny Dalglish, Mick Fitzgerald, Carly Booth, Henrietta Zuel, DJ Spoony, Brian McFadden, Sean Fitzpatrick, Jodie Kidd and Martin Bayfield.
The expansion of the Gary Player Invitational sponsorship by Berenberg follows the November 1 announcement that golf icon Gary Player will serve as a global ambassador for the renowned private and investment bank.
Founded in 1590, Berenberg remains an independent private bank after over 400 years of business. Spanning across Europe, the United States and Asia, Berenberg is recognized for their quality and distinction in servicing divisions that include Private Banking, Investment Banking, Asset Management and Corporate Banking.
Black Knight International has announced the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational will be the second stop of the global 2014 GPI series, which will also make stops in the United States on April 13-14, China on November 2-3, and finish in South Africa on November 20-23.
LEOPARD CREEK & GARY PLAYER COUNTRY CLUB SHINE ON EUROPEAN TOUR
Dec 3, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course DesignEvents & Tournaments
The Gary Player Country Club welcomes 30 of the world’s elite golfers this week
in the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
The European Tour continues to strengthen their association with South Africa as eight tournaments are now co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour. This should come as no surprise as the small nation of only 50 million has 24 Major Championships attributed to its countrymen and has emerged as a dominate force in the world of golf.
South Africa’s most successful golfer, Gary Player counts golf’s coveted Career Grand Slam, nine Major Championships on the PGA Tour, nine Major Championships on the Senior Tour, and 165 tournament victories among his accomplishments. Player continues to leave his mark on the game as the European Tour takes to two of his most acclaimed designs in the country, Leopard Creek and the Gary Player Country Club, for the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel is already off to a great start in the
2014 season following his success at the Dunhill. (Getty)
Following last week’s Dunhill staged at Leopard Creek, the Race to Dubai is already off to an sensational start as Charl Schwartzel, South Africa’s highest ranked golfer, took the title after firing four consecutive rounds of 68 or below.
Player’s design at Leopard Creek provided its own thrills as the course sits on the edge of Kruger National Park. Widely considered one of the best courses in the world, Leopard Creek is renowned for the variety of wildlife that regularly makes appearances on the course including giraffes, crocodiles, leopards and hippos.
The competition will heat up this week when the Nedbank Golf Challenge, “Africa’s Major”, is welcomed to the European Tour. Formerly a 12-man field, the new format expands to a field of 30 elite golfers to battle for the $6.5 million prize fund, as well as standings on the European Tour’s money list and points in the Official World Golf Rankings and The Race to Dubai.
“I’ve always been in favour of a bigger field,” said Gary Player. “Now that the field has grown to 30 of the world’s top golfers, I cannot wait to watch the tournament unfold. It will be an exciting tournament and I assure you the golf course will certainly provide a good test.”
The illustrious history of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, formerly the Million Dollar Challenge, can be seen by the impressive list of past champions including Johnny Miller, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, and Lee Westwood.
Gary Player Country Club
Spawning from a conversation Player had with Sun City developer Sol Kerzner in 1978, Player proposed launching a new golf tournament that would bring the world’s top players to South Africa and wanted to offer something that no other tournament in the world did - a $1 million first place check. The Million Dollar Challenge officially launched in 1981 and the rest remains history.
The par-72 Gary Player Country Club has remained a fierce challenge for the world’s finest players over the years, and this year promises to be no different.
NEDBANK GOLF CHALLNEGE FIELD SET TO SIZZLE AT GARY PLAYER COUNTRY CLUB
Dec 3, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
The 30 players that will tee it up in Thursday’s first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge bring with them a collective golfing might that is among the strongest ever seen at the Gary Player Country Club.
The expanded field includes players who have a combined 354 tournament victories worldwide. There are also five Major winners in the field, including Ernie Els, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and defending champion Martin Kaymer.
In terms of current form, 23 of the 30 golfers have won at least one title this year.
And there are 18 golfers making their debut in “Africa’s Major”.
But perhaps the most important statistic of all is that the field includes a select group of four golfers who are past Nedbank Golf Challenge champions. Els, Kaymer, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia are quite clearly the ones the rest of the field will look to as the favourites.
The 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge field:
Victor Dubuisson, Thongchai Jaidee, Thomas Bjørn, Thaworn Wiratchant, Sergio Garcia, Peter Uihlein, Richard Sterne, Ryan Moore, Matteo Manassero, Morten Ørum Madsen, Peter Senior, Louis Oosthuizen, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Joost Luiten, Justin Rose, Kevin Streelman, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, Henrik Stenson, Jamie Donaldson, Ernie Els, Francesco Molinari, Gary Woodland, DA Points, Darren Fichardt, Dawie van der Walt, Branden Grace, Brendon de Jonge, Charl Schwartzel, and David Lynn.
Article courtesy of Sport24.
RECORD GIVING YEAR FOR THE PLAYER FOUNDATION DURING 30TH ANNIVERSARY
Dec 2, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
It was an extraordinary end to the annual Gary Player Invitational (GPI) global charity series as celebrities, professional golfers, and acclaimed businessmen gathered at South Africa’s Sun City Resort to close out the series in 2013. Following the finale, The Player Foundation raised nearly $2.5 million for underprivileged children across the globe during its 30th anniversary of giving.
Through the successes of each of the GPI events covering four continents, The Player Foundation continues to add to its total funds that now well exceed $50 million raised to provide hope for a brighter future for disadvantaged youth.
“We continue to work tirelessly to improve education for underprivileged children and provide aid for impoverished communities around the world,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “Thanks to the support of our generous sponsors, participants, and celebrities, The Player Foundation has once again experienced a record year.”
The growth and global impact of the philanthropic endeavor was not predicted when Marc Player established the Foundation seeking to improve the lives of needy children in 1983.
Primarily funded through the GPI Series staged by Black Knight International, The Player Foundation was able to provide support for numerous organizations this year that included BerenbergKids, the Chinese Foundation for the Prevention of STDs and AIDS, Wings & Wishes, the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhebeka, as well as many others.
Among those contributing to the golfing icon’s benevolent cause through their participation in the Augusta, London, Shanghai, or Sun City events were golfers Retief Goosen, Tony Johnstone, Cheyenne Woods, Carly Booth, Ian Woosnam, Guan Tianlang, Tano Goya, Brandon Stone, Hennie Zuel, notable celebrities Ronan Keating, Jeffrey Donovan, Kevin Sorbo, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, JJ Lim, Anton Du Beke, Anthony Anderson, Carmine Giovinazzo, Brian McFadden, Herschelle Gibbs, Vogue Williams, as well as Unathi and Thomas Msengana.
“Our GPI events continue to grow year after year and with exciting developments in our 2014 series, we continue to have great hope for the future of The Player Foundation and the impact we are able to make,” commented Marc Player.
Upon the completion of the 30th anniversary milestone, The Player Foundation continues to aspire to creating a brighter future with goals of raising a $100 million endowment to benefit the education of needy children and betterment of impoverished communities.
“I have always felt that contributing to others in need is an essential ingredient in life,” said Gary Player. “I could not be any more pleased with the work we are doing across the world with monies raised at these events. As we move into 2014, I only hope to continue expanding our impact and raising additional funds to benefit those less fortunate.”
GARY PLAYER NO LONGER TO DESIGN NEW ZIMBALI GOLF COURSE
Nov 26, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
Gary Player and Gary Player Design will no longer have any further involvement as the designer of the new Zimbali Lakes Golf Course near Durban, South Africa. Developer IFA Hotels and Resorts and Black Knight International announced that they would be going their separate ways, after over ten years of various environmental and other challenges that delayed construction of the golf course.
“We wish IFA and Zimbali Lakes the best as they continue to pursue approvals to build this golf course. We have many active projects around the world, and have taken the view that our resources and attention should be prioritized elsewhere,” stated Scott Ferrell, President of Gary Player Design.
Black Knight International CEO Marc Player added, “We have worked hard for 10 years through challenging conditions, but we felt that continued delays were not in our best interest. IFA and Zimbali understandably could not make the commitments we sought, so we have mutually agreed to part company. I do hope that Zimbali will build on past successes, as it will be good for the Durban economy and South Africa in general.”
“The decision to part ways was arrived at jointly and while we are disappointed to lose our association with Gary Player Design we do understand their decision and wish them well,” commented Werner Burger, IFA CEO.
THRACIAN CLIFFS NAMED THE BEST GOLF RESORT IN EUROPE FOR 2014 BY IAGTO
Nov 21, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
Only three years after its official opening and a few months after the 50th Anniversary Volvo World Match Play Championship, Thracian Cliffs was awarded as European Golf Resort of the Year 2014. The prestigious award has been voted by the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators (IAGTO), the global trade organization of the golf industry.
IAGTO’s Chief Executive, Peter Walton, said: “The annual golf holiday is the highlight of the golfing year for many of the world’s 55 million players, and the IAGTO Awards serve to reward a few exceptional contributions to this world of golf travel.”
Thracian Cliffs owner Georg Tsvetanski and President of the Bulgarian Golf Association Krassimir Guergov were on hand to accept the award during the IAGTO Awards gala dinner on November 14 as part of the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in Spain.
Thracian Cliffs Owner Georg Tsvetanski and Bulgarian Golf Association President
Krassimir Guergov accept IAGTO’s award for the 2014 European Golf Resort of the
Year during the November 14 International Golf Travel Market in Spain.
The European Golf Resort of the Year award is voted by IAGTO’s specialist golf tour operator members, which now number over 516 from 62 different countries. Each operator was asked to vote for what they considered to be the best performing golf resorts of the year. The following criteria were considered:
• Customer Satisfaction
• Quality of Golf Courses and Accommodation
• Value for money
• Support from Suppliers, Tourist Boards & Airlines
• Professional Conduct of Suppliers
• Accessibility to Tee Times
IAGTO’s award serves as great recognition for this unique piece of land in Bulgaria. The Thracian Cliffs golf course can challenge every golfer and in 2014 it will validate its status as one of the “must-play” golf courses in the world. This prestigious prize for Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort is received just one year after Bulgaria was voted Undiscovered Golf Destination. Following these accolades, Thracian Cliffs continues working towards delivering even higher levels of excellent golf services and experience in Bulgaria.
Georg Tsvetanski, Owner, Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort
“I would like to express my gratitude to the golf tourism industry for their recognition of Thracian Cliffs as one of the best golf courses in the world. I can honestly say that Gary Player created a unique piece of land that can challenge every golfer. Over 1.5 billion people watched the Volvo World Match Play, held in May this year at Thracian Cliffs, on television. This popularity creates great potential for the travel industry to attract more golfers to visit the course and appreciate the beauty of this picturesque piece of land.”
Krassimir Guergov, President, Bulgarian Golf Association
“It is a great honour for us to receive this globally-recognised award after more than 10 years’ development of golf tourism in Bulgaria. It is an expression of our achievements as a result of hard work in the creation, development and improvement of our golf courses. Over the last years, Thracian Cliffs has achieved an acknowledgement to be a world-class course, where professional golf tourism has been developing. The Volvo World Match Play Championship 2013 is a proof of all this. Bulgaria was Undiscovered Golf Destination for 2012, but now with this award our country appears to find a place on the world golf map as a prestigious and luxury golf destination. Thracian Cliffs will be a must-play golf course in Europe for 2014 for all the golfers, looking for a challenge!”
Perry Einfeldt, General Manager, Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort
“Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort is extremely proud to be awarded as European Golf Resort of the Year 2014 Europe. From all five awards Thracian Cliffs has received since its opening in 2011, this is without a doubt the most important one for us. Being selected as the winner of this award is clearly showing that Thracian Cliffs and its staff are on the right path, and that the services are appreciated by our guests. On top of that, and no less important, it also shows that Bulgaria is on the right course in becoming a very popular golf destination in the very near future.”
Dragomir Stoynev, Minister of Economic, Energy and Tourism of Bulgaria
“It is a great honour for Bulgaria that the prestigious 2014 award, European Golf Resort of the Year, goes to the Bulgarian Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort. We are excited that Thracian Cliffs is so highly valued for the members of the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators in the competitive world of today’s golf industry. This award shows that even a young golf destination such as Bulgaria can be positioned first among the luxury ones. Thracian Cliffs experienced fast growth in international golf tourism during the last three years and this award is a sign that the golf industry in Bulgaria is moving further. This recognition is of a great benefit, not only to Thracian Cliffs, but also to the development of tourism in the South East region of Europe. We are fully aware of the responsibilities and obligations that this award carries. It is our ambition for Bulgaria to become a well-recognised ‘signature’ golf destination with a proven reputation. We will definitely work hard to develop our golf courses with high-level services provided to golf players from all over the world.”
UPS SUPPORTS THE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Nov 20, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
UPS, a global logistics leader, has once again stepped up to pledge its support to the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola, South Africa’s premier charity golf event. The four-day event took place from 14th – 17th November at the Lost City Golf Course at Sun City , and partnered champions and regular tour golfers together with top businessmen and celebrities.
“This is the eighth year that UPS has been involved with this event. As the official logistics supplier to the Gary Player Invitational, we are pleased to support all the players who all generously come out to raise funds for underprivileged communities under the iconic name of Gary Player,” said Paul Horsfall, country manager, UPS South Africa.
“We are once again we are thrilled by the generous support of UPS,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “UPS has been a fantastic sponsor not only in our mission to aid those in need in South Africa and around the world, but also as a leading logistic company to provide safe and efficient shipment of all our auction items and memorabilia around the world.”
Through the Gary Player Invitational, The Player Foundation raises funds for local charities in South Africa. As The Player Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2013, the Foundation has raised an astounding R500 million for underprivileged children and impoverished communities around the world. The charities earmarked to benefit from the R4 million raised at this year’s event include: Wing & Wishes and the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka.
Renowned pro-golfers Cheyenne Woods, Tony Johnstone, Retief Goosen, as well as Gary Player himself, participated in this year’s tournament, along with international celebrities and business people including Thomas Msengana, Brian McFadden, Doug Jackson, Anthony Anderson, Carmine Giovinazzo, and Unathi Msengana.
GOOSEN AND CO. RELY ON 16-HANDICAPPER TO WIN GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Nov 17, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
The 2013 Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola and organized by Black Knight International produced one of the most memorable finishes in the long history of this charity tournament when Retief Goosen led his team to a playoff victory at the Lost City Golf Course on Sunday.
And ultimately, the double US Open champion relied on a magnificent birdie putt from businessman and 16-handicapper Mike Dladla to carry the team to victory on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
A final push by Goosen’s team of former Proteas cricketer Herschelle Gibbs and businessmen Anthony Leeming and Dladla saw them tie for the lead with the team of Swedish professional Niclas Fasth, actor Anthony Anderson and businessmen Chuck Colton and Greg Whittaker on 27 under par after the regulation 36 holes.
Playing the par-five 18th again, Dladla then holed a tremendous birdie putt that allowed Goosen to tap in his two-foot putt for the victory.
“I told Mike to at least two-putt because we would’ve won on a count-out. But he hit it straight and firm and in it went,” said Goosen.
“It was quite a turnaround for us because in regulation play we played 17 in one over par and only made three points on it, so we thought we were out of it coming down 18. But then we saw them struggling a bit as they were all left in the trees. I made birdie on 18 and Anthony did the same, so it was a big turnaround for us.”
It was a thrilling finish to a tournament that raised over R4 million through the Player Foundation and which will be distributed to appointed charities, the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka, and Wings and Wishes.
“I want to thank all of our sponsors who made for such a special week. This was by far the best tournament we have had,” said host Gary Player.
Finishing second was a tough blow for the team of Fasth, who were first into the clubhouse and convinced they had done enough for a victory.
“There was a lot of trash talking out there, and yes, from you Mr Retief Goosen. And now, where are you on the scoreboard?” said Anderson as he chided team Goosen before hearing they faced a playoff.
Third place went to the team of Tony Johnstone, DJ Thomas Msengana and businessmen Phil Grindrod and Daryl Bernhard on 25 under par.
“I’m devastated,” said Msengana. “This is the second time I’ve come this close to a victory in this tournament. But it’s always an honour to be invited and help Gary Player raise money for charity.”
Irish singer and songwriter Brian McFadden thoroughly enjoyed his second appearance in this event, as his team finished tied fourth. “We had good fun and posted a solid score. Now I just have to cosy up to the organisers so they invite me back again next year.”
His professional partner Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger Woods, echoed those sentiments. “I’ll always remember this. It’s so important for anybody in our position to give back. And I love South Africa. There is so much positive energy here.”
Final Scores (* won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff):
-27 *Retief Goosen, Herschelle Gibbs, Anthony Leeming, Mike Dladla
-27 Niclas Fasth, Anthony Anderson, Chuck Colton, Greg Whittaker
-25 Tony Johnstone, Thomas Msengana, Phil Grindrod, Daryl Bernhard
-23 Gary Player, Carmine Giovinazzo, Gideon du Plessis, Ngan Boon Mac
-23 Cheyenne Woods, Brian McFadden, Doug Jackson, Alex Maditsi
-16 Thomas Levet, Johnathan Joseph, Chris Kirubi, Grant Horsfield
TEAMS OF GOOSEN, FASTH SHINE IN GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Nov 16, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
There was very little separating the top teams after Saturday’s first round of the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola at the Lost City Golf Course.
Double US Open champion Retief Goosen and Swedish professional Niclas Fasth both led their teams to the joint lead on 14 under par, but only one stroke clear of the field in an entertaining first round of this charity tournament.
Goosen and his team of former Proteas cricket star Herschelle Gibbs and businessmen Anthony Leeming and Mike Dladla made a terrific start and were 12 under through their first eight holes. “But unfortunately we didn’t finish as strong as we would’ve liked,” said Goosen.
“We had an unfortunate four-putt on the last green to sacrifice the sole lead, but we’re still in a good place. We’re tied for the lead going into the final day so anything can happen. But I must admit it was difficult to hit the fairways on this course.”
Goosen’s last statement brought a cheer from playing partner Gibbs. “I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear a multiple Major winner say that.”
Alongside them, the team of Fasth dovetailed superbly in a difficult first round of gusting wind. “We all helped each other out when we needed to,” the Swede said. And it was echoed by his business partner Chuck Colton. “Our pro looked good all day and everyone else filled in. We dovetailed like you were supposed to.” Although their teammate, American actor Anthony Anderson, felt his contribution was being undervalued. “To be honest, I carried the team on my broad shoulders, but I think I peaked too soon in the round and then just fell from the sky. But we had a great team and had a lot of fun. I saw a few baboons on the course that looked like some family members of mine. I was like, ‘Hey uncle George. What are you doing here?’”
The final round of this 36-hole tournament will be a fiercely contested one, especially with the team of Tony Johnstone only one stroke behind the leaders.
“We didn’t really get going on the front nine. We were three under after nine, but the boys did the work as we kicked into gear on the back nine. Now we’re in the hunt,” said the Presidents Cup vice-captain.
And at nine under par and currently last in the field, even the team of Thomas Levet still feel five shots is nothing to make up in the final round. And they’ll be expecting more from teammate and popular British DJ Johnathan Joseph, a longtime supporter of this charity event.
“Johnathan the DJ didn’t show up too much today, but he made birdie on the last to keep us in contention,” said Levet. And even Joseph admitted he was looking forward to a better second round. “Today I was so far offline on this course I saw animals that are native to India.”
Their other teammate, businessman Grant Horsfield, is hoping his brilliant performance in the gala dinner auction where he contributed significantly to the over R4 million raised for charity will begin to rub off on his game as well.
“This morning my wife reminded me about my generosity at the auction. But we’re only five behind going into the final round and we’ll be giving it our all on Sunday.”
Round 1, Saturday 16 November:
-14 Niclas Fasth, Anthony Anderson, Chuck Colton, Greg Whittaker
-14 Retief Goosen, Herschelle Gibbs, Anthony Leeming, Mike Dladla
-13 Tony Johnstone, Thomas Msengana, Phil Grindrod, Daryl Bernhard
-12 Gary Player, Carmine Giovinazzo, Gideon du Plessis, Ngan Boon Mac
-11 Cheyenne Woods, Brian McFadden, Doug Jackson, Alex Maditsi
-9 Thomas Levet, Johnathan Joseph, Chris Kirubi, Grant Horsfield
FANS OF THE BLACK KNIGHT GIVE GENEROUSLY AT GPI GALA AUCTION
Nov 15, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Wings & Wishes and the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka were the big winners at the glittering Gary Player Invitational (GPI) gala auction which took place at The Palace of the Lost City last night (Friday 15 November) and raised over R 4 million.
The GPI, Africa’s leading charity tournament, is presented by Coca-Cola and takes place at the Lost City Golf Course today and tomorrow (November 16-17), featuring celebrities teamed with professional golfers and leading business executives.
The black-tie event, which is the tournament’s largest fundraiser, saw golfing stars Gary Player, Retief Goosen, Tony Johnstone and Cheyenne Woods rubbing shoulders with Law & Order star Anthony Anderson and CSI New York’s Carmine Giovinazzo, Westlife’s Brian McFadden and his glamorous wife Vogue, as well as South Africa’s first couple of radio Unathi and Thomas Msengana.
As always the most sought after item at the auction was the all-expense paid, week-long trip to The Masters including staying in The Player Group House as a personal guest of Gary Player and Black Knight International. The item went for R350 000 purchased by Grant Horsfield, Chairman of Naked Resorts in China.
All funds raised will be distributed to Wings & Wishes and the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka.
Wings and Wishes was established by staff at the Coca-Cola Sabco bottling plant in Port Elizabeth in 2006, to transport critically ill children to specialised government hospitals around South Africa. “We will do 2 000 plane trips this year in order to transport needy children to hospitals for life saving surgery. The funds raised during the GPI will help us continue to grow that number in 2014,” said Doug Jackson, the CEO of Coca-Cola Sabco bottling plants across Africa and Asia.
The Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka uplifts local communities by establishing “green jobs” for the poor and unemployed, focusing on recycling and encouraging the growing of indigenous trees, through community-based ‘Waste-preneurs’ and ‘Tree-preneurs’. Wildlands operates in 60 communities, growing over 1 200 000 trees and collecting over 6 million kg of recyclable waste annually. The waste and trees are bartered for items such as bicycles, building materials, school fees and food.
“Since February 2013, 911 Waste-preneurs have started collecting PET (plastic) and have collected over 40 000 kg – the equivalent of 1 200 000 PET bottles. This staggering achievement is real testimony to the impact of this wonderful project, made possible by the GPI and Coca-Cola,” said Wildlands CEO Dr Andrew Venter.
Wildlands sources the bicycles for its waste-preneur and tree-preneur programmes from Qhubeka, World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa which has distributed more than 40 000 bikes across the country, 26 000 of them to schools.
The Player Foundation, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, has raised over R500 million for charities across the globe through the GPI, an annual series played across four continents and featuring top professional golfers, celebrities and business leaders.
The tournament gets underway today, with the celebrities teaming up with professional golfers and business leaders. Tickets are available at Computicket (R75 for adults, R50 for pensioners and R60 for under 18s). For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.
WOODS DRAWS STRONG TEAM FOR GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Nov 14, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, has drawn a strong fourball on her debut in this week’s Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola at the Lost City Golf Course.
The official draw for Saturday’s first round of this 36-hole charity tournament was announced on Thursday.
Woods leads a team including Irish singer-songwriter Brian McFadden, who finished second in this event with his team last year, and Coca-Cola SABCO CEO Doug Jackson as well as Alex Maditsi, managing director of Copper Moon, who were both on the winning team last year.
Retief Goosen and Herschelle Gibbs are in the same fourball for the first round, with the double US Open champion and former Proteas cricket star joined by businessmen Anthony Leeming, CFO of Sun International, and Mike Dladla, Group CEO of DLDMIC.
Tony Johnstone’s fourball includes popular 5fm DJ Thomas Msengana, while tournament host Gary Player is last off in a strong fourball including CSI New York star Carmine Giovinazzo, leading Old Mutual financial advisor Gideon du Plessis and Ngan Boon Mac, managing director of Nando’s International Franchisee.
The professional golfers, celebrities and businessmen all arrived at The Palace of the Lost City on Thursday, with Player amongst those who enjoyed a practice round before Friday’s official pro-am.
Round 1, Saturday 16 November:
9:00 Niclas Fasth, Anthony Anderson, Chuck Colton, Greg Whittaker
9:10 Tony Johnstone, Thomas Msengana, Phil Grindrod, Daryl Bernhard
9:20 Cheyenne Woods, Brian McFadden, Doug Jackson, Alex Maditsi
9:30 Retief Goosen, Herschelle Gibbs, Anthony Leeming, Mike Dladla
9:40 Thomas Levet, Johnathan Joseph, Chris Kirubi, Grant Horsfield
9:50 Gary Player, Carmine Giovinazzo, Gideon du Plessis, Ngan Boon Mac
GIBBS JOINS STAR LINE-UP FOR GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Nov 12, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Former Proteas cricket star Herschelle Gibbs has joined the field for the 2013 Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola, which will be played at the Lost City Golf Course this week.
Gibbs forms part of a strong field of professional golfers, celebrities and businessmen who have gathered for this charity tournament from 16-17 November.
One of the true characters of South African cricket will play alongside the likes of professional golfers Retief Goosen, Tony Johnstone, Niclas Fasth, Thomas Levet and Cheyenne Woods, as well as celebrities Anthony Anderson, Carmine Giovinazzo, Brian McFadden and Johnathan Joseph to raise funds for the Wildlands Conservation Trust and Wings and Wishes.
“I was fortunate enough to play in the 2002 Gary Player Invitational at Pecanwood. It’s been a long time since then so I’m really looking forward to this one,” said Gibbs.
“Gary is a wonderful human being. He’s a very caring and humble man. He’s achieved everything there is to achieve in golf, and he’s a true icon of the sport. It’s a privilege for me to be part of the Gary Player Invitational again. Hopefully I won’t be as nervous as the first time I played.”
Player was delighted to welcome back Gibbs to the tournament. “I am a great admirer of Herschelle and thrilled to be welcoming him back to this year’s tournament, it’s always good to see old faces back again, showing their support to raise money for our chosen beneficiaries of this great tournament”, commented Player.
Unathi Msengana’s place in the field has been taken by her husband Thomas, the popular 5fm DJ known as Bad Boy T.
Unathi has been a regular competitor in the Gary Player Invitational over the years, much to the envy of her husband.
“So this year I decided to pass on my invitation to him because I was tired of hearing him complain about how lucky I was,” she said.
MAJOR WINNERS, RYDER CUP PLAYERS HEADLINE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL FIELD
Nov 8, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
The Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola will contain a field of professional golfers with 11 Major victories, Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup appearances, and close to 300 titles between them when the charity tournament is played over the Lost City Golf Course at the Sun City Resort from 16-17 November.
Tournament host Gary Player will be joined by Retief Goosen, Tony Johnstone, Niclas Fasth, Thomas Levet and Cheyenne Woods, as well as a host of celebrities, sports stars and business leaders in a bid to raise funds for the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka and Wings and Wishes.
Johnstone, Fasth and Levet are the latest to confirm their support of Player’s event.
Sweden’s Fasth finished second to David Duval in the 2001 Open Championship, as well as tied 10th in the 2003 PGA Championship and fourth in the 2007 US Open. He played for Europe in the 2002 Ryder Cup and has won 12 tournaments worldwide.
Frenchman Levet is also a 12-time winner. The highlight of his career has been his second-place finish in the 2002 Open Championship after a four-man playoff involving eventual champion Ernie Els, and tied fifth in the 2004 Open Championship. He represented Europe in the 2004 Ryder Cup.
Zimbabwe’s Johnstone heads to South Africa on the back of being one of Nick Price’s International Team captain’s assistants in the recent Presidents Cup. A winner of 25 tournaments, he ranks sixth in all-time victories on the Sunshine Tour with 17 titles, including the 1984 and 1993 SA Open and SA Masters, and the 1989 and 1998 SA PGA Championship. He’s also a former winner of the Gary Player Invitational, teaming up with Angel Cabrera to win in 2009.
“I think we have a wonderful field of professional golfers who all share the desire to give back through the game that has been so good to them. And I think they’ll definitely make for an exciting tournament with lots of fun on the golf course,” said Player.
CSI BATTLES LAW & ORDER AT THE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Nov 7, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Sun City will host a star-studded battle of the hit crime TV series when Anthony Anderson of Law & Order takes on CSI New York’s Carmine Giovinazzo in order to benefit underprivileged children in the Gary Player Invitational at the Lost City Golf Course from 16-17 November.
The duo will be joined by fellow celebrities Brian McFadden of Westlife, Ministry of Sound Radio host Johnathan “DJ Spoony” Joseph, and South Africa’s first couple of radio Unathi and Thomas Msengana.
Participating celebrities will team up with tournament host Gary Player and professional golfers Retief Goosen, Tony Johnstone and Cheyenne Woods as well as business leaders in Africa’s leading charity tournament. Funds raised from the four day event will benefit the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka and Wings and Wishes as the chosen charity beneficiaries of 2013.
New Yorker Giovinazzo, who also starred in the Hollywood blockbusters For Love of the Game with Kevin Costner and Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, is on the Board of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s Annual Golf Charity and has plenty of game, boasting a 6 handicap.
“I first played golf when a friend, who plays every weekend, finally convinced me to wake up at 6am and play Griffith Park in Los Angeles. It’s the only thing now, aside from work, that will get me up at dawn” Giovinazzo said. “Friends, the grass and the game keep me coming back.”
Asked to describe his on-course demeanour, Giovinazzo said: “It all depends on the match… I am always laughing whether it goes left or right, but if it’s a tournament I may get serious.”
Tickets are available at Computicket (R75 for adults, R50 for pensioners and R60 for under 18s). For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.
COCA-COLA’S DOUG JACKSON COMMITS TO GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Nov 6, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Coca-Cola executive Doug Jackson is one of the high profile businessmen who will tee-up at the Gary Player Invitational (GPI), Africa’s leading charity tournament which takes place at the Lost City Golf Course from November 16-17.
South African-born Jackson joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1984 and is a former Executive Vice President and Director of Operations for Coca-Cola Africa and Coca-Cola’s President of Greater China and Korea. He is a long time supporter of the GPI and jumped at the opportunity to play in the 2013 event.
“It is the best long weekend of the year. Golf, parties, good causes… and all with my family. Highlights from previous GPIs include Ronan Keating and Lee Westwood on stage singing Life is a Rollercoaster,” said Jackson, who was appointed CEO of Coca-Cola’s Sabco bottling plant in Port Elizabeth in 2012.
The Player Foundation, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, has raised over R500 million for charities through the GPI, an annual series played across four continents that features top professional golfers, celebrities and business leaders.
Jackson was delighted when The Player Foundation and GPI named Wings and Wishes as one of the beneficiaries for 2013 – the charity was established by Sabco staff in 2006, to transport critically ill children to specialised government hospitals around South Africa to receive lifesaving medical treatment.
“We will do 2 000 plane trips this year in order to transport needy children to hospitals for life saving surgery. The funds raised during the GPI will help us continue to grow that number in 2014,” said Jackson.
The major fund raising event for 2013 will be the black-tie auction at The Palace of the Lost City on Friday 15 November. Jackson mentioned the most sought after item is always the opportunity to bid for an all-expense paid, week-long trip to The Masters as a personal guest of Gary Player and Black Knight International.
The GPI format features leading businessmen teamed with a professional golfers and a celebrity. The glittering lineup for 2013 includes Gary Player, Retief Goosen, Tony Johnstone and Cheyenne Woods, alongside Westlife’s Bryan McFadden, actor Anthony Anderson of Law & Order and CSI New York’s Carmine Giovinazzo.
Any participant would do well to draw Jackson as a partner - he currently plays off a 13 handicap, but boasts a best 18 hole score of 73.
Tickets are available at Computicket (R75 for adults, R50 for pensioners and R60 for under 18s). For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.
GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL PROVIDES BEACON OF HOPE FOR AIDS ORPHANS IN CHINA
Nov 5, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Golf icon Gary Player and The Player Foundation continue to spread hope for a brighter future to AIDS orphans across China following another successful Gary Player Invitational (GPI) in Shanghai. Together with Coca-Cola and other sponsors, the charity event has generated nearly $10 million in the past seven years to aid in improving living conditions and providing educational support to AIDS orphans in underprivileged areas of China.
“I am always blown away by the support we receive for our Gary Player Invitational in Shanghai,” said Gary Player. “Our sponsors have been fantastic, and I could not be more thrilled with the impact we are making for AIDS orphans here in China.”
This year represents the seventh year that the GPI global charity series has made a stop in Shanghai, China. The event added an impressive $1.6 million to the total 2013 funds raised thus far, with the final event yet to be played, during the 30th anniversary of The Player Foundation.
“We are looking forward to continue working with our sponsors, local organizations and philanthropists in the 30th anniversary year of The Player Foundation. Our collaboration has turned out to be extremely successful in creating a positive impact to the living condition of AIDS-affected children and their families. Together, we have the power to truly create a brighter future,” said Player.
The Grand Slam champion hosted hundreds of businessmen, philanthropists, golf enthusiasts, and celebrity artists including JJ Lim, Jane Zhang, Ding Dang and Li Xiangxiang, as well as several Miss Universe winners at the JingAn Shangri-La hotel for the GPI Gala. The star-studded event included numerous performances and a thrilling live auction that included over 50 items on the eve of golfers taking to the Shanghai Links for the GPI pro-am tournament with Player and other professional golfers.
One of the highest grossing auction items of the night came from 15-year-old Chinese golf sensation Guan Tianlang. Guan, who attended both the evening gala and golf day, successfully generated over $66,000 after a heated bidding war for the “Golf with Guan Tianlang” package. On his contribution, Guan said, “This is a meaningful charity event, and I am glad to meet my idol Gary here. Most importantly, I hope that I can do something for the underprivileged of my own age.”
Player, who just celebrated his 78th birthday a few days earlier, had nothing but high praise for the 15-year-old who made history earlier this year as the youngest golfer to qualify, then make the cut at The Masters. “As a member of the youngest generation of golfers, he not only has exquisite skills, but also shoulders the responsibility of helping others as much as we golfers can,” said Player. “He is an exceptional young man.”
To date, GPI funds have supported 14,443 AIDS orphans in Yunnan, Xinjiang, Hubei and Anhui by providing their families with living allowances, financial aids, medical assistance and psychological counseling. The program has also subsidized 710 AIDS-affected women, offered college bursaries to 93 AIDS orphans, and helped to build houses for 56 AIDS-affected families.
“This is part of our long-term sustainability commitment in China,” said David G. Brooks, Chairman of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea. “We cannot develop our business without the healthy and sustainable development of our local communities. We will keep doing our small parts for those underprivileged kids affected by AIDS, because we do care. Seeing smiles coming back on their faces is the best gift we can imagine.”
Through seven consecutive years of efforts, the Gary Player Invitational has not only raised funds to help AIDS orphans, but also successfully drawn social attention to this important cause.
“Thanks to the advocating from Gary Player, Coca-Cola, other sponsors and many philanthropists, the GPI has led a philanthropic butterfly effect where more and more people are becoming aware of the needs of this particular disadvantaged group, offering their hands and demonstrating their acceptance,” commented Li Chaolin, President of Chinese Foundation for the Prevention of STD and AIDS. “We will keep working on the living improvement for those AIDS-affected children and their families by leveraging various social resources from businesses and individuals.”
The Gary Player Invitational series will conclude at South Africa’s Sun City Resort on November 14-17 to cap off The Player Foundation’s 30th anniversary.
GARY PLAYER HITS 78 AND IS STILL GOING STRONG
Nov 1, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Today will be a double birthday celebration for South African golf icon Gary Player as he not only turns 78, but also celebrates his 60th anniversary as a professional golfer in 2013.
Winner of 9 Majors, 9 Senior Majors, 165 tournaments worldwide, and a Grand Slam champion at the age of 29, Player will celebrate his birthday by adding to his over 25 million kilometers traveled and flying to China where he will help to raise money for AIDS orphans through the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola in Shanghai.
“I’ve always said that I felt my talent was on loan to me from God and that I must do the best with what I had been given,” said Player. “Similarly, we are loaned only so much time in our lives and it is up to us to use this time as best we can. I can think of no better way to do this than in service to my fellow man.”
The Black Knight, who continues to demonstrate that age is just a number, regularly breaks his age on the golf course. Owner of the professional career that ranks as one of the finest in the history of golf, Player fondly recalls the journey he has taken over the past 60 years.
“I’ll never forget playing in my first Open Championship in St Andrews in 1955. My golf club in South Africa had to take up a collection to fund my ticket to Britain. I took the train from London to St Andrews, and I remember climbing off at Leuchars Station. I just stood there for a moment. It was like the realisation had finally dawned on me. I was here, at the home of golf, to play the greatest and oldest of the Majors.”
“I’ve had a wonderful career, and I’m blessed to still be having a wonderful life,” reflects Player. “When I played my last competitive Major, I walked away with no regrets. When you’ve feasted at a table for as long as I have, you can have no regrets.”
Still as driven and focused as ever, Player is now concentrating his efforts on the charitable activities of The Player Foundation, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary of raising money to support underprivileged children. When he is not helping to create a brighter future for those in need, Player makes a point to spread his passion for health and wellness by educating young people around the world about fitness, healthy living and good lifestyle choices.
“Focusing on fitness and my health early on in my career has allowed me to still be going strong at the age of 78. I am fit, I am healthy, and as long as I remain so, I will continue to travel and educate as many young people as I can.”
GARY PLAYER AND BERENBERG ANNOUNCE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP
Oct 31, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Grand Slam golf icon Gary Player and Berenberg, Germany’s oldest bank, announced today a three-year partnership where Player will serve as a global ambassador for the renowned private and investment bank. In the partnership, the Black Knight will represent Berenberg as the International Ambassador of Golf and host events across Europe and the United States.
“I’m delighted to serve as a global ambassador for such an esteemed company,” said Gary Player. “Berenberg has been a fantastic partner in our philanthropic endeavors through the Gary Player Invitational and The Player Foundation where we have already enjoyed a rewarding relationship, but I am now honoured to promote this bank that was founded in 1590 across the globe.”
The announcement that comes on the golf icon’s birthday seeds from a relationship that has developed over the years following the participation of Berenberg Managing Partner Dr. Hans-Walter Peters in the Gary Player Invitational (GPI) at South Africa’s Fancourt Resort. Since 2011, Berenberg has generously supported the European-leg of the GPI series, which raises funds for underprivileged children, in London as title sponsor.
In addition to philanthropic endeavors, Berenberg has tapped the golfing icon over the past four years as tournament ambassador of the Berenberg Bank Masters, the flagship event of the European Senior Tour in Continental Europe.
“It is with great honor to have Gary Player as our new brand ambassador. For me, Gary Player is one of the leading sportsmen in the world and he is a great ambassador of Golf,” says Dr. Hans-Walter Peters, Managing Partner of Berenberg.
Founded in 1590, Berenberg remains an independent private bank after over 400 years of business. Spanning across Europe, the United States and Asia, Berenberg is recognized for their quality and distinction in servicing divisions that include Private Banking, Investment Banking, Asset Management and Corporate Banking.
“We are thrilled to see the strengthening of our relationship with Berenberg,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “This partnership truly represents a union of two brands standing for excellence that we hope to continue for years to come.”
GARY PLAYER ADDED AS NEW BREEDERS’ CUP AMBASSADOR
Oct 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
New Group of Ambassadors Join Previously Named Ambassadors Bobby Flay, Bo Derek, Elizabeth Banks, Toby Keith, Jim Rome, Joe Torre, Laura Bell Bundy, Rick Pitino, Rob Dydrek and Wes Welker
World Championships to be held in Los Angeles Nov. 1-2
(LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29, 2013) – Gary Player, Kate Upton, James Carville, Avery Johnson, John Ortiz and Steven Jackson are being honored and added to this year’s Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors. They join ten other celebrity racing fans and owners who were named Ambassadors during the program’s inaugural year in 2012. The program offers rewards which allow the Ambassadors to enjoy horse racing all over the world, including concierge service, tickets, and more. Additionally, they will serve as spokespersons for the 2013 Breeders’ Cup World Championships and help promote this prestigious international event.
The new Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors include: Gary Player (Golf Icon), Kate Upton (International Supermodel), James Carville (Political Commentator/Media Personality), Avery Johnson (Former NBA Coach/Player), John Ortiz (Actor) and Steven Jackson (Atlanta Falcons’ Record-Holding Running Back).
“I am thrilled to join the Breeders’ Cup Ambassador team,” Kate Upton shares. “You can’t beat the style, entertainment and excitement of a day at the races, especially when you’re watching the world’s best Thoroughbreds compete. Horses are my passion. I grew up riding and competing and own a couple of horses now, so it was a natural choice to come on board as a Breeders’ Cup Ambassador.”
The new Ambassadors are not only horse racing fans but also riders, owners and breeders. Kate Upton joins the program as a seasoned horse riding champion. Having competed on a national level, Upton began earning coveted titles before the age of 13. Gary Player has been a longtime horse racing fan and has bred over 2000 winning thoroughbred horses on his stud farm in South Africa. With many friends at WinStar Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, new horse owner Avery Johnson is quickly becoming a racing connoisseur.
“My love for thoroughbred horses and racing closely rivals my love for golf, and it is such a thrill to now be named an ambassador for the Breeders’ Cup,” said Gary Player. “I have been breeding racehorses on my South African stud farm for nearly 40 years and have always considered the Breeders’ Cup as one of the greatest races in the world.”
Previously inducted Ambassadors include: Bobby Flay (Renowned Chef/Breeders’ Cup Board Member), Bo Derek (Iconic Actress/California Horse Racing Commissioner), Elizabeth Banks (Actress), Toby Keith (Singer/Songwriter), Jim Rome (Sports Radio Talk Show Host), Joe Torre (Former Major League Baseball Manager/Player), Laura Bell Bundy (Actress/Singer), Rick Pitino (University of Louisville Basketball Coach), Rob Dyrdek (Professional Skateboarder), and Wes Welker (Denver Broncos Wide Receiver).
“We welcome our new class of Ambassadors, who cut across a wide dimension of entertainment, sports, politics and style, but all the common love and passion for promoting horse racing and the Breeders’ Cup,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO.
The 30th running of the Breeders’ Cup takes place November 1-2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. The Breeders’ Cup has become the culmination of the thoroughbred-racing season, and attracts the best horses, trainers and owners from across the globe. This prestigious international event consists of 14 races with purses and awards totaling more than $27 million. Tickets to the Breeders’ Cup can still be purchased at http://www.breederscup.com/tickets. Tune-in on Saturday, November 2, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM ET to NBC for primetime coverage of the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. Full TV schedule can be found at http://www.breederscup.com.
GARY PLAYER BECOMES FIRST ATHLETE TO BE FEATURED IN 21 ICONS SOUTH AFRICA
Oct 27, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
International golf champion, sport ambassador and philanthropist Gary Player shows why he remains an inspiration for millions of people across the world in 21 Icons South Africa. The photographic and short film series celebrates the lives of 21 extraordinary South Africans, including the project’s inspiration Nelson Mandela, who have captured the global imagination with their dignity, humanity, hard work and selfless struggle for a better world. Player, one of the greatest golfers of all time and a man who has raised millions of dollars for the education of underprivileged children, is the first athlete to feature in the project seeking to inspire the leaders of tomorrow. The episode will be screened on television, and a portrait of Player by photographer and filmmaker Adrian Steirn will be published in the Sunday Times.
As Steirn remarks in the episode: “Gary Player would have been successful at anything he chose to do.” Turning pro at the age of 17, a mere three years after he started playing golf, Player has racked up more than 165 professional wins, including nine majors, in a career spanning six decades and as many continents. He has been called the world’s most travelled athlete, clocking more than 25 million kilometers, and his dedication to fitness and a healthy diet is world renowned. In fact, ESPN The Magazine chose a nude Player this year for the cover of its annual Body Issue, an honour which, according to its website, goes to “athletes who have pushed their physiques to profound frontiers”.
“Have you done any sit-ups today?” Steirn asks Player as they prepare for the 21 Icons photo shoot. “Not today,” Player answers, “but I did eleven hundred last night.”
The thoroughbred racehorse breeder explains his longevity — and exceptional energy — thus: “If you stay fit and you watch your diet and you stay lean, you’re going to last longer. You know, in the racehorse business they say ‘the longer the race, the leaner the horse’, and that applies to life. If you stay lean, you’re going to live longer; the less you eat, the longer you’ll live.”
Player ascribes his success to his never-give-up attitude. When he decided to turn pro at 17, everyone, including his father, thought he was crazy. “But I was never influenced by what other people thought,” he says. “I just believed I could do it, and I want to tell young people that you’re the one who’s got to believe it. Other people can’t decide for you — you’ve got to believe it. And if you have a problem in life, nobody’s going to solve it except you. I’ve seen so many potentially great players who could have been great had they had the right attitude. It’s really 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Of course, Player has also been successful because of old-fashioned hard work. “I always worked harder than everybody else,” he says. “There was no entitlement in my life whatsoever. I woke up and I practised every morning at 6 o’clock and I finished every night at 7 o’clock. I practised all day long, every day, and exercised. It was a very insular life, but to become a world champion you have to sacrifice a lot of things.”
Spending time with his family is one of the things he had to sacrifice, he reveals in 21 Icons. “I have missed my family a lot and been deprived of that, which is the saddest thing,” says Player, who has nevertheless been blessed with a long and happy marriage. He married wife Vivienne in 1957 and they had six children, and today they are the proud grandparents of 22 grandchildren.
“You’ve got to try to fill your life with love,” says Player. “I think that’s the essential ingredient, because if you fill your life with love you have respect for everybody, and then you receive love.”
Steirn’s portrait of Player was taken on the small golf course on his farm near Colesberg in the Northern Cape. It will be auctioned at the end of 21 Icons South Africa and the proceeds donated to The Player Foundation. Having a social conscience is important to Player, who established The Player Foundation with Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO, in 1983 to provide quality education, nutrition, medical care and extracurricular activities to impoverished children both in South Africa and elsewhere in the world. Through the annual Gary Player Invitational charity series staged in the US, Asia, Europe and South Africa, the Foundation has raised more than $50 million for the cause.
“I was very poor,” says Player. “I had a very difficult childhood with my mother dying when I was eight and my brother going to war and my father working on a mine. I can vividly remember saying as a schoolboy, well, if I ever do well in life, one thing I’m definitely going to do is help underprivileged people. This has been the great thrill of my life — that I’m able to go around the world raising money for underprivileged children and to see how much one changes their lives.”
21 ICONS South Africa is proudly sponsored by Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Nikon and Deloitte and supported by The Department of Arts & Culture as a nation-building initiative.
Shot on the Gary Player Stud Farm near Colesberg, Northern Cape, Adrian Steirn’s portrait of Gary Player shows him standing in front of a sign promoting the “Colesberg Open”, which references his beloved hometown. Normally clad in his Black Knight golfing attire, on this rare occasion Player agreed to dress in an old-fashioned golfer’s outfit.
GARY PLAYER UNVEILS NEW COURSE AT DLF GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB IN INDIA
Oct 26, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
Gary Player Design continues to expand upon its ever-growing international portfolio as the renowned design firm opened the first nine holes of its first Gary Player Signature course in India at DLF Golf and Country Club on October 26. The newest design in Player’s portfolio of over 300 courses is poised to set the benchmark for golf on the Indian subcontinent moving forward.
“I am positive our course at DLF Golf and Country Club will prove to be an extraordinary addition to golf in India,” said Gary Player. “There is a bright future for Indian golf, and I am happy that Gary Player Design and DLF have made a noteworthy contribution. We are committed to aiding the growth of golf around the world, and India ranks as one of our most important opportunities.”
As the country’s leading real estate developer, DLF showcased a great dedication and commitment to quality in all facets of the new course, which supports their tremendous success in urban residential development.
“It is truly special to find partners like DLF who share our passion for creating a world-class golf course,” said Scott Ferrell, President of Gary Player Design, who also attended the festivities.
Jeff Lawrence, the Senior Designer leading the project, stressed the significant environmental approach taken, saying, “In keeping with Gary Player Design’s longstanding policy of sustainable course design and environmental stewardship, geo-textile bunkers were utilized to reduce maintenance costs, thousands of trees were planted to reduce the overall carbon footprint, and irrigation needs are provided from a lake fed with recycled, treated water. These are exciting developments beyond the quality of the design.”
DLF Golf and Country Club, which has previously staged tournaments sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, looked to Player’s philosophy of creating player-friendly courses that will cater to the emerging Indian golf market, while also providing a challenge to meet the needs of prominent professional events.
Gary Player commented, “I can assure you that this golf course will test the tour professional from the championship tees. But it is equally if not more important to give the member who lives here options for enjoyment. I believe we have accomplished that.”
The second nine is currently under construction, and when opened late next Summer, will complete the 18 hole Gary Player Signature course at DLF Golf and Country Club. The Black Knight toured the construction site with the DLF team to provide important design direction.
Player’s visit to India will be just one of many as Gary Player Design continues to expand their presence in India and across the region. The design firm currently has 26 ongoing projects across Asia.
GARY PLAYER TAKES A MESSAGE OF LOVE AND GIVING TO CHINA
Oct 25, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
The Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola will make another significant contribution to the Chinese Foundation for the Prevention of STDs and AIDS when the seventh playing of China’s premier charity golf event takes to Shanghai from 4-5 November.
The “Union of Golf and Giving” will return to Shanghai Links and the JingAn Shangri-La for a star-studded gala and pro-am tournament featuring prominent businessmen, celebrities, and professional golfers. Tournament host Gary Player is looking forward to another successful event as support continues to build into The Player Foundation’s 30th anniversary.
“It is a great honor for The Player Foundation and myself to collaborate with Coca-Cola to support sustainable community development and make a positive impact on the lives of the AIDS-affected children,” said Player. “I hope that through this initiative we are able to give more AIDS-affected children a better future.”
As one of China’s most successful charity events, the Gary Player Invitational has raised over RMB 50 million for the Chinese Foundation for the Prevention of STDs and AIDS. “We are happy to see the great achievement of the GPI in benefiting the AIDS-affected children in the past few years and are happy to be part of it,” said David G Brooks, Chairman, Coca-Cola Greater China & Korea.
“With the legacy of 126 years, Coca-Cola is dedicated to giving back to the community, and endeavors to make a positive difference through collaboration with business, government and community as well as through the contribution of our staff. Working together with our partners, we aim to champion sustainability and promote a better future in the communities.”
Throughout its history, the tournament has benefited more than 12,654 AIDS-affected children across four provinces and autonomous regions in China, providing them with long-term living allowances, financial aid, medical assistance and psychological counseling.
Additionally, a total of 205 AIDS-affected families including 710 AIDS-affected women in Yunnan province have received support, with housing aid for 56 families and university scholarships for 93 AIDS-affected children from the area.
The support provided to those impacted by AIDS and STDs in China is just a fraction of the work and aid funded through The Player Foundation, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2013. Having raised more than $50 million dollars in three decades, The Player Foundation is continuing to spread hope and aid to underprivileged children around the world through funds raised at the global Gary Player Invitational series events.
Gary Player Invitational 2013 Series
United States – Georgia
Dates: 14-15 April 2013
Champions Retreat, Augusta
United Kingdom – England
Dates: 22 July 2013
Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey
China – Shanghai
Dates: 4-5 November 2013
Dates: 14- 17 November 2013
The Lost City Golf Course, The Palace Hotel, Sun City
GOLFING LEGEND TO LEAD JURY FOR INDIA GOLF AWARDS
Oct 24, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Grand Slam champion and the world’s most successful international golfer, Gary Player is set to lead the acclaimed Jury for the TAKE SOLUTIONS INDIA GOLF AWARDS powered by http://www.golfingindian.com. The country’s first golf award ceremony promises to reward and recognize excellence in the sport during the November 5 event in Gurgaon.
Gary Player, known as the Black Knight, has achieved the kind of worldwide acclaim reserved for only a handful of sporting greats. Renowned as much for his dedication to the principles of excellence as he is for his golfing accomplishments that include 165 worldwide victories, Player has been impressed with the idea of the awards from the very first time he heard of recognizing excellence and leadership in the game in India.
“It’s important in any industry to recognize leaders, and the India Golf Awards will do just that,” said Player. “The recipients of these awards will have shown that they see the huge potential of golf in India, but their efforts need promotion and a media platform to inspire others. This annual event will help golf gain important momentum to establish itself as a prominent sport in India.”
The India Golf Awards 2013 is backed by well-known patrons who are a part of the crème de la crème of the country’s golf fraternity. Take Solutions, a bell weather technology company and a well-known supporter of the game, is proud of this association. Vice Chairman HR Srinivasan, a prolific golfer himself says, “The Take Solutions India Golf Awards powered by golfingindian.com will provide a superlative platform for golfing stars from all walks of life. We have supported the game throughout and we felt ‘The India Golf Awards’ will also set new benchmarks and create pathways to bring about positive change to promote golf in a rapidly changing business, leisure and recreational environment.”
Powered by golfingindian.com, which has been set up by India’s award winning business journalist and golf enthusiast Shaili Chopra, is already a forerunner in the genre of golf news focused on Indian players, golf courses and expert views.
On having Gary Player kick off the inaugural event, Chopra said, “it’s a real honour for the India Golf Awards to have such an eminent personality launch this event, which promises to be a benchmark in the sport. Gary’s presence makes it world class.”
The awards boasts other eminent jury members such as Kavita Singh, Director on Ladies European Tour Board, and Abhi Parmar, Director General of Indian Golf Union, along with former number one India golfer Vikramjit Singh and former Callaway India boss, Vivek Mehta. The research and jury was conducted by global consultants Technopak and the host for the event for NDTV’s famous sports anchor Sonali Chander.
With such distinguished jury members, the very best in the game are set to receive rave recognition as golfing corporate leaders, celebrities, bureaucrats, national leaders will be rewarded for their game on the same stage as professional golfers from India and around the world in a bespoke and stylized ceremony.
HOLLYWOOD ACTOR ANTHONY ANDERSON TO PLAY THE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Oct 22, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
Anthony Anderson, Hollywood actor and star in the hit television series Law & Order and All about the Andersons, will make his debut at the Gary Player Invitational at Sun City next month, joining Grand Slam champion Gary Player and other prominent golfers, celebrities, sports stars and business leaders in Africa’s leading charity tournament.
Anderson, who has hosted Golf in America on the Golf Channel for three seasons and has appeared in over 20 films including The Departed and Transformers, signed up to support the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola after meeting the South African golfing icon at The Masters this year. In the United State leg of the charity series, Anderson displayed his skill as he and his team placed in the top three.
A self-confessed golf addict, Anderson likes to keep things loose on the fairways. “I am fun and talkative during the round, I even play music when I golf,” said Anderson.
The Los Angeles native joins professional golfers Cheyenne Woods and Retief Goosen as some of the biggest names to have confirmed their place in the tournament, which raises funds for the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka and Wings and Wishes.
The married, father of two is sure to keep golf fans entertained and draw the crowds when he takes to the fairways of The Lost City Golf Course from 16-17 November.
CHEYENNE WOODS MAKES DEBUT IN GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Oct 16, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
American professional Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, will make her first appearance in the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola at Sun City next month, joining Grand Slam champion Gary Player and other notable golfers, celebrities, sports stars and business leaders in the charity tournament.
Woods has confirmed her place in the tournament at The Lost City Golf Course from 16-17 November, and which is aimed at raising funds for the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka and Wings and Wishes.
“I’ve always been interested in South Africa and its history,” said Cheyenne Woods. “I’ve always wanted to come here. At the Masters this year I spoke to Gary Player and he told me a lot about the country.”
The young star of women’s professional golf first started taking the game seriously at the age of six. After a successful amateur career in which she won over 30 tournaments, Woods turned professional in 2012. She broke through with her first professional victory on the Suncoast Ladies Series that same year.
Woods is currently in her debut season on the Ladies European Tour, and has a top finish of tied for 12th in the Lalla Meryem Cup. She is also through to Stage 3 of the LPGA Tour Qualifying School as she attempts to gain her playing privileges there.
“It’s wonderful to have women’s golf represented in our tournament by such a vibrant young talent as Cheyenne,” said tournament host and golfing icon Gary Player.
“She will serve as such an inspiration for so many young girls in South Africa. Her genuine interest in this country and its history is a great asset to this tournament and our efforts to raise as much money for charity as we can.”
Woods joins Retief Goosen as some of the biggest names to have confirmed their place in the tournament.
DONNAFUGATA DOUBLE BOOST IN NEW EUROPEAN GOLF LIST
Oct 15, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
Donnafugata Golf Resort and Spa’s position in European golf has risen to new prominence after both its courses received recognition in a leading industry poll for the first time in its short history.
The deluxe five-star venue only opened in 2010 but, such has been its rapid rise to fame, that both its 18-hole championship courses have been included in Golf World’s latest biennial list of the ‘Top 200 Courses in Continental Europe’.
The Parkland, created by South African legend Gary Player, was the venue for the 2011 Sicilian Open, won by France’s Rafael Jacquelin, while the Franco Piras-designed Links Course has quickly become a firm favourite wiith Donnafugata’s visitors.
Guy Roberts, director of golf at Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, said: “For both courses to have been included in such an influential and respected list is wonderful news.
“Donnafugata has made a real impact in a short space of time and this recognition is a further indication of the progress we have made in becoming one of the market leaders in the luxury golf resort sector in Europe.
“It has been another outstanding 12 months for the resort and this latest exposure will help us to increase our visibility further as we continue the process of making Donnafugata a popular place to holiday for new, emerging and established markets.”
The recognition is the latest in a series of accolades to be bestowed on Donnafugata as it has wasted little time in establishing itself among the elite resorts in Europe.
The resort was included in Rolex World’s latest Top 1,000 Golf Courses poll while it was also the first course in Italy to be invited to join IMG Prestige, an exclusive collection of some of the world’s most celebrated golfing venues.
Located just 20 minutes away from the newly-opened Comiso airport and in the beautiful area of Donnafugata, a natural reserve and famous tourist destination known for the imposing castle which bears the same name, the resort also boasts a number of fantastic historical cities. These include Val di Noto, the heart of Sicilian baroque: Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Noto and Scicli. All of them are deemed fitting of UNESCO World Heritage status.
In addition to its golf courses and extensive practice facilities, Donnafugata has 202 rooms, an award-winning spa and health club, swimming pools and three restaurants offering a broad selection of gastronomic delights, well accompanied by perfect Sicilian wines to enhance flavour.
GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL NAMES CHARITY BENEFICIARIES
Oct 10, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Charity Funds Provide Boost for Wildlands Conservation Trust and Wings and Wishes
The Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola has announced their selection of Wings and Wishes and the Wildlands Conservation Trust as the beneficiaries of Africa’s premier charity golf event taking place at the Lost City Golf Course and The Palace Hotel from the 14th to the 17th November 2013.
The Gary Player Invitational (GPI) charity series, hosted by Grand Slam champion Gary Player, is played annually across four continents and features distinguished professional golfers, celebrities and business leaders.
“The Player Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and I am pleased to say we have remarkably raised over R500 million for charities across the globe,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “We look forward to another successful event in South Africa as we move to Sun City for this wonderful event providing aid and seeking to bring a brighter future to those in need.”
Funds raised from the event, including the black-tie auction at The Palace Hotel on Friday 15 November, will be shared between the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka and Wings and Wishes to continue bringing aid to underprivileged children and impoverished communities.
The Wildlands Conservation Trust is an organization working to uplift local communities by establishing “green jobs” for the poor and unemployed, focusing on recycling plastic and encouraging tree growing through community-based waste-preneurs and tree-preneurs. Wildlands operates in 35 communities, growing over 600 000 trees and hand-collecting over 3 million kilograms of recycled waste annually. The waste and trees are bartered by community residents for bicycles, building materials and food.
Bicycles for the Wildlands Conservation Trust waste-preneur and tree-preneur programmes are sourced from Qhubeka, which has distributed more than 40,000 bikes across South Africa with their World Bicycle Relief programme.
“Since February 2013, 911 Waste-preneurs have started collecting PET (plastic) and have collected over 40,000 kg – the equivalent of 1,200,000 PET bottles,” said Dr. Andrew Venter, Wildlands Conservation Trust CEO. “This staggering achievement is real testimony to the impact of this wonderful project, made possible by the GPI and Coca-Cola.”
In addition to the Wildlands Conservation Trust, 2013 will be the second year that the GPI partners with Wings and Wishes. The program was established in 2006 by staff at the Coca-Cola Sabco bottling company in Port Elizabeth to collect air-miles for the transportation of critically ill children in order to receive lifesaving medical treatment at the appropriate medical facilities. Funds raised at the GPI last year enabled Wings and Wishes to fund over 1,500 travel tickets helping to save the lives of many children.
“We are proud to once again be associated with the GPI. We are in a unique position to help communities in remote villages and townships thrive by enabling them to earn a living collecting recyclable waste and growing trees. We want everyone to recycle more, waste less and help the planet,” said Therese Gearhart, President of Coca-Cola Southern Africa.
THE BLACK KNIGHT RELISHING GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL TO BE STAGED AT LOST CITY
Oct 9, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course DesignThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Gary Player has called it one of his favorite golf courses that he has ever designed and a course that embodies the spirit of Africa, making the Lost City Golf Course the perfect venue for this year’s Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola.
This sweeping par-72 course at Sun City will serve as the home of one of the most successful charity series in the global game for the next three years, with the Gary Player Invitational having travelled to the United States, Europe and China before arriving in South Africa from 14-17 November.
Framed on the one side by The Palace Hotel and on the other by the majestic Pilanesberg mountain range and Southern Africa’s third largest game reserve that is home to the ‘Big Five’, the Lost City Golf Course has proved itself as a world-class layout over the years.
Lost City has been regularly featured on both the Sunshine Tour and European Tour calendars as a host of professional tournaments, and now it will take its place amongst some of the finest golf courses in South Africa that have previously staged the acclaimed charity event.
As the second golf course designed by Gary Player for the Sun City entertainment complex, the Lost City Golf Course offers its own unique challenges by utilizing the surrounding African bush and indigenous vegetation. The infamous par-three 13th offers its own unique hazard as the signature hole shaped like the continent of Africa is surrounded by seven greenside bunkers and a water hazard featuring numerous crocodiles.
At nearly 7000 metres in length, the Lost City Golf Course is more than capable of withstanding the technology and skill in the modern game.
For Player there is a sense of coming full circle as he’s able to host his charity series on a golf course that remains close to his heart.
“I’ve always felt that the Lost City Golf Course is special and unique in its character, but seems to have always rested in the shadow of the Gary Player Country Club,” said the Grand Slam champion.
“The bushveld atmosphere gives it such a great feel and you are in no doubt that you are playing golf in Africa. I think it’s a golf course that all our guests will enjoy.”
“To be able to play our Gary Player Invitational at Lost City is such a delight. It seems like only yesterday that I was asked to design the first golf course at Sun City, and to have been involved in two such great golf courses for Sun International is truly an honour.”
GOOSEN SUPPORTS PLAYER’S CHARITY DRIVE
Oct 8, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Retief Goosen will be one of the stars supporting the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola at Sun City from 16-17 November, and which brings together golfers, celebrities, sports stars and business leaders in a joint effort to raise funds for charity.
The double US Open champion says he is looking forward to joining Player in this celebrity charity pro-am, which will be played at the Lost City Golf Course.
“I always enjoy Gary Player’s company, and I really enjoy the atmosphere of a tournament where the charity element is the main focus around the golf,” Goosen said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for us to raise funds for the children who need our support and commitment.”
Goosen has long been a supporter of the tournament, throwing his full weight behind Player’s cause and on occasion travelling with the Grand Slam champion to as far afield as China in a bid to help raise funds for children’s charities.
“Gary is a great guy. He’s the most positive person you can be around and you can learn a lot from him.”
This year’s Gary Player Invitational is highlighted by the 30th anniversary of The Player Foundation, which has raised over R500 million for charities around the world.
Funds raised at the black-tie auction at The Palace of the Lost City on Friday 15 November, will be shared between the Wildlands Conservation Trust in partnership with Qhubeka and Wings and Wishes as this year’s selected charity beneficiaries for 2013 by The Player Foundation and Coca-Cola.
GARY PLAYER DESIGN DEBUTS TWO SIGNATURE COURSES THIS FALL
Sep 30, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
The global portfolio of Gary Player Design continues to expand in 2013 with two new course designs debuting in the span of one month. Gary Player was on hand for the September 27 opening of the Mountain Park Golf Couse in South Carolina, one of the few new courses unveiled in North America by any designer. Gary Player Design will also open its newest Gary Player Signature course in India on October 26.
While a course opening in the United States may be a rarity in today’s economy, Mountain Park would stand out under any circumstances. It is a wonderful pairing of championship golf and environmental sensitivity.
Player inaugurated the course by leading Mountain Park members, guests and media in a ceremonial grand opening tournament. Following the round, Player commented, “I am delighted with the course that we have created here in South Carolina. We delivered a links-style design that plays to the magnificent mountain surroundings and is sympathetic to the environment with the incorporation of native grasses and firm, fast fairways.”
Representing the continued globalization of the game of golf, ninety percent of Gary Player Design’s active portfolio is outside of North America. India, for example, has surfaced as a prime target for the future of golf. Gary Player will be visiting the New Delhi area in a few short weeks to open his new Signature Design at DLF Golf and Country Club.
The DLF Golf & Country Club’s newest course is a scenic parkland design that utilizes today’s most advanced technology and eco-friendly techniques in the design and course construction.
The Gary Player Signature course in Gurgaon features an island green and a dramatic geo-textile bunker style that reduces maintenance costs. The new Gary Player Signature Design will be a wonderful addition to a club that has previously hosted several tournaments sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.
“DLF has committed the resources necessary to allow us to bring our design vision to life,” said Jeff Lawrence, Gary Player Design Senior Designer. “I am excited for members and guests to experience this course, and I believe it will set a new standard in India.”
Player’s visit to India will be just one of many as Gary Player Design continues to expand their presence in the region. The design firm currently has 15 ongoing projects across Asia.
THE GARY PLAYER CLASSIC CONTINUES TO SHOWCASE AUSTRALIA’S TOP JUNIOR TALENT
Sep 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
The Gary Player Classic continues to showcase Australia’s top junior talent in the prestigious tournament that has run for the past 42 years. The annual event sponsored by the South African Grand Slam champion is staged at the Pacific Club in Brisbane, where previous victors include Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Jason Day, and Ian Baker-Finch.
The Queensland Golf Union event featured on the Australian Junior Order of Merit has led to international recognition for many of the amateur competitors under age 21, and has paved the way for many professional careers. The 2013 tournament proved once again to attract the country’s top juniors, as well as a number of international players, in the challenging test.
Competitors faced tough competition and harsh weather as they competed for the Under 15, 16-17, and 18-20 bracket titles. Jack Trent, James Macklin, and Anthony Quayle each won their respective age divisions.
In addition to the age division winners, each year the Pacific Club Head Professionals Paul Hazlett and Mark Victorsen name the Most Improved Player of the year, which went to Josh Capes. In the previous 12 months, Josh has lowered his handicap from 14 to 3 and cut a staggering 42 shots off his 3 round 2012 total.
The 2013 Gary Player Classic Winners
18-20 Year Old Bracket - Anthony Quayle
16-17 Year Old Bracket - James Macklin
Under 15 Bracket - Jack Trent
GOLFING WORLD TAKES A LOOK AT THE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL EUROPE 2013
Sep 24, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
SUN CITY TO STAGE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL 2013 - NEW HOME FOR AFRICA’S PREMIER CHARITY GOLF EVENT
Sep 19, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Gary Player, Therese Gearhart of Coca-Cola and Graeme Stephens of Sun
International at the Gary Player Invitational Media Launch in Johannesburg
Sun International has announced a three year deal with Black Knight International to stage Africa’s premier charity golf event, the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola, which takes place at the Lost City Golf Course and The Palace Hotel from the 14th to the 17th November 2013.
“We are delighted to partner with Black Knight International and The Player Foundation in this prestigious golf charity event,” says Mike van Vuuren, managing executive of Sun City. “We have a longstanding relationship with Gary Player and it feels only right for us to collaborate together in this philanthropic endeavour.”
The title sponsor of the Gary Player Invitational (GPI), Coca-Cola, has also announced that it will be sponsoring the South African event for a 10th consecutive year now.
“We are proud to once again be associated with the GPI. We are in a unique position to help communities in remote villages and townships thrive by enabling them to earn a living collecting recyclable waste and growing trees. We want everyone to recycle more, waste less and help the planet, said Therese Gearhart, President of Coca-Cola Southern Africa.
Featuring teams of professional golfers paired with celebrities and leading businessmen, the GPI at Sun City will feature four days of golf, glamour, and giving in this leg of the global charity series to make a difference in the lives of people worldwide in need.
“I am thrilled that Sun City will host the final leg of our global GPI series, which has experienced another record breaking fundraising year for The Player Foundation,” said Tournament Host Gary Player, speaking at a media conference at the Coca Cola head office in Johannesburg today.
Following successful GPI events this year in Augusta and London, the next leg of the GPI series takes to Shanghai on November 4 and 5 before ending the year at Sun City’s Lost City Country Club and The Palace Hotel with a star-studded line-up.
“Our Foundation, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, has raised an amazing R500 million for charities across the globe,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “We look forward to a successful event at Sun City to bring a brighter future to those in need.”
Funds raised at the black-tie auction at The Palace of the Lost City on Friday 15 November, will be shared between the Wildlands Conservation Trust and Wings and Wishes as this year’s selected charity beneficiaries for 2013 by The Player Foundation and Coca-Cola.
INDURA BEACH & GOLF RESORT SET FOR EARLY 2014 OPENING IN HONDURAS
Sep 18, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
Plunge into an unrivaled experience with nature at Indura Resort & Spa, Central America’s new luxury resort featuring an 18-hole Gary Player Signature course situated along the Caribbean Sea on the northern coastline of Honduras. The first design by the South African Grand Slam champion in Honduras is scheduled to open in early 2014 to coincide with the resort’s grand opening.
Indura is a landmark project for the country sitting on a 26 mile stretch of Tela Bay and is a welcome addition to the burgeoning tourism industry in Latin America. In addition to Gary Player Design’s eco-sensitive golf course, Indura will be comprised of 60 junior suite accommodations and a wellness sanctuary.
The resort is a new discovery for travelers who are seeking an off-the-beaten path destination along with a dose of light adventure and great golf.
The Gary Player Signature Design championship golf course was carefully designed to naturally integrate the spectacular setting of the Tela Bay, where a backdrop of mountains and tropical jungle meet the beauty of golden sandy beaches and the Caribbean Sea.
Due to Indura’s location on a biological corridor and nestled between two national parks, the design process placed great importance on the course’s sustainability in a sensitive ecological environment.
“Our global design portfolio includes a number of courses that have been recognized with the industry’s highest environmental honors and we are now thrilled bring our longstanding commitment to ecological sensitivity to Honduras,” said Scott Ferrell, Gary Player Design President. “Indura Resort & Spa was carefully designed with sustainability in mind to naturally incorporate the beautiful, tropical setting into a world-class golfing experience.”
The Indura golf experience is one that will create excitement and enthusiasm as it provides an abundance of visual beauty and variety in play. Playing along the pristine beaches of the Caribbean Ocean, into the tropical jungle and adjacent to large lagoons will provide each and every player with a remarkable golf adventure that will be unforgettable. Each hole is uniquely designed to provide varying design characteristics, strategic value and aesthetic beauty.
The golf course not only emphasizes playability by all skill levels, but also incorporates strategic elements that will test even the most seasoned players.
To stimulate the growth of golf in the local area, Indura has hired young adults from Tela to join the golf training academy to learn about the game and be caddies for the course. Familiar with the wildlife, they can also point out the panther tracks left the night before on the course or the sound of howler monkeys as they move through the treetops.
The early 2014 opening of Indura Resort & Spa will be an important benchmark in Honduras tourism as a new, luxurious, “frontier” destination. In addition to a championship golfing experience, guests will be able to experience the adventure activities offered by the Latin America destination that include snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and much more.
COCA-COLA VOTED SOUTH AFRICA’S TOP BRAND FOR COMMUNITY UPLIFTMENT
Aug 30, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Coca-Cola South Africa was announced the overall top brand in the 15th annual Sunday Times Top Brands Survey. In addition to the overall top brand honours, Coca-Cola was awarded top honours for the brand that has done the most to uplift the community and look after South Africa’s environment and natural resources.
Coca-Cola’s strategic partnership with the Gary Player Invitational (GPI), South Africa’s most successful charitable golf tournament, has demonstrated over a number of years, the meaningful impact it has made in lives of many people living in impoverished communities in South Africa.
This can be attributed to the brand aligning its sponsorship objectives and sustainability philosophy of improving lives by assisting to solve environmental challenges, economic challenges and health challenges with the vision and legacy that Gary Player has built in using golf as a catalyst to raise funds.
Since 2000, the Gary Player Invitational and its sponsors have annually donated substantial sums towards the aid and support of underprivileged children and communities.
The Wildlands Conservation Trust, a beneficiary of the GPI tournament in South Africa demonstrates the NGO’s work to uplift local communities by establishing “green jobs” for the underprivileged and unemployed in recycling plastic and encouraging tree growing through community-based waste-preneurs and tree-preneurs. The vision is to restore the ecosystems that underwrite the welfare of these communities and reduce the collective vulnerability to climate change.
2013 will mark the 14th staging the GPI in South Africa. Through funds raised in the GPI global series, The Player Foundation, celebrating this 30th anniversary this year, has raised an astounding $50 million worldwide for charities like The Wildlands Conservation Trust, among countless others across the world to provide a brighter future for future generations.
“We have been so fortunate to have wonderful sponsors and partners like Coca-Cola in our Gary Player Invitational global series,” said Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International. “Together with Coca-Cola and other sponsors it is extremely satisfying that our union of golf and giving will once again be able to contribute to making the world a better place for those less fortunate.”
Following two successful events in Augusta and London, the next leg of the GPI series will take to Shanghai on November 4 and 5 before ending the year at Sun City’s Lost City Country Club and The Palace of the Lost City in South Africa.
GARY PLAYER STUD FINDS GREAT SUCCESS AT NATIONAL TWO YEAR OLD SALE
Aug 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
The Gary Player Stud team celebrate their achievements following
the Emperors Palace National Two Year Old Sale.
Gary Player makes no secret of his long time love and passion for thoroughbred horse breeding. Since acquiring his Colesberg, South Africa stud farm in 1974, Player and his team have been working towards one goal: to breed the top racehorses in South Africa. This August, the farm’s hard work paid off during the Emperors Palace National Two Year Old Sale where Player and his team earned first time accolades in all three top categories - top colt, top filly, but also most remarkably top vendor after selling 14 lots.
“I could not be any happier after the two year old sale,” said Gary Player. “This was certainly a significant milestone for our team to sell the top colt and filly en route to being named the sale’s top vendor.”
It was a banner sale not only because of the accolades Gary Player Stud received, but also because the top priced filly is the first progeny of the sire Yeats, a champion Irish thoroughbred racehorse whose extraordinary racing career includes four consecutive Ascot Gold Cup victories, to be sold in South Africa. The filly, out of Lady L, represents a significant bloodline introduction in South Africa.
The top priced colt reached the seven figure mark as it was sold for an even one million rand. The chestnut colt by the champion sire Silvano and Laughing Matter was the overall highest sale of the event.
“Our entire team is delighted as we continue to produce top thoroughbreds in South Africa,” said Mary Ann Smith, General Manager of the Gary Player Stud.
This success from Player’s team was no luck. Player, who has a home on the farm when not travelling, takes a hands-on approach in all aspects of the operation. Player is no stranger to working from dawn to dusk with his team to ensure they remain one of the country’s top stud farms
To view the recent CNN feature on the Gary Player Stud, visit here.
For more information, visit http://www.GaryPlayerStud.com.
GARY PLAYER EXCITED TO OPEN NEW MOUNTAIN PARK GOLF COURSE IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Aug 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course DesignEvents & Tournaments
Mountain Park, a Gary Player Signature design, opening this September is
set to be one of only a few golf North American courses to open this year.
Gary Player Design is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Mountain Park Golf Course in South Carolina on September 27. The newest Gary Player Signature design will be one of only a handful of new courses opening by any designer in North America in 2013.
“We are thrilled to unveil our Mountain Park course,” said Gary Player. “I am confident its unique character will be well received. It is a stunning setting, and we are extremely pleased with the course from a design perspective.”
“Links-style shot making, fast and firm conditions, exciting variety and walkability are all key design elements that we have incorporated into the Mountain Park course,” said Jeff Lawrence, Gary Player Design Senior Designer. “It will truly be a fun and exciting golf course to experience.”
Gary Player will be in attendance for the grand opening ceremonies on Friday, September 27, where the Black Knight will host a morning clinic and grand opening tournament for Mountain Park members. The autumn opening will allow members and guests to experience the natural beauty and scenic backdrop of the course as the fall colors begin to change. “Experiencing the natural beauty, impeccable conditioning and distinctive playability will certainly capture the imagination and intrigue of everyone who plays it,” said Lawrence.
The highest standard of eco-friendly design practices were used for the
Mountain Park course, which features 8 holes along the North Saluda River.
The 7218-yard layout was designed to the highest environmental standards, but also with playability for all levels in mind.
“Members and guests will see an environmentally friendly landscape, with native grasses incorporated to create a “links” feel,” said Scott Ferrell, President of Gary Player Design. “Players of all skill levels will have a wonderful array of shot options, particularly around the greens.”
Mountain Park is just one of the courses that Gary Player Design will add in the coming months to its international portfolio that includes more than 300 courses across the globe in over 35 countries. The Black Knight’s design firm will also open Gary Player Signature courses at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, India next month and Indura Resort in Honduras early next year.
“We are delighted to have over 40 active design projects worldwide, including over twenty under construction at this time,” said Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International. “As we start new designs in China, Peru, India, Gabon, Brazil, and the Middle East, we continue the expansion of our global portfolio at a substantial rate.”
WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM RE-LAUNCHES NEW AND IMPROVED WORLDGOLFHALLOFFAME.ORG
Aug 26, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
A full library of multimedia, increased functionality and interactivity are all part of the redesigned World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum website. The new site, which launched today, offers viewers a unique look into all 146 Hall of Fame members, every Induction Ceremony since 1998 and every exhibition within the Museum in St. Augustine, Fla.
New features of the redesigned WorldGolfHallofFame.org include:
Upgraded member pages: Each member’s page has been redesigned to include photo and video galleries with highlights of their career and the ability to reach out to them via a Connect tab.
Redesigned member search: A new database has been created to allow visitors to search for Hall of Fame members in a variety of ways, including year and category of induction, nationality and even major championship victories.
Induction Ceremony archive: Multimedia and details from each Induction Ceremony dating back to 1998 are included an improved archive.
Interactivity: The Hall of Fame’s Facebook, Twitter and Youtube pages have been integrated throughout the new site, as well as the option to sign up for newsletters.
Increased functionality: Visitors will be able to easily search Hall of Fame activities in a new Event Calendar, get an in-depth look at each exhibit with new multimedia galleries and learn more about Hall of Fame members through an innovative “Member scroll” bar throughout the site.
“This website is an exciting, important step forward for the organization,” said Jack Peter, Chief Operating Officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “From watching memorable Induction Ceremony speeches, to learning about the latest exhibition at the Museum, to connecting with Gary Player on Twitter, this site is informative, engaging and an excellent tool for golf fans around the world.”
World Golf Hall of Fame global ambassador Gary Player added, “The World Golf Hall of Fame’s new website only continues to add to the rich experience and history that golf fans and visitors from around the world will be able to experience whether in St. Augustine or online as they see all that the Hall of Fame has to offer.”
For more information and to explore its new tools, visit the redesigned site at WorldGolfHallofFame.org.
IGATE AND FORBES LAUNCH IGATE CXO CUP GOLF TOURNAMENT
Aug 21, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
iGATE, the NASDAQ listed leading outsourcing services company, in association with Forbes, the publisher of Forbes magazine and forbes.com, today announced the inaugural iGATE CXO Cup golf tournament. This first-class championship-style golf tournament will be held March 21 – 22, 2014, at the historic Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in North Carolina, USA. iGATE will simultaneously host the second iGATE CEO Cup at the same venue, where Grand Slam champion Gary Player will co-host both golf tournaments.
Commenting on the tournament, Gary Player, said, “Following the success of the iGATE CEO Cup, I am honored to also co-host the inaugural iGATE CXO Cup. The tournament will be an excellent opportunity to further gather many of the world’s greatest business minds in order to give back and make the world a better place, all while playing a game we all love. ”
CXOs of North America will compete for total prize money of $75,000. Winners will donate their prize money to the charities of their choice.
Gary Player, an original inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame, is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers in history. The South African native has won 165 tournaments over his career spanning six decades, including nine major championships on the regular tour, and nine major championships on the Senior Tour. He is one of only five golfers – and the only non-American golfer – to win the coveted career Grand Slam.
Recognized around the globe as the Black Knight and the International Ambassador of Golf, Player is also a renowned golf course architect with over 325 design projects in five continents. Black Knight International, the company founded by Marc Player, includes Gary Player Design, Player Real Estate, Black Knight Enterprises and The Player Foundation, which has a primary objective of promoting education for underprivileged children around the world.
Located in the North Carolina heartland, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, established in 1895, is a 2,000-acre property featuring an award-winning spa, eight golf courses, tennis, and activities for the family. Widely known as the cradle of American golf, Pinehurst has hosted more single golf championships than any other site in America, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup Matches, TOUR Championship and many others. It will serve as the site of both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships in 2014.
TIGER WOODS WINS 8TH GARY PLAYER CUP AT WGC-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL
Aug 5, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Tiger Woods clinched his 8th Gary Player Cup
during the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.
As Tiger Woods lifted the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Gary Player Cup for the eighth time in his career, it was a convincing win for the 37-year-old. After managing a seven shot margin of victory at Firestone Country Club, all seems to be going well for the World’s No. 1 heading into the final major of the season.
“I don’t know what it is about this place, it just fits my eye,” said Woods. “I felt good about my game all week. This is five wins now so it’s turning into a good season. I’m really looking forward to the US PGA. I feel like my game is pretty consistent.”
On Sunday, it was conservative play for Woods as he recorded a level-par 70 for a total score of 15-under 265. Par was all he needed to maintain a seven shot lead after distancing himself from the field on Friday with a spectacular 61.
Woods fifth title of the season leaves him just three shy of matching Sam Snead’s record of 82 career wins on the PGA Tour. Moreover, the dominance of Tiger in World Golf Championships (WGC) events continues to be unparalleled. The 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational now leaves Woods with an astounding 18 WGC titles after 42 starts.
Wood’s four-year-old son, Charlie, looks on from the
18th as Woods claims his first victory with his son
attending. (USA Today)
Sunday was not just all numbers. In a touching moment off the 18th green, spectators were offered a rare glimpse into Wood’s family life as his four-year-old son, Charlie, was there for a congratulatory hug as Woods won his first title with his son in attendance.
“This is the first win he’s ever been at,” said Woods after the win. “That’s what makes it special for both of us.”
All eyes will now turn to Tiger, who is vying for his 15th major championship, as players tee up for the PGA Championship at Oak Hill this week.
“Oak Hill is going to be a golf course where we’re going to have to make a lot of pars, there’s no doubt,” said Woods. “If you have an opportunity to make a birdie, you’d better, because there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities to make them. There are a few holes that you can be aggressive on and maybe a few pin locations that if you have the right situation you can be pretty aggressive to it, but otherwise it’s going to be a tough golf course.”
IAN PLAYER’S LIFE AND EXPLOITS AN OPEN BOOK
Jul 31, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Veteran conservationist Ian Player, 86, was in Durban on July 30 for the launch of his biography, Into the River of Life, written by Graham Linscott.
The packed launch, at Exclusive Books in The Pavilion shopping mall in Westville, was attended by many of Player’s former colleagues and likeminded conservationists.
The book tells how he was among the team who brought the rhino back from the brink of extinction in the 1950s by coming up with a way to sedate and move wildlife.
At the launch, David Cook, a retired deputy director of the then Natal Parks Board, said this insight was, in conservation terms, equivalent to man landing on the moon.
The biography spells out how Player conceptualised and started the Dusi Canoe Marathon because he wanted his community to realise what was happening to the river and the wildlife that survived on it.
He paddled the river, determined to create a lasting event so that the thousands who came after him would understand man’s link to the environment and experience its intensity.
There was animated debate after the launch as the audience engaged Player on his view that the sale of rhino horn should be unbanned.
“We have 20 tons in stock and, if we can sell that legally, we will replace the illegal trade and hopefully eradicate poaching. We can sell it at the same price as it is sold on the black market at $70 000 (about R700 000) a kilogram – each horn is about 3kg,” Cook said, answering on Player’s behalf.
On a lighter note Player couldn’t help taking a shot at his “little” brother, golfing great Gary Player, 78, who appeared naked, holding a globe, on the cover of an American magazine earlier this month.
“The bloody cheek of it is unbelievable. After I saw this I decided to do a similar picture and send it to Playgirl but they sent it back and told me I should rather send it to Dr Bandile Mkhize (the head of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) who may be able to hang it in his vulture restaurant (in one of his parks).”
Article courtesy of The Mercury
REVOLUTION GOLF LAUNCHES GARY PLAYER: A GAME FOR LIFE INSTRUCTIONAL SERIES
Jul 31, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
If your golfing mates have seen their handicap improve drastically since July 15, it’s likely that they are one of Revolution Golf’s million members who have been watching Gary Player’s recently released instructional golf media series, Gary Player: A Game For Life. The comprehensive instructional production features the Black Knight on his well-proven approach to lowering handicaps, the same approach that propelled his game to legendary status with 18 Major Championship victories on the PGA Tour and Senior Tour.
“The response from our Revolution Golf subscribers to A Game For Life has been outstanding,” said Justin Tupper, Revolution Golf Co-Founder and CEO. “The series has inspired our members to raise their game with help from one of the greatest golfers in history, and the fact that we sold out of our initial run of the DVD box set well before the release date is a testament to the extraordinary respect Mr. Player has earned among golfers worldwide.”
The three DVD set offers four full hours of specialized instruction from the Black Knight covering all aspects of practice, bunker play, short game, putting, diet, and fitness. In Gary Player: A Game For Life, Player breaks the mold by refusing to focus on ultra-technical micro-analyzed swing instruction that can stump even a tour professional. Instead his focus revolves around the tips and instruction that led to Player’s prolific success as a professional, and more importantly, kept him strong and fit enough to continue enjoying the game at a high level after 60 years of competitive play.
“Our golfers have truly gained from Gary Player’s enthusiastic approach to improving the game of any handicapper,” said Tupper. “There will be plenty more to look out for as we continue to launch exclusive series and high definition video productions featuring the Black Knight.”
The allure of Revolution Golf’s delivery of Gary Player’s first comprehensive instructional series is found in their unique ability to offer subscribers and members exclusive access to streaming HD video content on any device connected to the internet. So while many purists will want the DVD box set, Revolution Golf ensures subscribers can instantly watch Gary Player: A Game For Life and download for repeated viewing while also gaining bonus content subscribers receive via email.
“The Revolution Golf video teaching platform goes well beyond the traditional instructional DVD,” said Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International. “By partnering with Revolution Golf, we are able to offer content from Gary Player: A Game For Life that is not constrained to a TV screen. Videos and daily tips are easily accessible at the golfer’s fingertips wherever they may be, including the course where they will benefit most.”
For more information on Gary Player: A Game For Life and how to order your copy, visit http://www.agameforlife.com.
In the meantime, you can view free instructional videos here.
IGATE AND FORBES TAKE THE IGATE CEO CUP GLOBAL
Jul 31, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
The second iGATE CEO Cup will witness CEOs of Global 2000 companies across the world compete in a first-class championship-style golf tournament on March 21-22, 2014 at the prestigious Pinehurst Golf Resort - Site of the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships
iGATE, the NASDAQ-listed leading outsourcing services company, in association with Forbes, the publisher of Forbes magazine and forbes.com, announced today the second iGATE CEO Cup Golf tournament. This first-class championship-style golf tournament will be held March 21 – 22, 2014, at Course No. 2 and Course No. 8 of the legendary Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in North Carolina, USA. Grand Slam champion Gary Player will co-host the iGATE CEO Cup just as he did for the inaugural tournament last year.
Commenting on the tournament, Gary Player, said, “The iGATE CEO Cup has created a thrilling format for a charitable tournament with CEOs representing many of the world’s top companies playing for a noble cause. Following the inaugural iGATE CEO Cup earlier this year, I am happy to continue my involvement as the tournament now moves to Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, and includes an international field of CEOs from across the globe.”
In 2014, the iGATE CEO Cup will have a global scope as CEOs of Global 2000 companies will be invited to compete for total prize money of $120,000, with the ‘Player of the Tournament’ winning $40,000 - double the amount of the inaugural event. Winners will donate their prize money to the charities of their choice.
“I am looking forward to another successful tournament, and will be interested to see who lifts the world’s largest gold trophy in 2014,” said Player.
Gary Player, an original inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame, is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers in history. The South African native has won 165 tournaments over his career spanning six decades, including nine major championships on the regular tour, and nine major championships on the Senior Tour. He is one of only five golfers – and the only non-American golfer – to win the coveted career Grand Slam.
Recognized around the globe as the Black Knight and the International Ambassador of Golf, Player is also a renowned golf course architect with over 325 design projects on five continents. Black Knight International, the company founded by his son Marc Player, includes Gary Player Design, Player Real Estate, Black Knight Enterprises and The Player Foundation, which has a primary objective of promoting education for underprivileged children around the world.
The World’s Heaviest and Largest Gold Trophy
The iGATE CEO Cup winner’s trophy is the world’s largest and heaviest gold trophy, designed by India-based Guinness World Record holder, Amit Pabuwal. A priceless creation, the 21-inches-tall iGATE CEO Cup is one and one-half times bigger than the FIFA World Cup trophy - the largest trophy so far. The trophy is made with 8.6 kilograms of gold and emblazoned with diamonds and rubies.
Located in the North Carolina heartland, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, established in 1895, is a 2,000-acre property featuring an award-winning spa, eight golf courses, tennis, and activities for the family. Widely known as the cradle of American golf, Pinehurst has hosted more single golf championships than any other site in America, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup Matches, TOUR Championship and many others. It will serve as the site of both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships in 2014.
The inaugural iGATE CEO Cup Golf Tournament, held in January this year, at TPC® Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., hosted CEOs from North American companies, awarding $100,000 to the winners’ favorite charities. Autotrader’s ex-CEO Chip Perry was the winner of the first event, donating his prize money of $20,000 to Watauga (N.C.) Humane Society.
CHILDREN WIN AT GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL PRESENTED BY BERENBERG
Jul 23, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Golfers, celebrities and businessmen joined icon and Grand Slam champion Gary Player to help raise over $100,000 for children’s charities during the annual Gary Player Invitational at London’s historic Wentworth Club on Monday, 22 July.
The European leg of the global Gary Player Invitational series, presented by Berenberg, was won by the team of Grant Horsfield, DJ Spoony, Leslie McCormack and Peter Scrivener as some of the biggest names in golf, entertainment and business came together in aid of BerenbergKids and The Player Foundation.
The field also included Irish singing sensations Ronan Keating and Brian McFadden, former England and British Lions rugby star Martin Bayfield, and professional golfers Carly Booth, Tano Goya, Oliver Fisher, Henrietta Zuel, Helen Alfredsson and Brandon Stone.
The Player Foundation, currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, has raised over $50 million towards improving educational standards and helping children from impoverished communities plagued by disease and crime. Continuing the support for children in need, Monday’s Gary Player Invitational event benefits Demelza Hospice Care for Children, as nominated by the BerenbergKids organization, to care for over 700 life-limited children and their families.
“I am humbled by this response to our charity drive,” said Gary Player. “ From my lifetime spent in golf, I have seen how it is the greatest game in terms of its people and their desire to give back to society. Anytime we can share some of the success we have had, then we are making a big difference in the world.”
“Bringing together friends, businessmen, and our corporate partners to help change the lives of young children makes everything I have achieved in golf more worthwhile.”
The Gary Player Invitational series now travels to China and South Africa in its ongoing bid to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children.
“We are extremely grateful to those who have supported our GPI events over the years,” said Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International. “We have a wonderful family of friends, business partners and sponsors who all contribute significantly to the work of this series and The Player Foundation.”
PLAYER HOPING FOR THE GREATEST MUIRFIELD MEMORY
Jul 17, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
With 10 South Africans in the field of this week’s Open Championship at Muirfield, and the first round set to be played on an emotional 95th birthday for the ailing Nelson Mandela, Gary Player knows exactly what he is wishing for.
“It would be such a thrill to see one of our South African golfers win,” said Player from Muirfield, where he captured the first of the nine Major Championships with his victory in the 1959 Open Championship.
And with several of the South African golfers competing asked by the foreign media to recall their meetings with Mandela, Player also remembered one of his many encounters with the great man.
“Mandela gave such a great gift to South Africa. One year he arrived at the Nelson Mandela Invitational tournament, which we ran for charity. I met him at the helicopter in a golf cart. As he climbed into the cart he said to me, ‘Gary, do you still remember me?’ Here was one of the most famous men in the world, yet he still had such humility. I asked him how he could not be filled with hatred after all he endured. He simply told me that he had spent his time in prison filling his heart with love.”
Player’s time in the Europe will coincide with his hosting of the Gary Player Invitational in Europe at Wentworth on Monday 22 July. This is the second stop of the global charity series that also travels to the United States, China and South Africa featuring golfers, celebrities and businessmen teaming up to raise funds for underprivileged children. This is a special year for the charity series as it celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Player Foundation, the official charity arm of the Grand Slam champion, which has raised over $50 million to aid disadvantaged youth.
“We’ve changed the lives of an enormous number of young people through The Player Foundation’s work,” said Player. “It is one of my greatest passions in life – giving back. That is exactly what we are able to do with the Gary Player Invitational tournaments.”
But for the next few days Player’s focus will be on the Open Championship, which he is predicting will feature a larger than usual number of players in with a chance on Sunday if the fair weather continues.
“If they don’t have a change in the weather there will be a lot of people going into the final round with a chance to win. The course is playing very short and the ball is running a mile. The rough is high, however, but they need some wind.”
South African golfers have enjoyed great success at Muirfield, with Player winning the Open here in 1959 and Ernie Els doing the same in 2002. It’s one of only three Open venues where South Africans have enjoyed multiple victories, the others being Royal Lytham and St Annes and the Old Course at St Andrews.
KEATING BACK TO SUPPORT GARY PLAYER’S CHARITY DRIVE
Jul 16, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
British Lions rugby star Martin Bayfield, along with Irish vocalists Ronan Keating and Brian McFadden are just a few of the well-known celebrities that will be participating in the Gary Player Invitational being held on July 22nd at the Wentworth Golf Club.
The Gary Player Invitational series at Wentworth is the second tournament of the four-tournament Gary Player Invitational series, which also includes tournaments in the United States, China and South Africa.
This year’s Gary Player Invitational series celebrates not only The Player Foundation’s 30th anniversary, but also Gary Player’s 60th year as a professional golfer.
Over the last 30 years, The Player Foundation has been able to raise over $50 million to support underprivileged children around the world. Funds from this year’s Invitational at Wentworth Golf Club will benefit BerenbergKids, which is a partnership with Berenberg that supports the Demelza Hospice Care for Children and its care of over 700 life-limited children and their families.
Like so many others, Ronan Keating is a longstanding supporter of the Gary Player Invitational series and is passionate about the work that is being done by The Player Foundation around the world. Alongside Keating will be fellow Irish vocalist Brian McFadden, who made his debut at the South Africa Gary Player Invitational last year.
In addition to the many celebrities that will be attending the tournament, several professional golfers, including golfer Carly Booth, will also be attendance to show their support. Booth has won multiple Ladies European Tour championships and is a generous supporter of the Gary Player Invitational series.
“We are thrilled to welcome back so many close friends of the Gary Player Invitational Series, and to be able to build new relationships as well,” said Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International.
“The power of this series is its ability to bring together a family of golfers with a shared vision, and to be able to do the kind of good that it has done over the years.”
GOLF’S ECOLABEL RECOGNIZED BY ISEAL
Jul 12, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
In a significant milestone for the golf industry, the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) has been accepted as an ISEAL Alliance associate member, following a rigorous formal evaluation by ISEAL, the global leader in defining credibility in sustainability standards systems. GEO Certified™, the international ecolabel for golf, is the only sustainability standard in the sports industry to achieve this distinction.
Golfing icon Gary Player offered his congratulations to GEO commenting, “All of us in the business of golf should have environmental sensitivity as a top priority in our respective missions. GEO is an organization that provides wonderful leadership through guidelines that help from both an environmental and social standpoint. Many of our golf course design clients benefit greatly from GEO guidance, and the ISEAL association will strengthen these benefits even further. Well done.”
GEO joins a group of just less than two dozen global standards organizations that address a variety of critical sustainability issues such as climate change, biodiversity conservation, living wage, and business resilience through standards and certification systems that promote sustainable practices.
“While golf may not seem an obvious fit amongst the rest of the ISEAL Alliance, the hundreds of thousands of people responsible for managing the land and the businesses that provide for the game have long understood their connection with nature and communities. Golf is a prime example of a managed landscape that can have a net positive impact for people and wildlife,” explains Gordon Shepherd, GEO Board Member and Policy Advisor to WWF International.
In a statement, ISEAL remarked on the importance of shaping the social and environmental impact of recreation and tourism and the strong leadership role that standards can play: “GEO’s focus is on continuous improvement and industry-wide impact in golf, at the intersection of sport and business. Through a third-party assurance system designed to address the environmental and social issues relevant to golf, it intends to see the sport become a preeminent leader in sustainability.”
Speaking about the decision, ISEAL’s Executive Director, Karin Kreider, added, “The work GEO is doing to foster progress in the golf industry is impressive and a sign that sustainability standards can be applied in many sectors to help improve and recognize environmental and social performance.”
ISEAL Alliance associate membership facilitates a transition to full membership and compliance with ISEAL’s internationally recognized Codes of Good Practice. ISEAL members are brought together by their commitment to delivering positive impact, embracing credible practices and improving with like-minded peers.
Jonathan Smith, GEO Chief Executive, shares his thoughts: “We are extremely proud to become an associate member of the ISEAL Alliance alongside such important and respected organizations. GEO Certified™ and the OnCourse™ programme that leads to the ecolabel grew out of a desire six years ago to provide a clearer, more practical and beneficial path to sustainability for golf.
“This milestone is reward to many partners, supporters, and friends who, as part of a growing community dedicated to sustainable golf, have contributed so much knowledge, with such dedication and enthusiasm.
“We hope this platform of credibility, along with a ready made pathway will help springboard golf’s efforts – seeing more clubs in villages, towns and cities around the world continually improving, and more confidently sharing the stories behind their great golf environments.”
GOLF LEGEND GARY PLAYER SHOWS ESPN THE MAG WHAT’S BEHIND HIS SWING
Jul 9, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Why did you decide to pose?
GP: Very few people do what I’m doing at my age. I want to show the world how fit you can be at this age and not just accept being old. I still work on my ranch, I represent a lot of companies, I do golf course design, I’m traveling seven months a year. You’ve got to keep moving. If you sit and watch TV on your backside all day, you’re going to die.
Posing in the magazine is just part of my plan. My big dream now is to help people become healthy. Obesity, as far as I’m concerned, is the greatest problem facing the planet at the moment. What worries me is there is nothing worse than when you see children getting all of these diseases now. Look at our foods; our foods have steroids in them, antibiotics. People are overeating and eating all kinds of fatty foods and high sugars and junk. We have a massive challenge. It’s actually easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than to get the average man to worry about diet and exercise.
What do you do to stay active?
GP: Every day, I do a little bit of stretching. The rest of my workout depends on where I am. On my ranch in South Africa, I have a mountain outside my house, and I built steps up it. I climb those steps in the morning and then go to my gym. Even my wife at 76 climbs it slowly. All my guests love to climb it. It’s a big puzzle: climbing steps, eating properly, exercising, walking a lot, never taking an elevator when I don’t have to.
What is the most important exercise you do?
GP: I used to do 1,000 sit-ups a day; now I’m up to 1,200. I do all different kinds of core exercises: lying on the medicine ball; holding a weight and rocking right to left; crunches with a 100-pound weight on my chest, sit-ups with my legs up. Core is No. 1, but it’s all important. I exercise everything from my head to my toes every time I exercise: neck, shoulders, biceps, forearms, fingers, wrists, stomach, thighs, calves and feet. Most people my age, their feet ache, but I never have a twinge of pain because I’ve exercised my feet for years.
What got you so into fitness?
GP: My brother went to war when he was 17. Before he left, he asked me, “What do you want to do?” I said, “I’m going to become a professional sportsman.” I didn’t know about golf then; I thought I would play rugby or cricket. He said, “Well, you’re very small in stature,” and he bought me some weights. “I might not come back. Will you promise me you’ll exercise?” I did, and I’ve adhered to that for 63 years.
How did the golf community view weight training and exercise when you first started?
GP: I was ridiculed. Never mind teased—ridiculed. The night before the 1965 U.S. Open, I was squatting 325 pounds. And they said, “Gary Player is a nut!” “Gary Player will never last past 35!” “You cannot do weights and play golf!”
What is your diet like?
GP: I’m 70 percent vegetarian. In the morning, I don’t have any fat—no bacon, no sausage, no butter; instead, I have juice. Everyone should get a juicer and put vegetables in it every morning. I think that is the great secret to health. I avoid animal fats and eat a plant-based diet as much as I can. Of course, it’s not easy. I’ll go out, and they’ll have all sorts of food, so I’ll have a third of a piece of chicken. But I’m mostly vegetarian, so I eat a lot of vegetables, fruit, garlic, onions, good nuts (walnuts, almonds, no salted and oiled nuts), whole wheat bread. But 70 percent vegetarian is not good enough. I want to be 85 percent.
The human body is built to live to at least 100. But it’s very hard to live to 100 today, in spite of our medicines. Sometimes more people die from the medicine than from the disease, I believe that emphatically. I don’t take any medicine, neither does my wife, no pills whatsoever. No vitamins, no pills, nothing. But it’s very difficult for people to live to 100 today with the junk that we add to our food. I’m a rancher, and I see what people do to their cattle to make them fat so they can get more money for it. I see what people do to their chickens. How the hell are you going to live until 100 with all the stuff that is in our foods? It’s a miracle to live to 80 today, I think. Of course, there’s a big difference between living and existing—a big difference between living and existing.
Do you allow yourself any junk food?
GP: I’m a normal human being. I allow myself one cup of coffee a day, though I don’t think coffee is good for you. If you try to deny yourself entirely, it won’t work. I have a Snickers when I want one. Lee Trevino teases me. He roomed with me at the U.S. Open once and he said, “I went to make Gary’s bed and next to the pillow were two big Snickers!” I am not a martyr, I love my chocolate and I do everything in great moderation. If you don’t watch what you eat, you’ve had it. A great man in India said to me, “Mr. Player, the less you eat, the longer you live.” In Western society, it’s “eat plenty and die young.”
How does your energy level compare to when you were younger?
GP: I have unbelievable energy for 77. I still work on my ranch. I help the staff mix cement, I help them carry poles; I do all the stuff I did as a young man. I would say I have the energy of an average 45-year-old.
What do Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer make of your physical condition?
GP: I just played in the Legends [in Savannah, Ga.] with Jack. I was walking, and he was in a cart, and he said, “I really admire your fitness. You’re the Energizer bunny.” Arnold never says anything about it, but Jack and I discuss it because I’d like to see him lose 30 pounds and get in shape. He says his legs hurt him and his body is hurting him. I’m continuously talking to him about it.
What would you define as your mental edge?
GP: I never say I need to retire and relax. I relax by what I do; what I do makes me relax. I love being with people. I love working for all these companies. I love getting up at 5 a.m. and working on my ranch and being with the horses. Then I have my 23 grandchildren who make me relax. I’m lucky. I’m blessed that I enjoy my work. My father worked in a gold mine for almost 40 years, 10,000 feet under the ground, making $150 a month. Do you think he enjoyed it? The trouble with Americans is they don’t appreciate America enough. They are just spoiled rotten. The young people want things for nothing. The thing that made this country so great is that people got off a boat from Europe and had nothing, and they built the greatest country in the world through hard work.
How does being in shape help your golf game?
GP: It’s the reason I won 18 championships! I’m the only man who won the career Grand Slam on the regular tour and the Grand Slam on the senior tour. The only reason I did that was my fitness. I think my Grand Slam on the senior tour is better than my regular Grand Slam because I had to do it after the age of 50. Nicklaus tried, Palmer tried, Tom Watson tried, but because I was so fit after 50, I was able to do it. The last nine holes is where a tournament is won, and I wasn’t as strong as Palmer and Nicklaus, but my goodness, I was a lot fitter. And today, I’m 10 times fitter. When you come down the last nine holes, that’s when you’ve got to be fit, that’s when you have to combat the nerves. Nerves are an integral part of the game. On the last nine holes, I’m very comfortable. I’m in a zone. I know I’m strong, I know I’m fit, I know I’m going to be thinking well and making the right decisions under pressure.
What is the most important muscle in your body?
GP: No question: your core. That holds your body together. Most people my age haven’t seen their private parts in 10 years because they have such a big stomach. And they never will again.
What is the biggest challenge you face with your body?
GP: At nearly 78, I’m doing all this exercise, and then I go play golf and twist my body. I visited a chiropractor recently, and he said, “You shouldn’t be able to walk. You’ve hit millions of balls, and your spine shouldn’t be holding up to it, but your core is so strong that you manage to keep going.” Eventually, age gets the better of you, but it certainly hasn’t gotten me yet. It will start sometime, but you can prolong it for a long time.
To vote for Gary Player’s ESPN The Magazine “Body Issue” cover as your favorite, visit here.
Video and interview courtesy of ESPN The Magazine
GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL SET TO CONTINUE CHARITABLE GIVING IN EUROPE
Jun 28, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
The Player Foundation continues celebrations in its 30th anniversary year as the European leg of the Gary Player Invitational (GPI), presented by Berenberg, takes to the historic Wentworth Golf Club outside London on 22 July. In the name of charity, the GPI brings together golfers, celebrities, sports stars and prominent businesspeople for a union of golf and giving that focuses on the aid of underprivileged children.
“It is with great pleasure that our Gary Player Invitational event returns once again to Wentworth,” said Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International. “In the 30 years of The Player Foundation, we have been able to make a significant difference in the lives of many, many young children. Great sponsors like Berenberg Bank, Rolex and Callaway Golf, and other generous participants continue to drive the success of our GPI event in the UK.”
“We are glad to support The Player Foundation and to continue the longstanding partnership between Gary Player and our bank,” said Hendrik Riehmer, Managing Partner of Berenberg. Gary Player is ambassador of the Berenberg Masters, one of the largest European Senior Tour tournaments.
This year, the European GPI will partner BerenbergKids, a charity started by the presenting sponsor born out the desire to give back to children in their local communities throughout Germany and the UK. The BerenbergKids organisation supports underprivileged youth in the UK through the Demelza Hospice Care for Children that cares for over 700 life-limited children and their families. All funds raised by the Europe GPI will assist the efforts of Demelza Hospice Care for Children.
“I have found it to be of the utmost importance to help underprivileged children around the world,” said golfing icon and GPI host Gary Player. “The support of BerenbergKids for Demelza Hospice Care for Children is very touching and a cause that hits very close to home as I grew up in a family that experienced the loss of a loved one through cancer. I know the traumatic impact that can have on the entire family.”
For the GPI tournament at Wenthworth’s Edinburgh Course, designed by Player, the golfing legend will be joined by professional golfers Ian Woosnam, Tony Johnstone, Helen Alfredsson and Hennie Zuel. Celebrities showing their support for the event are recording artists Ronan Keating and Brian McFadden, rugby footballer Martin Bayfield, as well as television personalities Dougie Donnelly, Naga Munchetty, Anton Du Beke and Chris Hollins.
The European leg of the Gary Player Invitational (GPI) is just the second stop of the global GPI series, the world’s leading charity golf series, which also travels to the United States, China and South Africa. Through the Gary Player Invitational events, The Player Foundation has raised over $50 million in support of underprivileged children, the betterment of impoverished communities, and the expansion of educational opportunities around the world since 1983.
LEGENDARY GOLFER GARY PLAYER TO APPEAR IN ESPN THE MAGAZINE’S FIFTH ANNUAL “BODY ISSUE”
Jun 26, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
ESPN The Magazine announced yesterday that legendary golfer Gary Player will be featured in the lineup of athletes for their annual “Body Issue.” At age 77, Player, who is widely regarded as a pioneer in sports fitness and Golf’s Global Ambassador, will be the oldest athlete in the feature’s five-year history. The Body Issue celebrates the best bodies across the world of sports and will be released on July 12.
“Fitness has been a passion, a way of life and one of the keys to my success in golf,” said Player, who has won 165 golf championships worldwide, including nine Majors. “When ESPN approached me with this unique opportunity to show off my body that has served me so well over my 60 year career, I agreed in the hope that it would be inspiration for others to live well.” The Black Knight went on to say he was “honoured to do so.”
Player will appear in the 2013 edition along with 20 other professional and amateur athletes across a number of sports. This year’s subjects include San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, Washington Wizards’ star John Wall, Marlins’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton, NHRA funny car driver Courtney Force and professional soccer player Sydney Leroux.
“Being included in this magazine along with some of today’s young superstar athletes has been an enjoyable experience,” said Player. “I hope my appearance demonstrates the importance and value of maintaining your body and making a lifelong commitment to staying fit and healthy.”
For more information about ESPN The Magazine’s fifth annual “Body Issue,” visit ESPN.com/BodyIssue.
GOLF VISIONARIES CHRONICLED IN ONE-HOUR CBS SPORTS SPECIAL
Jun 25, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
While golf remains steeped in rich history and tradition, it also has been adapted to modern influences through the foresight and creativity of the game’s leading innovators.
PGA TOUR 2013: Visionaries presented by Visionworks, a one-hour CBS Sports special that airs Sunday, June 30 at 2 p.m. ET, chronicles the stories of some of the game’s most creative minds who have helped define golf’s modern revolution.
Featured in the special are:
Gary Player – The Black Knight was golf’s first global player. The ‘wee laddie’ from South Africa stood toe-to-toe with legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and collected more than 165 worldwide wins, including nine major championships. Player also revolutionized fitness and travel in golf, which has a lasting impact even on today’s PGA TOUR stars.
Pete Dye – The World Golf Hall of Fame course designer introduced art and intrigue into his designs. Dye’s penchant for visual intimidation mixed with classic style and risk-reward elements make him one of the today’s most successful designers. Dye’s crowning achievement is TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS Championship. This inspiring design resonates most with its famed “Island Green;” the most distinctive and talked about hole in the world.
Tiger Woods – The first billion dollar athlete, Woods burst onto the sports landscape in 1996, with his now famous “Hello World” press conference. Now 37, Woods’ sphere of influence is unmatched in any sport. He has virtually single-handedly changed golf … from athleticism, marketing, nutrition, and sheer passion. Woods became the most recognizable athlete in the world and many of today’s young stars on the PGA TOUR credit Tiger with making golf a sport that other athletes want to play.
Greg Norman – During the decade of the 1980s, Norman spent a then-record 331 straight weeks as the No. 1 player in the world. His 20 PGA TOUR wins include 2 major championships, but it is his visionary style both on and off the course that truly changed the game. “The Shark” was one of the first and most successful golf brands unto himself, and he parlayed that into a multifaceted, multi-million dollar business that spread throughout the golf industry. Through the many ups and downs in his brilliant career the Norman name speaks for itself.
The show also will showcase other visionaries like former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman, who helped transform the PGA TOUR and golf from a niche sport, rarely seen on television, to one of the biggest sports and entertainment brands in the world. Beman also framed the model used today for all PGA TOUR tournaments to give back to charity, which is approaching $2 billion in all-time donations. There’s also legendary CBS Sports executive producer Frank Chirkinian, whose innovations such as microphones on the course, multiple and varied camera angles, and scores in relation to par, helped bring the modern game of golf to the television masses.
PGA TOUR 2013: Visionaries presented by Visionworks has been produced in high definition by PGA TOUR Entertainment and will air prior to CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the AT&T National on Sunday, June 30, at 2 p.m. ET.
NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE TO BECOME PART OF RACE TO DUBAI
Jun 24, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
The European Tour has further strengthened its association with South Africa following the announcement that the Nedbank Golf Challenge will be co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour on The 2014 Race to Dubai.
In an exciting restructuring of the former 12-man event, the Nedbank Golf Challenge, taking place at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City from December 5-8, 2013, will feature one of the largest prize funds in golf and a field boasting 30 of the world’s best players.
The US$6.5 million tournament will count towards The Race to Dubai and Sunshine Tour Order of Merit. The champion will receive a cheque for US$1.25 million, and 30th place will take home US$100,000.
The new selection criteria gives exemption to the leading ten players within the top 30 of both The 2013 Race to Dubai and the 2013 FedEx Cup standings, plus the winners of the 2012 Asian Tour Order of Merit, the 2012 Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit and the 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
There will also be an opportunity to qualify for the tournament, or gain exemption through the SA Open Championship and Alfred Dunhill Championship, which will be played in the weeks preceding the Nedbank Golf Challenge. See below for full eligibility criteria.
“I think with this new structure we have one of the most exciting fields in world golf,” said Alastair Roper, the Tournament Director of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“We have provided opportunities for the best in world golf to have their shot at qualifying for Africa’s Major. We’ll also have incredible momentum right up to the week before the Nedbank Golf Challenge, with players battling it out for a place in our field.
“And it’s a credit to our long time sponsor in Nedbank that we are able to increase the field and still offer such an attractive payout in prize money as we did when we were still a 12 man field.
“I have no doubt that we have strengthened the Nedbank Golf Challenge as one of the premier tournaments in world golf and the number one event in its time slot.”
Thulani Sibeko, Group Executive; Marketing, Communications and Corporate Affairs at Nedbank, said: “Since 1981 the Nedbank Golf Challenge has remained at the forefront of world golf and has become an iconic event on the South African sporting calendar.
Through the enhancements to Africa’s Major we continue to make world-class golf happen and bring the world’s best golfers to Sun City.”
Keith Waters, European Tour Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy, said: “The European Tour has long had an excellent relationship with South Africa and the Sunshine Tour, and this news will further strengthen that bond.
“The Nedbank Golf Challenge is an exciting addition to The European Tour International Schedule and to have such a lucrative purse on offer very early in the 2014 season gives a new dimension to The Race to Dubai.
“We are grateful to the support of Nedbank, Sun International and the Sunshine Tour and look forward to a fantastic tournament in December.”
Selwyn Nathan, Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, said: “The increased opportunity for our players is a major asset for the Sunshine Tour in terms of inspiring our current stars and also attracting other players to our tour.
“The Sunshine Tour has always prided itself on the fact that it can open doors for a player to compete in some of the biggest tournaments in world golf, and the 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge will bring about an exciting conclusion to our season.”
Roper added: “We will continue to ensure that the tournament and sponsors receive worldwide exposure, and that Sun City and, more importantly, South Africa continues to be positioned as a world-class tourist destination.”
2013 NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
(a) Defending Champion.
(b) The winner of the 2012 Sunshine Tour Official Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above.
(c) The leading 10 available players not otherwise exempt in (a) or (b) above from within the top 30 only of the final 2013 Fedex Cup.
(d) The leading 10 available players not otherwise exempt in (a), (b) or (c) above from within the top 30 only of the final 2013 Race to Dubai.
(e) South African players to be selected in order of their position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of Monday 18 November 2013, such that the total number of South African players qualifying through (a) to (d) combined as at the conclusion of the 2013 Race to Dubai is 5* in total.
(f) The winner of the 2012 Asian Tour Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above.
(g) The winner of the 2012 Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above.
(h) The winner of the 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia’s Order of Merit if not otherwise exempt above.
(i) The winner of the 2013 South African Open if not otherwise exempt above (A blank entry will be filed for this winner).
(j) The winner of the 2013 Alfred Dunhill Championship if not otherwise exempt above (A blank entry will be filed for this winner).
(k) The balance of the field will be completed as follows:
(i) The player ranked number one on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit as of Monday 25 November 2013, if not otherwise exempt above.
(ii) The player ranked second on the 2013 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit as of Monday 25 November 2013, if not otherwise exempt above.
(iii) Players selected in ranking order from the OWGR as of Monday 18 November 2013.
* After close of entries, should a player in Categories (c) or (d) withdraw, they will be replaced by the next eligible player from within their category, up until 18h00 (local time in Sun City) on Sunday 1 December. Thereafter a withdrawal from these categories will be replaced by the next eligible player from category (k) above. A withdrawal from any other category after close of entries will be replaced by the next eligible player from category (k) above.
Article Courtesy of the European Tour.
IAN PLAYER’S PLAN TO SAVE THE SOUTH AFRICAN RHINO
Jun 12, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Five years ago, just before the rhino poaching crisis exploded, conservationist Ian Player, brother of golfing legend Gary Player, had a dream that still haunts him.
Player, now 86, has reached the point in life where he should be taking things easy after more than six decades of service to nature conservation. Instead, his cellphone rings every day with more bad news from colleagues in all corners of the country, who report the discovery of yet another rhino corpse butchered for its horns. He is also besieged with requests for television interviews, or to give speeches on what is to be done to stop the slaughter of one of the world’s most iconic wild animal species.
This week, wrapped up against the winter chill at his home Phuzamoya (drink the air) in the Midlands, Player says he reached a point in 2007 at which he thought he had done more or less everything he could to advance the cause of nature conservation and the future security of rhinos.
Then he had a dream.
The former Natal Parks Board game ranger, who first came across a rhino in Imfolozi Game Reserve in the early 1950s, places great importance on dreams and he has been keeping a meticulous record of them for 35 years.
“This dream was of a young white rhino which came to lie down next to me, with its head on my shoulder… That does not need too much interpretation.”
Since then, rhino poaching statistics soared rapidly. Up to that point, national poaching deaths had been limited to around 20 rhinos a year.
In 2007, only 13 rhinos were poached. But in 2008 the figure climbed steadily to 80 deaths, and by 2010 it shot up to 333 in a single year.
Not even halfway into this year, the death toll has reached at least 367, with the year-end total likely to far exceed last year’s record level of 668 killings.
Player recalls that dozens of Thai and Vietnamese nationals (including some women prostitutes) were implicated in a series of “pseudohunts” before 2008 in which horns were collected illegally for the black market trade by exploiting legal loopholes in South Africa’s rhinohunting permit scheme, which allows bona-fide hunters to export rhino trophy heads to their home countries. “When you look back at the statistics, poaching was much lower when those pseudo-hunts were happening. But as soon as they were stopped, the poaching just went mad. So depriving the market of horn had the effect of increasing the illegal killing.”
Yet how can a conservationist who has devoted most of his life to rhino conservation now advocate relaxing the global ban on rhino horn trading?
“The relationship between conservation and economics is very complex, but horn trading is not new. As far back as the 1960s the Natal Parks Board was selling horns on the open market in Dar es Salaam.”
Rhino horn had been used in traditional Eastern medical potions for thousands of years. Traditional beliefs were deep-seated and this demand could not be eradicated overnight.
“Now we have to find a way to stop the callous and barbaric hunting that is happening.”
“Yes, of course there are all sorts of dangers with allowing some form of controlled trade. That is inevitable with a commodity of such value. But we also have to face the reality that the government is running out of money. Is there another way to stop what is happening? Here (with horns from legal stockpiles and horns from natural rhino deaths) we have a source of revenue which can supply money to keep the parks in better shape, and ultimately eliminate illegal killing. Nobody can really say until we have tried it,” he said, acknowledging that the proposal was seen by many as a risky gamble.”
Yet, he points to the role of economic factors (including the legal hunting industry) in the remarkable success story of rhino conservation in South Africa, in stark contrast to most other nations in Africa where rhinos have been decimated in their tens of thousands despite a global trade ban of three decades.
In 1897, there were only about 50 southern white rhinos left in the world – all of which were confined to the Imfolozi Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.
By the 1960s, when Player was about to become chief conservator for the Zululand region, this small nucleus population had increased steadily to the point where there was not enough space left in the reserve for them to multiply further.
Over the next few decades, hundreds of white rhinos were translocated to other game reserves in South Africa as part of Operation Rhino. The strategy was to shift and multiply the eggs from a single basket. Most went to Kruger National Park to create what is currently the largest wild rhino population in the world. But eventually, all the suitable reserves were re-stocked and the government did not have enough money to buy more land for conservation, and the former Natal Parks Board proposed allowing legal hunting of a limited number of rhino every year to give this species an economic value and thereby encourage private land-owners to set aside more land for rhino conservation.
Excess rhino from the KZN reserves were also sold at yearly auctions.
“In 1970 when we put rhino on the hunting list it was abhorrent to many of us – but it was the only thing to do at the time.”
“And it was very advantageous, because (once hunting was allowed) the rhino population exploded! What a great irony! Because it was hunters who were responsible for the near extinction of the species in the 19th century.”
“I did not like the thought of even one rhino being shot,” he said, but by 2010 South Africa’s population of rhinos had multiplied to more than 20 000, compared with less than 100 at the end of the 19th century. And nearly a quarter of those rhinos were now on private land.”
Millions of hectares of privately owned agricultural land once used for cattle ranching had also been turned over to wildlife ranching and conservation, largely due to the economic value of eco-tourism and hunting.
“I know that hunting raises a lot of controversy but there are now about 10 000 licensed (hunting) guides in Poland alone. Whether people like it or not, that is why there is still game left in Europe.”
“So we have to go with what has worked so far. Back in the 1960s, game was seen as vermin. Any wild animal which poked its nose outside our reserves would be shot on sight because there was a huge hatred of wildlife and a fear of disease.”
But many decades later the wildlife ranching industry was firmly established because setting aside land for wild animals, both for tourism and hunting, had become economically attractive to private landowners.
Trying to convince member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in 2016 to accept a proposal for controlled trade in rhino horns was likely to be “one hell of a battle”.
“We are dealing with very sentimental issues, but there is a distinction between sentiment on one hand, and emotion and spirituality on the other.”
A major difficulty was that South Africa had to convince 177 other member states of Cites that controlled horn trading could help to stem poaching.
“It boils down to the fact that some countries have next to nothing in terms of wildlife, and yet have an equal vote to us at Cites – yet since 1895 we have struggled so hard for the very survival of our parks.”
Player acknowledges the fact that he is not an economist and cannot predict exactly how a limited trade in rhino horns might work.
However, he advocates a central selling organisation similar in structure to the model used by the De Beers group to sell diamonds.
On fears that opening the door to a legal trade could fuel an unsustainable level of demand from the East, Player said he believed demand could be limited by raising prices.
On fears that it would be impossible to distinguish between legal and illegal horns stocks, he maintains the Onderstepoort Veterinary Genetics Laboratory in Pretoria has developed a system of DNA rhino horn “finger-printing” to close such loopholes.
But whatever the outcome of the Cites discussions, Player’s passion to ensure the survival of rhinos remains undimmed.
“There are people who say the government is not doing enough to save rhinos, and there are others who say there is too much focus on these animals at a time when so many people are still hungry.
“But we all have a duty to the other forms of life we share this planet with. Some species have also become symbolic, and the white rhino is definitely one such species in coming back from the brink of extinction.
“I don’t believe our generation has the right to just let it go.”
Article Courtesy of The Mercury and Tony Carnie.
LA LIGA LEGEND LUIS FIGO APPOINTED AS NEW LAUREUS AMBASSADOR
Jun 6, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Luis Figo with Gabriel Masfurroll, President of the Spanish Laureus
Luis Figo, the Portuguese football legend, has become the newest Laureus Ambassador.
The prestigious football player played at some of the world’s greatest football clubs including Sporting Lisbon, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan, where he wona total of 22 tittles. He was also a Portuguese National Team football player, and played 127 matches and scored 32 goals.
Also, apart of being included in the FIFA 100, he was rewarded with the Ballon d’Or in the year 2000 and with the FIFA World Player in 2001, both, the biggest individual football awards.
As a Laureus Ambassador, the football player commits himself to contribute to several projects associated with the Laureus Foundation in Spain. These projects all use sport as a tool for social change , and include objectives such as the improvement of education opporunties, tackling social exclusion and working against childhood obesity.
Luis Figo, who has his own foundation in the form of the Fundaçao Luis Figo, told Laureus.com: “It is an honour to collaborate in such an interesting and useful project for the Spanish society and to be part of the big Laureus Spain Foundation family.”
Meanwhile, Gabriel Masfurrol, the Laureus Spain Foundation Chairman, said: “We are delighted to count on the support of an athlete of Luis Figo’s standing, who is going to be of great value to all the projects that we are developing in Spain.”
Luis Figo joins the prestigious list of Laureus Ambassadors that includes golfing icon Gary Player, and other figures of the football world such as the Spanish National Team manager, Vicente del Bosque, and Chelsea FC football player Juan Mata.
For more information please contact:
Gerald Meier, Head of Global Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 2749
PLAYER AND IFONLY COME TOGETHER TO BUILD ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EXPERIENCES FOR CHARITY
May 30, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player Foundation
Golfing legend Gary Player and The Player Foundation have joined forces with the innovative luxury experience e-commerce site IfOnly aiming to connect people with their luminary heroes and in the name of charity to help those less fortunate. Player joins the star personalities from the worlds of food, wine, tennis, golf, and more to raise funds and awareness through once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
For every item or experience sold, a donation will be made to the charity of each participating luminary’s choice. In honor of The Player Foundation celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2013, sales of experiences and memorabilia items from golfing icon Gary Player will be donated to Player’s namesake Foundation that seeks to provide aid and education to underprivileged children around the world.
“As we move forward in the 30th year of The Player Foundation, we are happy to have Gary Player and the Foundation join the IfOnly family,” said Black Knight International CEO Marc Player. “IfOnly is a truly exciting new platform that brings together luminaries under a common cause for charity, and we look forward offering exceptional experiences and memorabilia items to help underprivileged children around the world.”
The IfOnly team works tirelessly to make impossible connections possible and to curate offers that amaze and inspire. Unique experiences range the gamut featuring over 35 luminaries and benefiting over 20 charities covering important issues including cancer research, youth mentoring, and many more.
“We are incredibly excited to work with Gary Player and to help raise money for The Player Foundation,” said IfOnly Founder and CEO Trevor Traina. “His experiences on IfOnly are incredible opportunities for true golf aficionados to connect with this legend while supporting a worthy cause.”
The initial experience offering from the Black Knight features a two-day “Live Like Player” experience at Player’s Jupiter Island, Florida home with the Grand Slam winner following his everyday routine. Memorabilia items benefitting the Foundation include a signed and framed image of Player’s historic 1965 U.S. Open victory where he clinched the Grand Slam, infamous black and white pants worn at the Open Championship as a protest to the South African apartheid, and an autographed book collection.
Other IfOnly luminaries in the world of golf include Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Michael Allen, Tom Lehman, Larry Mize and Scott Simpson.
For priority access to the IfOnly offerings, please use the access code PLAYER to bypass a membership waiting period.
PLAYER PREVIEWS THE U.S. OPEN: SURPRISING CHALLENGE AWAITS AT MERION GOLF CLUB
May 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Gary Player as he clinched the Grand Slam with his
1965 U.S. Open victory
I often think back to 1965 when I captured the Grand Slam with a victory at the U.S. Open at Bellerive Country Club. Until that point, the U.S. Open was the elusive Major in my career because of the consistent and grueling test that it offers year after year. Now that the 113th edition of the Major Championship returns to the historic Merion Golf Club, I can assure you that once again it will be a test for the professionals, but offer an exciting tournament from both a course perspective and also because of the current electric state of the player field.
The club, just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will be hosting its 5th U.S. Open, but it will be the first return in 32 years. I had the pleasure of competing on the course in 1971 and 1981, and I will be the first to tell you that Merion is a real test. I think that today’s top tour professionals will find the same despite coming in at just under 7,000 yards.
It will be a different experience for most competitors. Merion is not the typical modern U.S. Open venue. It is short and it is a par-70 course. That should mean nothing to the pros though. Merion produces difficult holes far beyond their length. The “bombers” on tour will have no advantage. The advantage lies in accuracy off the tee, putting, and overall course management.
I remember back to 1971 when Lee Trevino won in a playoff against Jack Nickalus. The winning score was even. The last time that Merion hosted the tournament in 1981, rains before the tournament had softened the course and lead to much lower scores. David Graham won his second Major Championship that year after a spectacular final round where he hit every green and just missed one fairway. That is how you win tournaments, but that is especially true at Merion.
Player taps in a short putt during the 1971 U.S. Open at
I am predicting a seasoned player to take away this year’s U.S. Open since precision is key. Graeme McDowell, Tim Clark, Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy all have a great chance with their knack for driving accuracy. Players will need to steer clear of the rough that Merion prides itself on as a real test, especially with its narrow fairways.
With a great deal of variety taking place from hole to hole, the greens will also play to the seasoned players. Great putters like Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickleson will benefit from the non-uniform greens at Merion.
Anyone who tells you that Tiger Woods is not an overwhelming favorite; I do not know what recent tournaments they have been watching. I am certain he will be somewhere on the leaderboard come June 16.
Some of the greatest golfers in history have made their mark on the sport at Merion, including Ben Hogan in 1950 and Bobby Jones in 1930. Now, we can only watch as history unfolds at the Pennsylvania club once again. Let’s hope for a good one.
GO AWAY WITH… GARY PLAYER
May 28, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Before he turned 30, golf legend Gary Player became the third person to win the Grand Slam. In 1974, after winning 165 tournaments, Player was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Player and his wife, Vivienne, live on a stud farm outside of Colesberg, South Africa. They also spend time at their home on Florida’s Jupiter Island.
Q. Where are your favorite golf courses?
A. I have had the good fortune to play on the best courses in the world. Some of my all-time favorites are Augusta National (in Georgia), St. Andrews (Scotland), Cypress Point (California) and South Africa’s Blair Atholl and the Links at Fancourt (both by Gary Player Design). They are all fantastic, beautiful courses. Another favorite (that I designed) is Leopard Creek Country Club, which is also a great course. The surroundings are unparalleled by any other golf course in the world. Leopard Creek borders the Kruger National Park where you can walk out to the veranda and see acres of space with wild animals and not a light, or a person, to be seen. I designed the course in such a way that you can often see crocodile, hippo, antelope, buffalo and wild boar, either on the course itself or in or next to the river running alongside several holes.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Our family owns a beach house in Plettenburg Bay where we spend each Christmas and New Year’s with the whole family. Plettenburg Bay has great surfing, some of the best walking trails, wonderful marine life, including whales and dolphins, zero pollution and friendly people. Plett is a place where you just enjoy nature and all its beauty. It is a fantastic place for a holiday, but many people do not realize that this kind of countryside exists.
Mazagan Beach Resort
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. While it might not be untapped, Morocco has really become a wonderful place to visit. The country is doing fantastic things for tourism, and golf tourism is really taking off. We have designed two great courses in Morocco — Mazagan Beach Resort and Mogador — that are truly a pleasure to visit. The city of Marrakesh is not to be missed. I always enjoy the adventure of visiting the city’s souks. Overall, I think that places throughout Africa are overlooked. Another wonderful destination is the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the world’s largest delta. There the wildlife is like a huge melting pot with lions, elephants, water buffalo, hippos and crocodiles all living quite close together.
Q. What was your first major trip?
A. I remember my first overseas trip was to Cairo, Egypt, in 1953, shortly after I turned professional to play in the Egyptian Open. That trip was my first real taste of a high-level competition. Egypt is spectacular and I have enjoyed returning ever since.
Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. Traveling is an education in itself. There are so many amazing people that I have met in my 15 million miles and 60 years of traveling. Each different place and every different person that you speak with teaches you something new. Other than the education, I have perfected the art of preventing jet lag. That is certainly something that has become necessary over the years.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I am traveling 12 months out of the year, so often my favorite weekend getaways are simply relaxing on our stud farm or visiting with our 22 grandchildren. I do love to visit Scotland for a bit of golf and relaxation as well.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. That is tough, because there are so many truly fantastic cities around the world. But, I have always loved Singapore, Shanghai, London, Cape Town and San Diego.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. San Diego and Southern California. I designed a course there called Steele Canyon and was amazed by the similarities to South Africa. The climate, landscape and even the food reminded me of home.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I have always wanted to visit and have an audience with the Dali Lama in Tibet. I have been so impressed by the way he preaches peace and love — two things that the world needs more of. It would be quite the experience to put on their traditional robes and do a bit of chanting and meditation while there too.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I am rarely without my golf clubs, but tend to pack lightly otherwise. Besides my club, must-have items would be Rooibos herbal tea, a small jar on Manuka Honey and a couple sets of black outfits, with one to workout in as well.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. It is no secret that my love affair of breeding thoroughbred racehorses rivals golf. I have always toyed with the idea of taking a year to visit all the great horse races around the world with my horsey friends. From wearing tails and a top hat to the Royal Ascot, to the other great races around the world, including the Breeders Cup, Prix de l’arc de Triomphe, Dubai World Cup, the Triple Crown and the Melbourne Cup. … That would be a dream, but I can hardly find a weekend free, let alone an entire year.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?
A. When I am traveling, I do not indulge much. I do have a bit of a sweet tooth for Toblerone, though.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I love to be able to immerse myself in the culture of each new place that I visit. I am a bit of a history buff and I try to learn as much as possible from each new destination. In addition to focusing on the culture, I will always research local gyms or other exciting ways to get exercise. When traveling or on vacation with the family, I still try to stay active and in my workout routine as much as possible.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. My best vacation memories are when the entire Player family gets together at Plettenburg Bay over Christmas and New Year’s. When I say the entire Player family that means my six children, 22 grandchildren, their grandparents and family friends. It usually ends up around 40 people. Every time we all get together is so special and cherished. Plett is beautiful so we will walk on the beach, have picnics out under the great oak trees and just enjoy each other’s company. That is a holiday that you cannot beat.
Article courtesy of Jae-Ha Kim and Tribune Media Services, Inc.
GLENARBOR GOLF CLUB CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY WITH COURSE DESIGNER GARY PLAYER
May 24, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
GlenArbor Golf Club hosted a celebration to commemorate the ten year anniversary of the formal clubhouse opening. In attendance were golf legend, Gary Player, the golf course architect, many special guests who were instrumental in fulfilling the vision of the Club and GlenArbor members. Player, a GlenArbor Club member, was honored at Saturday’s celebration.
Regarding the occasion, Player stated, “It is most appropriate that I come back here today to a place I absolutely love. I vividly remember first arriving in Bedford and seeing the great natural beauty and potential of this property. To return now and see this magnificent institution and what it has turned out to be over the short number of years is quite remarkable.”
Having designed 325 golf courses around the world, GlenArbor’s signature course is one that Player ranks among the finest. Truly unique, the GlenArbor playing, practice, and golf academy facilities are an accomplishments for both their beauty and architecture. GlenArbor Chairman, Grant Gregory, gave credit to Gary Player for the initial idea of creating the 27 hole combined golf courses, including a unique teaching facility with a double sided range, state-of-the-art heated indoor facility, and short game practice center: “Gary has been instrumental in building the GlenArbor Golf Academy where players can practice year round, honing their skills with the support of an exceptional professional staff.”
Mr. Gregory stated, “Gary is a man of great vision. His idea of maximizing what God gave us - land, trees, soil, and water, into a beautiful experience is a remarkable achievement. Gary will always be part of the fabric and be given credit for the spirit of GlenArbor.” This spirit encompasses the four formal principles upon which GlenArbor was founded: Honoring the Traditions of Golf, Stewardship of the Land and Conservation, committing to Lifetime Learning and “Giving Back.”
THRACIAN CLIFFS TAKES CENTER STAGE AT 50TH VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
May 23, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
The stunning Thracian Cliffs, a Gary Player Signature Design, during this
year’s Volvo World Match Play Championship [Volvo in Golf]
As the European Tour hosted its first tournament in Bulgaria, the historic Volvo World Match Play Championship found itself at its most dramatic setting yet. Gary Player Design’s much acclaimed Thracian Cliffs played host to the famous match play championship celebrating its 50th year in 2013. The bold move to relocate the tournament to the emerging golf country and relatively new course paid off as the tournament has been lauded a resounding success.
“Our design at Thracian Cliffs was one of the most exciting opportunities and sites that we have ever been given and I am truly proud of the course we’ve created,” said golfing legend Gary Player. “To see 24 of the world’s top players compete at Thracian Cliffs was an absolute thrill, and what a fantastic tournament it turned out to be.”
Upon arrival, players were mesmerized by the Gary Player Signature Course strewn along the white cliffs of the Black Sea. The daunting track, featuring numerous holes against the breathtaking cliffs, offered quite the challenge for competitors in the merit-based field. In the end it was Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, in his first trip to Bulgaria, who rose to the occasion and rallied over Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee in the final match to win three of four holes from the 12th to claim title in the €3,000,000 event.
The 24 player field for the 2013 Volvo World Match Play Championship
gathered prior to the 50th playing of the historic tournament
[Volvo in Golf]
“The team at Thracian Cliffs, the Bulgarian Golf Association, IMG, and Volvo all deserve to be congratulated on a successful event,” said Scott Ferrell, Gary Player Design President. “I remember visiting the spectacular raw site several years ago, and to watch the design, construction and evolution of the golf course to the point of hosting this championship was very satisfying. This was quite a significant event for Thracian Cliffs and Bulgarian golf.”
Sentiments regarding the beauty and challenge of the course were echoed across the 24 player field throughout the week. Brett Rumford commented, “This is a phenomenal golf course. It’s incredible, breathtaking. On some holes it just makes your feet tingle.”
“It’s a stunning location,” said tournament champion Graeme McDowell. “It’s a really well designed golf course - a fantastic match play layout.”
As professional golf’s most enduring match play event, the rich history of the event was evidenced by the company that Graeme McDowell joined etched on the Volvo World Match Play trophy. Legendary names include Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, and of course Thracian Cliffs designer Gary Player.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the event is the expansion of historically significant tournaments to emerging golf markets. While Bulgaria might not have previously been thought of as a golf or vacation destination, holiday takers are now savvy to the incredible experiences offered by the Southeastern European country.
Gary Player drives to the challenging 8th green at Thracian Cliffs
that features a 40 metre drop in elevation
The decision by title sponsor Volvo to embark on Bulgaria may seem surprising, but aligns with their recent strategy to bring the famous match play event to geographic locations of interest. The Swedish manufacturing company had previously worked with the European Tour to bring high-stakes tournaments to emerging locations when they took the first European Tour event to China for the 2010 Volvo China Open at the Gary Player-designed Suzhou Jinji Lake International Golf Club.
Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management said, “At Volvo, we take great pride in being innovative, original and forward thinking and we take enormous satisfaction that we are the first to bring a full European Tour event to Bulgaria with our partners IMG. Thracian Cliffs provided a wonderful stage for this great tournament and everything about the venue was wonderfully received by the players and we feel our 130th professional golf tournament has been a great triumph.”
Five-time winner of the prominent World Match Play Championship at the Wentworth Club, Gary Player commented, “It’s good for the game of golf that a newly established project like Thracian Cliffs can have the opportunity to show the great quality of the course to a worldwide audience through hosting a European Tour event. Volvo and IMG must be congratulated for taking this famous Championship to Bulgaria and for a highly successful event. Well done.”
WIDE PRAISE FOR BULGARIA AND THRACIAN CLIFFS FOLLOWING THE SUCCESSFUL WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
May 20, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course DesignEvents & Tournaments
Graeme McDowell during his final match against Thailand’s Thongchai
Jaidee at the Gary Player-designed Thracian Cliffs [Volvo in Golf]
May 20 (Reuters) - Bulgaria, without a player in the world’s top 1,500, has been widely praised after hosting the World Match Play Championship - its first major golf tournament.
The $3.85 million event, staged at the picturesque Black Sea resort of Thracian Cliffs near Kavarna last week, broke new ground in the largely untapped golfing market of Eastern Europe.
“It has been a fantastic week and I have enjoyed it very much,” said Graeme McDowell, who won his eighth European Tour title on Sunday.
“It will sound easy for me to say because I am standing here with a magnificent trophy in my hands, but I think if you ask all of the players who came here this week they will all tell you how enjoyable it has been to come to Bulgaria.
“Bulgaria is obviously a fairly new golfing country but hopefully we have helped start something special in this beautiful land and we can see a lot more people taking up the game here and really enjoying the sport,” he added to reporters.
Bulgaria, which was named the undiscovered golf destination of 2012 by the International Golf Travel Market trade show, is so strapped for professionals that former soccer internationals Krasimir Balakov and Hristo Stoichkov participate in local tournaments.
However, more home-grown players could be forthcoming after competitors and officials hailed the spectacular Thracian Cliffs course, which offers a view of the Black Sea from every hole and was designed by South African nine-times major winner Gary Player.
It has been described as the ‘Pebble Beach of Europe’, a reference to the championship links in California.
“It’s a fantastic golf course with a spectacular view,” said South Africa’s Thomas Aiken, who reached the semi-finals. “It is also a great course to play, so all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the week.”
Per Ericsson, president of Volvo Event Management , said: “At Volvo, we take great pride and we take enormous satisfaction that we are the first to bring a full European Tour event to Bulgaria with our partners IMG,” he said.
“Thracian Cliffs provided a wonderful stage for this great tournament and everything about the venue was wonderfully received by the players and we feel our 130th professional golf tournament has been a great triumph.”
Article courtesy of Reuters. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Mark Meadows)
MCDOWELL PRAISES EUROPEAN TOUR AT VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY IN BULGARIA
May 16, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course DesignEvents & Tournaments
Graeme McDowell takes in the Gary Player Signature Course Thracian
Cliffs during his match against Englishman Chris Wood. [Volvo in Golf]
KAVARNA, Bulgaria—Graeme McDowell hailed the unique nature of the European Tour on the Northern Irishman’s first visit to Bulgaria for the Volvo World Match Play Championship.
The former U.S. Open Champion has been drawn alongside Stephen Gallacher and Chris Wood in the Seve Ballesteros group, with the top two progressing to the weekend knockout rounds at the stunning Gary Player-designed Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort.
“It’s what the European Tour is all about, really,” McDowell said ahead of Bulgaria becoming the 40th different country to stage a European Tour event. “We have certainly been taking tournaments to new events, to new places around the world, pioneering some professional golf in Asia and some amazing places really.
“It’s cool to be able to come to a place like Bulgaria, somewhere where I’ve never been before, experience a new culture – introducing them to golf, really,” he added. “We are talking about a nation who certainly don’t know very much about golf – I think that’s what’s great about the European Tour.
Spanning along the Black Sea, Thracian Cliffs provides a
picturesque setting for the European Tour and Volvo
World Match Play Championship [Volvo in Golf]
“It’s certainly why I think this is a great learning experience for young pros and I think the European Tour certainly broadens your horizons. The European Tour is all the new cultures and new environments and new places that we play. You’ve got to adapt your game and you’ve got to dig in there sometimes.
The European Tour’s latest venue has drawn favorable comparisons with the legendary Pebble Beach, and McDowell has quickly become a fan of the Gary Player-designed layout.
“Obviously it’s a stunning, stunning location,” he said. “I watched a video on the website and Gary Player waxing lyrical about the many golf courses he’s done around the world and just how special the location is here; I’m inclined to agree with him.
“I came in on helicopter on Monday, which was pretty special. Got a chance to see this amazing piece of land from the air and it’s a nice golf course, as well,” he added. “It’s tricky – there’s a lot of other clubs off tees and you’ve really got to position the ball, and it’s interesting, no doubt about it. I think it’s a really well done golf course. I think it’s going to be a fantastic match play golf course and it’s going to look extremely good on TV which is most important for Volvo as a sponsor.”
On his chances of progressing past the round robin stage, which sees 24 players split into eight groups, McDowell was cautious not to underestimate two opponents who won titles during the Middle East Swing earlier in the year. And despite taking nothing for granted, the World No. 8 already has his eyes on a potential final showdown with fellow Irishman Shane Lowry on Sunday afternoon.
The relocation to Bulgaria and Gary Player’s Thracian Cliffs design
comes after title sponsor Volvo’s strategic move to circle the
tournament to locations of interest for the company [Volvo in Golf]
“My form is really good,” McDowell said. “My game is ticking over nicely, taking some nice form, and it’s nice to be back in Europe for a couple weeks. This match play format is obviously a little fickle so you just have to take each game as it comes. You certainly can’t take anybody lightly this weekend.”
Another former U.S. Open Champion eyeing success this week is Australian Geoff Ogilvy, who has previous in this format having won the WGC-Accenture Match Play on two occasions.
“I love the format obviously and I’ve had some success and I enjoy playing it,” said Ogilvy. “You play so much of your amateur game match play or you finish a lot of your tournaments match play – I really like it. It’s nice to have a couple of chances a year; and then I get the Presidents Cup and there’s the Ryder Cup, so people get to watch it semi-regularly I guess.”
“It’s a great way to play the game and it’s a shame it’s not more prevalent in professional golf, but it’s great that tournaments like this have hung in there for a long time, historic ones, and the other one, the Accenture or the WGC, it’s nice if you get a couple of chances at this format, because I think everybody enjoys it when they do it.”
The Volvo World Match Play field:
Gary Player Group: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Jamie Donaldson, Brett Rumford
Seve Ballesteros Group: Graeme McDowell, Chris Wood, Stephen Gallacher
Assar Gabrielsson Group: Ian Poulter, Thongchai Jaidee, Thomas Aiken
Arnold Palmer Group: Peter Hanson, George Coetzee, Shane Lowry
Gustaf Larson Group: Bo Van Pelt, Richard Sterne, Geoff Ogilvy
Ian Woosnam Group: Branden Grace, Nicolas Colsaerts, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Greg Norman Group: Henrik Stenson, Francesco Molinari, Felipe Aguilar
Mark McCormack Group: Thorbjorn Olesen, Carl Pettersson, Scott Jamieson
Article courtesy of PGA.com
THE EUROPEAN TOUR GOES INSIDE THRACIAN CLIFFS GOLF & BEACH RESORT
May 14, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course DesignEvents & Tournaments
Ahead of this week’s Volvo World Match Play Championship, The European Tour takes a closer look into the new host venue for this year’s tournament, the spectacular Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort in Bulgaria.
Perched on the soaring rugged cliff tops high above the picture-perfect blue expanse of the Black Sea in Kavarna, Thracian Cliffs is surely one of the most dramatic settings seen in the history of not only the World Match Play Championship, but The European Tour.
Designed by legendary Gary Player, winner of five World Match Play Championships between 1965 and 1973 and a beaten finalist in 1974, the famed South African’s Signature course is clearly exposed, often undulating and boasts numerous stunning changes in elevation from tee to green.
Described by some as “Europe’s Pebble Beach”, Thracian Cliffs certainly retains elements of the renowned Californian layout as The European Tour this week visits its 40th different country, and 67th across all three tours.
Just as Jack Neville attempted to take as many holes to the rocky Pacific coastline as possible at Pebble, the Black Sea borders eight of the holes at this year’s World Match Play Championship, meaning that wind speed and direction will certainly be a major factor for the 24 players to contend with this week.
Opened just two years ago in 2011, you could say that Thracian Cliffs was always destined to become a World Match Play venue.
At 7,291 yards and playing to a par of 72, Thracian Cliffs certainly offers plenty of risk and reward opportunity for the likes of Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell to take on this week in the 48th edition of the Volvo World Match Play, 50 years after Arnold Palmer triumphed in the inaugural edition in 1964.
The most distinctive section of the layout perhaps comes towards the conclusion of the outward nine, as players reach the 231-yard eighth, a simply breath-taking par three that features a 40 metre drop in elevation from the teeing area to a green cut out of the craggy cliff edge.
This is followed by the iconic ninth, where drives are struck from a magnificent island tee box built into the Black Sea and reached by a small bridge, offering incredible views down the Cape Kaliakra.
With the drama of Match Play golf set to meet head on with the dramatic location of Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort, the 2013 Volvo World Match Play Championship promises to be a fascinating occasion on a world-class course designed by one of golf’s legends.
WHAT THEY SAID
The Course Designer – Gary Player
“They are going to get such a beautiful surprise; they are going to see one of the most beautiful golf courses on the planet. I don’t know many golf courses where you can see the ocean from every hole and you play along the cliffs. You will not find a golf course like this anywhere else on the planet. They are in for a great treat.”
The Head Professional – Vesselin Savoia
“We obviously have the signature holes of the eighth and the ninth, but there is also the third hole, which is almost 700 yards long, too. But I think one of the most challenging things about playing this course for the first time is concentrating on playing golf because the golf course is so beautiful and so spectacular that everyone spends almost six hours a round. Taking pictures on every tee box, where there are amazing views everywhere. Sometimes people come back having lost six or ten golf balls in their round and yet they are still happy.”
The Tournament Director – Jose Maria Zamora
“One of the most picturesque golf courses to be found in Europe. Volvo have been famous for breaking new grounds and coming to Bulgaria is another example. They did it in China a very long time ago and are doing it again this week coming to a place where there is very little tradition of golf, but they are putting down a footing and you have to admire Volvo’s ambition in that sense.”
Article courtesy of europeantour.com.
NICKLAUS, PALMER, PLAYER BACK TO DEFEND GREATS OF GOLF TITLE
May 3, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player are back to defend their 3M Oil & Gas Greats of Golf championship, which Palmer, 82, secured with a dramatic 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th green last year.
The three golfing giants make up one of the four teams participating in the 18-hole scramble that follows the start of Saturday’s second round of the Insperity Championship at The Woodlands Country Club Tournament Course. They’ll tee off between noon and 12:30 p.m.
The other threesomes are Lee Trevino, David Graham and Ray Floyd; Johnny Miller, Dave Stockton and Tony Jacklin, and Don January, Gene Littler and Charles Coody.
Eight of the 12 players are in the World Golf Hall of Fame and among them they have won more than 300 tour events, including 55 majors.
There are other Greats of Golf scrambles affiliated with Champions Tour events, but Insperity’s is the only one in which Nicklaus has participated. He said last year he enjoyed the format and would be happy to return if asked.
Courtesy of Dale Robertson and the Houston Chronicle.
THE BIG THREE MEMBERS REUNITE FOR SERIES OF COMPETITIONS
Apr 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
Gary Player tees off with “The Big Three” at the start of the 77th
playing of the Masters Tournament
EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 is not the only place that fans of the legendary “The Big Three” members Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer have been able to catch them in action lately. The golfing icons have been busy over the last month after reuniting for the Masters Tournament ceremonial tee shot and Par 3 competition, the Insperity Championship’s “Greats of Golf”, and Player and Nicklaus teaming up for the Legends of Golf tournament in Savannah. Drawing crowds wherever they go, “The Big Three” show that they still have a great love of competition.
Last year when the trio reunited at The Masters, they caused quite a stir as patrons came out in droves to see the men that collectively hold 13 Green Jackets kick off the 76th playing of the tournament. This year was no different. On a foggy Augusta morning, the golfing legends got together at a place so special to each of their careers and the greatest competition on their minds was who would drive the furthest.
Following a busy week of Masters Tournament activities, Player and Nicklaus partnered together for the Demaret Division of the 36th Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf, one of the founding tournaments on the Senior Tour, in Savannah, GA. The 36-hole tournament was the first competitive round for Nicklaus in eight years and first entry into the tournament since 2001, but the legendary duo made it clear that they were there to compete.
Player and Nicklaus teamed up for the Liberty Mutual Insurance
Legends of Golf in Savannah this April
Player was hoping to follow his 2010 victory in Savannah when he teamed with Bob Charles to capture to Demaret Division. This year Player and Nicklaus competed against the likes of Lee Trevino, Tommy Aaron, Dow Finsterwald, Bob Goalby, Billy Casper, Lee Elder, Gene Littler, Doug Ford and many more.
“What a wonderful event,” said Gary Player. “Jack and I went out and played well on the second day, but just could not catch Jim Colbert and Bob Murphy. Despite the outcome, getting out there to compete with Jack was just like old times.”
There was no question the draw of the Black Knight and Golden Bear competing together as the duo played with large galleries in tow. Improving to a 6-under 66 on the second day of competition, the two icons finished the tournament at 9 under in the field of 22 teams.
Looking to the future, Nicklaus commented, “Gary is a great player and a great friend. I’ve known him forever, and having the opportunity to play with a great friend makes it special. If Gary wants to play next year, we’d probably come back.”
Until then, fans will have the opportunity to see the Black Knight and Golden Bear back in action in early May as they defend their title with fellow “The Big Three” member Arnold Palmer at the Insperity Championship “Greats of Golf” competition.
Player, Palmer, and Nicklaus will defend their title at the Insperity
Championship “Greats of Golf” competition this May
This will be the second consecutive year that “The Big Three” will reunite at Houston’s Insperity Championship, along with Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Raymond Floyd, Don January, Gene Littler, David Graham, Tony Jacklin, Charles Coody and Dave Stockton.
Last year, thousands of fans witnessed one of the year’s best events in golf as these legends took a step back into history and shared laughter and competitive fire. On Saturday, May 4, the world class group of the game’s greatest players will tee off once again following the last tee time of the official competition. The 12 players will play in threesomes and will play an 18-hole scramble format.
For those looking to catch the legendary golfers in action, the Insperity Championship offers FREE grounds only admission tickets. For updated information on all aspects of the Insperity Championship, fans are encouraged to visit www.insperitychampionship.com.
BLOOMBERG SPORTFOLIO - GARY PLAYER THROWS MASTERS PARTY
Apr 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
GARY PLAYER LOOKS TO PREPARE FUTURE GENERATIONS FOR SUCCESS
Apr 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Gary Player lends advice to the 14 year-old golfing sensation
Tianlang Guan following his record-setting Masters performance.
As the International Ambassador of Golf, Gary Player has traveled the world looking to spread his love for the game of golf. Now in his 60th year as a professional, that passion continues as Player looks to inspire the younger generations in professional golf. A testament to his worldwide impact, Player was introduced as “Golf’s Great Global Ambassador” by Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne on the first tee ahead of “The Big Three” reuniting for the ceremonial tee shot. The Black Knight sought to live up to his title as he took time during the Masters Tournament week to mentor several young professionals and amateurs alike.
The success of 14 year-old Tianlang Guan shook the golfing world during this April as he not only became the youngest competitor ever in Masters Tournament field, but also made the cut and scored as the low amateur for the tournament.
Blown away by the talent and dedication of Guan, Player exclaimed, “It is just incredible. If I had been in his position when I was 14, I would have been in tears. The fact that this young man went out and played so well was a miracle.”
Player had a chance to finally meet the Chinese phenomenon following the Gary Player Invitational (GPI) charity pro-am in Augusta. The Black Knight shared advice to the 14 year-old and his father which included strong sentiments that Guan should not allow coaches to change his swing, must eat properly, and continue to focus on fitness.
Grand Slam champion Gary Player played a Tuesday practice round with
first-time Masters competitors and fellow South Africans Branden Grace
and George Coetzee.
Later in the evening the youth of Guan was evidenced as he jumped on the mechanical bull during the country-themed GPI after-party to let loose.
“I will tell you, this young man is going to be something special,” said Player. “I have seen young men come up and have a great deal of promise, but I am really looking forward to see how Guan progresses as an amateur and then into his professional career. The sky is the limit with this young man.”
Guan was not the only up-and-comer that the Grand Slam champion took time to lend some advice to over the busy Masters Week. Player set up a Tuesday practice round with fellow countrymen and first-time Masters invitees Branden Grace and George Coetzee. Over 18 holes with Grace and Coetzee, Player provided insight into course management of Augusta National and what to expect come tournament days for the young South Africans.
Player also had a bit of help showing the young South Africans the ropes of Augusta National from Branden Grace’s caddie, Zack Rasego, who was formerly a caddie for Player in several Majors.
Player offers tips to three of Brazil’s promising young golfers looking
over São Paulo ahead of the HSBC Brasil Open.
Even for those not competing during the week, the Black Knight sat down with young South African Brandon Stone, a freshman at the University of Texas, who shows great promise in his NCAA career, and Tiger Wood’s niece, Cheyenne Woods who sought advice for her debut in South Africa at the South African Women’s Open.
Player added some more miles to his Most Traveled Athlete distinction when he flew to Brazil the week leading up golf’s first Major for the HSBC Brasil Open. Presenting sponsor, HSBC, looked to Player to provide three of the South American country’s talented amateurs, Cristian Barcelos, Daniel Stapff and Rafael Becker, a series of master classes ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.
“I have been a professional golfer for 60 years now,” commented Player. “I still love traveling and the spreading love for the game that has given me so much. I only hope that these young professionals and amateurs can work hard to set out on a similar path. It is a great one.”
2013 VOLVO WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP TAKES SHAPE AS STARS LOOK FORWARD TO DEBUT IN BULGARIA
Apr 23, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
Former Volvo World Match Play Champions Ian Poulter and Nicolas
Colsaerts join the field of 24 of the world’s best players to compete
in the 2013 tournament at Thracian Cliffs.
European Ryder Cup heroes, Ian Poulter, the 2011 Volvo World Match Play Champion, Graeme McDowell, the 2010 US Open Champion, Peter Hanson, six-time European Tour winner and Nicolas Colsaerts, the defending champion, head the latest list of stars to commit to the 2013 Volvo World Match Play Championship, with many more players to be confirmed shortly following their qualification after the Masters. The Championship will be played at the breathtaking Thracian Cliffs Course, designed by golfing icon Gary Player, in Bulgaria from May 16 to 19.
The elite Volvo World Match Play Championship, celebrating its 50th year in 2013, will gather 24 of the world’s best players to compete for this prestigious title via a merit-based qualification process designed to gather the highest quality international field. The final field will be confirmed shortly and the players will compete for an increased prize fund of €3,000,000 (€250,000 more than 2012) with the eventual winner taking home a €800,000 first prize.
Also confirmed in the field is ‘Volvo specialist,’ Branden Grace, the winner of both the 2012 Volvo Golf Champions and Volvo China Open as well as three other titles in 2012. He will be joined by Scott Jamieson, runner up in the 2013 Volvo Golf Champions, Jamie Donaldson, winner of the 2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Chris Wood, winner of the 2013 Qatar Masters and Shane Lowry, winner of the 2012 Portugal Masters.
European Ryder Cup star, Ian Poulter, known for his match play prowess, commented, “Everyone knows I love match play and I can’t wait for this week as it’s one of my favorite tournaments of the year. Having played all around the world since I turned professional in 1994, it isn’t often I get to visit a new country so I am definitely looking forward to visiting Bulgaria. Having seen the photos of Thracian Cliffs and heard many great things about the course, I think it is going to be a very special week.”
Defending Champion Nicolas Colsaerts added, “I am really looking forward to defending my title at this new venue and am fired up for a week of match play golf. I really enjoy the format of this tournament and would love my first win of the year to come at the Volvo World Match Play Championship. It would be amazing to be able to successfully defend my title at Thracian Cliffs and win Bulgaria’s first full European Tour event.”
South Africa’s Branden Grace concluded, “This is the one Volvo title I haven’t got yet so I am looking to have a great week and see how far I can go. I grew up watching Ernie Els win this Championship seven times and I dreamt of following in his footsteps. Hopefully it is a good omen for me that it is being played on a course designed by another of my heroes, Gary Player.”
The Championship, owned by IMG and promoted together with Volvo, will generate worldwide media coverage, with approximately 1,600 hours of golf broadcast to half a billion households, has evolved considerably since moving from Wentworth in 2009, successfully securing a world-class field by qualification on merit, increasing the field to 24 players and revising the format. The qualified players are divided into eight groups of three players to be played out on Thursday and Friday with 16 players progressing to Saturday’s knock-out stage with the semi-finals and final played on Sunday.
The last three editions of the Volvo World Match Play Championships were held at Finca Cortesín in Spain and this move to the much-lauded Gary Player designed signature course marks the first time a full European Tour event will be played in Bulgaria. Framed by rugged coastal cliffs and the vast blue of the Black Sea, which can be viewed from each and every hole, Thracian Cliffs is arguably one of the most dramatic golf courses on earth. Gary Player once commented, “You will not find a golf course like this anywhere else on the planet.” Underlining the unique features of this new venue, the Thracian Cliffs has also been called the ‘Pebble Beach of Europe’.
GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL SERIES KICKS OFF 30TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR WITH SUCCESSFUL EVENT IN AUGUSTA, GA
Apr 17, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
Posting an impressive 17 under par, the GPI in Augusta winners included
Hercules actor Kevin Sorbo, Brad Bylenga, Ron Rasmussen, Rick Erwin,
and Rick Phillips.
Following a thrilling week at The Masters, the Gary Player Invitational Series continued its success in the United States, raising $328,000 to fund education for underprivileged children. The charity event was held at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, GA, the only golf property in the USA to feature three nine-hole courses designed by Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, known collectively as The Big Three, who also joined together as honorary starters for the second consecutive year to kick off the 77th playing of the Masters Tournament.
“This was an excellent way to cap off our week at The Masters and start our 2013 global charity series,” said Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International. “It’s amazing what can be accomplished when businesspeople, athletes and celebrities rally for a common cause.”
This year The Player Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Having raised more than $50 million dollars in three decades, the successes of the golfing icon’s philanthropic endeavors are perhaps his most meaningful accomplishments. The Player Foundation is continuing to spread hope and aid to underprivileged children around the world and as efforts are largely funded through the global Gary Player Invitational (GPI) Series.
The GPI victors have some fun and strike a pose after collecting
“I am so grateful that in our 30th year of The Player Foundation we have been able to continue carrying on with our cause to assist underprivileged children all over the world,” said Gary Player. “The GPI in Augusta has been an excellent start to the series and I can only hope that we are able to raise record-breaking funds this year to set a giving milestone on our 30th anniversary.”
On the eve of the charity tournament, participants representing countries from around the world were invited to the Black Knight house for a viewing of the thrilling conclusion of The Masters where Adam Scott became the first Australian Masters Champion. The next morning prior to the tournament, golfers were treated to the outlandish and impressive trick shot artistry of Brit Jeremy Dale, as well as a clinic by the Grand Slam champion Player.
The four-ball scramble tournament was won by the team of Hercules actor and golf enthusiast Kevin Sorbo, Brad Bylenga, Ron Rasmussen, Rick Erwin, and Rick Phillips, who shot an impressive 17 under par. In addition to Sorbo, celebrities in attendance included actors Anthony Anderson and Jeffrey Donovan, former NFL great Ed “Too Tall” Jones, and professional golf trick shot artist Jeremy Dale.
“Every year we are lucky to have partners like Rolex, Callaway, SAP, Coca-Cola, and Range Rover support our Gary Player Invitational event, and this year healthcare giant Humana has also joined as a corporate partner,” added Marc Player. “We simply would not be able to achieve the fundraising success we have without our corporate sponsors and I can’t thank them enough.”
Grand Slam champion Gary Player tests the strength of
Burn Notice star Jeffrey Donovan on the range.
The next event in the series is the Gary Player Invitational presented by Berenberg Bank in the UK, set to take place at the historic Wentworth Golf Club outside of London on July 22, 2013.
Gary Player Invitational 2013 Series
United States – Georgia
Dates: 14 – 15 April 2013
Champions Retreat, Augusta
United Kingdom – England
Dates: 22 July 2013
Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey
China – Shanghai
Dates: 4 – 5 November 2013
South Africa – The Palace of the Lost City
Dates: 14 – 17 November 2013
GARY PLAYER HOSTS LIVE Q&A WITH FANS
Apr 9, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
Golfing icon Gary Player announces today that he will be taking live questions from fans as he hosts a Google Hangout to discuss upcoming projects and living a healthy lifestyle.
GoodChime!, a global digital platform for personal health engagement, announced that it will be partnering with Gary Player, the Black Knight, to support a Google Hangout on Thursday, April 11. The nine-time major championship winner will be taking questions from fans in the afternoon after once again reuniting The Big Three™ as an Honorary Starter for the 77th Masters Tournament.
“We are thrilled by the momentum we are gaining and are proud to be partnering with Gary Player during Masters Week,” said Sreedhar Potarazu, MD, MBA, Founder and Chairman of GoodChime! “To bring together an important convergence of experience in health awareness and the digital medium in order to drive constant consistent engagement in health is thrilling.”
Fans will be able to submit questions for Player throughout the week, after which four GoodChime! members will be chosen to participate in the live Google Hangout at 4:00PM EST.
The innovative digital health platform launched in the U.S. about one year ago in beta with several major celebrities and athletes, including the likes of Bret Michaels, Mario Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Adrian Peterson, CC Sabathia, Albert Pujols and many more. GoodChime! has quadrupled the size of its base in the past year with over 250,000 members, and has gained significant traction as the dominant platform to synthesize the exploding market of health tracking devices, applications, retailers.
To register for the Good Chime! Google Hangout or to submit a question for Gary Player, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6157085007/eorg.
WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM ANNOUNCES HOST AND PRESENTERS FOR 2013 INDUCTION CEREMONY
Apr 5, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will welcome Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, Willie Park Jr., Ken Schofield and Ken Venturi at its Induction Ceremony on Monday, May 6. In addition to these luminaries, CBS golf anchor Jim Nantz, European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady and former USGA Executive Director and current Golf Digest columnist David Fay will be on hand as presenters.
The Hall of Fame will also welcome NBC golf anchor Dan Hicks, as he returns to host the Induction Ceremony for the third consecutive year.
Nantz will have double duty at the Ceremony, where he will present for Couples and Venturi. Nantz has a special connection to both men. He and Couples were close friends and teammates while in college at the University of Houston, and even jokingly practiced a Butler Cabin interview together. So when Couples won the 1991 Masters with Nantz on the call for CBS, it was special for both men. “I cannot imagine ever witnessing a moment that will touch me more deeply than this perfect fulfillment of a glorious dream that was shared by intimate friends for so many years,” Nantz later told CBS.
Nantz had another memorable moment on the air with Venturi. The two were paired in the 18th tower on CBS for 17 years and became one of golf’s most beloved broadcast teams. When Venturi ended his run after 35 years of broadcasting in 2002, they shared an embrace and an emotional Nantz said, “You won’t be in that chair any longer, but as long as I’m here, you’ll be by my side.”
O’Grady began his run as the Chief Executive of the European Tour in 2005, the same year Montgomerie won his final Order of Merit crown. O’Grady was an executive at the European Tour in the 1990s, when Montgomerie won seven consecutive Orders of Merit. The two have known each other for decades and both contributed greatly to the Tour’s expansion in popularity and influence.
When Fay became the USGA’s Executive Director in 1989, Schofield was in the middle of what would be a 30-year run at the helm of the European Tour. As the game expanded internationally, the two administrators would work together on several initiatives, including the International Golf Federation. They also served together for several years on the World Golf Foundation’s Board of Directors.
The Ceremony will air on Golf Channel on May 6 at 10 p.m. ET, with a “Green Carpet Special” Ceremony preview during Golf Channel’s “Live from THE PLAYERS” broadcast from 5-6 p.m. and again from 9-10 p.m.
“We are thrilled to have another illustrious group of presenters, along with the outstanding Dan Hicks to host this year’s Induction Ceremony,” said Jack Peter, Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Hall of Fame. “The Class of 2013 is a celebration of the rich, international history of the game, and the presenters will provide an excellent complement to the stories of our Inductees.”
The 2013 Induction Ceremony will be on May 6 at 6 p.m. ET in the St. Johns County Convention Center, located adjacent to the World Golf Hall of Fame at World Golf Village. Tickets to the Ceremony and Gala are available to the public. For tickets and information about the events during Induction Ceremony weekend, please visit http://www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org.
SAGDB’S VUKEYA CLEAR ABOUT HIS GOALS AT THE GARY PLAYER SCHOOL OF CHAMPIONS
Apr 3, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
Former SAGDB golfer Evans Vukeya with Gary Player
School of Champions Master Coach Stephan Spies
It was pretty tough losing his best friends to the pro circuit this year, but Evans Vukeya knows it will just be a matter of time before he joins fellow Soweto golfers Musi Nethunzwi and Sipho Bujela in the paid ranks.
And, while his former South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) colleagues adjust to life on Tour, the 19-year-old embarked on an exciting journey of his own.
Vukeya, who matriculated from Progress High School in Soweto at the end of 2012, enrolled in a three-year course at the Gary Player School of Champions in January with the financial support of the Central Gauteng Golf Union (GGGU).
For the last three months, he has been putting in some serious work with Gary Player master coaches, Adriaan van Pletzen and Stephan Spies, which has led to a top five, top 10 and two second place finishes in the school’s internal stroke play competitions.
“We are working on some swing changes and we are also changing my putting stroke, because my putting is still a weakness in my game,” Vukeya explained.
“It’s been a fantastic experience so far. I feel very much part of the team and it’s great to see how the changes have already begun to improve my game. I was a three-handicap at the end of last year and my handicap is already down to one.”
The Soweto teenager joined the SAGDB programme at Soweto Country Club at the age of 13. “My first coach was Zac Mavundla, who really inspired me to work hard at the game,” he said.
“I suppose I was pretty old when I started playing by some people’s standards, but I fell in love with the game on the first day and I knew six years ago that I wanted to play pro golf one day. Everything I’ve done since has been to prepare me for the paid ranks one day.”
Through the support the SAGDB received from CGGU, Vukeya competed in several junior foundation tournaments. At the end of 2009, he joined the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF).
“A lot of the SAGDB’s top players are offered a spot in the EEFF and I was thrilled when I realised they were considering me,” Vukeya explained.
“I had to compete in a tournament at Roodepoort Golf Club against some other players, who were also trying to get into the EEFF. It was pretty tough, but in the end I delivered and secured my spot.
“The EEFF was everything I imagined. We travelled a lot and played in tournaments all over South Africa and I gained a lot of experience.”
Winning in front of a home crowd and meeting his idol, Ernie Els, ranked among the highlights of his two-year tenure.
“I won the EEFF Junior Open at Soweto Country Club last July and it was great winning in front of my family and friends and showing them just how serious I am about my career,” he said.
“I admire Ernie for the way he plays, for his dedication to the development of golf and for the way he supports the members of the foundation. He is a fantastic role model.”
Vukeya recently added Grand Slam winner Gary Player to his list of idols.
“Gary Player was long before my time but I have come to admire him through my experience at the Gary Player School of Champions. I’ve learned that it’s not only about how well you hit the ball.
“Gary Player has taught me that I also need to know other things to succeed, like the rules of golf, the regulations and the dress code. When I’m not practicing or playing, I read golf books in my free time, I am cramming all the time, trying to learn as much as possible. You can never know enough.”
Vukeya said he will always be indebted to the SAGDB and Mavundla, who gave him a shot at something he had never dreamed possible.
“When I joined the SAGDB, it was to learn a new sport, but Zac believed in me. He gave me the tools to get started and he gave me the push that kept me going.
“The SAGDB taught us how to play golf, but they also taught us that honesty and respect are the cornerstone of golf. Even if you are the world’s greatest golfer, if you aren’t honest and if you don’t have respect and show respect, your achievements mean nothing.
“Honesty and respect are the two most important things in my life.”
GOLF LEGEND GARY PLAYER ON OLYMPIC MISSION TO BRAZIL
Apr 2, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
The man who put South Africa on the golfing map landed in São Paulo today on a mission to do the same for the sport in Brazil.
As part of its sponsorship of this week’s Brasil Classic tournament (April 4-7), global golf sponsor HSBC has flown in international golf legend Gary Player to help the country’s best young amateur prepare for the event with a 48 hour masterclass in golfing excellence.
As the countdown continues to golf’s return to the Olympic Games at Rio 2016, the nine-time Major winner gave Rio-born Cristian Barcelos, 18, Curitiba-born Daniel Stapff, 22, and Rafael Becker, from São Paulo, a putting lesson on the roof of one of the city’s tallest buildings, Centenario Plaza. For Becker, it’s the perfect birthday present – he turns 22 today.
Player, a finalist for the 2016 Rio Olympic golf course design bid, hopes to lend the young Brazilian advice from his storied career that includes a record setting 59 en route to his 1974 Brazil Open victory.
The three players, who are all taking part in the US $675,000 Brasil Classic presented by HSBC, will spend two days under the wing of the golf icon as part of a comprehensive masterclass covering everything from mental preparation to diet and fitness plus all aspects of the game from tee to green.
Gary Player made history at the 1974 Brazil Open as
he shot a 59 en route to victory
Brasil Classic presented by HSBC is a new event on the Web.com Tour, the developmental tour which represents the main opportunity to earn a place on the PGA Tour.
South African Player, who is renowned as the world’s most travelled sportsman having clocked up an incredible 25 million km, said: “When I first started to travel the world in the 1950s it was a genuine breakthrough moment for golf in South Africa – now could be the moment for Brazil and if my visit can inspire the next generation of talent that really would be fantastic.
“When HSBC contacted me I was more than happy to answer the call – Rio 2016 is fast approaching and this Brasil Classic event is a great shop window for golf in this part of the world.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that golf will be included in the Olympics once again. The exposure will be a great catalyst for growth and development around the world, especially in new, emerging markets and the growth in Brazil and Latin America will be tremendous.
“The global game of golf is developing at a rapid pace and there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my career – change is the price of survival.”
Player conducts a masterclass for promising young Brazilian golfers
ahead of the 2013 Brasil Classic
Giles Morgan, HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events, added: “This year marks HSBC’s tenth anniversary as a major international sponsor of golf – in that time we have been involved in 30 tournaments and 1,000 golf days and helped thousands of children worldwide get involved in the game of golf.
“As a global banking and financial services organisation, we pride ourselves on opening up a world of opportunities for people and we want to help Brazil maximize the Olympic opportunity – this is why we have sponsored this groundbreaking new event on the Web.com Tour and why we have flown one of the best golfer’s in history to São Paulo this week.
“We hope Rafael can go on to great things for Brasil and it would be incredible to see him making an impact at Rio 2016 – with a nine time major winner on his side he’s got a great chance.”
MODRY LAS NAMED POLAND’S TOP GOLF COURSE
Mar 25, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design
Following a nationwide poll conducted by one of Europe’s leading golf websites, Modry Las Golf Club has been named Poland’s best golf course. Already part of Golf World’s top 100 European golf courses, this is the second time the Gary Player layout has picked up the prestigious award since it officially opened in 2009.
The beautiful West Pomeranian course secured the top spot after a remarkable show of support on the website Polishgolf.pl which resulted in 17% of votes cast going to Modry Las. To put this into context, out of the 15 other courses shortlisted the closest contender received 12% of the votes.
“It is a great honour to pick up this award for the second time in our club’s short but hugely rewarding history,” said Arthur Gromadzki, chairman of Modry Las Golf Club. “We are fortunate and delighted to have received a number of awards, but to be voted once again as Poland’s finest course with such overwhelming support makes it all the more special. We are very proud.”
One of the clubs other recent accolades was to be included in Rolex’s rundown of the World’s Top 1000 courses. What’s more, Poland’s top golf resort has recently completed a series of phased developments which will further improve the golfing experience for both its members and visitors. The improvements include the introduction of a specially designed golf academy as well as the opening of three stylish Swiss-designed self-catering cottages.
“We have been careful to progress the club at a manageable pace,” Gromadzki explained. “The objective has been to build up support by developing our home-grown membership and increasing our international visitors. These latest improvements are part of the overall plan to create an international golf resort centred on Gary Player’s superb design. It is therefore gratifying to see our work being recognised in this way.”
Founder of Polishgolf.pl Roman Fedorczuk said Modry Las was a deserved winner of Poland’s top award. “Modry Las golf course, in my opinion, is one of the best in Europe,” he suggested. “Well placed in beautiful surroundings, it is challenging enough to make you want to go back and play it again.”
Modry Las Golf Club officially opened its doors four years ago. Since then it has become widely recognised as the most beautiful course in Poland. These latest developments are designed to complement what is fast becoming one of Europe’s most sought-after golfing experiences.
THE BLACK KNIGHT GEARS UP FOR HIS 56TH MASTERS & GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL
Mar 20, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments
It will be a busy week for the Black Knight when he arrives in Augusta this April for his 56th Masters Tournament. As the golf world converges on the American mecca of golf, Gary Player will take on roles of past champion, global spokesman, golfing legend, and dedicated philanthropist all in one week. The headlining event will be Player once again reuniting “The Big Three” as an honorary starter to kick off the 77th playing of the Masters Tournament, as well as commemorating his 60th anniversary as a professional golfer.
“I have been coming to Augusta for 56 out of the 60 years that I have been a professional golfer,” said Player. “It continues to be one of my favorite weeks of the year, and this tournament holds such a dear place in my heart. To be able to join my great friends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer for the ceremonial tee shot once again is wonderful.”
Before joining past champions at the annual Champions Dinner on Tuesday night, the three-time Masters champion has plans to play a practice round with some of the promising South African players, including first-time invitees Brandon Grace and George Coetzee, to offer some advice on how to tame the Augusta greens and other tips acquired over years of experience.
“We have such a strong contingent of South African golfers in the Masters this year,” said Player. “It would be something to see one of them win the tournament. Hopefully I can share some insight into what I have learned along the way with Brandon [Grace] and George [Coetzee] as they prepare for the thrill of competing in Augusta for the first time.”
In addition to Grace and Coetzee, the Masters field boasts a number of South Africans including 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, 2008 Masters winner Trevor Immelman, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, and Tim Clark.
While Tiger Woods, Phil Mickleson, and Rory McIlroy may be tournament favorites, the Black Knight is holding out hope for another South African victor.
Once Sunday rolls around and a new champion dons the green jacket, all is not over for Gary Player. The Player Foundation is largely funded by the annual Gary Player Invitational (GPI) charity series and the first stop of the global series will begin Masters Sunday.
The Player Foundation also celebrates a milestone anniversary, its 30th anniversary, this year to complement Player’s 60th as a professional golfer. Since its establishment, The Player Foundation has raised over $50 million dollars to the support of children’s charities, the betterment of impoverished communities and the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the world.
GPI participants will be welcomed to Augusta with a cocktail reception at the Black Knight International home for a final round Masters viewing with three-time Masters champion Gary Player before teeing off in the pro-am tournament the next morning.
The tournament will be held at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia with sponsors including Rolex, SAP, Callaway, Land Rover, Coca-Cola, and Humana. Champions Retreat Golf Club is a rare treat for participants as it is the only golf property in the USA to feature 9-holes designed by “The Big Three” - Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
The celebration of golf and giving will boast celebrities in attendance that include Hollywood stars Jeffery Donovan, Anthony Anderson, Kevin Sorbo, Ron Masak , as well as famous tech man Dr. Gadget, and former NFL player Ed “Too Tall” Jones. In addition to participating in the pro-am, English Golf trick shot artist Jeremy Dale will also treat GPI participants to his skillful golf antics.
The American leg of the Gary Player Invitational series will feature an exciting new addition to the tournament with VPAR live scoring integration. Competitors will know exactly where they stand at each hole to boost the competition. Following the pro-am tournament, an awards presentation and dinner will feature Country-themed entertainment and activities.
With a bright outlook to the 2013 GPI series, Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International, commented, “We are looking forward to a record setting year of fundraising and giving for The Player Foundation and the GPI global series. Thanks to all the generous participants, businessmen, celebrities, and sponsors, it undoubtedly looks like we are off to a fantastic start in Augusta.”
The Gary Player Invitational Series is an annual series of charity golf tournaments held in the USA, Europe, China and South Africa. Proceeds from the events provide funding for underprivileged children across the globe.
Gary Player Invitational 2013 Series
United States – Georgia
Dates: 14-15 April 2013
Champions Retreat, Augusta
United Kingdom – England
Dates: 22 July 2013
Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey
China – Shanghai
Dates: 4 – 5 November 2013
South Africa – Sun City
Dates: 13 – 17 November 2013
Gary Player Country Club
LIBERTY MUTUAL LEGENDS OF GOLF HIGHLIGHTED BY COMMITMENT OF NICKLAUS AND PLAYER
Mar 20, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
Georgia golf fans will have the rare opportunity to watch two of golf’s most decorated icons, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, compete as a team when the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf returns to the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa on April 22-28.
The World Golf Hall of Fame members will compete in the Demaret Division on Monday, April 22, and Tuesday, April 23. The tournament will once again be offering free admission on those two days.
With a competitive career that spanned five decades, Nicklaus has amassed 120 professional wins, a record 18 major championship titles, and golf’s coveted Grand Slam title. Despite playing a limited schedule after joining the Champions Tour in 1990, he went on to collect 10 additional titles, including a record eight major championships. Nicklaus’ last start at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf was 2001 and he will be competing for the first time in the Demaret Division for players age 70+.
“I don’t play competitively any more but I still like to compete, and there is nothing I will enjoy more than doing so with my long-time friend Gary Player as a partner,” Nicklaus said. “Last May, Gary and I reunited with Arnold (Palmer) for a one-day event as part of the Insperity Championship in Houston, and we had a great time. After that event, Gary and I talked about getting together in the Liberty Mutual, and here we are. Because I don’t play much golf these days, I don’t know how good the golf will be, but I can promise you that Gary and I will have a good time. I look forward to it.”
The winner of 165 titles around the world including 24 PGA TOUR events and nine majors, South African native Player is also one of just five players in history to capture a career Grand Slam. A 19-time winner on the Champions Tour, Player captured back-to-back Demaret Division titles at the 2009 and 2010 Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf with then-partner Bob Charles.
“The Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf is one of my favorite tournaments to compete in each year and to have my good friend Jack Nicklaus as a partner this year is a delight,” said Player. “I have had success at the tournament in the past, but I’m certain we will be strong contenders this year in the Demaret Division. I look forward to teeing off this April.”
Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf defending champions, Michael Allen and David Frost, addressed members of the local media via video message and announced they will be back to defend their Legends Division title.
Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf executive director, Joe Rotellini, served as host of Media Day and provided a preview of this year’s event, which will mark the tournament’s 11th year in Savannah.
In addition to the tournament’s title sponsor, Liberty Mutual Insurance, who has been a partner of the Champions Tour for the past 34 years, Rotellini highlighted official sponsorships with Southern Company, Lexus (Chatham Parkway and Hilton Head), Coca-Cola, Miller/Coors and St. Joseph/Candler.
Rotellini also announced the following commitments, with many more to follow in the coming weeks:
Michael Allen/David Frost (2012 champions)
David Eger/Mark McNulty (2011 champions)
Mark O’Meara/Nick Price (2010 champions)
Bernhard Langer/Tom Lehman (2009 champions)
Tom Watson/Andy North (2008 champions)
Steve Elkington/Rocco Mediate (2013 rookies)
Mark James/Des Smyth (2012 Raphael champs)
Jack Nicklaus/Gary Player (new for 2013)
Gibby Gilbert/JC Snead (2012 Demaret champs)
Spectator tickets are now on sale with special advance prices starting at $15.00. Weeklong ticket packages are $75.00 and include two Good Any Day grounds tickets and one ticket with access to the River Club, a climate-controlled hospitality pavilion offering a variety of food for purchase, premium cash bar, large screen televisions and views of the 1st and 10th tee on Friday-Sunday. Tickets may be purchased by visiting the tournament’s web site at www.LMILOG.com.
LAUREUS WORLD SPORT AWARDS TAKE TO RIO DE JANEIRO TO HONOUR WORLD’S TOP ATHLETES
Mar 19, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
The world’s top athletes were honoured at the Laureus World Sports
Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during 2012, in Rio
de Janeiro, Brazil. (Laureus)
The 2013 Laureus World Sport Awards, the premier award ceremony on the international sporting calendar, had much to celebrate from the past year in sport during the March ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. From death defying stunts, to breakouts, comebacks, and record setting performances, Laureus Awards recipients spanned them all.
The story of the year was undoubtedly the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, and many of the highly acclaimed Olympic athletes once again took to the spotlight as the Laureus World Sport Awards, hosted by Hollywood stars Morgan Freeman and Eva Longoria, honored the best of the best. A testament to the quality of the Games and its competitors, all but two Laureus Award recipients came from the London Olympics and Paralympics.
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth, collected his third Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award after sensational, record-breaking performances at the London Games to become the first sprinter to win gold medals in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 x 100 metres gold medals for the second straight Olympiad. Bolt was joined by British track and field star Jessica Ennis, who won Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, after dominating the heptathlon to bring a gold medal to the host nation.
The fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt, accepted his third Laureus World
Sportsman of the Year Award via hologram. (Laureus)
In addition to Ennis, the contingent of British award winners was strong as tennis player Andy Murray was awarded Breakthrough of the Year, and Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, was presented the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his great efforts for the Games of the XXX Olympiad.
Olympians continued to receive praise as the Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez received the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award after winning the Olympic 400 metres hurdles gold medal in London, eight years after he won it for the first time in Athens in 2004. Additionally, Brazil’s Daniel Dias won six individual gold medals in London, all in world record times, and took home the title for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award for the second time. A special new award - the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award – also went to the most successful Olympian of all time (with 22 medals in total), Michael Phelps.
Though golf will not be an Olympic sport until the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, the game still made a splash on the international sporting stage at the 2012 Ryder Cup. The Team of the Year honour went to the victorious European Ryder Cup team after their spectacular comeback in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’. On the final day of competiton, the Europeans rallied from 10-6 down to beat the United States 14½-13½. Ian Poulter and team members Nicolas Colsaerts, Peter Hanson, Paul Lawrie, and Frencesco Molinari were on hand to accept the award.
Laureus Academy Member Gary Player offered
his congratulations to the European Ryder Cup
for their spectacular comeback in the ‘Miracle
Golfing icon and Laureus Academy Member Gary Player remarked, “My friend Seve Ballesteros would have been so proud of the European Team’s gutsy performance. They really fought hard, and had the comeback of a lifetime. The atmosphere was electric from the great team effort, led by Ian Poulter’s magnificent play, to surge back to overcome the 4-point deficit. It was truly a great moment in golf.”
Perhaps the most exhilarating award of the night, the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award, went to Felix Baumgartner for his thrilling freefall from 39km (24 miles) in October. Baumgartner became the first human to break the sound barrier in the highest ever freefall ever recorded.
The Laureus World Sports Awards winners are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen. Proceeds from the Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports more than 140 community sports projects in 34 countries around the world, including three in Rio de Janeiro. Since its inception, Laureus has raised €60 million for projects which have improved the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people.
PLAYER CALLS FOR BIFURCATION AND BELLY PUTTER BAN
Mar 15, 2013 | Filed Under: General News
With the consultation process to consider banning the belly putter now at an end following the conclusion of the snow-hit World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, there is new speculation that the US PGA Tour may allow the introduction of ‘local rules’ to override the proposed ban by the USGA and the Royal & Ancient.
When I heard the news that golf’s governing bodies, the R&A and the USGA, had finally decided to ban the anchoring of the long-handled putter I couldn’t have been more pleased, although I didn’t understand why they wanted to wait until 2016 before implementing it.
Now some of the players are intimating that the US PGA Tour are considering allowing “conditions of competition” that apply to each tournament, encompassing the possible use of the long-handled anchored putter.
If the US PGA Tour take this route and the R&A and the USGA go ahead with the ban it could lead to total chaos. We could end up with a situation where someone like Ernie Els would be allowed to use his long-handled putter playing a US PGA Tour event one week and the following week he could be playing a European Tour event and be banned from using it. What about the Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour, Australian & Latin American Tours?
It took the R&A and the USGA many years before deciding to ban the anchoring of long-handled putters and I welcomed it because I believe it should have been banned from the outset. By prolonging the implementation of the ban they are merely allowing exponents of the anchored putter to continue their campaign to reverse the ruling.
It’s a crazy situation where it seems that the USGA, who are responsible for making the rules of golf in the United States and Mexico, and the R&A who set the rules and administer them in the rest of the world, could be overruled by the PGA Tour though the loophole of using ‘local rules’ to allow its use.
Keegan Bradley became the first professional
using the belly putter to win a Major at the 2011
PGA Championship. Since Webb Simpson and
Ernie Els have captured Majors with the long
The simple truth is that the game of golf was never intended to include long-handled anchored putters. The governing bodies have to standardise the rules. They have to either do it or don’t do it but they can’t leave it open-ended.
I’ll never understand why, having decided to ban it, they then opted to give everyone three years to get used to the idea.
There is not a great deal between the ability level of players on the Tour but there’s a big difference in their mind control. I’m only a small guy. In my career I won 165 golf tournaments, nine regular Majors and nine Senior Majors. I couldn’t have done that without my mental strength. It’s what made the difference.
I couldn’t hit the ball anywhere near the distance of my rivals but I could use my mental strength to use my course management and my mental focus to get the best out of what I’d got, including the strength of my putting when the chips were down.
Superstars in most sports only become superstars because of their ability to be in total control of their emotions and their nerves.
Golf is all about pressure and how you react to it. When you’re in a tight situation and you’ve got to use everything in your power to get the job done, that’s what champions are all about. If you take the nerves out of the game you are ruining the spectacle. Golf is all about making great shots under pressure and having the nerve to turn those shots into birdies and eagles or making a vital save.
Take out the mind and nerves from golf and you take out the guts from the game. It’s 30 or maybe 40 per cent of what it’s all about.
By using an anchored long putter, whether you anchor it in your midriff, your chest, your chin, or wherever it suits you, it’s taking the wrist action altogether out of your putting stroke. If a player is struggling with his putting, he has to come to terms with it. Many players suffer from a lack of confidence with their putting at some stage of their career but they have to overcome it. But by using the anchored putter it means they are taking away a vital element of the game.
I can remember when some players used beta-blockers to calm their nerves. Well, using an anchored putter is no different than taking a pill. Fortunately, they have been banned from the game and the anchored putter should be treated in the same way.
Orville Moody was one of the best ball strikers on Tour in the 1960s but, by his own admission, his putting was what let him down. He won the 1969 US Open using a cross-handed putting grip. But when he reached 50 and joined the US Champions Tour he switched to an anchored long-handled putter and won 11 tournaments including the 1989 US Senior Open. You shouldn’t be allowed to use the anchored putter as a cure for your nerves.
Tom Weiskopf was one of the best ball-strikers in the game. He was a better ball striker than Jack or Arnold or me but he didn’t win the number of tournaments he should have won because of his nerves in pressure situations.
Tiger Woods went through a period, after his personal problems, when he lost his focus. His nerve that made him the player he was just wasn’t there when he needed to sink those five or six foot putts which had been automatic certainties to him previously. Now, he’s getting it back again. He’s swinging better and he’s got his mental approach in order again. He’s won already on Tour at Torrey Pines in January and he’s my bet to win The Masters.
Hopefully this could be Lee Westwood’s year to win a Major. He’s done the right thing in moving home to the States and taken a lot of pressure off himself. He’s showing signs of finding his best form and I’d like to see him finally win a Major. He deserves it. It will be interesting to see how Rory McIlroy performs at the Masters, which will give us an insight into his much anticipated season ahead.
I’m pleased to see how the South African boys are shaping up. Richard Sterne and Darren Fichardt have won recently, along with Charl Schwartzel, who, with Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, and the up and coming George Coetzee, look like making this a memorable year for South African golf.
I think it’s time to put rules into golf to govern the progress of new technology. Not for the amateurs, the local club golfers, but for the Tour pros. There’s a Canadian professional from Alberta, Jamie Sadlowski, who is one of the longest drivers in the world, who regularly hits the ball over 400 yards. He’s got a personal best of 445 yards and he’s no giant. He’s 5 foot 10 inches and 168 pounds.
Players are driving the ball further and further and If the trend continues it will change the character of some of the world’s greatest golf courses and make some of them totally redundant. We need bifurcation in the game of golf immediately.
Article courtesy of Worldwide Golf. Gary Player contributes a monthly column to the Middle Eastern golf publication. To see past columns, visit the Worldwide Golf website.
BMW GOLF CUP INTERNATIONAL: WORLD FINAL TRIUMPH FOR LOCAL HEROES FROM TEAM SOUTH AFRICA
Mar 12, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
Gary Player and BMW AG Board Member Ian Robertson
present the awards to the victorious golfers at the BMW
Golf Cup International.
Standing ovations for Gary Player, jubilation for the victorious team from South Africa and huge joy among the Germans for an outstanding second place – the official gala evening to mark the end of the BMW Golf Cup International World Final, held at one of the country’s vineyards, proved a glittering highlight and fitting climax to a fantastic week of golf at South Africa’s Fancourt Golf Resort. Following the participation of around 100,000 players from all over the world in the qualifying rounds of the competition, BMW invited 137 players and their entourages from 47 countries to take part in the final of the world’s largest amateur golf series. Here in South Africa, however, all participants could consider themselves winners – just to have been part of the event was a reward in itself.
“This week and the entire BMW Golf Cup International have been a great success and an unforgettable experience for all involved,” said Eckhard Wannieck, Head of International Sponsoring, Cooperations and Product Placement at BMW. “The participants came from four different continents and from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. At times communication between them was difficult, but the one thing that united them was a passion for the game of golf and for the BMW brand. That’s a wonderful thing.”
Hosts make most of home advantage
The winning South Africa team included Ockert Douglas, Kevan
Hunter, and Lynn Butler.
From Wednesday to Friday the three handicap classes, Men A (up to handicap 12), Men B (handicap 13 to 28) and Ladies (up to handicap 28), played 54 holes of Stableford competition. And the outcome remained extremely tense until the final round, when the winners of the individual competitions were finally declared: South African Ockert Douglas (net score 103), George Offenhauser (USA/115) and Ekaterina Boldyreva (Russia/115). In addition to Ockert Douglas (HCP 5), the winning South Africa team included Kevan Hunter (HCP 15) and Lynn Butler (HCP 28). “That is without question the highpoint of my golfing career,” said a delighted Ockert Douglas: “To say I’m happy would be an understatement. It’s amazing how BMW has looked after us. You have to experience it to believe it.”
German team has best result for years
The German participants were also delighted with their experience and performance. Stefanie Köhler (Golf Resort Semlin am See/HCP 19.5) scored 108 Stableford points to achieve a superb second place in the individual rankings, Marcel Zilles (GCG Großensee/0.4) finished 20th and Quan Anh Nguyen (GC Franzensbad/19.6) took a share of third place. “Team Germany performed great. My objective was to finish in the top ten; to have finished runner-up in both the team and individual events is unbelievable,” said Stefanie Köhler, summing up the best result for Germany’s golfers at the BMW International Cup for years: “It was tremendous fun to be a part of the various experiences and events both on and off the golf course.”
Marcel Zilles, whose handicap of 0.4 makes him virtually of golf profession standard, added: “It was an incredible week on one of the world’s most beautiful golf courses. Given my handicap I had hoped to do a bit more personally, but runner-up in the team classification is a great result.” For Zilles, too, the communal experience was perhaps the most memorable aspect: “We met so many great people from such different backgrounds. A big thank-you has to go to those responsible at BMW for making it all possible.”
Honeymoon trip to the BMW Golf Cup International.
The only slight downer was the rain that set in on Friday afternoon, which turned the golf clinic given by nine-times major winner Gary Player into a rather damp affair. Nevertheless, the 77-year-old was given warm reception by the amateurs and demonstrated his shots with panache and an impressive level of fitness. “I was very happy to accept the invitation from BMW to come to this event,” said Player, who designed all three of the courses at the Fancourt Resort. “BMW and the Golf Cup International do a great job to boost the popularity of the sport of golf.”
Gary Player conducts a clinic at the BMW Golf Cup International
despite rain showers.
Tournament director Marco Kaussler was also delighted with the tournament, the fifth edition of the event to have been held at the Fancourt Golf Resort near George in the Cape region. “This was the 20th World Final I have been involved in and each time it is something very special. This year the tournament itself was a particular highlight. The conditions were fantastic and for the most part the weather was superb. It’s going to be hard to improve on this year’s event.” The task of hosting next year’s BMW Golf Cup International World Final returns to Asia.
A remarkable degree of commitment was shown by Indian golfer Jaskeerat Matharoo, who arrived at the Fancourt Resort at virtually the last minute on Tuesday, having got married only the previous weekend. She and her new husband spent their honeymoon at the five-star resort. Clearly inspired by her personal happiness, the newlywed played well enough to finish fourth in the individual classification. And while she made her way around the greens and fairways, her husband was able to enjoy the wide-ranging support programme provided for players’ partners.
Ostrich rides and the BMW xDrive Experience.
Thanks to the pleasant weather throughout the week, all evening events – including the official opening ceremony and “Olympic” parade presenting the flags of the 47 participating nations, an African barbecue and folklore evening – were held as planned under the South African skies. At party night on Thursday a local band provided a lively beat in the greenkeepers’ converted equipment store. And an organised safari gave participants a chance to observe lions and elephants, while a few brave souls tried their hand at ostrich riding – a rather less predictable mode of transport than the BMW models on offer. The BMW xDrive Experience offered guests an opportunity to take one of the BMW convertibles on a trip into the nearby mountains or to the beach and to try for themselves the exceptional handling characteristics of the BMW models.
At the end of the week there were only happy, smiling faces. “The finalists made for a wonderful atmosphere and played with great joy and sportsmanship,” said Ian Robertson. “As far as we’re concerned they’re all winners – first for qualifying as national champions in their own countries, but also for having made the BMW Golf Cup International once again such a unique experience.”
The Fancourt Golf Resort is one of the country’s oldest golf clubs. Dr Hasso Plattner, co-founder of SAP, acquired the complex in 1996. The resort now enjoys five-star status and boasts around 200 luxurious rooms. Fancourt is a member of “The Leading Hotels of the World” and was also awarded “Leading Spas of the World” status. In 2003 the resort staged the President’s Cup, a competition between the best non-European golfers and the United States. The other sponsors of the BMW Golf Cup International World Final were Hugo Boss, South African Airways and Titleist.
BMW GOLF CUP INTERNATIONAL WORLD FINAL: GARY PLAYER MEETS THE BEST 138 AMATEURS FROM 48 NATIONS
Mar 4, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
138 amateur golfers from 48 nations are counting down the days and hours. And although each of them is already a winner, their nerves will only increase as the greatest moment of their golfing lives approaches.
On 4 – 9 March 2013 the best amateur players from around the world – having qualified from a starting field of some 100,000 hopefuls – will go head-to-head amid the beautiful surroundings of the Fancourt Golf Resort in South Africa for the World Final of the BMW Golf Cup International. The concluding event of the world’s largest tournament series for amateur golfers is an undeniably unique and unforgettable experience.
The competitors will line up in three categories – Men A (handicap of –12 or better), Men B (handicap of -13 to -28) and Ladies (handicap of –28 or better) – for three rounds totalling 54 holes to decide the individual winners. The net scores of the participants from the different countries are then added together for the National Team competition. The winners here will following in the footsteps of the Malaysians who have emerged victorious in each of the last three editions of the BMW Golf Cup International World Final. The competition will take place over the Montagu and Outeniqua courses at the five-star Fancourt Golf Resort, which is hosting the event for the fifth time.
The connection between golfers and the BMW brand.
“This World Final represents a suitably grand conclusion to a wonderful 2012 season. This year, the BMW Golf Cup International has featured 48 countries – the second-highest number of competing nations in the almost 30 years since the first World Final was held,” says Eckard Wannieck, Head of International Sponsoring, Cooperations and Product Placement at BMW. ”
The Montagu course at Fancourt Resort. One of the two Gary Player-designed
courses that will see top amateurs compete for the BMW Golf Cup International
World Final title.
“We are delighted to see such a wonderful response to the competition, which at the same time highlights the connection between golfers and the BMW brand.
The finalists can look forward to a very special visit – above and beyond the sporting battles ahead. South African golfing legend Gary Player will hold a golf clinic for the competitors on the Friday. And in the evening, Player will join
Dr Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing, at a gala dinner to present the trophies. 77 years old he may be, but the nine-times major champion is brimming with vitality. Player designed all three courses at the Fancourt Resort.
“I am thrilled to join BMW as a special guest during the World Final of the BMW Golf Cup International in South Africa. BMW has done a wonderful job nurturing and progressing the amateur game, with the BMW Golf Cup representing the pinnacle for amateur golfers and over 100,000 competed to make it to the final at the spectacular Fancourt Resort.”
Off-course programme includes the BMW xDrive Experience.
The Fancourt Golf Resort near the Western Cape city of George on the spectacular Garden Route is one of South Africa’s oldest golf clubs. The estate was purchased by Dr Hasso Plattner, co-founder of German software giant SAP, in 1996 and has since attained a five-star rating. Offering 200 luxurious rooms, Fancourt is a member of the elite organisation The Leading Hotels of the World and is also included in the Leading Spas of the World listings. In 2003 it provided the venue for the President’s Cup professional golf competition between a team from the USA and a line up from the rest of the world, minus Europe.
Top amateurs from 48 countries around the world will meet at the Fancourt
Resort March 4-9 in a culmination of the BMW Golf Cup International.
The list of sponsors for the BMW Golf Cup International World Final also features Hugo Boss, South African Airways and Titleist.
The competitors and their companions will arrive at Fancourt on Monday, 4 March. On the Tuesday they will have the chance to play a practice round before the serious business begins: three tournament rounds (with no cut) from Wednesday to Friday to decide the winners. As well as golf, the guests will be treated to an exciting off-course programme, beginning on the Monday with an opening evening event and welcome for all 48 participating countries hosted by star South African TV presenter Jo Ann Strauss. An atmospheric Olympics-style flag parade is also on the agenda. The highlight of the off-course activities, however, is the BMW xDrive Experience. This off-road touring experience through the nearby mountains will be followed by a chance to taste some local wines.
The competitors in the BMW Golf Cup International World Final therefore have good reason to be feeling a mixture of both nerves and feverish anticipation. For the majority of their number, the final chapter in this tournament series will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The best four German amateur golfers from a field of 13,500.
Four German players are among those gripped by excitement ahead of the week in South Africa. Stefanie Köhler (Golfressort Semlin am See/HCP 19.5), Marcel Zilles (GCG Großensee/0.4), Quan Anh Nguyen (GC Franzensbad/19.6) and André Mues (Vestischer Golfclub/27.3) secured World Final places in their respective handicap classes in a match-play German final at the Golf- und Land-Club Berlin-Wannsee in early October. The first three will also make up the German team at the Fancourt Golf Resort, with Mues only able to play out of competition as his class is not contested internationally. “I’m looking forward to South Africa enormously,” beams Men’s A winner Marcel Zilles. “I hope we can perform successfully and represent Germany’s many amateur golfers in suitable style.”
A total of around 13,500 amateur golfers took part in some 120 tournaments between May and October 2012 in Germany alone to decide the overjoyed winners.
SPEED-OF-SOUND SKYDIVER FELIX BAUMGARTNER DROPS IN ON LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS AWARDS IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Feb 26, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments
Skydiver Felix Baumgartner will be in attendance at the 2013 Laureus
World Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro on March 11.
Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who became the first human to go through the sound barrier when he made the highest ever freefall from 39km (24 miles) over New Mexico in October, is to attend the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro on March 11.
Baumgartner, along with British BMX rider Jamie Bestwick and German windsurfer Philip Köster, are among the Nominees for the coveted Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award who will be present at the Awards Ceremony in Rio next month.
Among the early names confirmed are no fewer than nine Olympic and Paralympic gold medal winners from the London Games: Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Grenada’s Kirani James, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos, British cyclist Victoria Pendleton, German rowers Filip Adamski and Andreas Kuffner and Namibian runner Johanna Benson. Also present will be Brazilian Paralympic heroes Daniel Dias and Alan Fonteles Oliveira, both nominated for the Laureus Disability Award, whowill be hoping one of them can win a Laureus Statuette for their home country.
Among the great sporting legends attending the Awards Ceremony will be South African golfing icon Gary Player, winner of golf’s Grand Slam on both the Regular Tour and Senior Tour, and Sweden’s Björn Borg, who won five consecutive Wimbledon titles and six French Opens.
Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses will be leading a glittering collection of his fellow Academy Members and Ambassadors, which includes no fewer than 15 Olympic and Paralympic gold medal winners, plus many former world champions from the major sports.
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar. The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, will be unveiled at a globally televisedAwards Ceremony at the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro on the evening of Monday, March 11.
Double Olympic gold medallist Edwin Moses said: “I am delighted that so many great Olympians and Paralympians from London will be in Rio for the Awards Ceremony. With Rio being the Host City for the Laureus World Sports Awards, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this is going to be a very special occasion indeed.”
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports over 140 community sports projects around the world, including three in Brazil. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €60 million for projects which have improved the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people.
The Laureus World Sports Awards will enhance the calendar of major global events that Rio de Janeiro is hosting in the coming years, such as the 2013 World Judo Championship, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Rio is the birthplace of sport and culture in Brazil, a state of vibrant energy and natural beauty that has become a showcase of the country to the world.
Among the winners who have received Awards at previous Award Ceremonies have been Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Alex Ferguson, Lewis Hamilton, Justine Henin, Kelly Holmes, Rafael Nadal, Oscar Pistorius, Steve Redgrave, Ronaldo, Michael Schumacher, Kelly Slater, Serena Williams and Zinedine Zidane. Guests attending the Awards Ceremony have included His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, David and Victoria Beckham, Sean Connery, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Morgan Freeman, Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Gwyneth Paltrow andKevin Spacey.
The full list of Nominees for the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards is:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year
Usain Bolt (Jamaica) Athletics; Mo Farah (UK) Athletics; Lionel Messi (Argentina) Football; Michael Phelps (US) Swimming; Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Motor Racing; Bradley Wiggins (UK) Cycling
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
Jessica Ennis (UK) Athletics; Allyson Felix (US) Athletics: Missy Franklin (US) Swimming; Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica) Athletics; Lindsey Vonn (US) Skiing; Serena Williams (US) Tennis
Laureus World Team of the Year
China Olympic Table Tennis Team; European Ryder Cup Team; Miami Heat (US) Basketball; RedBull Formula One Team (Austria); Spain Men’s Football Team; US Men’s Basketball Team
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year
Yannick Agnel (France) Swimming; Gabby Douglas (US) Gymnastics; Kirani James (Grenada) Athletics: Andy Murray (UK) Tennis; Neymar (Brazil) Football; Ye Shiwen (China) Swimming
Laureus World Comeback of the Year
Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) Athletics; Ernie Els (South Africa) Golf; European Ryder Cup Team; Anna Meares (Australia) Cycling; Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic) Athletics; Germany Men’s Olympic Eights Rowing Team
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability
Patrick Anderson (Canada) Wheelchair Basketball; Johanna Benson (Namibia) Athletics; Daniel de Faria Dias (Brazil) Swimming; Alan Fonteles Oliveira (Brazil) Athletics; David Weir (United Kingdom) Wheelchair Racing; Alex Zanardi (Italy) Hand Cycling
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year
Felix Baumgartner (Austria) Skydiving; Jamie Bestwick (UK) BMX; Julie Bresset (France) Mountain Biking; Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) Surfing; Joel Parkinson (Australia) Surfing; Philip Köster (Germany) Windsurfing
For more detailed biographies of Nominees go to http://www.laureus.com.