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NANJING ZHONGSHAN INTERNATIONAL GOLF CLUB HOSTS GOLF FOR FIRST APPEARANCE IN YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES

Aug 19, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

As top junior athletes from around the globe converge upon Nanjing, China for the second edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games, the Gary Player-designed Nanjing Zhongshan International Golf Club will provide the stage for the first ever golf event to be played in the Games.

The Gary Player Signature Course will see 64 youth Olympians from 32 countries tee-off to compete for their country in a 54-hole stroke play tournament. The world’s top junior golfers aged 15 to 18 will then take part in the mixed gender team event set to take place from August 24 to 26.

The addition of golf to the Youth Olympics, as well as its inclusion in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after a 110 year absence, mark exciting steps in global golf development.

“I, like so many others, am looking forward to the return of golf in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but I could not be more thrilled that the future superstars of the game are able to compete for their home countries in golf’s first appearance in the Youth Olympic Games,” said golf icon Gary Player. “I visited our Signature Course at Nanjing Zhongshan International Golf Club last year, and I have no doubt that it will be a terrific venue.  I wish all those competing the best of luck.”

As golf grows across China, hopes are that the sport will continue to gain momentum following these 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics and the Rio 2016 Games. While the long-awaited return of golf draws closer, success in the Nanjing Summer Youth Olympics is sure to pave the way for the sustained inclusion of golf in future games.

The 27-hole Nanjing Zhongshan International Golf Club, which opened for play in 2005, previously hosted to China’s 10th National Games and several China Tour events including the IGC Open and Sofitel Golf Championship. Other Gary Player Design courses in China hosting professional or high profile amateur events include Suzhou Jinji Lake International Golf Club and Kau Sai Chau.

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THRACIAN CLIFFS BESTOWED MEMBERSHIP OF ‘LEADING GOLF COURSES EUROPE’

Aug 4, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

The world-class, Gary Player-designed Thracian Cliffs Resort in Bulgaria has been bestowed membership of the prestigious ‘Leading Golf Courses Europe’ collection following a recent inspection visit by its senior team.

The luxury Black Sea venue has gained many admirers since opening in 2011, with images of its sensational cliff-top Gary Player golf course being transmitted around the world. It also successfully hosted the 2013 Volvo World Match Play Championship and scooped the ‘European Golf Resort of the Year 2014′ award, bestowed by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

Following a personal visit headed by Wolfgang Kunneth, president of the Leading Golf Courses Europe, Thracian Cliffs was installed as the latest member, joining other elite courses in Europe including Costa Navarino, Son Gual, Monte Rei and Open Championship venue Turnberry.

Receiving the membership award, Thracian Cliffs’ general manager, Claudio Marini, said: “We are delighted that Mr. Kunneth and his team have chosen to inaugurate our fantastic golf course into its prestigious collection of venues.

“It will help us in showcasing our wonderful product across Europe and we look forward to welcoming members of these iconic venues to experience Thracian Cliffs Resort.”

Offering a choice of two high-spec residential villages, gourmet restaurants, a bijou spa and its own beach club, Thracian Cliffs offers plenty for both golfers and lifestyle seekers – all within the unique environment of the Cape Kaliakra coast, which boasts an average of 10 hours’ daily sunshine between the months of April and October.

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GARY PLAYER TO DESIGN BIG CEDAR LODGE’S NEW FAMILY-FRIENDLY GOLF COURSE IN THE OZARKS

Jul 31, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

Gary Player and Johnny Morris are pleased to announce a partnership to create a world-class, family-friendly golf course at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri.

Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops founder and noted conservationist, and golf icon Gary Player share a similar passion for nature and golf. Through a joined pioneering spirit to create a new family-friendly golf course, Morris and Player seek to deliver a special offering for the guests of Big Cedar Lodge, which is ranked as one of the top resorts for families in America.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Johnny Morris and Big Cedar Lodge to create something truly spectacular and innovative with our family golf center,” said Player. “Growing the game continues to be of the utmost importance and we are thrilled to be able to work alongside Johnny to implement a number of new ideas to help grow golf in a location of such natural beauty.”


Gary Player tours the Big Cedar Lodge property with Johnny Morris

The resort’s family appeal inspired Morris to create a golf center that caters to beginners and juniors, and helps introduce them to the sport in a welcoming environment. The new Gary Player-designed family-friendly golf course will add to the already impressive variety of golf offerings at Big Cedar Lodge. This year, Big Cedar Lodge opened Buffalo Ridge, an 18-hole championship golf course, and Top of the Rock, a striking homage to pure golf that includes the remarkable Jack Nicklaus Signature Design par-3 golf course, recently ranked among the Top 10 most searched golf destinations on Yahoo Search, Arnold Palmer Practice Facility and “Himalayas” Putting Complex designed by Tom Watson.

At the heart of the Morris and Player project, which is set to open in 2015, is creating enjoyment in the game of golf for all ages and skill levels. The course will be designed in a very welcoming, fun and creative way, so as not to intimidate novice players. 

“Gary Player Design will use creative, unique, and untraditional concepts to help all members of the family enjoy the game,” said Scott Ferrell, Gary Player Design President. “Our aim is to create an enjoyable course that will pique the interest of those just beginning to play the game, while also creating a unique design that allows the whole family to enjoy.”

Known as the Black Knight, Player is one of the original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame and is the International Ambassador of Golf. He has been a longtime promoter of growing golf around the world, and, as such, his Gary Player Design projects have consistently emphasized playability for all levels to enjoy the game.

“All of us at Big Cedar Lodge are honored to have Gary Player help us create a special family golf experience in the Ozarks. My son and I had the opportunity to visit Gary at his ranch in South Africa, where his brother Ian is a renowned conservationist.  Gary and I share many things in common and it did not take long for me to realize that we are both nuts about rocks and nature.  It quickly became apparent to me that I had just met one of the nicest and most enthusiastic men on earth. That is what is going to make this project so fun—our shared passion to get young people outside spending more time in outdoor sports,” Morris said. 

In addition to the family golf center, the innovative nature of Big Cedar Lodge was evidenced earlier this year at the Champions Tour’s Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf presented by Bass Pro Shops. In a groundbreaking move, the longest running event on the Champions Tour schedule was moved to Big Cedar Lodge where the first par-3 course, Top of the Rock, was used in an official PGA TOUR-sanctioned event. Grand Slam Champion Gary Player partnered with longtime friend and legend Jack Nicklaus to play in the event, which took place June 4-8.

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THE BLACK KNIGHT SHOWS STYLE ON AND OFF THE COURSE WITH THE GARY PLAYER COLLECTION

Jul 31, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

There is no doubt that Gary Player has rightfully earned his nickname of the Black Knight after displaying his penchant for wearing all black clothing for over six decades now. While Player is known for his stylish choices on the course, the golf icon continues to prove his timeless style both on and off the course through the Gary Player Collection.

The Black Knight brand’s apparel and merchandise collection is fashioned after the man himself with performance and style in mind. From Italian-made, double mercerized cotton offerings to sporty and sophisticated performance apparel, the Gary Player Collection represents a refined lifestyle ready for the golf course or next business meeting.

Gary Player has long been sporting his black knight logo that has become synonymous with the South African golfer whose achievements include the career Grand Slam, 9 Major Championships on the PGA Tour, 9 Major Championships on the Senior Tour, and 165 worldwide victories.

Grand Slam style can be achieved with the same items that Player wears on tour from everyday golf apparel to Player’s trademark Black Knight hat or sterling silver Black Knight belt buckle.

In addition to apparel and as an ode to Player’s South African roots, a partnership with Zimbabwean artist and sculptor Patrick Marvos offers a beautiful selection of African themed, custom designed, and hand-sculpted sterling silver pieces that range from cuff links, bangles, belt buckles, and home décor items. 

In addition to the partnership with the Black Knight Shop, Mavros’ work with golfing legend extends to the Gary Player Invitational series as he custom designed the series’ baobab trophy. The baobab tree is an African icon that symbolizes enduring strength, very much to the image of the Black Knight.

In the spirit of giving back and creating a brighter future, a percentage of each sale from the Black Knight Shop is donated to The Player Foundation in order to help underprivileged children across the globe. Since its establishment in 1983, The Player Foundation has raised over $50 million to give disadvantaged youth a brighter future in all corners of the world.

View all Black Knight offerings at www.garyplayershop.com.

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THE BIG THREE COMPETE AT 3M CHAMPIONSHIP

Jul 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

Gary Player will reunite The Big Three on August 2 as he, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer gear up for the 3M Championship’s Greats of Golf competition at TPC-Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota from July 28 – August 3.

The Greats of Golf, which began in 2004 at the 3M Championship, will include The Big Three, along with Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Dave Stockton, Tony Jacklin, Fuzzy Zoeller, Annika Sorenstam, and Nancy Lopez, among others during the three-man team 18-hole scramble on Saturday, August 2.

“To have The Big Three, Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam, and all of the legends together in one event is history in the making,” said Robin Torgerson, vice president of U.S. Sales for 3M.

Earlier this year, a similar event at Houston’s Insperity Invitational resulted in a tie between the team of Player, Nicklaus, and Trevino and Miller, Stockton, and Tony Jacklin. Both teams shot 10-under 62.

“I am looking forward to going out to compete here at the 3M Championship to see if Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, and I can best our performance earlier this year at the Insperity Championship Greats of Golf,” said Grand Slam champion Gary Player. “It is always a thrill be able to play with some of my great friends like Jack and Lee. I am looking forward to a wonderful tournament.”

The 3M Championship will also have a stout field that features top names from the Champions Tour including Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price, Tom Lehman, Rocco Mediate, and Champions Tour rookie Miguel Angel Jimenez as Tom Pernice, Jr. looks to defend his title in Minnesota.

General admission will be free for all spectators. For more information, visit www.3MChampionship.com.

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CHARITY TRIUMPHS AT THE BERENBERG GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Jul 22, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

The 2014 Berenberg Gary Player Invitational concluded yet another successful event which saw some of the biggest names in golf, entertainment and business join together with golf icon and Grand Slam champion Gary Player to help raise over $100,000 for underprivileged children at London’s historic Wentworth Club on Monday, 21 July.

The charitable funds, exceeding $100,000, were quickly raised by auctioneer Jonny Gould on only four bespoke items as professional golfers and participants alike joined in the fun and giving during the gala auction.

Following the evening’s gala, Player together with The Player Foundation and presenting sponsor Berenberg, were able to donate the sizable contribution to this year’s event beneficiary, Depaul UK, in order to aid young people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

“I continue to be astounded and humbled by the funds we are able to raise for children’s charities,” said tournament host Gary Player. “Our global series of events is fast approaching $60 million raised for charity worldwide, but together with Berenberg we have certainly raised the bar in what we are able to accomplish.”

The second leg of the global series, was won by the team of Australian professional Marc Leishman and Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald, along with businessmen Nicklas Backstrom and Stephen Irvine.

The star-studded field gathered for charity saw the likes of professional golfers Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Branden Grace, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Jason Day, Fred Couples, Jason Dufner, David Howell, Bernd Wiesberger, Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Woosnam. Participating ladies professionals included Suzann Pettersen, Charley Hull, Carly Booth, Melissa Reid, Henni Zuel, Amy Boulden, Whitney Hillier, Diana Luna and Maria Balikoeva. Additionally, celebrities involved were Ronan Keating, Dougray Scott, Heikki Kovalainen, Jonathan Joseph, Zoe Hardman and Mike Tindall.

“We are proud to call Gary Player our Brand Ambassador, as he is truly a great Ambassador for the game of golf,” said Dr. Hans-Walter Peters, Managing Partner of Berenberg. “This must be measured not just in terms of his career achievements as a Grand Slam Champion, but also in driving such outstanding philanthropic initiatives as the Gary Player Invitational series. The event’s great virtues and its ability to give so much back to charity is one of the many reasons we have chosen this sponsorship as an important business platform for years to come.”

“This was yet another banner event in our Gary Player Invitational series and we are extremely grateful to those who have supported our events over the years,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “The all-star cast of golf professionals and celebrities as well as the prominent businessmen contributed significantly to the success of the event over the past two days to truly celebrate a union of golf and giving.”

The Berenberg Gary Player Invitational is part of the world-leading Gary Player Invitational charity golf event series, which has raised in excess of $50 million for charities worldwide. The next stop for the Gary Player Invitational will take the Grand Slam champion to Shanghai on November 3-4 before the series concludes in South Africa on November 20-23.

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BERENBERG GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL LANDS NETJETS OFFICIAL SPONSORSHIP

Jul 21, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

NetJets has signed an exclusive partnership with world-leading charity golf event, the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational, to become the Official Private Jet Sponsor.

NetJets is supporting the European-leg of the Gary Player Invitational series in a variety of ways, including flying the world-class professional field yesterday from The Open Championship at Hoylake to the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational at Wentworth. NetJets is also benefitting from a suite of exclusive sponsorship benefits throughout the event held over two days, Sunday 20th and Monday 21st July.

“Golf takes me all over the world, just as it does our superb cast of participating professionals,” said tournament host and Grand Slam champion Gary Player.  “I know for each one of them that time is of the essence and they want to arrive ready to compete. The excellent service provided by NetJets is a great support for our participants off the back of their high-profile Open Championship week.”

“Our Gary Player Invitational series continues to grow with the generosity of our sponsors, and we pride ourselves on the guest experience at our union of golf and giving,” said Black Knight International CEO Marc Player. “The partnership with NetJets has enabled our field of professional golfers to travel quickly and seamlessly to London and is a perfect partner for our event.”

Todd Goldstein, NetJets Senior Vice President and Director – Golf, added: “The Gary Player Invitational sets the benchmark for charity golf tournaments worldwide and we’re delighted we can support this great cause through our partnership with the event. NetJets has a long-standing and unparalleled reputation in supporting golf’s elite players. We are delighted to be working with Gary Player and his team to further enhance this reputation and help the event raise monies for the designated charities.”

The 2014 event in London boasts an all-star professional field, including: Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Branden Grace, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Jason Day, Fred Couples, Jason Dufner, David Howell, Bernd Wiesberger, Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Woosnam and Marc Leishman. Participating ladies professionals include Suzann Pettersen, Charley Hull, Carly Booth, Melissa Reid, Henni Zuel, Amy Boulden, Whitney Hillier, Diana Luna, Maria Balikoeva and Kelsey MacDonald. Sporting and entertainment celebrities also joining the event include Ronan Keating, Dougray Scott, Heikki Kovalainen, Jonathan Joseph, Zoe Hardman and Mike Tindall to complete the field.

The Berenberg Gary Player Invitational is part of the world-leading Gary Player Invitational charity golf event series, which has raised in excess of $50 million for charities worldwide.

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LEADING PROFESSIONALS RALLY FOR CHARITY AT THE 2014 BERENBERG GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Jul 14, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

London’s historic Wentworth Club will soon see an impressive rally for charity as the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational welcomes twenty-seven of the world’s top golfing professionals. The golfing stars will join tournament host and Grand Slam champion Gary Player, along with prominent celebrity and business guests to compete in the “Union of Golf and Giving” on July 20-21.

“It is wonderful to see this fantastic group of professionals that will join our cause at Wentworth seeking to provide a brighter future for underprivileged children,” said golf icon Gary Player.  “This year is sure to be yet another unique and memorable event. With the support of our wonderful sponsors, like Berenberg, we are able to deliver some of the world’s finest golf experiences and, in doing so, create powerful fundraising platforms for those less fortunate than ourselves.”

One of the many distinguishing factors of this leading charity golf event is the unique format that pairs invited business guests with a PGA or European Tour Professional, LPGA or LET Professional, and prominent celebrities. 

Current US Open Champion Martin Kaymer said, “I have had the privilege of receiving valuable information and knowledge from Mr. Player for many years now. For almost as many years, we have talked about coming together for one of his events and finally here we are. Mr. Player has done a lot of good for many people and causes around the world. The world keeps changing and, more than ever, I feel that words from more experienced people than yourself should be listened to. A day with Mr. Player is like nothing else, and I am very much looking forward to be in his presence once again.”

Ahead of his first-ever GPI event, world number 6 ranked player Jason Day, added, “I’ve heard so much about Mr. Player’s worldwide charity event series. We play a lot of tournament golf throughout the year and attend many Pro-Am events, but this is one that I’ve really wanted to attend for some time now. Off the back of such a high-pressure week as The Open, it will be great to join so many of my peers and leading ladies Tour Professionals for the event to raise funds for charity.”

On behalf of the female Professionals, world number 4 golfer Suzann Pettersen had this to add, “Everyone knows about Gary Player’s achievements on the course, as well as the many successful initiatives to benefit the game and the people that love it. Golf has provided us the opportunity to give back to such great causes as The Player Foundation and this is perhaps the most rewarding aspect of our careers. I’m thrilled to help Gary at this year’s event at Wentworth – a venue I’ve never before competed at, which makes it doubly exciting.”

The Berenberg Gary Player Invitational is part of the world-leading Gary Player Invitational charity golf event series, which has raised in excess of $50million for charities worldwide.

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GARY PLAYER CLOSER TO BIG WINNER AMBITION

Jul 11, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

As he approaches his 79th birthday, there is unfinished business for the legendary golfer Gary Player. He would love to breed a horse capable of winning a big race like the Durban July.

Gary Player’s stud has produced a quality racehorse in a yearling by popular stallion Var. The youngster made top price of R1m at last weekend’s KwaZulu-Natal Yearling Sale at the Suncoast Casino resort in Durban.

There was spirited bidding before the hammer came down in favour of Johannesburg businessman Adriaan van Vuuren. It was one of four purchases for his Misty Meadows operation and he spent R1.54m over the two-day sale. Van Vuuren has made a big impression at thoroughbred sales countrywide. His horses are trained in Gauteng by Michael Azzie.

Champion sire Silvano was represented by only three lots so it was no surprise that one of his sons — consigned by Maine Chance Farms — got the second-highest price, knocked down to Brian Burnard for R750,000.

Michael Leaf — quoted as saying he would “have to live with the result” following the demotion of Wylie Hall to second place in last Saturday’s Durban July — must hope he has another top horse in a son of Ideal World, which he bought from Mauritzfontein Stud for R340,000.

Mauritzfontein topped the vendors’ list with their 10 yearlings, sold for a total of R2.1m.

Maine Chance Farms sold nine yearlings for R1.7m, The Alchemy also sold nine, for R1.5m, and Boland Stud sold 14 for R1.3m.

The average of R100,268 was a record for this sale, up from last year’s of R88,798.

Bloodstock South Africa sales manager Caroline Simpson said: “We are thrilled with the results.

“There’s no doubt breeders brought some highly attractive yearlings to the sale.”

Racing returns to the Vaal on Thursday and punters will be delighted that champion jockey-elect S’manga Khumalo is back in the saddle. Khumalo missed the July meeting due to concussion, but he might have had no winners at the meeting as Whiteline Fever ran unplaced in the big race, as did the useful juvenile filly, Carry On Alice, in the Golden Slipper.

Khumalo partners four-year-old Tayba in the fifth race and trainer Mike de Kock’s filly will be tough to beat as she has already proven she acts well on the Vaal sand surface.

If Tayba fluffs her lines, the runner most likely to take advantage is the lightly raced Lady Casey, who receives 6kg from De Kock’s runner. Steve Moffatt’s filly is drawn in pole position and could be difficult to overhaul if she establishes a big lead.

Another good mount for Khumalo should be War Trail, who should go close in the third race provided he handles the sand surface, which he is trying for the first time. Punters wanting to include another runner in the place accumulator should consider St John Gray’s Sirocco Bay.

Article courtesy of The Sunday Times, Business Day.

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GARY PLAYER DESIGN TO UPDATE SARASOTA’S LAUREL OAK COUNTRY CLUB

Jul 1, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

Gary Player Design will soon embark on a strategic redesign of Laurel Oak Country Club’s East Course. Laurel Oak, located in Sarasota, Florida, has commissioned Player’s design firm to update the club’s original Gary Player Signature Course to preserve the original design, while modernizing strategic course elements in the renovation that is due to start construction in early 2015.

As a world-leading golf course design firm, Gary Player Design features over 325 courses in their global portfolio. The work at Laurel Oaks offers an excellent opportunity to continue to build upon the longstanding prominence of the Black Knight’s design firm.

“We always welcome the opportunity to enhance existing courses that have been in the Gary Player Design portfolio for many years,” said Scott Ferrell, Gary Player Design President. “This allows us to ensure the course maintains the original design intent while keeping up with today’s technology.”

The East Course at Laurel Oak Country Club redesign is expected to focus on work to the green complexes in order to restore the original size, contours, and shape to the greens. While work is planned on each of the greens, a number of holes will likely have completely renovated green complexes. The final scope of the design work will be determined following the conceptual analysis currently underway.

The thriving club, which opened in 1995, features a prospering membership and continues to look to improve its golf experience through the renovation.

“Golf courses are living, breathing creatures and tend to evolve and change over time,” said Jeff Lawrence, Gary Player Design Senior Designer. “We are looking forward to implementing a number of modifications in this redesign that allow us to bring back the primary design intent while also improving the experience as a whole.”

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THE BLACK KNIGHT RETURNS TO HOYLAKE FOR 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF ‘74 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP WIN

Jun 30, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

As golf’s oldest major championship heads to Royal Liverpool in a few weeks’ time, nine-time Major Championship winner and golf icon Gary Player will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his 1974 Open Championship victory at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club.

“To know that it has been 40 years since I won my final Open Championship is incredible,” said Gary Player. “That was one of the best victories of my career, and one that I am particularly proud of as I became only the man in the modern era to win the Open Championship in three separate decades.”

Many remember the tournament for the Black Knight’s iconic shot on the final hole of the Championship. Player was forced to chip left-handed with his trusted blade putter following a second shot that flew over the green to land alongside the stone clubhouse wall. The shot defined Player’s tournament after the ball unbelievably landed 10 feet from the hole, setting up his third Open victory.

In what was his twentieth consecutive Open start, Player finished the tournament scoring rounds of 69, 68, 75, 70 for a 2-under-par 282 to hold off a strong contingent of competitors, including Englishman Peter Oosterhuis and Jack Nicklaus to add to the previous titles at Muirfield in 1959 and Carnoustie in 1968.

Perhaps Player’s best year in the Majors, he won the 1974 Masters Tournament before heading to the Open Championship, but also achieved top ten finishes in the U.S. Open Championship and PGA Championship as well. 

“It was a great year for me in the Majors and even now it is wonderful to look back,” said Player. “I had all the confidence in the world heading into that tournament, so I felt great after four solid rounds to win at Royal Lytham & St Annes.”

Player continues to return to the Open Championship each year to watch history unfold and entertain corporate clients.

“The Open has always been a favourite tournament of mine with its great history, and it holds so many special memories after playing in some 44 Opens,” remarked the golf legend. “It is wonderful to return each July.”

This year, the Open Championship moves to England and to the exact venue where Player started his journey at the famed tournament. Player traveled to Royal Liverpool in 1956 at just 20 years of age to take on the Hoylake course.  He impressively finished in fourth behind Peter Thomson, whose win that year brought him the only hat-trick of wins in the 20th century.

Hoylake has seen a number of great champions with the likes of Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, and Tiger Woods joining Thomson in winning there. Only time will tell the 2014 champion, but certainly Player is looking forward to yet another thriller.

“I have always liked a championship course that puts accuracy at a premium, and this is just one reason that Hoylake is a great Open venue,” said Player. “I’m looking forward to seeing how today’s top pros deal with the course, but I am certain that it will be yet another classic Open.”

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BERENBERG GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL GATHERS CHAMPIONS FOR CHARITY AT WENTWORTH

Jun 30, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

Charity will once again take center stage as a spectacular field of professional golfers, celebrities, and businessmen gather for the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational to take place at the historic Wentworth Club on July 20-21. As part of the world’s leading charity series, the European leg of Gary Player Invitational (GPI) series promises to be another thrilling union of golf and giving to aid underprivileged children.

“Youth are the trustees of posterity, so I am so grateful that through our Berenberg Gary Player Invitational event, we can provide a brighter future to children in need across the UK,” said Grand Slam champion and tournament host Gary Player. “Giving back has always been incredibly important throughout my career, but we are truly doing something special with our event at Wentworth.”

The Berenberg Gary Player Invitational is the second tournament of the GPI series, which also includes events in the United States, China, and South Africa. Through monies raised in the global series, The Player Foundation has raised over $50 million to support youth across the world over the past 30 years.

Funds from the event immediately following the Open Championship will benefit DePaul UK and their work to help homeless and disadvantaged young people. Depaul, which has locations throughout the United Kingdom, works with youth to tackle homelessness at every level and, since their establishment in 1989, has helped over 50,000 young people. Depaul’s Nightstop service also offers emergency, short term accommodations in the homes of local volunteers on a night by night basis providing over 120,000 bed nights to those who are vulnerable and in need each year.

“It is a great honor to stage this tournament together with our brand ambassador, Gary Player, and to be a part of his world leading charity golf series. Support for young people is important to both Berenberg and Gary Player. Together, we work with our foundations to benefit children in need,” said Dr. Hans-Walter Peters, Managing Partner of Berenberg.

The GPI field is comprised of an incredible list of champions, including reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer and PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner. In addition to the golfing professionals that together hold 18 Major Championships and countless worldwide tournament victories, celebrities joining the union of golf and giving include longtime supporter Ronan Keating, fellow Irish star Brian McFadden, and Johnathan “DJ Spoony” Joseph.

“The game of golf continues to be the greatest catalyst of all sports for charitable giving,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “The GPI series is another fine example of what can be achieved when sponsors like Berenberg, SAP, Callaway, Coca-Cola and Rolex all come together with the purpose of making a difference. We are grateful for everyone’s support.”

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SA GOLFERS NEED A SELF-BELIEF SHOT

Jun 23, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

Any of the following sound familiar? South African golfers have won more Majors than any other nations besides the US. For a small country, we operate well above our fighting weight on the fairways of the world. Gary Player is the greatest sportsman South Africa has ever produced. Ernie Els is this country’s favourite sporting son.

We’ve had these statements drummed into us in glowing terms, lauding how exceptional our male golfers perform internationally. And while it’s difficult to argue against Player being our all-time No 1, as far as the other assertions go, things aren’t looking so rosy this year.
Els has been missing cuts, and so have fellow Major winners Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman. Branden Grace, who won four times in a sensational 2012 European Tour season, is off the boil. George Coetzee did win the Joburg Open in February to break his duck on the European Tour, but has been quiet ever since.

So what’s the problem? Well, for starters it has to be admitted that golf can be infuriatingly unpredictable. One day you can’t go wrong, the next day you’re chunking it and there’s no logical explanation why you’re making bogeys instead of birdies.

Yet for most, if not all, our players on the European and PGA Tours to be going through relatively dry spells at the same time is a little disconcerting for a proud golfing nation like South Africa.

The way the boys swing the club shouldn’t be an issue. From Ernie to Louis to Charl – their fellow professionals would give anything to have their rhythm and textbook technique.

But right now they all lack the season-upon-season consistency that the great Gary Player has displayed for half a century and more (although to be fair to Els, in his younger days he set records for the number of consecutive cuts made).

Perhaps the answer is that the current crop need to learn not just a little about self-belief from Mr Player, who – need we be reminded – won 165 tournaments worldwide over five decades, including nine Majors and nine Senior Majors.

Ever since he was a boy, Player was determined to be a world champion. Reading Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking helped him strengthen his self-belief. “I learnt very early on that pure talent will get you only so far, because the mind takes over and leads a person into the realm of perfection,” he wrote in Don’t Choke.

Perhaps the supreme example of this self-belief – almost self-hypnosis – came when he was about to take part in the 1965 US Open at Bellerive CC in Missouri. He said: “By the first tee was a big scoreboard which included all the names of previous US Open. The last one said ‘1964, Ken Venturi’. In the space below was ‘1965’, followed by a blank.

“The first time I walked past that scoreboard I saw in my mind the letters ‘1965, Gary Player’, as clearly as they had been painted on in beautiful, gold capital letters. Every time I passed that board I forced myself to look at it, and there was my name. The message was imprinted on me that it was going to happen, that it would be my year.”

Well, history tells us it was indeed Player’s year. He did win the 1965 US Open to become only the third player after Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen to complete the coveted Grand Slam. He was just 29 years old. It took the kind of self-belief that perhaps Charl and Louis and George and Branden need.

Article courtesy of IOL Sport and Grant Winter

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GARY PLAYER DESIGN’S DONNAFUGATA MORE POPULAR THAN EVER BEFORE WITH UK GOLFERS

Jun 17, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa’s reputation amongst travelling UK golfers continues to grow at a record rate with the deluxe Sicilian venue having taken more bookings than ever before in a calendar year – with more than six months to go in 2014.

Latest figures announced by Donnafugata reveal that its popularity in the UK golf market is at a new high, with bookings up by an astounding 52 per cent on the corresponding period last year.

Featuring two 18-hole championship courses – Gary Player-designed Parkland course and the Links – and extensive practice facilities, Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa has won widespread acclaim across the golf industry since opening in 2010. Gary Player Design’s Parkland course was also the venue for the 2011 Sicilian Open, won by Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, on the European Tour.

The resort is already 17 per cent ahead of the total number of room nights booked by golfers for the whole of 2013 and, with numbers projected to grow at a similar rate for the next six months, end-of-year bookings are expected to have increased by more than six-fold in the last two years at Donnafugata.

The new numbers mean that the UK has now overtaken Switzerland to rank alongside Germany and Italy as one of Donnafugata’s three biggest markets.

And with a number of new services available at the resort, including the opening of new flight routes into Comiso and Catania, new rental club pacakages and the opening of a new Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence – the first facility of its kind in continental Europe – UK golfers are set to continue flocking to discover Donnafugata in their droves.

Donnafugata is continuing to reap the rewards of working closely with a range of specialist golf tour operators, both large and small, across the UK and its decision to invest in a concentrated PR campaign in the media, including advertising on Sky Sports for the first time.

Guy Roberts, director of golf at Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, said: “The UK market was one of our biggest growth areas in 2013 and and the booking numbers we’ve already taken for this year are tremendously encouraging.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this spectacular increase in the volume of business generated from the UK market is thanks largely to the tremendous visibility that we have managed to secure over the past 12 to 18 months in the British press, and also as a result of a number of important PR campaigns.”

Located just 20 minutes 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 are deemed fitting of UNESCO World Heritage status.

As well as its outstanding golf facilities, 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.

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SUPERSTARS HEADING TO CHINA FOR THE MISSION HILLS WORLD CELEBRITY PRO-AM

Jun 10, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

Hollywood superstars, sporting legends and golfing greats will converge on China in October for the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am.

The guest list for the eagerly-awaited week of golf, glamour and gala events reads like a Who’s Who of global show business and elite sporting endeavour.

Top golfers confirmed for the tournament include reigning US Open champion Justin Rose, the flamboyant Ian Poulter, Grand Slam champion Gary Player, multiple Major winners Greg Norman and John Daly, and Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley.

Other professional golfers confirmed to join the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am are Major winner Rich Beem and top female players Danielle Montgomery, Carly Booth, Joanna Klatten, Linda Wessberg, Caroline Martens, Sharmila Nicollet, Maria Balikoeva, Diana Luna and Lee-Anne Pace.

Oscar winners Morgan Freeman, Chris Evans and Nicole Kidman are being lined up to appear, and dazzling actress Jessica Alba is also confirmed to take part, as is music maestro Kenny G.

Sporting icons heading to the globally-televised World Celebrity Pro-Am include two Olympic legends, Russian ice skater Evgeni Plushenko, Chinese gymnast Li Ning, and former Portuguese international footballer Luís Figo.

China’s basketball legend and former NBA star Yao Ming will also take part in the tournament for the second time. The retired athlete remains one of the most influential sporting figures in China.

In total, participants in this year’s star-spangled event have collected more than 160 acting awards, over 100 music awards, 35 Olympic and World Championship medals and a staggering 335 professional golf victories, including 15 Majors.

China’s entertainment industry will be well represented by film director, Feng Xiaogang, acclaimed actors Chen Daoming and Wang Zhiwen, and singer Sun Nan.

Hong Kong celebrities taking part include film director Sammo Hung, actors Donnie Yen, Eric Tsang, Simon Yam, Natalis Chan, Michael Wong and Ruco Chan, and actress Miriam Yeung.

The third edition of the World Celebrity Pro-Am will be held from 24-26 October at the fully-integrated Mission Hills Haikou Resort on the tropical island of Hainan.

The tournament will see 24 professional golfers and 24 celebrities come together for a bonanza of action and entertainment – including the first-ever staging in China of the new combination sport that is taking Europe by storm, football-golf.

For the first time, the World Celebrity Pro-Am will feature a Ryder Cup-style format, with the 24 celebrities divided into two teams for an Entertainment v Sport showdown. Each celebrity will be paired with a professional golfer and the teams will face off over two rounds of fourball betterball.

While assisting their celebrity playing partners, the professional golfers will also be competing for an individual prize fund of US$1 million.

“The World Celebrity Pro-Am will, once again, bring together some of the biggest stars in show business and sport for a golf-and-entertainment spectacular that will make headlines around the world,” Mission Hills Chairman and CEO Dr. Ken Chu and Vice Chairman Mr. Tenniel Chu said in a joint statement.

The World Celebrity Pro-Am will be played on Mission Hills Haikou’s signature Blackstone Course which hosted the World Cup of Golf in 2011, “The Match at Mission Hills” between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy last October and the recent World Ladies Championship, won by world No.1 Inbee Park.

The fun will start early, on Thursday 23 October, with celebrities taking part in a football-golf challenge on a specially constructed course. Players will be kicking a football towards the pin and aiming to outscore each other on a series of par-three, par-four and par-five holes.

The traditional pro-celebrity-amateur practice round will take place on Friday 24 October followed by Red Carpet, Cocktail Reception, Opening Ceremony and Gala Dinner, all taking place at Mission Hills Haikou • Lan Kwai Fong, the resort’s new entertainment district.

The World Celebrity Pro-Am itself will be played over two rounds at the weekend, while Saturday evening will also feature a Celebrities and Players Appreciation Party at Mission Hills Haikou • H. Brothers • Feng Xiaogang Movie Town, the recently-opened tourist attraction that features vintage street settings from Feng’s classic movies, state-of-the-art film studios, an array of shopping and dining options and countless other entertainment and leisure features.

The previous edition of the World Celebrity Pro-Am, in 2012, was won by top American professional Matt Kuchar and actor Andy Garcia, while Kuchar also captured the individual trophy.

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HAAS, PRICE NAMED PRESIDENTS CUP CAPTAINS FOR 2015

Jun 5, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

Jay Haas and Nick Price will serve as captains of the U.S. and International teams, respectively, for The Presidents Cup 2015 in Songdo IBD, Incheon City, South Korea. PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem made the announcement Wednesday at the inaugural Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf presented by Bass Pro Shops.

Price, captain of the International Team in 2013 and a World Golf Hall of Famer, joined Finchem for the announcement, as did Haas, a three-time U.S. Team captain’s assistant; both players are past Presidents Cup participants and both are competing in this week’s Champions Tour event at Top of the Rock.

Also attending the press conference to lend perspective on The Presidents Cup and support of this next chapter in the event’s history were Jack Nicklaus, a four-time U.S. Team captain, and fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Gary Player, an International Team captain three times.  Nicklaus and Player are also in the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf field.

The Presidents Cup 2015 will be held Oct. 6-11 when the biennial competition makes its first trip to Asia.  Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea will be the fourth international venue to host The Presidents Cup, joining The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (1998, 2011); The Links at Fancourt, George, South Africa (2003); and The Royal Montreal Golf Club in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (2007).

“Nick Price and Jay Haas bring tremendous experience, enthusiasm and knowledge to The Presidents Cup and were obvious choices to captain the International and U.S. Teams as we take the event to Asia in less than 16 months,” Finchem said.

Immediately upon being unveiled as The Presidents Cup 2015 captains, Price and Haas each named one of their captain’s assistants.

Price invited South Korea’s K.J. Choi to join his team’s leadership, and, in a nod to the significance of The Presidents Cup being played in Asia for the first time, Choi was given an elevated title of vice-captain.

Haas essentially “traded places” with World Golf Hall of Famer Fred Couples, asking his good friend and three-time U.S. Team captain to assist him in 2015.  Choi attended Wednesday’s announcement; Couples was scheduled to attend but withdrew from the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf due to a back injury.

Price and Haas will announce their additional captain’s assistants (up to three, total) later this year.

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GARY PLAYER DESIGN EUROPEAN PROJECTS GAIN MOMENTUM

May 29, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share


Gary Player overlooks the quarry crater that has been filled to make way for
the golf course at Limni Golf Resort

While Asia has recently taken center stage in golf course development, Gary Player Design continues to build upon its impressive global portfolio as European projects push forward in Cyprus and Italy.

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus will soon feature the first ever Gary Player Signature Course as the Limni Golf Resort, located in the mountainous town of Polis on the northwest coast, has formally moved into the detailed design phase.

The Shacolas Group, the largest private commercial group in Cyprus, recently hosted a design workshop together with Gary Player Design and representatives of acclaimed architect Sir Norman Foster, who has been engaged to design residential and resort amenities.

The Limni Golf Resort will prove to be one of the most intriguing courses in the ever-expanding Gary Player Design portfolio. Built upon what was once an operating copper mine, the 800 meter-wide quarry crater has been filled with over eight million cubic meters of earth to make way for the championship course.


Player and Senior Designer Steven McFarlane on a site to finalize designs for the
Limni Gary Player Signature Course

“We have nine holes of the course that will be woven through the area that was formerly the copper mine where there will still be about 30 meters of quarry walls exposed,” said Scott Ferrell, President of Gary Player Design.  “The course landscape is sure to offer a unique and dramatic experience.”

Situated in the coastal hills, the site offers dramatic elevation changes that will not only add to the character of the championship course, but offer countless views of the Chrysochou Bay.

“This is one of the most unique and challenging sites that we have ever worked with, but I am confident that this is going to be one of the most special courses in our portfolio,” said Grand Slam champion Gary Player. “I am most excited to see the former ecological eyesore turned into a beautiful, green space for visitors and local golfers to enjoy.”


Construction on the Gary Player-designed Manzano Golf Resort has commenced
in Tuscany

In addition to the Gary Player Signature Course, the resort will feature an 18-hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus, high-end residential villas, a luxury boutique hotel, sports facilities, and wellness center. As the first and only Player-Nicklaus development in the whole of Europe, Limni Golf Resort will undoubtedly be in a class of its own.

From one stunning location to another, construction has now commenced on Gary Player Design’s newest Italian project, Manzano Golf Resort in Tuscany.

The Gary Player Design project will be the first golf resort in the Tuscan village of Cortona, Italy and will offer a true Tuscan experience with the course routing surrounded by vineyards among the rolling colorful landscape.

The Manzano Golf Resort will also feature a luxury, full-service boutique hotel for the discerning traveler.

The Manzano project will complement the existing Gary Player-designed courses in Italy, including at Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, which hosted the 2011 Sicilian Open and was also recently named one of the top courses in the country. The firm also has future plans to design a new course at Is Molas, the popular resort in Sardinia, Italy.

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THE BLACK KNIGHT TO TEE IT UP IN THE BIG CEDAR LODGE LEGENDS OF GOLF

May 29, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share


Grand Slam champion Gary Player during the 2013 Legends of Golf

When the Legends of Golf tournament heads to Missouri next week, Grand Slam champion Gary Player will once again partner with longtime friend Jack Nicklaus in the tournament played June 2-8.

As the longest running Champions Tour event, which has been played since 1978, the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf now moves to an exciting new venue outside Branson, Missouri to take place over three days on the Top of the Rock par-three golf course and Buffalo Ridge, an 18-hole championship golf course.

In the move, the tournament is sure to offer new thrills as it is the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event to use a par-3 course as part of the official tournament under new sponsorship by Bass Pro Shops.


The Top of the Rock golf course will make history June 2-8 as it becomes
the first par-3 course to stage a official PGA Tour-sanctioned event

“The Legends of Golf is one of my favorite events to play in each year,” exclaimed Gary Player. “As a two-time winner, I am thrilled to once again tee up with my friend, Jack Nicklaus, at Big Cedar Lodge’s Top of the Rock in what should be a fantastic tournament.”

Player and Nicklaus, who partnered for the tournament last year in its final installation in Savannah, will join a spectacular cast of fellow golfers teeing it up in the two-man team competition conducted over 54 holes including World Golf Hall of Fame members Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Hale Irwin, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Ben Crenshaw, Sandy Lyle, Nick Price, John Jacobs, Tony Jacklin, and Hubert Green.

The move to the par-3 course for a PGA Tour- sanctioned event shows the ongoing shift in golf to make the game more exciting, accessible, and fun for all levels of players.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem called the tournament played over a par-3 course “groundbreaking,” but golfing icon Gary Player also added, “The move to a par-3 course for the Legends of Golf is just fantastic,” said Player. “It will be wonderful for spectators and provide plenty of excitement on the golf course. We are seeing the game shift more and more to accessible and less timely ways to play, so I think this is a step in a great direction to build golf. I would not be surprised in the least bit if this is just one of many tour-sanctioned tournaments to be played over par-3 courses in the near future.”

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GARY PLAYER VISITS ROYAL LIVERPOOL AHEAD OF OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP WITH ROLEX

May 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share


Gary Player hits an approach shot into Royal Liverpool’s 18th green

Three-time Open Champion Gary Player recently had the chance to preview Royal Liverpool ahead of this year’s The Open Championship as the Black Knight traveled to the UK with longtime partner Rolex.

In addition to a relationship with Player that dates back to 1965 when he captured the Grand Slam at age 29, Rolex has been a proud sponsor of golf and has added to the rich history of the sport through their ongoing sponsorship and involvement, especially in terms of The Open Championship and Ryder Cup.

Following a round on the Royal Liverpool course, Player remarked, “I have incredibly fond memories at Royal Liverpool as it was the site of my first Open Championship appearance. I am looking forward to coming back this summer to see the world’s best golfers take on this great course in what I am sure will be another thrilling Open.”

European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley was also in attendance. Following their stop at Royal Liverpool, Rolex, Player, and McGinley made their way up to Scotland’s Gleneagles Hotel, a longtime favored destination of the Black Knight, before the Ryder Cup travels to the celebrated Scottish golf destination this September when Rolex will be an official partner of the event.

The Ryder Cup returning to Scotland will be quite celebrated as 2014 will be the first time in more than 40 years that the Ryder Cup has been contested on Scottish soil. Additionally, the origins of the sporting contest can be traced back to Gleneagles where the first match between professionals from Great Britain and the United States was played in 1921, six years before the establishment of the official event.

“I have always loved my visits to Gleneagles over the years,” said Player. “I can’t think of a nicer place to host the Ryder Cup.  The PGA Centenary Course should certainly prove to be a tough test for both the American and European teams, especially if the weather gets nasty.”

Aside from The Open Championship, The Senior Open Championship, and the Ryder Cup, Rolex has also been a longtime sponsor of the global Gary Player Invitational series, which will make a summer stop in the UK at Wentworth Golf Club immediately following The Open on July 20-21.

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TOP PROFESSIONALS JOIN THE UNION OF GOLF AND GIVING AT BERENBERG GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL 2014

May 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share


Berenberg Managing Partner Dr. Hans-Walter Peters and Golf icon Gary Player

Black Knight International and Berenberg announced today that the 2014 Berenberg Gary Player Invitational, to be played at Wentworth on Monday 21st July, will feature a remarkable field of world-renowned golf professionals. 

This year’s event, the first of a new 3-year-cooperation between title sponsor Berenberg and Black Knight International, will feature an all-star cast alongside tournament host and golfing icon Gary Player. The participating professionals are: Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Branden Grace, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Jason Day, Fred Couples, David Howell, Bernd Wiesberger, Suzann Pettersen, Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Dufner, Thomas Bjorn, Ian Woosnam, George Coetzee and Marc Leishman.

Speaking ahead of the event, Grand Slam champion and tournament host Gary Player said: “I’m thrilled to be joined by so many of my peers from the world of golf, including so many stars across different generations and nationalities. So far the field accounts for 17 Major Championships and many hundreds of tournament victories worldwide. This is a gathering of Pros that any event worldwide would clearly love to have, and I am very grateful to each of them for their support as we strive to continue to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children.”

Dr. Hans-Walter Peters, Managing Partner of Berenberg said: “Our partnership with Gary Player goes back to 2008 and since then we’ve achieved many great things together. Gary is a golfing icon and truly one of the game’s Global Ambassadors. The union of three such historic brands as Berenberg, Gary Player and Wentworth provides us with a totally unique opportunity to build relationships, as well as doing so much good in the process and raising many millions for charity.”

One of the many participating world-class Professionals, Rickie Fowler, said: “When I received the invite from Mr. Player, I immediately wanted to attend. Gary Player is a legend of the game and I have heard so many good things about the event and the GPI series, so I’m delighted to be part of it in 2014. I am so looking forward to getting together with so many Professional colleagues, other sports stars and celebrities for a fun union of golf and giving for those less fortunate.”

The event is part of the world-leading Gary Player Invitational charity golf event series, which has raised in excess of $50 million for charities worldwide. This year’s chosen UK beneficiary is Depaul, working for the prevention of youth homelessness.

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GARY PLAYER-DESIGNED MODRY LAS PREMIERS AT NORDEA MASTERS

May 27, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

Modry Las has confirmed it will make its debut at this year’s Nordea Masters; Scandinavia’s flagship tournament. Exhibiting under the banner of Golf in West Pomerania, Poland’s top golf course will make its premiere as it prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

One of the top courses in continental Europe, the Gary Player design is Poland’s only signature golf course and is widely praised for its striking and engaging layout. The 18-hole championship course is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a flurry of developments that include the launch of six new one-bedroom guest suites that join three stylish on-site self-catering cottages that opened last year.

The new guest suites have been designed for couples or individuals eager to sample the challenge and beauty of Poland’s top golf course. In addition, eco shelters have been constructed on the course and a new sleek road running through the property is being built alongside upgraded golf cart paths.

“The first five years at Modry Las have been incredible,” said Pamela Gromadzki, the resort’s international marketing director, “but we know we cannot sit on our laurels. That is why we are continuing with our investment programme in order to make Modry Las a luxurious, thriving and sustainable community.”

Located in West Pomerania which is a convenient ferry trip from the Swedish port of Ystad, Modry Las is proving particularly popular with Scandinavian golfers. “Swedish golfers especially enjoy our course because of the challenge it presents,” says Gromadzki. “Gary Player’s design is certainly striking to look at, but it also tests their skills and course management. We are adding to this experience with our second, nine-hole course that will also test their short-game technique. With 27 holes to choose from and new on-site accommodation, Modry Las is entering an exciting phase.”

Perhaps the most significant development at Modry Las will be the completion of the nine-hole Orli Las course, which is due to open in spring 2015. This championship course in miniature has been routed through a stunning peninsula with a lakeside forest providing incredible vistas to infinity greens.

“As we grow and improve our offering at Modry Las, so do our clients expectations,” noted Gromadzki. “Our objective is to create an international resort and community that provides a unique place to enjoy the challenge of the fairways and the beauty of the countryside. Our new guest suites and golf course are important steps on the road towards this goal.”

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PLAYER PREVIEWS THE U.S. OPEN AT PINEHURST

May 27, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

One of the most demanding tests in golf, the U.S. Open, consistently offers some special moments in golf’s history. It was the U.S. Open in 1965 where I captured the Grand Slam with a victory at Bellerive Country Club. The U.S. Open is certainly an exceptional tournament, and the tournament this year at Pinehurst will be especially exciting as the well-known Carolina resort will make history by hosting back-to-back U.S. Opens with the U. S. Women’s Open immediately following the conclusion of the men’s Major.

Pinehurst’s No. 2 course is a classic in every way and holds very special memories for me as it was the site of the inaugural World Golf Hall of Fame inductions in 1974 when Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, myself, and a number of others were part of the Hall of Fame’s first class. It was a very special time for me, but Pinehurst holds so many wonderful moments.

Those special moments are sure to grow as the wonderful Carolina resort will crown another U.S. Open champion this June.


Pinehurst will host back-to-back U.S. Opens with the U. S. Women’s Open
immediately following the conclusion of the men’s Major this June

I must say that there have been few courses that are as mentally challenging as Pinehurst No. 2. The course has always tested every aspect of my game, so I am sure that this will hold true in a few weeks’ time. While demanding, the course has a natural beauty all its own set among the stately Carolina pines.

I recently had a chance to play Pinehurst and experience the recent renovations firsthand while hosting the iGate CEO Cup this March. All the renovations, which affected every hole, are fantastic, and I think that Pinehurst No. 2 will offer a different challenge than many other courses that these players have faced with no traditional rough and a great deal of sand.

The course has been restored to Donald Ross’ original vision of a course where strategy is key with natural and historic character. As a designer of over 300 courses worldwide, I have been a huge advocate of designing environmentally-friendly, sustainable courses. Water usage is a huge concern in most parts of the world, so these renovations to Pinehurst are ideal to me.

Building upon the course’s natural character is always a large part of our Gary Player Design courses, so we always want to leave the land better than we found it and add to the natural beauty of the land. I have always enjoyed golf courses that allow you to experience nature as much as possible.

I would love to see more and more courses adopt similar renovations back to more natural conditions, eliminate unnecessary water usage, and establish native grasses.

Spectators won’t see any rough while during the tournament this year, but natural areas of sand, wire and native grasses, and pine straw. It will be a challenge different from many other U.S. Open courses, which will be entertaining to watch.

One thing that will add to the difficulty is that Pinehurst has eliminated overseeding during the winter months, so we can be certain that the greens will play quick and fast. Short games will be of the utmost importance. Pinehurst’s greens with their convex, bowl-like shapes demand precise iron approach shots or the ball will roll down and off the greens.

Also, the course will also play some 300 yards longer with new championship tees added to lengthen the course to 7,565 yards.

Strategy will play a huge factor for players as the fairways have been widened to offer more options for playing from tee to green. Strategic play is one reason that I think one of the older players will likely have a great chance at the title. We saw this already this year at The Masters, where there were seven players over 50 who made the cut at Augusta with Miguel Angel Jiménez and Bernhard Langer finishing in the top ten. Jiménez also just became the oldest winner on the European Tour with his Open de España victory.

What players will need to realize is that patience will be a very important quality to have the week of the U.S. Open.

One player who I think has a good a chance as any is Jordan Spieth, and he learned the value of patience during The Masters final round when he had a two stroke lead over Bubba Watson, then made a mistake on famed par-3 12th hole. I am sure he learned from that blunder, but I have been so impressed by this young guy. After being named 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Jordan has already made a run at The Masters and then also turned around and played extremely well at The Players. After top four finishes in the two biggest tournaments of the year so far, he is hungry for a victory. It is just a matter of time until this young man captures his first Major, and I am betting that it will be sooner rather than later.

Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, and Francesco Molinari could also fare well. 

But it would certainly be something if Phil was able to win at the U.S. Open and become just the sixth person to achieve golf’s Grand Slam. Pinehurst is a course that suits his game with no rough and emphasis on the short game and putting. Phil has already shown that he has what it takes to win at Pinehurst with his runner-up victory in 1999 when Payne Stewart won his emotional final Major. It would be a quite the story to see him win at Pinehurst.

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HSBC GOLF BUSINESS FORUM DRIVES GLOBAL CONNECTIONS

Apr 30, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

The global growth of golf and the rise of Asia as a region with major golf potential set the agenda at the HSBC Golf Business Forum in Abu Dhabi.

More than 260 golf business leaders from 30 countries attended the event at the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, April 28-30, connecting leading companies, organisations and individuals.

Speaking about the international opportunities for the golf business, Giles Morgan, HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, called for a customer-centric approach to drive increased participation in established and emerging markets.

“Golf needs to take a broader approach, it is not just about the game,” he said. “Golf must be flexible, it must reflect the zeitgeist for inclusion, it must ensure it is sustainable, and it must uphold the traditions of the game but instigate innovation.”

The opportunity for golf to capitalise on its inclusion in the Olympics at Rio 2016 was discussed in a leaders’ question time featuring Antony Scanlon of the International Golf Federation, sports executive Donna Orender, Guy Kinnings of IMG and Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the R&A.

Antony Scanlon said, “Golf at the Olympics has a potential TV audience of 3.4 billion. I don’t think everything will change immediately, but we have an opportunity around the halo effect – three weeks after the Olympics 75% of viewers will have seen a sport they hadn’t seen before.”

“I think it is a great opportunity to showcase men and women being equal in golf,” he added.

Focusing on the rise of golf in Asia, the conference heard that China is the fastest growing market for golf development in the world. With more than 600 courses already open, it is estimated up to 1,500 courses are required to satisfy current demand.

Guy Kinnings of IMG predicted the next global superstar would come from either China or Korea, while Peter Dawson responded to a call for a major championship in Asia.

“Clearly, it is illogical that as golf in Asia grows there would be three majors in America and one in the UK. It is not possible for a golfing body to determine an event in Asia should become a major, but I have no doubt it will happen in due time.”

Mr Dawson, who recently announced he would retire from the R&A in 2015, was presented with the HSBC Golf Business Forum Lifetime Achievement Award by Italian golf sensation Matteo Mannasero, an ambassador for Golf in Abu Dhabi.

Peter Dawson said: “I’d like to thank everyone here at the HSBC Golf Business Forum. It’s a thrill to receive this in front of so many people who are involved in the business of golf and love the game. It’s a particular thrill to receive this from Matteo – I have known him for many years and at such a young age he is a fantastic ambassador for golf.”

Wrapping up the conference, with a strong hint that the 2015 HSBC Golf Business Forum could be in Shanghai, China, Guy Kinnings, IMG Global Head of Golf, said, “It has been a fantastic inaugural event for IMG, and our thanks go to our sponsors, especially HSBC and the TCA, and to our hosts at the Westin. We wanted this forum to be a forward looking conference whilst learning from the past; we have looked into the world of innovation and how this may help shape the future of this sport we love. Rest assured as we move forward with this event, our commitment to this will grow and evolve and I hope we have done it proud in our inaugural year.”

For more information about the HSBC Golf Business Forum, visit http://www.golfbusinessforum.com.

Article courtesy of Golf South.

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GOLF’S ELUSIVE GRAND SLAM & ITS CHAMPIONS

Apr 30, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

Golf has seen its fair share of legends and superstars in the game, but when it comes to the game’s storied Major Championships, only five individuals - Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods - have broken through to have their names etched on each of The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship trophies.

The idea of players winning each Major Championship is quite a coup. Seventeen players have managed to win four or more Majors since the establishment of the Masters Tournament in 1934, marking the modern era of the Grand Slam. But each major has its own unique tests that have perhaps kept even great players from triumph over all four.

Much like each Major, each Grand Slam champion has their own distinct story.

In just the second year of The Masters, Gene Sarazen became the first individual to complete the Grand Slam as he captured his seventh and final Major. Sarazen unquestionably did so with a bang. It was the “shot heard ‘round the world” that catapulted Sarazen to his 1935 Masters Tournament victory on the 15th Hole, a par 5, where a 235-yard 4-wood found the hole, giving him a very rare double eagle 2.

Perhaps the greatest ball striker in the game, Ben Hogan attained golf’s highest achievement 18 years following Sarazen. It was during his only Open Championship appearance, due to the nearly simultaneous schedule of the PGA Championship and The Open Championship at the time, where Hogan captured the Grand Slam and his ninth and final Major when he prevailed at Carnoustie in 1953. 

Hogan’s road to the Grand Slam was not without difficulty and obstacles to overcome. Following serving in World War II, Hogan returned to his career to win three Majors before suffering a near-fatal car accident that left him, at age 36, in the hospital for nearly 60 days. Doctors had said he may never walk again, let alone play golf competitively. Despite limitations caused by his accident, Hogan returned to professional golf in 1950 and went on to win an additional six Majors in a span of three years.

Gary Player often praises Ben Hogan as the best golfer he has ever seen and the only golfer who fully understood the golf swing, saying, “I have seen many players who understand the golf swing from A to Y, but only one that understood from A to Z and that is Ben Hogan.”

By 1965, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer had solidified The Big Three™ as tournament contenders week in and week out.  Each needed just one Major to join Sarazen and Hogan in the elite level of golfers who completed golf’s career Grand Slam.

South African Player already had achieved unparalleled success for an international golfer as he became the youngest Open Championship victor at age 23 and the first international winner of The Masters. When Player arrived to the 1965 U.S. Open at Bellrieve Country Club with three Major titles to his name, he was convinced that he could, in fact, win the tournament and beat Nicklaus to the Grand Slam. That belief proved fruitful as it was Player who was lifting the U.S. Open after a Monday playoff round against Australian Kel Nagle.

Nine-time major champion Player is the only international golfer to win the Grand Slam still to this day.

Shortly following Player, Jack Nicklaus joined the exclusive club of Grand Slam champions at the 1966 Open Championship. The Golden Bear, perhaps the most accomplished golfer of all time with 18 Major Championship titles to his name, showed his utter authority in the game as he not only won each Major, but each at least three times.

Whether he surpasses Jack Nicklaus’ record number of Major titles is still to be determined, but Tiger Woods has certainly carved out his place in golf history. There is no mistaking Tiger Woods’ (still ongoing) legacy in the sport.

With his victory at the 129th British Open in July 2000 at 24 years old, Woods became the youngest golfer to complete the Grand Slam. From 2000 to 2001, Tiger Woods went on the win the U.S. Open, Open Championship, PGA Championship, and The Masters in succession in the so-called “Tiger Slam.”

“To win four majors in succession, it’s hard to believe, really, because there’s so many things that go into winning a Major Championship,” said Woods following his 2001 Masters victory.  “For that matter, any tournament, but more so Majors because you’ve got to have your game peak at the right time, and on top of that, you’ve got to have some luck.”

Perhaps that is where Player’s adage, “The harder you practice, the luckier you get” comes into play.

While no one is certain if the Grand Slam will be achieved again anytime soon, Phil Mickelson could join the distinguished group with a U.S. Open victory at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club this June. Mickelson has finished second at the U.S. Open a record six times.

Others poised to take a shot at the career Grand Slam? Many could not count out 24 year-old Rory McIlroy with a U.S. Open and PGA Championship title already under his belt and many more years of golf to be played. Perhaps as Player and Woods said, just a bit of luck will be needed.

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THE GREATS OF GOLF RETURNS TO INSPERITY INVITATIONAL

Apr 30, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino Headline Special Saturday Competition

In what is quickly becoming a Saturday tradition at the Insperity Invitational presented by UnitedHealthcare, the Greats of Golf returns on May 3 for the third consecutive year.

Fans will have the rare opportunity to see Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino in a special competition Saturday afternoon of tournament week at The Woodlands Country Club Tournament Course.

For the past two years, thousands of fans have lined the fairways to watch one of the year’s best events in golf as a collection of the game’s greatest legends share laughter and competition during one of the best Champions Tour events on the calendar. Once again the “Big Four” along with Johnny Miller, Raymond Floyd, Don January, David Graham, Tony Jacklin, and Dave Stockton will compete in the “Greats of Golf” competition.

Palmer will not compete this year. However, he will be in attendance and serve as an honorary chairman for the event.

This legendary and world class group of the game’s greatest players will tee off following the last tee time of the official competition. These nine players will be grouped in threesomes and will play an 18-hole scramble format.

Last year, Stockton, Miller, and Jacklin teamed to shoot 11-under for the win. The 2012 champions, Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player finished second, four strokes back.

“We are pleased these gentlemen have enjoyed this friendly competition and will continue this tradition again this year,” said Insperity Invitational Executive Director, Bryan Naugle. “During the past two years, fans have told us how much fun it is to see these greats on the golf course. We are excited the fans can enjoy the experience again this year.”

This group includes seven World Golf Hall of Fame members, has more than 300 PGA TOUR victories, over 50 major championship titles, and more than 150 Champions Tour wins.

The 2014 edition of Houston’s Champions Tour event will be the beginning of a new era for the tournament. The event will have new criteria to determine the players in the field, and in turn the name of the event has changed to Insperity Invitational. This format change makes the tournament a unique event on the Champions Tour schedule.

The Insperity Invitational offers free grounds only admission tickets courtesy of Insperity, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Woodforest National Bank, and HP. The grounds ticket also includes free parking and shuttle service. For updated information on all aspects of the Insperity Invitational, fans are encouraged to visit http://www.InsperityInvitational.com.

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GARY PLAYER DESIGN LEADS GOLF DIGEST’S 2014 GOLF COURSE RANKINGS

Apr 25, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share


The Links at Fancourt

Golf Digest has just released its biennial “Top 100 South Africa Courses” list, and Gary Player Design achieved an unprecedented result as five of the top six courses belong to the firm’s portfolio. The Links at Fancourt in George maintained the No. 1 spot and was followed by Leopard Creek in Malelane and Gary Player Country Club in the 2nd and 3rd positions. Blair Atholl (No. 4) and Montague at Fancourt (No.6) rounded out the list’s Top 10.

“Having The Links at Fancourt recognized as the best in South Africa is a great honor, and having five courses be ranked in Golf Digest’s Top 10 is absolutely fantastic,” said Gary Player.


Leopard Creek

“I have been given many opportunities to create designs that reflect the true nature of my beloved country and I am very proud of the courses we have designed here. South Africa offers such diverse natural landscapes; it makes the golf course come alive and has enabled us to create some truly incredible designs. We have 325 truly unique courses and each present their own design challenges, but there is always something special about working at home,” said Player.

A coveted list, the publication’s rankings are based on course evaluations by 120 volunteer panel members throughout South Africa and are qualified based on seven criteria: shot values, playability, resistance to scoring, aesthetics, design variety, memorability and conditioning.


Gary Player Country Club

“Gary Player Design is widely considered the finest design firm globally, which as founder makes me very proud indeed, and these rankings from Golf Digest are most rewarding,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO.

Golf Digest South Africa also recognized several other ranking categories, including: “Top 25 Most Difficult Courses,” “Top 25 Most Scenic Courses,” “Top 10 Best 18th Holes,” “Top 10 Best Opening Shots,” “Top 10 Bunkers,” “Best Conditioned Courses,” and more. Considering the vast number of high caliber courses in South Africa, Gary Player Design is also proud to have several of its courses included within all of these competitive categories.


Blair Atholl

“The recognition we are receiving for our work is really gratifying,” said Scott Ferrell, President of Gary Player Design. “We pride ourselves in designing courses that embrace the natural characteristics of the area, and to be considered in such high regard by an independent ranking group exemplifies the continued progress of our designs in South Africa and around the world.” 

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GOLF ICON GARY PLAYER DAZZLES AND DELIVERS AT THE JUNIOR INVITATIONAL AT SAGE VALLEY

Apr 24, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

Fresh off his recent trip to Augusta, Georgia for The Masters and the first of four Gary Player Invitational events of 2014, golf icon Gary Player ventured back to the area as 54 of the top junior golfers from around the world compete at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley this week. Player was the guest speaker for the tournament’s Opening Ceremony and left all in attendance amazed.

Winner of 165 worldwide tournaments and the Grand Slam on the regular and Champions Tour, Player had plenty of advice for the participants and guests from his career that has spanned over six decades.

True to Player’s personality, the crowd was entertained throughout. To the tune of Paul Simon’s “I Know What I Know,” Player swept up ladies from the crowd to dance as he moved to the stage. His reasoning? “Happiness is contagious,” laughed Player.

There was plenty for all involved to be happy about as the Junior Invitational, which has been consistently voted the number one tournament in junior golf by Golfweek, welcomed the best 54 amateur boys in the world to compete, including 13 players from nine countries outside of the United States. Competitor Keegan De Lange hails from the Black Knight’s home country of South Africa.

Reflecting on his career, Player told stories of his early career, including his first trip abroad as a professional to the Open Championship at St. Andrews when he had to sleep in a dune because he could not afford a hotel room. He kept everyone in attendance in hysterics, but also made sure to pass along the message of gratitude.

“Mr. Fitness” displayed his legendary fitness as he challenged the young men to join him on stage for a friendly competition to see if anyone could match his feat of holding two drivers parallel to the ground by just using his pointer and middle finger. No volunteers could, but Player made sure that they realized the importance of fitness in golf and in life. 

Aside from golf and fitness advice, the Black Knight made sure that everyone was grateful for they have in their lives, stating many in the world are without a shower, a TV, and three meals a day. On the progression of golf, Player stated how fortunate the young golfers are today as they hopefully have the opportunity to compete on the professional tours of today, which have grown to offer weekly first place prizes over $1 million.

“We are so lucky that we have wonderful governing bodies and sponsors that have made it possible for professional golfers to compete for millions at each tournament,” said Player. “But to make it, you’ve got to work harder than everyone else. And you have to want it.”

“All I hear about is ‘some of these junior boys are hitting the ball 320 yards’,” exclaimed Player. “That’s not what wins the tournaments. If somebody would just say to me, ‘you should see this junior at my club. He’s got a mind like Tiger Woods. He’s got such a focus, like Tiger Woods. He’s got a short game like Tiger Woods.’ But I never hear that, never. That’s what wins golf tournaments. It’s all the putting, the chipping, the bunker shot, and the wedges. Seventy percent of shots in golf are played from 100 yards in.”

To end on, Player made sure to pass along the educational message he’s learned in his career to the juniors before they head out of compete in the 4th annual Junior Invitational, presented by Electrolux, on Thursday.

“Golf’s a game that teaches you manners. It teaches you to win, and it teaches you to lose. You’re going to lose a lot more than you’re going to win,” he said. “All in all, it’s an education. Golf is a miraculous sport, and I wish you all luck this week.”

The Junior Invitational will be held April 24th-26th at the renowned Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, SC.

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GARY PLAYER TO SPEAK AT THOROUGHBRED OWNERS AND BREEDERS ASSOCIATION OWNERS CONFERENCE

Apr 24, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

Gary Player, a legend in the golfing world and a longtime Thoroughbred owner, breeder, and advocate of Thoroughbred aftercare, will deliver the keynote address when OwnerView, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and The Jockey Club host the inaugural Thoroughbred Owner Conference in Lexington Oct. 13-16.

Player has owned the 20,000-acre Gary Player Stud in South Africa since 1974 and is consistently among the leading breeders in South Africa. He has frequently implored those involved in horse racing to come up with innovative ideas that would generate interest in the sport.

The Thoroughbred Owner Conference will take place at Keeneland and will be co-presented by Del Mar, Keeneland, the New York Racing Association, and The Stronach Group.

“Our goal in hosting this conference is to showcase a unique lifestyle, whether you are an experienced owner or a potential investor in the Thoroughbred industry,” said Bill Thomason, the president and chief executive officer of the Keeneland Association, in a release. “Del Mar, NYRA, The Stronach Group, and Keeneland all realize and appreciate that Thoroughbred owners play a critical role in our industry, and we all want to make the ownership experience immensely enjoyable at every juncture.”

Attendees at the conference will have a welcome reception at Adena Springs Farm near Paris, Ky., an evening dinner, a day of racing, and numerous opportunities to network with panelists and industry personnel alike.

“The OwnerView initiative has really grown tremendously in a short period of time, and this conference is just a natural extension of our efforts to retain and attract owners,” said Gary Falter, vice president of operations for OwnerView, in a statement. “We are grateful to Keeneland for making its facility available and to all four racing organizations for their sponsorship support.”

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2014 GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL SERIES KICKS OFF WITH SUCCESSFUL STAR-STUDDED CHARITY EVENT IN AUGUSTA

Apr 16, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

Following an exciting Masters Week with Bubba Watson winning his second Green Jacket, Black Knight International kicked off the 2014 Gary Player Invitational (GPI) Series on April 13-14 in Augusta, GA, raising more than $328,000 to fund underprivileged children’s education.

Participants were welcomed to the charity event, which pairs celebrities, businessmen, international sports figures and professional golfers in a Pro-Am team competition, at the Black Knight International house for a welcome reception and Masters viewing party with three-time Masters winner and GPI host Gary Player.

The tournament started off with a thrilling clinic by Long Drive champion Jamie Sadlowski who entertained guests with his incredible drives surpassing 400 yards. Plenty of action followed on the course as the four-ball scramble tournament was won by the team of James Wilson, Grant Horsfield, Scott Ferrell, Greg Lubbe, and Justin Downes, who together shot an impressive 24 under par.

Celebrities attending the charity event included: Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Sandra Gal, Jamie Sadlowski, Chris Doleman, Beverly Johnson, Kevin Sorbo, Victor Green, George Gervin, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Kristy Swanson, Lloyd Eisler, Tony Womack, Jeremy Dale, Justin Wheelon, Dan Jansen, Karen Palacios-Jansen, Nigel Smith, and John Patrick.

“This year was yet another fantastic event at Champions Retreat,” commented Grand Slam champion Gary Player. “It has been a wonderful start to the annual GPI series, and I continue to be inspired and amazed by the tremendous work that can be accomplished when business people, athletes and celebrities come together in support of a common cause.”

The Gary Player Invitational Series consists of charity golf tournaments held throughout the year in the USA, Europe, China, and South Africa to benefit The Player Foundation and its beneficiaries. Since its establishment in 1983, The Player Foundation has raised more than $50 million in support of children’s charities, the betterment of impoverished communities, and the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the world.

“We are truly grateful for the continued support of our corporate partners. Year after year, Rolex, Callaway, SAP, Coca-Cola, Humana, and Land Rover support our GPI events and have played a significant role in the fundraising successes we have achieved thus far,” added Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO.

The next invitational series event is the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational, which is set to take place at the historic Wentworth Golf Club outside of London July 20-21, 2014.

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GARY PLAYER DESIGN SELECTED FOR TIANZHU GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB PROJECT IN BEIJING

Mar 31, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

Beijing will soon be home to its second Gary Player Signature Design, as Tianzhu Golf & Country Club announced the Black Knight’s firm has been selected to undertake the redesign of their 27-hole course. The announcement was shared at a kick-off meeting during Player’s recent trip to China for several design site visits and the China Golf Show.

“We continue to see the great possibility and future of golf in China,” said Gary Player. “Our design firm has been very busy across Asia lately, and we are truly looking forward to our design at Tianzhu Golf & Country Club. Our client is looking to build a championship course, and I am confident that the end result will be a fantastic addition to further grow the game in Beijing.”

Sanpower Group, the investor behind the project, entrusted the Black Knight with the redesign as they aim for the 27-hole course to stage international level tournaments in the future.

Gary Player Design has previously seen professional events contested on its Chinese courses, such as the European Tour sanctioned 2010 Volvo China Open at the acclaimed Suzhou Jinji Lake International Golf Club.

“Our conceptual design at Tianzhu has allowed for us to achieve three 9-hole loops that are all championship length and quality,” said Scott Ferrell, Gary Player Design President. “Members and guests will be very pleasantly surprised with all of the improvements to be implemented.”

Player has already visited the Beijing site twice to begin the planning stages of the project.  The golf course will reopen in phases with nine holes completed this year and the remaining 18 to reopen in late 2015.

In addition to the championship quality and as with all Gary Player Design projects, Tianzhu will follow the long established sustainable and environmentally friendly practices for which Gary Player Design has come to be recognized. Under the renovation, the design team has sought to protect existing groups of trees during the complete overhaul of the existing course routing.


Player with Sanpower Chairman Yafei Yuan & Tianzhu Golf Club
Partner Jishan Li during a site visit earlier this month

With the amateurs being the heart of the game, the Tianzhu project seeks to build upon the active membership at the club, which has been open for a decade.

“Tianzhu has an established membership, and it is our hope that the renovations to the course will continue to build upon the existing success with championship-level courses that stress playability for all members and guests,” said Ferrell.

In addition to the Gary Player Signature Course, the site will include a renovated clubhouse and conference center, as well as a luxury residential component.

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WILDSTONE GOLF CLUB SET TO OPEN APRIL 18TH FOR THIRD SEASON IN SPARKLING CONDITION

Mar 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

CRANBROOK, BC – Whether you’re a local teeing it up in one of its signature events or passing through the Kootney Rockies and looking for a great place to play golf, Wildstone GC offers one of the most exceptional golf experiences in the land.

It has only been three years since the one-and-only Black Knight design in Canada first wowed British Columbia golfers, but in that time Wildstone has established itself as a premier golf property where regular guests and travellers have been warmly welcomed and embraced in a remarkable world-class setting.

Wildstone, a resort golf facility that offers a variety of green fee specials, has developed a niche market. Its 10-game passports to golf that currently sell for just $590 continue to be incredibly popular with a growing number of loyal Wildstone enthusiasts. “As an added bonus, the frequent player passbooks can be used for two-for-one golf for twilight golf starting at 3 pm, so people could get 20 rounds, which is a huge savings,” says General Manager Chris Andrews.

Wildstone continues to develop engaging and unique programming from its fun, player-friendly Easter Scramble that gets the golf season going to the year-ending Ironman Championship, a two-person team event played from the back with six holes best ball, six holes shamble and six holes scramble to Sunday pins!

“Whether they are a regular or visiting us for the first time we want people who come to Wildstone to enjoy a golf experience that encourages them to come and visit us again,” Andrews says. “Programs like the Wildstone Golf League, Sunday Night Skins and our incredible course conditions have helped make Wildstone the flagship golf club in the area.”

With an abundance of sunshine year-round and plenty of snow in winter, the area is an all-season, second-to-none destination for vacationers from all over the world. They come for the clear, sparkling lakes, some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in the world, hiking trails, ski resorts, championship golf courses, hot springs, unique shops and cultural festivals.

Wildstone continues to see a growing number of travellers and out of province guests from Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Saskatchewan, while there is also a strong contingent from across the BC Interior.

“We’re a strong destination for golf with several excellent options in the Cranbrook area and many other excellent facilities throughout the Kimberley and Columbia Valley,” Andrews says, noting Wildstone was the Regional Winner of the BC PGA 2012 Golf Facility of the Year Award.
Wildstone is set to open for its third full season on Friday, April 18th so Easter weekend is a golf holiday this year, and not a ski vacation like most.

“I’m really looking forward to the start of golf season,” says Terry Dupley who lives in Cranbrook and played about 40 rounds at Wildstone in 2013. “Over the last three years the course has continued to mature so beautifully. It’s always in amazing shape and just keeps getting better. I guess what makes it truly memorable are the elevation changes, a terrific variety of golf holes and the final five holes are a true test if you’re going to post a good score.”

Canada’s one and only Black Knight Design by Gary Player Design features a very walkable and player friendly layout with spectacular Rocky Mountain views, and superior conditioning. The gently rolling par-72 routing plays from five sets of tees measuring 7,127 yards from the tips, 6,669 yards for Blue, 6,233 for White, 5,629 for Red and 4,947 from the forward gold tees.

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THE GARY PLAYER VIEWERS’ GUIDE TO THE 2014 MASTERS

Mar 26, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

Grand Slam champion Gary Player and Black Knight International recently partnered with CW Publishing to bring to life The Gary Player Viewers’ Guide to the 2014 Masters. Prior to his 57th trip to Augusta, the legendary golfer offers insight into golf’s first major of the year and a tournament he has won three times.

The Black Knight’s storied history at The Masters includes three Green Jackets (1961, 1974, 1978), the record for most Masters appearances (52), and the most consecutive cuts made (23). Player sat down for an exclusive Q&A on his love of Augusta and how he continues to beat his age, as well as discussing several of his tournament favorites. 

The Gary Player Viewers’ Guide also features some of the industry’s top golf writers adding stories of how the tournament in Georgia has brought about some of the most thrilling under-the-gun moments the game has ever had and why Augusta National has come to be one of the most treasured venues in golf.

With The Masters quickly approaching, Player will once again reunite The Big Three as Honorary Starters to kick off the 78th edition of the Masters Tournament on April 10.

To view The Gary Player Viewers’ Guide to the 2014 Masters e-book, click here.

Preview (Flash Required):

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COCA-COLA CHINA EXTENDS SPONSORSHIP OF THE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Mar 24, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

The Coca-Cola Company, a global leader in the beverage industry, has agreed to continue their giving ways by announcing their renewed sponsorship of the Gary Player Invitational event for a further three years.

The Chinese leg of the Gary Player Invitational (GPI) global charity series, staged by Black Knight International to benefit The Player Foundation, will be held at the Shanghai Links on November 3 – 4. Grand Slam champion Gary Player will once again host the event that is expected to field yet another 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.

“The decision to continue to sponsor this ‘Union of Golf and Giving’ forms part of our long-term sustainability commitment in China. It is at the core of our business to develop a healthy and sustainable environment for our local communities, and by sponsoring the Gary Player Invitational, we continue to give back and play a small role for those underprivileged kids affected by AIDS,” said David G. Brooks, Chairman, Coca-Cola Greater China & Korea.

The Gary Player Invitational presented by The Coca-Cola Company is China’s most prestigious charity golf event, featuring a diverse field of participating sponsors, top business leaders, and superstars from the world of sport and entertainment who come together each year in support of the Yunnan Orphans program with the Chinese Foundation for the Prevention of STD and AIDS.

“This special event has shown growth year after year, and we are thrilled that The Coca-Cola Company and other sponsors continue to show their commitment towards to The Player Foundation as we move into our eighth series event in China,” said Marc Player, Black Knight International CEO. “We are proud of what this event has achieved and look ahead to another year of record fundraising to better the lives of those in need.”

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WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO PROCESS FOR ENSHRINEMENT

Mar 23, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will introduce a new process for individuals to be inducted beginning with the Class of 2015, in an announcement made today by PGA TOUR Commissioner and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors Tim Finchem. The changes are the result of an extensive review of the Ballot and Nomination process announced last fall. The review included an evaluation of the ballot system and voting body, along with criteria such as tournament victories and age, and the changing dynamics of the game and its constituents.

The Induction process will now be governed by a Selection Commission made up of 16 individuals who will be responsible for electing candidates into the Hall of Fame, with each Inductee needing at least 75 percent of the vote to gain entry. The Selection Commission will be Co-Chaired by Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Annika Sorenstam and will include the members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats. Lopez, Palmer and Player were on hand for today’s announcement, while Sorenstam participated via teleconference.

“The Hall of Fame has established itself as the place to celebrate golf’s greatest players and contributors, and this process will ensure it maintains that place as the game continues to grow and evolve,” said Finchem. “The World Golf Foundation Board of Directors unanimously approved the changes to the process and we applaud the Hall of Fame team for working diligently to make this happen, along with all of the Hall of Fame members who have agreed to participate.”

“This is a great step for the Hall of Fame,” said Palmer. “I was honored to be a part of the first Hall of Fame class 40 years ago in 1974, and it will be a privilege to serve on the Selection Commission with Nancy, Annika and Gary for the Class of 2015.”

“Golf is a global sport with a rich heritage that’s centuries old,” said Sorenstam. “I am honored to have been asked to play a role in determining which men and women have made the greatest impact and deserve the ultimate honor of enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.”

In addition, a Selection Sub-Committee has been established to oversee the qualification and vetting process and is responsible for submitting finalists for consideration to the Selection Commission. The Selection Sub-Committee will be comprised of 20 individuals, including six Hall of Fame members and a mix of institutional and at-large seats.

“The Hall of Fame has done a wonderful job with these changes,” said Lopez. “From the LPGA Founders to the players of my generation to the ladies winning today, the women’s game has always been a big part of the Hall of Fame, and this process will continue that tradition. I am thrilled to serve on the Selection Commission.”

“It is a great honor to be a part of this change to the selection process for the Hall of Fame,” Player said. “It is important to preserve the past and the traditions of this game that we all love and enjoy, and with this comes the responsibility for us to recognize those individuals who have significantly contributed to the success of our game. I look forward to being a part of this Selection Commission.”

The new process will include four categories under which an individual may be considered for Induction: Male and Female Competitor Categories and the Veterans and Lifetime Achievement Categories.

The Male and Female Competitor Categories will have similar criteria for qualification: a player must have 15 or more official victories on approved tours or at least two victories among approved major events.

Each player also must be at least 40 years old at the start of the year selections are made or at least five years removed from active competition. The Veterans Category will include players whose careers were primarily completed before 1975, and the Lifetime Achievement Category will continue to be made up of individuals who contributed to the game from outside of the competitive arena.

The new process will begin with the Selection Sub-Committee meeting this spring to debate the candidates in all four categories. It will then present five finalists in the Male and Female categories and three each in Veterans and Lifetime Achievement to the Selection Commission. In the summer, the Commission will discuss the merits and vote on the 16 finalists. Each new member of the class must receive at least 75 percent of the vote. Each class will include no more than five inductees. The Class of 2015 will be announced later this fall.

Starting with the 2015 event, the Induction Ceremony will become a biennial celebration with the following Ceremony taking place in 2017. The Hall of Fame is working with its television partners to create an enhanced promotional strategy, focusing on expanding coverage of the Induction Ceremony. The additional time between Ceremonies will also serve to heighten anticipation for each event.

“The changes to the process and Induction Ceremony will serve the long-term interest of the institution well,” said Jack Peter, Chief Operating Officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “The changes take the unique nature of the game and its candidates into account and, most important, will continue to allow the Hall of Fame to recognize worthy individuals. We also viewed this as an opportunity to increase the engagement of Hall of Fame members, and we are grateful to all the members who assisted us during this review and who will participate in the process going forward.”

For more information visit WorldGolfHallofFame.org.

World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum Selection Commission
Co-Chairs
Nancy Lopez
Arnold Palmer
Gary Player
Annika Sorenstam

Institutional Members
World Golf Foundation Board of Directors
European Tour George O’Grady, Chief Executive
LPGA Mike Whan, Commissioner
PGA of America Peter Bevacqua, Chief Executive Officer
PGA TOUR Tim Finchem, Commissioner
The Masters Will Jones, Executive Director
The R&A Peter Dawson, Chief Executive
USGA Mike Davis, Executive Director
Chairman of the AGW & President of the GWAA
AGW Derek Lawrenson, Chairman
GWAA Ron Sirak, President

At-Large Members
Hiromi Kobayashi Chairman, Japan LPGA
Selwyn Nathan Executive Director, Sunshine Tour
John Hopkins Past Chairman, AGW

World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum Selection Sub-Committee
Sub-Committee Chairman
World Golf Hall of Fame Jack Peter, Chief Operating Officer

Institutional Members
World Golf Foundation Board Organizations
European Tour Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director
LPGA Heather Daly-Donofrio, Sr. VP Tour Operations
PGA of America Julius Mason, Sr. Director Communications & Media Relations
PGA TOUR Charlie Zink, Executive Vice President & Co-Chief Operating Officer
The Masters Ron Cross, Director of Corporate Affairs
The R&A Angela Howe, Director, Museum & Heritage
USGA Rand Jerris, Sr. Managing Director, Public Services

At-Large Members
World Golf Hall of Fame Members
Peter Alliss
Beth Daniel
Carol Mann
Johnny Miller
Curtis Strange
Karrie Webb
International Federation of PGA Tours
Ivan Khodabakhsh Chief Executive Officer, Ladies European Tour
Andy Yamanaka Executive Director, Japan Golf Tour
Individual Members
Alastair Johnston
Lewine Mair
Pete McDaniel
Charlie Mechem
Ty Votaw

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IGATE AND FORBES HOST IGATE CEO CUP GOLF TOURNAMENT

Mar 21, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share


Golfing icon Gary Player arrives to Pinehurst Resort, site
of the 2014 iGate CEO Cup

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.


CEOs from around the world tee off with Player during the tournament
presented by iGate in association with Forbes

“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.

The Venue

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 last 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.

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GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL CHARITY EVENT SET FOR APRIL 13-14 IN AUGUSTA, GEORGIA

Mar 20, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player Foundation   Share

Black Knight International will stage the US leg of the Gary Player Invitational charity series on April 13-14, 2014 at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The annual event is an intimate gathering of professional athletes, celebrities, and business people representing a “Union of Golf and Giving,” as the charity Pro-Am tournament raises funds for The Player Foundation to benefit underprivileged children across the globe.

“Our GPI events continue to grow with each year, and we are pleased to kick off the 2014 series at Champions Retreat in Augusta,” said Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International. “It is an exciting time to meet with many of our friends and corporate partners while attending The Masters. We are looking forward to a very successful event and hope to make it the best year yet.” 

The Gary Player Invitational (GPI) global series consists of charity golf tournaments held in the USA, Europe, China, and South Africa. Each event pairs celebrities and professional golfers with international businessmen in a Pro-Am team competition.

Confirmed celebrities joining the GPI at Champions Retreat include: Hollywood actors Anthony Anderson, Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, Beverly Johnson, and Joel Gretsch; pro athletes Victor Green, Chris Doleman, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, George Gervin, Andre Reed, and Ed “Too Tall” Jones; Olympians Dan Jansen and Lloyd Eisler; and golfers Sandra Gal, Jeremy Dale, Jamie Sadlowski, and Karen Palacios-Jansen.

Funds raised at the charity event will benefit The Player Foundation, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013. Gary Player’s namesake Foundation counts an ever-expanding number of beneficiaries including: 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. Since its establishment in 1983 by Marc Player, The Player Foundation has raised more than $50 million to the support of children’s charities, the betterment of impoverished communities, and the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the world.

“There are so many children all over the world who need access to a quality education, nutritional programs, fitness, and especially a safe and loving environment in which to grow,” said GPI host and golfing icon Gary Player. “I have always felt that contributing to others is essential, and we as a society must do whatever we can to invest in the future of our youth.”

Champions Retreat Golf Club is a 27-hole layout located in Augusta, Georgia. This unique championship golf course features nine signature holes of championship golf designed by three of the greatest names in the game - Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer.

Gary Player Invitational 2014 Series
United States – Georgia
Dates: 13-14 April 2014
Champions Retreat, Augusta

Europe – United Kingdom
Dates: 20-21 July 2014
Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey

China – Shanghai
Dates: 2-3 November 2014
Shanghai Links

South Africa – Sun City
Dates: 20-23 November 2014
The Lost City Golf Course, The Palace Hotel, Sun City

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MONAHAN SET TO FOLLOW TRAIL BLAZED BY FINCHEM

Mar 18, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

When he signed a four-year contract extension that would keep him in the role of PGA Tour commissioner until June, 2016 – when he’d be 69 years old and in his 22nd year on the job – Tim Finchem didn’t mix messages regarding his future beyond that point.

“I never rule out any possibilities,” he said at the time. “But the likelihood is this will probably be it for me. There’s other things I want to do.”
In a move that cleared a path toward those other things and Finchem’s inevitable retirement, Jay Monahan, previously CMO and executive vice president, was named deputy commissioner on Tuesday, the first step in transitioning to the next phase by publicly recognizing a successor.

What does it all mean? This move should signify business as usual for the PGA Tour. By not seeking its next commissioner from outside Ponte Vedra Beach headquarters, the organization is following the blueprint recently laid out by the NBA, where Adam Silver took over for outgoing David Stern last month after serving in the same role that Monahan, 43, will now have.

All of which should be considered good news.

It would be premature to start ticking off Finchem’s entire list of accomplishments over the past two decades, but here are a few noteworthy ones: He negotiated three television contracts, including the current 15-year deal; he successfully navigated choppy waters during the economic recession, actually adding sponsorships when most corporations were reticent to forge such relationships; he implemented a mandatory drug testing policy in a game in which many believed it was unnecessary; and he oversaw an increase in purses of nearly 400 percent, from $56.4 million in 1994 to what will be in the neighborhood of $280 million this year.

For players who like their pockets lined with cash and fans who like their tournaments televised four days per week for 11 months out of the year, Finchem’s tenure has to be considered not only successful, but essential.

Tuesday’s news that such matters will be kept in house will only help to ensure these positive steps continue in the right direction. Not that there won’t be stumbling blocks along the way, but an unambiguous move to maintain the status quo should be considered a victory for all those who have a stake in the future of the PGA Tour’s business.

Article courtesy of the Golf Channel

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INSIDE LOOK AT GARY PLAYER VILLA AT TRUMP NATIONAL DORAL

Mar 18, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

Among the many amenities that came from the $250 million spent by Donald Trump at his Trump National Doral Resort are eight deluxe guestroom villas, each one named for one of the most influential golfers in the world: Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Tiger Woods.

With the PGA Tour in town this week, Rory McIlroy was relegated to the Tiger Woods Villa, joking that he couldn’t get away from Tiger.

There’s no word on who is staying in the other villas, but we have some insight into the Gary Player Villa, which was the first to be completed at the end of January. About the only things that differentiate one villa from another are the pictures hanging on the walls aimed at capturing the namesake golf legends at iconic moments in their illustrious careers.

Designed by Ivanka Trump and world-renowned architects WATG, the new deluxe guestroom villas are immaculate. A chic palette of elegant neutrals – including ivory, champagne and caramel – are accentuated with mahogany wood and gold leaf details. The spacious bathrooms more closely resemble in-room spas with frameless showers, rainfall showerheads, marble flooring, and imported stone countertops and vanities.

Each villa offers golf course or garden views with expansive balconies or terraces.

“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, 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.”

“Doral is one of the most important golf properties in history and it is incredible to see the changes that the Trump Family has delivered in such a short period of time,” Player said. “The new villas look magnificent and I am truly honored to have the very first bear my name.”

“I have been a longtime fan of Gary and am thrilled to honor him with our first villa dedication and celebrate his legendary career,” Donald Trump said.

Article courtesy of Back9Network.

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2013 BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS NOMINATED FOR SPORTS EVENT OF THE YEAR

Mar 18, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships has been nominated in the Sports Event of the Year category for the 2014 Sports Business Awards presented by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily.

The 2013 Breeders’ Cup, held before 89,742 fans on November 1 & 2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., featured world-class Thoroughbred racing along with musical entertainment, great parties, fashion events and celebrity appearances. The NBC Sports Group provided 9.5 hours of live domestic coverage which was distributed to more than 130 countries. The 2013 Breeders’ Cup, which named golfing icon Gary Player as one of their esteemed Breeders’ Cup Ambassadors, consisted of 14 races and purses and awards totaling $27 million, making last year’s Championships one of the richest prize money events in sports.

“We have set the ambitious goal for our Championships to be one of the elite sporting events in the world and it is very gratifying to everyone at the Breeders’ Cup that Sports Business Journal has recognized our 2013 event as among the very best in sports,” said Craig Fravel Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “The spectacular finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park, and before a nationally televised live audience on NBC, capped off two outstanding days of international competition conducted at its highest level. Along with our terrific partners, Santa Anita Park and the Stronach Group, we thank all the owners and nominators who competed, as well as our sponsors, and the State of California for their part in staging the 2013 Championships for our fans around the world.”

Watch the 2013 Breeders’ Cup recap video here.

The other nominees in the Sports Event of the Year category are: Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic; The ONE: Mayweather vs. Canelo, presented by Showtime Networks in partnership with Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions; 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open and Super Bowl XLVIII.

The Sports Business Awards recognize excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports for the period from January 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014.  Single games or events, or event series that occurred in North America, for professional or collegiate teams, sanctioning bodies or national governing bodies were eligible.

Winners will be announced at an awards gala that will be held Thursday, May 21, at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City.

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PETER DAWSON TO RECEIVE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT 2014 HSBC GOLF BUSINESS FORUM

Mar 13, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A, will be presented with a special Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 HSBC Golf Business Forum taking place at The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi, April 28-30.

The award is to recognise outstanding contribution, achievement and leadership in both the game and business of golf. Past winners include Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Greg Norman, as well as visionary business leaders Dr. David Chu, Ken Schofield and Dana Garmany. George O’Grady CBE, Chief Executive of The European Tour, and Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner, were the joint recipients of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dawson became Chief Executive of The R&A, which organises The Open Championship and governs the game worldwide together with the United States Golf Association, in 1999 having previously worked in the engineering industry. He was appointed President of the International Golf Federation in December 2010. Dawson, who plays to a handicap of three, is the most recent addition to a list of speakers at the three day conference that includes a host of influential names from inside and outside of the golf world, reflecting the Forum’s position as one of the most anticipated gatherings in the golf business calendar.

The 2014 Golf Business Forum will feature a host of influential speakers from inside and outside of the golf world, reflecting the forum’s position as one of the most anticipated gatherings in the golf business calendar.

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GARY PLAYER JOINS PHIT AMERICA AS CELEBRITY AMBASSADOR

Mar 11, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

PHIT America – the non-profit education and advocacy organization designed to combat the nation’s inactivity and obesity crisis – announces Gary Player, one of the greatest players in golf history, as a celebrity ambassador.

Winner of 165 tournaments, including nine Major Championships, Player achieved legendary status as one of only five golfers in history to claim a career Grand Slam winning the Masters Tournament (1961, 1974, 1978), U.S. Open (1965), The Open Championship (1959, 1968, 1974) and PGA Championship (1962, 1972). Additionally, Player is the only golfer in history to achieve the Grand Slam on the Senior Tour.

He credits his success on the course to the stringent exercise regimen maintained throughout his career.

“At age 78, I still complete a rigorous fitness routine, which includes 1,000 sit-ups daily,” says Player. “My greatest ambition is to spread the message to the youth of the world that your body is a temple – you cannot do anything without health.”

As a father of six and grandfather of 22, Player’s desire to instill the importance of an active lifestyle, especially in children, aligns with the message of PHIT America. Participation in youth sports is a way to get fit while also building self-confidence and developing skills such as discipline and dedication to setting and achieving goals.

Player joins an all-star roster of celebrity ambassadors including NFL icon Herschel Walker and Golf Channel instructor Michael Breed. Each PHIT America ambassador is selected due to a common vision. The collective goal is to create “A Movement for a Fit and Healthy America” by educating men, women and children about the importance of an active lifestyle to improve overall health.

“Almost 30 percent of Americans are totally sedentary and this has increased the last five years,” says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America, former President of Wilson Sporting Goods and a 2011 inductee into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. “Inactivity is the prime contributor to the escalating health care costs we all face and Gary Player is setting a great example of how we can all work to create a more fit country.”

Since its January 2013 launch, more than 150 leading companies and associations from the sports, fitness, retail and media industries have contributed funds and services to support PHIT America.

The organization supports two pieces of legislation crucial to increasing the number of healthy Americans. When passed, the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) will allow people to use pre-tax medical accounts for physical activity expenses. The Physical Education Program (PEP) is a 14-year Federal grant from the Department of Education for schools to rebuild and revolutionize fitness programs.

Americans are encouraged to support PHIT America by visiting http://www.PHITAmerica.org to advocate, provide a donation or participate in health and wellness programs.

To view the entire list of PHIT America celebrities, click HERE.

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GOLF CHANNEL EQUIPMENT INSIDER REVIEWS GARY PLAYER: A GAME FOR LIFE

Mar 11, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

There aren’t many golfers out there who couldn’t learn a thing or two from Gary Player. And we’re talking on and off the course.

The 78-year-old South African legend has nine major championships to his name and still does 1,000 sit-ups every morning. So if you can pick his brain for any tips on golf, or life in general, you’d be wise to do so.

Now with the new DVD series, “Gary Player: A Game for Life,” you can. As the title suggests, it’s a radically different approach to any type of golf instruction that you’ve received in the past.

In fact, the first three sentences on the website read like this:

Forget about your grip. Forget about your swing plane. Put down your golf instruction books.

“I didn’t want to go, ‘you got to take your backswing here, you got to do this, you got to walk through.’ It was more about ‘what are the things that are important to your longevity.’ And they were short game, sand play, how to practice, how to warm-up, a lot of physical fitness stuff,” said executive producer Justin Tupper at January’s PGA Show in Orlando. “So it’s very different from a typical ‘this is how you swing a golf club.’”

Without giving too much away, this three DVD series will change your approach to the game with an outside-the-box thought process. Player’s balanced approach will help you almost immediately. Instead of focusing solely on the technical aspects of your swing, the Black Knight gives advice for when you’re on the course from a guy who has been there and done that, such as the secret to creating feel, how to turn three shots into two and maintaining motivation.

“We spent five days at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, and boiled it down to about 4 1/2 hours. So it’s super comprehensive,” said Tupper.

“Gary Player: A Game for Life” is available for $99.95. For more information or to make a purchase, check out the DVD series online.

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GARY PLAYER PREPARES FOR BUSY TOUR OF ASIAN DESIGN SITES

Feb 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL SERIES POISED FOR FANTASTIC YEAR OF GOLF & GIVING

Feb 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.”

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PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS THREE DIMENSIONAL GOLF IN ‘A GAME FOR LIFE’ INSTRUCTIONAL SERIES

Feb 28, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

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HIGH FIVE FOR POLAND’S TOP GOLF RESORT

Feb 27, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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.”

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2014 LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS AWARDS NOMINEES REVEALED

Feb 26, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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

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GOLFING GREAT IS AWED BY CHINA PROGRESS

Feb 24, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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

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LEGENDS OF SPORT TO ANNOUNCE 2014 LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS AWARDS NOMINEES

Feb 20, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

More exciting events are planned for the Nominations day so be sure to follow Laureus on Twitter and Facebook to find out what’s going on and how to get involved.

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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   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER VILLA UNVEILED AT TRUMP NATIONAL DORAL

Jan 27, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

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DONNAFUGATA MAKES DEBUT IN LIST OF ITALY’S BEST GOLF COURSES

Jan 24, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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

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GARY PLAYER GOLF SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE GRADUATES LOUIS & EDDIE TAYLOR CHASE PRO DREAMS

Jan 22, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER HEADLINES 2014 JUNIOR INVITATIONAL AT SAGE VALLEY GOLF CLUB OPENING CEREMONY

Jan 21, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER TOPS THE ALL-TIME FITTEST PGA TOUR PLAYERS LIST

Jan 16, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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BUFFALO COMMUNICATIONS SELECTED TO MANAGE PR PROGRAM FOR ‘GARY PLAYER: A GAME FOR LIFE’ SERIES

Jan 16, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.”

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GARY PLAYER AND HUMANA CONTINUE PARTNERSHIP AT 2014 HUMANA CHALLENGE

Jan 3, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER DESIGN LOOKS FORWARD TO GLOBAL OPENINGS IN 2014

Jan 2, 2014 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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.

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SAP EXPERIENCES FARM LIFE WITH THE BLACK KNIGHT

Jan 1, 2014 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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!”

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GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL HELPS MOBILISE MORE PEOPLE WITH BICYCLES

Dec 16, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player Foundation   Share

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:


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A NEW ERA OF THE NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE IS BJØRN

Dec 9, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER REMEMBERS NELSON MANDELA

Dec 5, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

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BERENBERG EXPANDS GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL SPONSORSHIP

Dec 4, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

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LEOPARD CREEK & GARY PLAYER COUNTRY CLUB SHINE ON EUROPEAN TOUR

Dec 3, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course DesignEvents & Tournaments   Share


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.


Leopard Creek

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.

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NEDBANK GOLF CHALLNEGE FIELD SET TO SIZZLE AT GARY PLAYER COUNTRY CLUB

Dec 3, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

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RECORD GIVING YEAR FOR THE PLAYER FOUNDATION DURING 30TH ANNIVERSARY

Dec 2, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.”

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GARY PLAYER NO LONGER TO DESIGN NEW ZIMBALI GOLF COURSE

Nov 26, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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.

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THRACIAN CLIFFS NAMED THE BEST GOLF RESORT IN EUROPE FOR 2014 BY IAGTO

Nov 21, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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.”

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UPS SUPPORTS THE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Nov 20, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

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GOOSEN AND CO. RELY ON 16-HANDICAPPER TO WIN GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Nov 17, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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

For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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TEAMS OF GOOSEN, FASTH SHINE IN GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Nov 16, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.”

Scores
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

For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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FANS OF THE BLACK KNIGHT GIVE GENEROUSLY AT GPI GALA AUCTION

Nov 15, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

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WOODS DRAWS STRONG TEAM FOR GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Nov 14, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

Draw

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

For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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GIBBS JOINS STAR LINE-UP FOR GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Nov 12, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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MAJOR WINNERS, RYDER CUP PLAYERS HEADLINE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL FIELD

Nov 8, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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CSI BATTLES LAW & ORDER AT THE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Nov 7, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

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COCA-COLA’S DOUG JACKSON COMMITS TO GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Nov 6, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL PROVIDES BEACON OF HOPE FOR AIDS ORPHANS IN CHINA

Nov 5, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER HITS 78 AND IS STILL GOING STRONG

Nov 1, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.”

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GARY PLAYER AND BERENBERG ANNOUNCE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP

Oct 31, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.”

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GARY PLAYER ADDED AS NEW BREEDERS’ CUP AMBASSADOR

Oct 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER BECOMES FIRST ATHLETE TO BE FEATURED IN 21 ICONS SOUTH AFRICA

Oct 27, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.”

Public participation is invited on Twitter: @21icons; http://www.21icons.com and http://www.facebook.com/21icons.

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.

PHOTOGRAPH DETAILS
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.

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GARY PLAYER UNVEILS NEW COURSE AT DLF GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB IN INDIA

Oct 26, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER TAKES A MESSAGE OF LOVE AND GIVING TO CHINA

Oct 25, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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
Shanghai Links

South Africa
Dates: 14- 17 November 2013
The Lost City Golf Course, The Palace Hotel, Sun City

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GOLFING LEGEND TO LEAD JURY FOR INDIA GOLF AWARDS

Oct 24, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

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HOLLYWOOD ACTOR ANTHONY ANDERSON TO PLAY THE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Oct 22, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

For more information on the event, visit www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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CHEYENNE WOODS MAKES DEBUT IN GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL

Oct 16, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

For more information on the event, visit http://www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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DONNAFUGATA DOUBLE BOOST IN NEW EUROPEAN GOLF LIST

Oct 15, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL NAMES CHARITY BENEFICIARIES

Oct 10, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

For more information on the event, visit http://www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

 

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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   Share

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.”

For more information on the event, visit http://www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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GOOSEN SUPPORTS PLAYER’S CHARITY DRIVE

Oct 8, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsThe Player FoundationEvents & Tournaments   Share

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.

For more information on the event, visit http://www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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GARY PLAYER DESIGN DEBUTS TWO SIGNATURE COURSES THIS FALL

Sep 30, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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.

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THE GARY PLAYER CLASSIC CONTINUES TO SHOWCASE AUSTRALIA’S TOP JUNIOR TALENT

Sep 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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

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GOLFING WORLD TAKES A LOOK AT THE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL EUROPE 2013

Sep 24, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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SUN CITY TO STAGE GARY PLAYER INVITATIONAL 2013 - NEW HOME FOR AFRICA’S PREMIER CHARITY GOLF EVENT

Sep 19, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share


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.

For more information on the event, visit http://www.garyplayerinvitational.com and follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.

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INDURA BEACH & GOLF RESORT SET FOR EARLY 2014 OPENING IN HONDURAS

Sep 18, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course Design   Share

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.

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COCA-COLA VOTED SOUTH AFRICA’S TOP BRAND FOR COMMUNITY UPLIFTMENT

Aug 30, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

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GARY PLAYER STUD FINDS GREAT SUCCESS AT NATIONAL TWO YEAR OLD SALE

Aug 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share


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.

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GARY PLAYER EXCITED TO OPEN NEW MOUNTAIN PARK GOLF COURSE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Aug 29, 2013 | Filed Under: General NewsGolf Course DesignEvents & Tournaments   Share


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.”

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WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM RE-LAUNCHES NEW AND IMPROVED WORLDGOLFHALLOFFAME.ORG

Aug 26, 2013 | Filed Under: General News   Share

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.

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