The man known around the world as the Black Knight may be in his 80’s, but his passion for life, people, designing golf courses and building bridges between cultures remains strong.
And 50 years after his famed U.S. Open victory to complete the career Grand Slam, golf’s global ambassador is at it again, though this time at sea. His victory made him the third man in history to win the Grand Slam, joining Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan. Since then only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have joined this elite club of only five.
Player recently again astounded the world, this time via a backflip off the side of a boat during a challenge from his grandchildren when on vacation in Thailand. Afterwards, Player said of his stunning acrobatics, “Age is just a number and we are only as old as those surrounding you.”
During his career, Player won 18 Major Championships, nine on the Regular Tour and nine on the Senior Tour, as well as the career Grand Glam by age 29. However, Player thinks his most rewarding achievement is his charitable work around the world for young people. The Player Foundation has already raised $63 million, but also has the ambitious goal of getting to $100 million dollars by 2025 to continue making a difference. Funds are raised in a variety of ways including the Gary Player Invitational charity golf series which is played in countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, United Arab Emirates, Japan, China and South Africa.
Player is open about discussing his tough childhood and said he knows what it’s like to suffer. He has always felt strongly that we must look after our youth to insure a positive future and believes that it’s what we do with what we have that makes all the difference. He recently described to SAP why the foundation that bears his name is so important. “We’re helping provide quality education, nutrition, and medical care to underprivileged children and strengthening impoverished communities plagued by disease and crime.”
His relationship with SAP goes back more than 20 years, and he added that the experience has allowed him to meet people from many different cultures from all over the world. “SAP has been a dream relationship for me. It’s one thing to endorse a company. But truly believing in it, that’s the thing.”
An inspiration across generations
The man also known as the “International Ambassador of Golf” has inspired generations of golfers and with help from SAP Software, his company Gary Player Design, has designed more than 400 golf courses in 38 countries. The company takes great pride in their environmental record and has worked hard to minimize site disturbance, promote organic applications and wildlife, and conserve water.
During the discussion with SAP, Player added that success in business comes from having people skills and a commitment to quality, stating, “Quality rises to the top – and that’s the best description of SAP – quality.”
There’s no telling what the Black Knight has in-store for the world next. But one thing is for certain, during every step of his ongoing adventures, Gary Player will continue to inspire, astound, and most importantly provide desperately needed help to children and families around the world.
Article courtesy of Forbes