The “Union of Golf and Giving” that was the theme for the 2017 Gary Player Invitational Series was perfectly captured in the teamwork that underpinned the victory of Team Darren Clarke in the tournament, and the R3.2 million raised for charity this week at Sun City.
Clarke and his team of South African boxing legend Brian Mitchell and businessmen Doug Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, and Grant Horsfield, Chairman of the naked Group, claimed a convincing victory on 93 points in the 18-hole tournament.
Host Gary Player and his team of Springbok rugby great Chester Williams, South African junior golfer Luc Gavagnin and businessmen Gideon du Plessis shared second place on 86 points with the team of Ladies European Tour campaigner Emma Cabrera Bello, celebrity Maps Maponyane and businessmen Marco Saviozzi and Denvin Naidoo.
Clarke, who cited a lesson from Grand Slam champion Player as the reason for his own sublime golf on the day, praised his team for their efforts.
“The team was brilliant and we all played well from early on. I’ve been here so many times and anytime you get the chance to play the Lost City Golf Course I always enjoy it. Mr Player also gave me some advice on the range and went to great lengths to help me with my own game. When you have the opportunity to receive some wisdom from an 18-time Major winner you’d be a fool not to take it.”
Mitchell was delighted with a win on his debut in the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola.
“It’s my first win in a big tournament, so thank you Gary Player. He is such a legend worldwide and raises millions for charity, and I’m just happy to have been part of that.”
The businessmen in the tournament are a key component of its success, and for both Jackson and Horsfield this was a significant triumph.
Jackson claimed his second consecutive victory in this tournament, and as a longstanding supporter of the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola.
“The key to this tournament is having a wonderful team. The golf is great, but the money we raise for The Player Foundation is what it’s all about. At the beginning of the year we identify a few events where we give back. One of them is wherever Gary Player is. He is 82 and should be sitting at home with his grandchildren, yet here he is still working hard to raise money for charity. If he can commit, then he inspires all of us to do the same.”
And Horsfield’s victory in the South African leg of the global Gary Player series gives him his own Grand Slam of having won each of the Gary Player Invitational tournament series worldwide.
“Gary Player is one of only five players to have ever won the Grand Slam, and I’m the first and only winner of the Gary Player Invitational Grand Slam. I’m proud of it. Seriously though, it’s just such a pleasure to support him in these events. He is truly a global hero and South African hero.”