FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
20 November 2018
(Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida) The PGA Tour Policy Advisory Board voted today to retroactively recognize all the Senior Open Championship winners as official Champions Tour Major Winners.
As a three-time winner of the Senior Open, Gary Player will now officially be recognized as a nine-time Senior Major champion by the PGA Tour and the PGA Champions Tour as he has always been by the remainder of the golfing world.
The Asian & European Tours, R&A and World Golf Hall of Fame already recognized the Senior Open Championship as a Senior Major, but now the PGA Tour and Champions Tour in the USA will at last join golf’s most influential bodies in honoring all Senior Open wins as Major victories, rather than only accepting those won after 2002. As such, the PGA Tour will now join the golfing world in acknowledging that Gary Player won nine Senior Majors, in addition to his nine Majors on the regular tour. Player remains the only golfer to win the career Grand Slam on both tours.
Player won the Senior Open Championship in 1988, 1990, and 1997. However, the PGA Tour previously only acknowledged Senior Open Championship wins after 2002 as official Major championships in the United States. This meant that the PGA Tour and Champions Tour only considered Player to have won six Senior Majors.
Player has worked to have his record set straight in the USA, consistently maintaining his record of nine Senior Majors in interviews and profiles. He has argued that all Senior Open victories should count and countered all excuses otherwise. He felt that precedent had been made when The Open Championship itself had also been made retroactive by the PGA Tour previously as well.
In one such discussion of the Major Championship records Player said, “Every tournament has to start somewhere, and then evolves. The Masters in 1934 was not what it is today, but every player who has won it is recognized as a Major winner. I remember Arnold Palmer telling me it was ‘bullsh–’ that the Senior Open Championship wasn’t an official major in the states. He so regretted not winning the Senior Open Championship when he was playing senior golf.”
But why does Gary Player, one of the greatest golfers in the history of the game, care about three Senior Open wins? He did not bring his family out of poverty as a young man by staying satisfied with the status quo. Everything in his life was and is still earned – including his nine Senior Major Championships of which he is so proud.
Player said, “What I have learned about myself is that I am an animal when it comes to hard work, achievement and success. There can never be enough for me.”
In response to the PGA Tour Policy Board’s decision, the Black Knight said, “I am thrilled to have my record officially acknowledged by the PGA Tour in America. I consider myself a global player who supports golf around the world. To finally have all of golf’s major governing bodies and tours recognize one of my proudest accomplishments means so much and I thank Commissioner Jay Monahan and the board with great appreciation.”
This change will also give 10 other players one, and in a few cases two, more senior majors to their names. These players include Christy O’Connor Jr., Sir Bob Charles, and Brian Barnes who all won twice, as well as Noboru Sugai, Ian Stanley, Brian Huggett, Tom Wargo, John Fourie, Bobby Verwey, and Neil Coles.