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gary player masters

‘It’s terribly sad’: Gary Player’s Masters fallout continues

The three-time Green Jacket winner began his week by rating the Masters as the worst of all the majors and he has continued the pile-on by revealing the extent of a spikey relationship with Augusta National
 

The Masters is regarded by some as the best golf tournament in the world at a venue that transcends the entire sport.

Perhaps not to Gary Player though.

You may have thought the three-time champion and icon of Augusta National would have a strong relationship with the famous golf club. Think again.

Player has dimmed our enthusiasm for the PGA Tour’s first major championship not once but twice in the lead-up to the event in a surprising and arguably brutal fashion.

At the start of the week, the 87-year-old rated the Masters as the fourth-best major out of four, with the Open Championship at the top of the pile.

“[The Masters] is the youngest of the majors,” he told the Daily Mail. “The others are steeped in tradition and history and they still have to catch up. Nothing comes to the top without time.”

gary player masters

Player most recently won the Green Jacket in 1978 and because of his many career achievements, he has taken part in the pre-tournament tee shot ceremony since 2012.

The Thursday morning ritual in Georgia is one of many features that makes the Masters special, but it seems Player has a bitter taste in his mouth whenever he returns to Magnolia Lane.

Now speaking to The Times, the nine-time major champion doubled down with his condemnation and claimed his relationship with Augusta is one of sadness.

“After all I’ve contributed to the tournament and been an ambassador for them, I can’t go and have a practice round there with my three grandchildren without having to beg a member to play with us, and there’s always some excuse,” he said.

“It’s terribly, terribly sad. I’ve played my role: I’ve won it three times, I was in the top 10 15 times, and I made the most number of cuts in a row ever.

“Yet here we are struggling to get a round. If it wasn’t for the players, (Augusta) would just be another golf course in Georgia.

“It’s just sad – and I put great emphasis on the word ‘sad’ – that Augusta (doesn’t) make you feel welcome in that regard because I helped make this tournament what it is.”

His relationship with Augusta might’ve been soured by the stunt his son Wayne pulled while Lee Elder was being honoured ahead of the tournament in 2021.

As a tribute was being paid to the first-ever African-American to play in the Masters, Wayne held up a box of golf balls with the brand on show to the television cameras, sparking widespread outrage.

He has since been banned from the Masters.


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