When most people hear the name Gary Player, they will most likely recall the legend’s golf career – 24 PGA tour victories, 9 of which were major tournaments! Only three other golfers have won more major tournaments than Player (Walter Hagen, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus). Player’s ratio of Majors to other tournament wins might be a record, though?
The Johannesburg-born golfer had a professional career spanning an incredible 43 years, from turning professional aged 17 to his last victory in the US at age 60. During this time he wore a couple of nicknames. One of them was “The Black Knight” because of his habit of wearing all black on the final day of tournaments. The one I am most interested in right now is “Mr. Fitness”. Player earned this nickname due to his passion for health, fitness and well being.
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Standing just 5″6′, Player relied on his athleticism, training and diet to help him keep up with the big hitters of his era. Anyone who has watched Player in action can attest that he is somewhat “lively” with a golf club in his hand. All the things most PGA tour players are now desperately getting involved in, fitness training and nutrition, Gary Player was doing back in the 60’s before it was cool! There is something very admirable about someone who does something they believe to be beneficial and just sticking to it regardless of what those around them are doing. Player has been a long-time advocate of regular exercise and a diet low in sugar, high in vegetables and raw food. By the looks of him, it is working. The picture above was taken at the 2013 Gary Player International in Sun City, South Africa. At age 78 he is looking as young and strong as ever. He needs to be to keep up his hectic schedule.
Since retiring from professional golf, Player now travels the world promoting his brand “Black Knight International” as an ambassador for golf, health and fitness. He designs golf courses and educates and raises vast sums of money (over $50 million so far to aid struggling children in South Africa and impoverished children globally) for his foundation. Showing no signs of slowing down, Gary Player continues to be a global force and icon for fitness, class and longevity.