Story of the Week

GARY PLAYER

    Iíve never written an article about a golfer. If you reference my article of 11-1-01 regarding my personal golf abilities, youíll see why golf just hasnít been my favorite subject matter. However, this article will deviate from the norm as Iíve elected to write about a person for whom I have great respect, Gary Player.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Gary Player at the U.S. Open in St. Louis in 1965. He was as cordial and friendly a person as Iíve ever met, and, judging from the various television interviews of Player that Iíve seen since, he still is.

    Player was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1935. His weight of 150 pounds and his height of 5-7 suggests something less than the great power he possesses on the course. But his strong suit is incredible accuracy. I can attest to that as I watched him win the U.S. Open in 1965 at the Bellerive Country Club; that course was a whopping 7,191 yards long, and he faced some heavy-hitters in the process.

    He has rolled up an impressive 21 PGA Tour victories, 19 Senior Tour victories, and many international victories during his illustrious career. Among his PGA accomplishments are victories in the U.S. Open, as noted above, the Tournament of Champions, the Masters Tournament, and the PGA Championship. His international conquests include the British Open three times, the World Cup of Golf, and the World Series of Golf.

    In 2000, Player became the youngest golfer ever to shoot his age on the Senior Tour when he fashioned a 64 in the opening round of the Bell South Senior Classic. It showed he hadnít lost the touch.

    Gary Player, a health and fitness fanatic, is known as the International Ambassador of Golf. He is a renowned golf course architect with over 100 design projects located throughout the world. He is involved with various business ventures which include his great interest in breeding top horses.

    But his greatest passion is the promotion of education. He operates the Gary Player Foundation. The Foundation built the Blair Atholl Schools in his native Johannesburg, which has educational facilities for over 400 students from kindergarten through the seventh grade, and is currently working on additional educational projects. Education is obviously important to him personally; in 1999, at age 64, he received his third doctorate, this from the University of Dundee in Scotland.

    Gary Player is a winner and a class guy on and off the golf course.

Last Weekís Trivia

    What team holds the record for fewest points scored in a quarter during an NBA game? In an April, 1996 game against the Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks reached an all-time low by scoring only two points in the third quarter, and those with just under two minutes left in the period.

Trivia Question of the Week

    In 2001, Randy Johnson won three games in the World Series. Who was the last pitcher to accomplish this feat? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.