Our interview guest this week is the legendary Gary Player.
We converse with Mr. Player to talk about potential changes to Augusta National, golf in the Olympics, the importance of faith to Mr. Player’s career, how often he would play were he a modern, active player and how golf’s governing bodies have to respond to get more people to play the game.
Notable Gary Player quotes
On Tiger Woods’ potential comeback to golf:
He was the most talented man that ever played golf. He had that little thing called it. And if anybody can do it, it’s Tiger, and we hope he does do it, but, boy, oh boy, is it going to be a challenge.
On lengthening the par-5 13th at Augusta National:
If I was Augusta, I would be doing the exact same thing. But, that’s not really the answer.
It’s very difficult to have a test for the pro golfers today unless the course is 7,600 yards long, 7,800 yards long.
Bubba Watson hit a driver and a wedge to 13 at Augusta and a driver and a 9-iron over the green at 15. I mean, that’s laughable. It’s a mockery of the game.
On golf’s governing bodies cutting back the length of the golf ball:
I would expect Augusta to be a leader in that because the leaders in our game are certainly not doing that.
America is such a litigious society that I think people are scared to do anything.
The golf ball is causing immeasurable problems in our game.
The USGA, PGA and the R&A have got to get together and say we’re going to cut the ball back for professional golf by 50 yards.
On golf in the Olympics:
I think it should be better ball because at the Olympics you’ve got a non-golf viewers and they’re going to be interested in watching golf. And if they see this very slow game, they’re not going to be too excited. Better ball would be quick and everything in the Olympics is quick.
I would have given anything to play in the Olympic games. Anything.
On comparing the all-time greats and their length with modern equipment:
If you took Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus and put ’em all together when they were 25, gave them the same driver and the same fairway and the same ball, they would all look the same.
On Rory McIlroy potentially winning the Masters:
I’d love to see Rory McIlroy win and join us among the Grand Slam winners, which would be a big, big boost golf, which golf needs.
On how often he would play were he a modern, active pro:
If I played today, with a $1 million first prize, I’d play 40 tournaments a year. … If I could take 12 weeks off a year, what businessman takes 12 weeks off a year?
On the Ryder Cup Task Force:
To form a panel or a committee is the biggest hogwash I’ve heard in my entire life in golf. With me, I would not be worrying about a panel. I would not be getting a captain to blame. I would just say, Listen, the other guys are better than me. So what I’m going to do is improve my work ethic and I’m going to whoop his ass next time.
You might find some players who say they’re not all that interested in winning [majors] because they can’t win them.
I didn’t look upon a win on the U.S. tour as any more imporatnt than the Australian Open or other tournaments around the world because I started out wanting to have the best world record, which I achieved. That’s the true test, to get off a plane and go win somewhere else. That’s an extreme test. To win in your home country isn’t near the same test as going someplace else.
I always said to myself, ‘If you’re a champion, you love every golf course.’