Gary Player, 74, has enjoyed a Hall of Fame career on the golf
course that now is in its seventh decade. He has won more
than 150 tournaments, including nine majors, and is one of just
five players to have captured golf’s career Grand Slam. Off the
course, Player is a renowned golf course architect and philan-
thropist, and has used his fame to spread the gospel of fitness.
The legendary Black Knight sat with
Global Golf Post
Correspondent Lewine Mair to discuss a number of topics, from
Tiger Woods to his goal of living to 100.
To be honest, I don’t see this as a lesson the
golf world has to learn. I see it as a lesson that
Tiger has to learn. We cannot blame the media
for making him out to be something he was not.
Being world No. 1 and arguably the most recog-
nizable athlete on the planet does not give him
– or anyone else for that matter – the right to
dishonor his family. I think Tiger is a great golfer
and will more than likely end his career as the
greatest we have ever seen, but his mistakes
were of his own making.
I’m not too worried about children homing in on
golf at an early age. The main thing is that they
should be out doing something and not spending
their days in front of the television and playing
video games. I want to get a message through to
100 million schoolchildren to make them under-
stand that your body is a holy temple. But how
do you do this when they are fed absolute junk by
their parents? Just look what they eat. Many start
their day with a white bread roll and two pieces of
fatty bacon, very possibly covered in cheese. It’s
ruinous to their health. It’s all fat.
There is not a school in the U.S. or South Af-
rica or Britain I know of that teaches children how
to eat. You can't just get by on academics. Schools
have got to make the first subject every day about
health. At the same time, they should be allocat-
ing an hour a day for strenuous exercise.
Up until the age of 30, my biggest strength was
my burning desire to win tournaments and, more
importantly, majors. Also, the commitment I
made to diet, health, fitness, practice and training
my mind to always think positively. I knew that I
wasn’t the most talented person on the course,
but I was determined to be the best prepared,
both physically and mentally.
Between 30 and 45, I would identify my
strengths as technical know-how allied, once
again, to my mental approach and physical fit-
ness. In the case of the latter, my early training
allowed me to carry on competing at the highest
level at a time when most players start to lose a
bit of strength.
From 45 to 55, it was always my physical fit-
ness. When I turned 50 and began my career on
the Champions Tour, I knew that I had a much
shorter window to win majors. I set a goal for
myself – to win the Grand Slam on the Champions
Tour – and I knew that I had to be in top physical a
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