Golfing legend Gary Player says the way he has been treated at Augusta National is “terribly, terribly sad”.
The 87-year-old won The Masters three times – in 1961, 1974, and 1978 – but is not a full-fledged member of Augusta and is only allowed to play a practice round with the company of a club member.
“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,” Player told The Times. “It’s terribly, terribly sad.
“I’ve played my role, I’ve won it three times, I was in the top 10 15 times, I made the most number of cuts in a row ever. Yet here we are struggling to get a round.
“That’s why I rate the [British] Open No 1 [of the four Majors]. 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.”
However, Player is scheduled to be an honorary starter again on Thursday alongside Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson when the 2023 Masters begins.