In his weekly newsletter, former tour-player-turned-commentator Dale Hayes sums up his views following the Gary Player lawsuit making headlines recently.
Open letter to Gary Player …
I grew up at Zwartkop Country Club in a family of golf professionals, so I started watching you win golf tournaments from a very young age.
By the time I was 12 you had won the Grand Slam of golf. Unfortunately there was no TV in South Africa back then, so we were never able to watch you win those 165 tournaments, unless we saw you play live here at home.
When you first started, my father, Otway, was still playing tournament golf. Then in the middle sixties, my eldest brother, John, was playing and finally through the seventies, I had the opportunity of playing against you in tournaments all around the world. To win a tournament that you played in was extra special, because you knew you were beating one of golf’s all-time greats! The 13 SA Open titles you won is testimony to that.
Looking back, I really wish we’d had TV while you were playing your best golf so that South Africans would realise just how good you were.
Golf has never had a better rivalry that you, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Thirty-four Major titles between you three, just think about that …
Your longevity has been nothing short of amazing. Nine Senior Majors and at 84 you’re still breaking your age easily, every time you tee it up. Those who know you still admire your energy, positivity and enthusiasm for life.
You have said often that it’s how you deal with adversity that defines you as a person. You have always come back stronger than ever, and I’m sure that the same will happen now.
It may be a tough time for your family but you’ve always been a tight-knit family and I know you will as usual, come out a winner! I’m thinking of you all.