Gary Player, in full Gary Jim Player, byname the Black Knight, (born November 1, 1935, Johannesburg, South Africa), South African who was one of the world’s best professional golfers in the post-World War II era. He is most famous for becoming the only non-American to win the “Grand Slam of Golf” consisting of the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA championship
He started playing golf as a teenager – every success made him more determined to become one of the greatest players of the game. He turned professional at the age of 17 and joined the PGA tour four years later. He is often referred to as Mr. Fitness and is known for the strict health regime and exercise routine that he follows. He is well-known not just for his accomplishments on the golf course, but also for being a man of principles and values – he is someone who is respected not only for being a great player, but also for being an awesome human being. His international record, unsurpassed by any golfer, was a tribute to his remarkable fitness and love of competition.
Player was an integral part of the popularization of golf in the 1960s, as his weekly competitions with fellow golf stars Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer showcased the sport being played at its highest level. His nine career wins at the major tournaments—the Open Championship (British Open; 1959, 1968, 1974), the Masters (1961, 1974, 1978), the PGA Championship (1962, 1972), and the U.S. Open (1965)—are the fourth highest total in golf history (tied with Hogan). He also won the South African Open 13 times, the Australian Open 7 times, and the World Series of Golf 3 times (1965, 1968, 1972). In addition to his professional golfing career, Player in the 1980s launched a successful career as a golf course designer.
In 1985 he began competing on the Senior PGA Tour (later renamed the Champions Tour), and he retired from tournament golf in 2009. Three years later Player received a lifetime achievement award from the PGA.