There was a little bit of a tear in the GolfBlogger’s eye as I watched Gary Player make his last putt at The Masters. He’s always been a favorite of mine; I admire his optimism, his fitness, his dedication and the way he treats people.
I have my own Gary Player story:
In 2006, Thing One (then ten years old) and I visited the Ford Senior Championship in Dearborn, Michigan. Catching up with Gary Players’s group on the second, we spent the day following him from hole to hole.
Player must have noticed, for while walking down the fairway on ten, he made a detour away from his ball and headed straight to where we were standing at the ropes. He shook Thing One’s hand, and said asked if he played golf. When Thing One replied that he did, Player said some encouraging words, and exhorted him to practice, practice, practice. Then he smiled and went back to his play.
Needless to say, Thing One became an immediate Gary Player fan.
I was impressed, too. He didn’t greet anyone else that round, so somehow he must have noticed a father and son following him through the round and decided to make a visit. It’s incredible to me that someone in the middle of a Senior Major would notice a couple of fans.
I really wish Player would continue to play at The Masters. For that matter, I wish some of the other past Champions would do the same. Perhaps it could be a Wednesday event—held at the same time as the Par 3. It would make for some great television, and serve as a reminder for all of us of the living history of golf’s greatest tournament.