Gary Player

Gary Player DMS, OIG (born 1 November 1935) is a South African retired professional golfer who is widely considered to be one of the greatest golfers ever.[1] During his career, Player won nine major championships on the regular tour and nine major championships on the Champions Tour.[2][3][4] At the age of 29, Player won the 1965 U.S. Open and became the only non-American to win all four majors in a career, known as the career Grand Slam. At the time, he was the youngest player to do this, though Jack Nicklaus (26) and Tiger Woods (24) subsequently broke this record. Player became only the third golfer in history to win the Career Grand Slam, following Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen, and only Nicklaus and Woods have performed the feat since. He won over 150 professional tournaments on six continents over seven decades and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.[5]

Gary Player
Player in 2008
Personal information
Full nameGary Player
NicknameThe Black Knight,
Mr. Fitness
Born (1935-11-01) 1 November 1935
Johannesburg, South Africa
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Weight150 lb (68 kg; 11 st)
Nationality South Africa
ResidenceJupiter Island, Florida, U.S.
Colesberg, South Africa
SpouseVivienne Verwey (m. 1957–present)
ChildrenJennifer, Marc, Wayne, Michele, Theresa, Amanda
Turned professional1953
Former tour(s)Sunshine Tour
PGA Tour (joined 1957)
Champions Tour (joined 1985)
Professional wins160
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour24
European Tour4
Sunshine Tour60 (total South African wins)
PGA Tour of Australasia2
PGA Tour Champions22 (Tied 7th all time)
European Senior Tour3
Other44 (regular)
6 (senior)
Best results in major championships
(wins: 9)
Masters TournamentWon: 1961, 1974, 1978
PGA ChampionshipWon: 1962, 1972
U.S. OpenWon: 1965
The Open ChampionshipWon: 1959, 1968, 1974
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame1974 (member page)
PGA Tour
leading money winner
Southern Africa Tour
Order of Merit winner
1976/77, 1979/80
PGA Tour Lifetime
Achievement Award
GCSAA Old Tom Morris Award2020
Presidential Medal of Freedom2021
(For a full list of awards, see here)

Nicknamed the Black Knight, Mr. Fitness, and the International Ambassador of Golf,[6] Through the Gary Player Design firm, he is also a renowned golf course architect with more than 400 design projects on five continents throughout the world.

He has also authored or co-written 36 books on golf instruction, design, philosophy, motivation and fitness.

The Player Group operates The Player Foundation, which has a primary objective of promoting underprivileged education around the world. In 1983, The Player Foundation established the Blair Atholl Schools in Johannesburg, South Africa, which has educational facilities for more than 500 students from kindergarten through eighth grade. In 2013 it celebrated its 30th anniversary with charity golf events in London, Palm Beach, Shanghai and Cape Town, bringing its total of funds raised to over US$60 million.[7][8]

On 7 January 2021, Player was awarded, and accepted, the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump.

Background and family

Player with his wife (holding object) and her mother, who were his dedicated supporters at golf tournaments, 1961

Player was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the youngest of Harry and Muriel Player's three children. When he was eight years old his mother died from cancer. Although his father was often away from home working in the gold mines, he did manage to take a loan in order to buy a set of clubs for Gary to begin playing golf. The Virginia Park golf course in Johannesburg is where Player first began his love affair with golf. At the age of 14, Player played his first round of golf and parred the first three holes. At age 16, he announced that he would become number one in the world. At age 17, he became a professional golfer.

Player married wife Vivienne Verwey (sister of professional golfer Bobby Verwey) on 19 January 1957, four years after turning professional. Together they have six children: Jennifer, Marc, Wayne, Michele, Theresa, and Amanda. He also has 22 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.[9][10] During the early days of his career Player would travel from tournament to tournament with his wife, six children, their nanny and a tutor in tow.

Player's eldest son, Marc, owns and operates Black Knight International, which exclusively represents Player in all his commercial activities, including all endorsements, licensing, merchandising, golf course design, and real estate development.[11]

Player is the brother of Ian Player, a notable South African environmental educator, activist and conservationist who helped to save the white rhino from extinction.[12]

Player is a supporter of Arsenal and Barcelona.[13]

Playing career

Player is one of the most successful golfers in history, tied for fourth in major championship victories with nine. Along with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus he is often referred to as one of "The Big Three" golfers of his era – from the late 1950s through the late 1970s – when golf boomed in the United States and around the world and was greatly encouraged by expanded television coverage. Along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods, he is one of only five players to win golf's "career Grand Slam". He completed the Grand Slam in 1965 at the age of twenty-nine. Player was the second multiple majors winner from South Africa, following Bobby Locke, then was followed by Ernie Els, and Retief Goosen.

Player competed regularly on the U.S. based PGA Tour from the late 1950s. He led the Tour money list in 1961, and went on to accumulate 24 career Tour titles. He also played an exceptionally busy schedule all over the world, and he has been called the world's most traveled athlete. Player has logged more than 26 million km (16 million mi) in air travel – in 2005 it was estimated that he had "probably flown further…than any athlete in history".[14][15]

He has more victories than anyone else in the South African Open (13) and the Australian Open (7). He held the record for most victories in the World Match Play Championship, with five wins, from 1973 until 1991 when this feat was equalled by Seve Ballesteros, finally losing his share of the record in 2004, when Ernie Els won the event for the sixth time. Player was in the top ten of Mark McCormack's world golf rankings from their inception in 1968 until 1981; he was ranked second in 1969, 1970 and 1972, each time to Jack Nicklaus.

He was the only player in the 20th century to win the British Open in three different decades.[16] His first win, as a 23-year-old in 1959 at Muirfield, came after he double-bogeyed the last hole.[17] In 1974, he became one of the few golfers in history to win two major championships in the same season. Player last won the Masters in 1978, when he started seven strokes behind 54-hole leader Hubert Green entering the final round, and won by one shot with birdies at seven of the last 10 holes for a back nine 30 and a final round 64. One week later, Player again came from seven strokes back in the final round to win the Tournament of Champions.[18] In 1984, at the age of 48 Player nearly became the oldest ever major champion, finishing in second place behind Lee Trevino at the PGA Championship. And in gusty winds at the 1998 Masters, he became the oldest golfer ever to make the cut, breaking the 25-year-old record set by Sam Snead. Player credited this feat to his dedication to the concept of diet, health, practice and golf fitness.[19]

Player has occasionally been accused of cheating, particularly in the 1974 Open; he has strongly denied the accusations. Later, at a skins game in Arizona in 1983, Tom Watson accused him of cheating by moving a leaf from behind his ball.[20]

Player at the Fancourt Golf Resort in South Africa, 2008

Being South African, Player never played in the Ryder Cup in which American and European golfers compete against each other. Regarding the event, Player remarked, "The things I have seen in the Ryder Cup have disappointed me. You are hearing about hatred and war."[21] He was no longer an eligible player when the Presidents Cup was established to give international players the opportunity to compete in a similar event, but he was non-playing captain of the International Team for the Presidents Cup in 2003, which was held on a course he designed, The Links at Fancourt, in George, South Africa. After 2003 ended in a tie, he was reappointed as captain for the 2005 Presidents Cup, and his team lost to the Americans 15.5 to 18.5. Both Player and Jack Nicklaus were appointed to captain their respective teams again in 2007 in Canada; the United States won.

Augusta National green jacket

The green jacket is reserved for Augusta National members and golfers who win the Masters Tournament. Jackets are kept on club grounds, and taking them off the premises is forbidden. The exception is for the winner, who can take it home and return it to the club the following year. Player, who became the tournament's first international winner in 1961, said he did not know that. After losing a playoff in 1962 to Arnold Palmer, he packed the jacket and took it to his home in South Africa. That led to a call from club Chairman Clifford Roberts, who was a stickler for rules. “I didn’t know you were supposed to leave it there,” Player said. “Next thing you know, there was a call from Mr. Roberts.” [22]


In 2000, Player was voted "Sportsman of the Century" in South Africa. In 1966, he was awarded the Bob Jones Award, the highest honour given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. The "Gary Player – A Global Journey" exhibition was launched by the Hall of Fame as of March 2006.

In 2000, Golf Digest magazine ranked Player as the eighth greatest golfer of all time.[23]

In 2002, Player was voted as the second greatest global golfer of all time by a panel of international media, golf magazines and fellow professionals conducted by the leading Golf Asia Magazine.

On 10 April 2009, he played for the last time in the Masters, where he was playing for his record 52nd time[24] – every year since 1957 except for 1973, when he was recovering from surgery.[25] After Nicklaus and Palmer, he was the last of the Big Three to retire from this tournament, which is a testament to his longevity.

At age 73 on 23 July 2009, Player competed in the Senior British Open Championship at Sunningdale Golf Club, 53 years after capturing his maiden European Tour victory at the Berkshire venue.[26]

Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters announced on 5 July 2011 that Player had been invited to join Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as an honorary starter. The Big Three were reunited in this capacity starting with the 2012 tournament.[27]

In July 2013, he became the oldest athlete ever to pose nude in ESPN The Magazine's annual Body Issue to inspire people to keep looking after themselves throughout their lives whatever their age.[28][29]

Business and other interests

Gary Player's business interests are exclusively represented by Black Knight International, which includes Gary Player Design, Player Real Estate, The Player Foundation, Gary Player Academies, and Black Knight Enterprises, aspects of which include licensing, events, publishing, wine, apparel and memorabilia.[7] The Player Group, which operates The Player Foundation, is owned and managed by Marc Player.[30]

The Player Foundation

The Player Foundation was established in 1983 by Marc Player and began as an effort to provide education, nutrition, medical care and athletic activities, for a small community of disadvantaged children living on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. The Player Foundation has since blossomed into an organisation that circles the globe bringing aid to underprivileged children and impoverished communities. Since its establishment, The Player Foundation has donated over $65 million to the support of children's charities, the betterment of impoverished communities and the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the world.

The Foundation is primarily funded by donations, grants and the four Gary Player Invitational events presented through Black Knight International and staged in the United States, China, Europe and South Africa annually.[31] The Gary Player Invitational is a pro-am tournament that pairs celebrities and professional golfers from the PGA and Champions Tours with businessmen and other local participants. The proceeds of these tournaments and other special events provide funding for an ever-expanding number of institutions around the world, including the Blair Atholl Schools in South Africa, the Pleasant City Elementary School in Palm Beach and the Masizame Children's Shelter in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.

Proceeds from the Gary Player Invitational have also been donated to The Lord's Taverners in the UK and the following organisations in South Africa; Wildlands Conservation Trust, Twilight Children, and Bana Development Centre.[32][33]

Golf course design

The Player Design firm have executed over 400 projects in 41 countries on five continents, including courses such as the Gary Player Country Club, Leopard Creek, Thracian Cliffs, Wentworth and Five Nations Golf Club. The company offers three different design brands: Gary Player Design, Player Design, and Black Knight Design.

With golf accepted back into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Gary Player Design was selected among the finalists of an official RFP in early December 2011.[34][35]

Nelson Mandela Invitational

Player hosted the Nelson Mandela Invitational golf tournament staged by Black Knight International from 2000. In October 2007, media attention arose about his involvement in the 2002 design of a golf course in Burma and as a result, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund withdrew its support.[36] Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu accepted Player's position and statements on Burma.[37] Player refused to withdraw as he and his son Marc personally built the golf event from scratch and issued a statement rebutting these claims via his website. The event continued to be staged annually at the Sun City Resort as the Gary Player Invitational until 2013.


Views on apartheid

In 1966, Player espoused support for the apartheid policies of Hendrik Verwoerd in his book Grand Slam Golf, stating: "I must say now, and clearly, that I am of the South Africa of Verwoerd and apartheid ... a nation which ... is the product of its instinct and ability to maintain civilised values and standards amongst the alien barbarians. The African may well believe in witchcraft and primitive magic, practise ritual murder and polygamy; his wealth is in cattle".[38] Activists publicly demonstrated against Player's espousal of apartheid, including protesting against Player at the 1969 PGA Championship. Australian activists also strongly protested against Player. In 1971 there were several threats to protest against Player at tournaments though they never came to fruition.[39] Years later, in October 1974, Australian activists screamed at Player, "Go home racist", as he was lining up a putt on the 72nd hole in a tournament he had a chance to win.[40]

However, in a 1987 interview with The Los Angeles Times, Player disavowed the system of apartheid, stating, "We have a terrible system in's almost a cancerous disease. I'm happy to say it's being eliminated....we've got to get rid of this apartheid."[41] In an interview with Graham Bensinger, Player discussed his early support for apartheid stating that the South African Government had "pulled the wool over our eyes" and that the people were "brainwashed" into supporting these policies.[42]

Other views

In July 2007, Player made statements at The Open Championship golf tournament about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in golf. He alleged that at least ten players were "taking something", citing human growth hormone, steroids and creatine as possible substances. Both the PGA Tour and European Tour were in the process of introducing random testing programmes at the time.[43]

In June 2016, in an interview with, Player branded as 'laughable' a report released by The R&A and USGA which said that driving distance in golf was only increasing minimally. He warned of a 'tsunami coming' due to the governing bodies' failure to address issues surrounding new golf technology.[44] After the 2017 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Player reiterated these comments, taking to Twitter to say he was 'sad' to see the Old Course at St Andrews 'brought to her knees' after Ross Fisher broke the course record on a day of very low scoring during the final round.[45]

Distinctions and honours

  • On 8 June 1961, Player was the guest on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. In a comedy skit, he gives Tennessee Ernie Ford a golf lesson.[46]
  • Received the 1966 Bob Jones Award from the United States Golf Association.
  • Named Honorary Member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1994.
  • Received Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from University of St Andrews in 1995.
  • Received Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland in 1997
  • The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational trophy is named the Gary Player Cup.
  • Named Honorary Member of Carnoustie in 1999
  • Received Honorary Doctorate in Law, University of Dundee, Scotland in 1999
  • South African Sportsman of the Century award in 2000
  • Received the 2003 Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monte Carlo.
  • Awarded the Order of Ikhamanga (in gold for exceptional achievement) in 2003 by President Mbeki of South Africa for excellence in golf and contribution to non-racial sport in South Africa.
  • He was the world's first golfer to be featured on any country's postal stamp in South Africa.
  • Has designed over 400 golf courses on six continents around the world.
  • He currently plays on the U.S. Champions Tour and European Seniors Tour occasionally.
  • He received the 2006 Payne Stewart Award from the PGA Tour.
  • Played in his 52nd Masters Tournament at Augusta National in April 2009, extending his record of for most Masters appearances
  • Inducted into the African American Sports Hall of Fame in May 2007, with Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Has played in a record 46 consecutive British Open Championships, winning 3 times over 3 decades.
  • Stars with Camilo Villegas in a MasterCard "priceless foursome" television commercial launched during the U.S. Open in June 2009
  • In November 2009 he was awarded the inaugural Breeders Cup "Sports and Racing Excellence Award" at Santa Anita Park in California which honours owners and breeders of thoroughbred race horses.
  • Was inducted into the Asian Pacific Golf Hall of Fame with Jack Nicklaus in 2011 at a ceremony in Pattaya, Thailand.
  • In December 2011, Gary Player Design was selected amongst the finalists to design the golf course for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro
  • He received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award at The Players Championship in May 2012. The first international person to receive this accolade.
  • Received the 2020 GCSAA Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America[47]
  • Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on 7 January 2021 from then President Donald Trump.[48]

Professional wins (160)

PGA Tour wins (24)

Major championships (9)
Other PGA Tour (15)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 20 Apr 1958 Kentucky Derby Open −14 (68-68-69-69=274) 3 strokes Chick Harbert, Ernie Vossler
2 3 Jul 1959 The Open Championship −4 (75-71-70-68=284) 2 strokes Fred Bullock, Flory Van Donck
3 29 Jan 1961 Lucky International Open −12 (70-69-68-65=272) 2 strokes George Bayer, Don Whitt
4 26 Mar 1961 Sunshine Open Invitational −15 (69-68-67-69=273) 1 stroke Arnold Palmer
5 10 Apr 1961 Masters Tournament −8 (69-68-69-74=280) 1 stroke Charles Coe, Arnold Palmer
6 22 Jul 1962 PGA Championship −2 (72-67-69-70=278) 1 stroke Bob Goalby
7 13 Jan 1963 San Diego Open Invitational −14 (65-65-70-70=270) 1 stroke Tony Lema
8 9 Mar 1964 Pensacola Open −14 (71-68-66-69=274) Playoff Miller Barber, Arnold Palmer
9 31 May 1964 500 Festival Open Invitation −11 (70-66-70-67=273) 1 stroke Doug Sanders, Art Wall Jr.
10 21 Jun 1965 U.S. Open +2 (70-70-71-71=282) Playoff Kel Nagle
11 13 Jul 1968 The Open Championship (2) +1 (74-71-71-73=289) 2 strokes Bob Charles, Jack Nicklaus
12 20 Apr 1969 Tournament of Champions −4 (69-74-69-72=284) 2 strokes Lee Trevino
13 5 Apr 1970 Greater Greensboro Open −13 (70-63-73-65=271) 2 strokes Miller Barber
14 21 Mar 1971 Greater Jacksonville Open −7 (70-70-72-69=281) Playoff Hal Underwood
15 28 Mar 1971 National Airlines Open Invitational −14 (69-67-70-68=274) 2 strokes Lee Trevino
16 26 Mar 1972 Greater New Orleans Open −9 (73-69-68-69=279) 1 stroke Dave Eichelberger, Jack Nicklaus
17 6 Aug 1972 PGA Championship (2) +1 (71-71-67-72=281) 2 strokes Tommy Aaron, Jim Jamieson
18 9 Sep 1973 Southern Open −10 (69-65-67-69=270) 1 stroke Forrest Fezler
19 14 Apr 1974 Masters Tournament (2) −10 (71-71-66-70=278) 2 strokes Dave Stockton, Tom Weiskopf
20 26 May 1974 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic −15 (65-72-69-67=273) 2 strokes Lou Graham, Hubert Green
21 13 Jul 1974 The Open Championship (3) −2 (69-68-75-70=282) 4 strokes Peter Oosterhuis
22 9 Apr 1978 Masters Tournament (3) −11 (72-72-69-64=277) 1 stroke Rod Funseth, Hubert Green,
Tom Watson
23 16 Apr 1978 MONY Tournament of Champions (2) −7 (70-68-76-67=281) 2 strokes Andy North, Lee Trevino
24 23 Apr 1978 Houston Open −18 (64-67-70-69=270) 1 stroke Andy Bean

PGA Tour playoff record (3–10)

1 1958 Dallas Open Invitational Julius Boros, John McMullin,
Sam Snead
Snead won with birdie on first extra hole
2 1959 Memphis Open Al Balding, Don Whitt Whitt won with par on second extra hole
Balding eliminated with birdie on first hole
3 1961 American Golf Classic Jay Hebert Lost to birdie on second extra hole
4 1962 Masters Tournament Dow Finsterwald, Arnold Palmer Palmer won 18-hole playoff;
Palmer: −4 (68),
Player: −1 (71),
Finsterwald: +5 (77)
5 1962 Memphis Open Invitational Lionel Hebert, Gene Littler Hebert won with birdie on first extra hole
6 1963 Palm Springs Golf Classic Jack Nicklaus Lost 18-hole playoff;
Nicklaus: −7 (65),
Player: +1 (73)
7 1964 Pensacola Open Miller Barber, Arnold Palmer Won 18-hole playoff;
Player: −1 (71),
Palmer: E (72),
Barber: +2 (74)
8 1965 U.S. Open Kel Nagle Won 18-hole playoff;
Player: +1 (71),
Nagle: +3 (74)
9 1967 Oklahoma City Open Invitational Miller Barber Lost to birdie on third extra hole
10 1968 Azalea Open Invitational Steve Reid Lost to birdie on second extra hole
11 1971 Greater Jacksonville Open Hal Underwood Won with par on second extra hole
12 1971 Kemper Open Dale Douglass, Lee Trevino,
Tom Weiskopf
Weiskopf won with birdie on first extra hole
13 1975 MONY Tournament of Champions Al Geiberger Lost to birdie on first extra hole

European Tour wins (4)

Major championships (4)
Other European Tour (0)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 6 Aug 1972 PGA Championship[lower-alpha 1] +1 (71-71-67-72=281) 2 strokes Tommy Aaron, Jim Jamieson
2 14 Apr 1974 Masters Tournament[lower-alpha 1] −10 (71-71-66-70=278) 2 strokes Dave Stockton, Tom Weiskopf
3 13 Jul 1974 The Open Championship −2 (69-68-75-70=282) 4 strokes Peter Oosterhuis
4 9 Apr 1978 Masters Tournament[lower-alpha 1] (2) −11 (72-72-69-64=277) 1 stroke Rod Funseth, Hubert Green,
Tom Watson
  1. Not a European Tour event at the time, but retrospectively counted as an official win.

European Tour playoff record (0–2)

1 1974 Dunlop Masters Bernard Gallacher Lost to birdie on first extra hole
2 1976 Penfold PGA Championship Neil Coles, Eamonn Darcy Coles won with par on third extra hole
Player eliminated by par on first hole

Southern Africa wins (60)

Note: Many of these wins were part of a formal South Africa Tour or Sunshine Circuit (now Sunshine Tour).

  • 1955 East Rand Open
  • 1956 East Rand Open, South African Open
  • 1957 Western Province Open
  • 1958 Natal Open
  • 1959 East Rand Open, Natal Open, South African Professional Match Play Championship, Transvaal Open
  • 1960 Natal Open, South African Masters,[49] Transvaal Open, Western Province Open, South African Open
  • 1961 Transvaal Open (Dec.)[50]
  • 1962 Natal Open, Transvaal Open
  • 1963 Liquid Air Tournament, Richelieu Grand Prix (Cape Town), Richelieu Grand Prix (Johannesburg), Sponsored 5000
  • 1964 South African Masters
  • 1965 South African Open
  • 1966 Natal Open, Transvaal Open, South African Open
  • 1967 South African Masters, South African Open
  • 1968 Natal Open, Western Province Open,[51] South African Open
  • 1969 South African PGA Championship, South African Open
  • 1971 General Motors Open,[52] South African Masters, Western Province Open
  • 1972 South African Masters (Jan.),[53] South African Masters (Dec.),[54] Western Province Open, South African Open
  • 1974 General Motors Open (Feb.),[55] South African Masters,[56] General Motors Open (Nov.),[57] Rand International Open,
  • 1975 General Motors Open,[58] South African Open[59]
  • 1976 South African Masters (Feb.), South African Masters (Nov.), South African Open[60]
  • 1977 ICL International, South African Open
  • 1979 South African PGA Championship, South African Masters,[61] South African Open, Sun City Classic[62]
  • 1981 South African Open
  • 1982 South African PGA Championship
  • 1986 Nissan Skins Game
  • 1988 Nissan Skins Game
  • 1991 Nissan Skins Game

PGA Tour of Australasia wins (2)

Australian Opens (1)
Other PGA Tour of Australasia (1)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 3 Nov 1974 Qantas Australian Open −11 (69-72-63-73=277) 3 strokes Norman Wood
2 15 Nov 1981 Tooth Gold Coast Classic −13 (65-71-72-67=275) 4 strokes Bob Shearer

PGA Tour of Australasia playoff record (0–1)

1 1979 Victorian Open Rodger Davis, Geoff Parslow Davis won with birdie on second extra hole

Safari Circuit wins (1)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 9 Mar 1980 Trophée Félix Houphouët-Boigny −23 (66-66-69-64=265) Playoff Peter Townsend

South American Golf Circuit wins (1)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 9 Nov 1980 Chile Open −4 (72-67-74-71=284) 1 stroke Alan Pate

Other European wins (10)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
Runner-up Ref.
1 4 May 1956 Dunlop Tournament 70-64-64-72-68=338 2 strokes Arthur Lees [63]
2 16 Oct 1965 Piccadilly World Match Play Championship 3 & 2 Peter Thomson [64]
3 8 Oct 1966 Piccadilly World Match Play Championship (2) 6 & 4 Jack Nicklaus [65]
4 12 Oct 1968 Piccadilly World Match Play Championship (3) 1 up Bob Charles [66]
5 9 Oct 1971 Piccadilly World Match Play Championship (4) 5 & 4 Jack Nicklaus [67]
6 13 Oct 1973 Piccadilly World Match Play Championship (5) 40th hole Graham Marsh [68]
7 8 Nov 1974 La Manga International Pro-Am −42 (67-54-63-60=244) Playoff Clive Clark [69]
8 10 Nov 1974 European Ibergolf Trophy +1 (73-72=145) Playoff Peter Townsend [70]
9 12 Oct 1975 Trophée Lancôme −10 (73-65-69-71=278) 6 strokes Lanny Wadkins [71]
10 21 Oct 1984 Johnnie Walker Trophy −16 (68-71-66-67=272) Playoff Seve Ballesteros [72]

Japan wins (2)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 6 Nov 1961 Yomiuri Pro Championship +1 (75-72-72-70=289) 5 strokes Chen Ching-Po
2 14 May 1972 Japan Airlines Open −8 (67-71-72-70=280) 1 stroke Lu Liang-Huan, Tōru Nakamura,
Peter Thomson, Haruo Yasuda

Other Australasian wins (17)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
Runner(s)-up Ref.
1 19 Sep 1956 Western Australian Open 69-27-74-74=289 5 strokes Len Thomas [73]
2 7 Oct 1956 North Coast Open −4 (69-67=136) Playoff Norm Berwick [74]
3 17 Nov 1956 Ampol Tournament 66-73-69-72=280 6 strokes Bo Wininger [75]
4 13 Oct 1957 North Coast Open (2) −5 (68-67=135) 1 stroke Eric Cremin [76]
5 2 Nov 1957 Ampol Tournament (2) 74-70-66-71=281 2 strokes Dave Thomas [77]
6 21 Nov 1957 Australian PGA Championship 2 up Peter Thomson [78]
7 30 Aug 1958 Australian Open 68-67-70-66=271 5 strokes Kel Nagle [79]
8 7 Nov 1959 Victorian Open −17 (70-69-69-67=275) 5 strokes Harold Henning [80]
9 14 Nov 1959 Ampol Tournament (3) 73-70-69=212 Shared title with Kel Nagle [81]
10 28 Oct 1961 Wills Classic −2 (78-68-71-69=286) 3 strokes Eric Cremin [82]
11 3 Nov 1962 Australian Open (2) 69-70-71-71=281 2 strokes Kel Nagle [83]
12 2 Nov 1963 Australian Open (3) −18 (70-70-70-68=278) 7 strokes Bruce Devlin [84]
13 30 Oct 1965 Australian Open (4) −28 (62-71-62-69=264) 6 strokes Frank Phillips, Jack Nicklaus [85]
14 10 Nov 1968 Wills Masters −15 (69-70-66-72=277) Playoff Peter Townsend [86]
15 26 Oct 1969 Australian Open (5) E (64-69-68-77=288) 1 stroke Guy Wolstenholme [87]
16 25 Oct 1970 Australian Open (6) −8 (71-65-70-74=280) 3 strokes Bruce Devlin [88]
17 1 Nov 1970 Dunlop International −6 (71-67-73-71=282) 1 stroke Bill Brask, Kel Nagle,
Lee Trevino

Other South American wins (2)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 24 Nov 1972 Brazil Open −6 (65-68-68-69=270) 10 strokes Steve Melnyk
2 1 Dec 1974 Brazil Open (2) −9 (67-59-70-71=267) 5 strokes Mark Hayes

Other wins (11)

  • 1955 Egyptian Matchplay
  • 1965 World Series of Golf, NTL Challenge Cup (Canada), World Cup of Golf, World Cup of Golf Individual Trophy
  • 1968 World Series of Golf
  • 1972 World Series of Golf
  • 1977 World Cup of Golf Individual Trophy
  • 1979 PGA Grand Slam of Golf (shared title with Andy North)
  • 1983 Skins Game
  • 1986 Fred Meyer Challenge (with Greg Norman - team shared title with Peter Jacobsen & Curtis Strange)

Senior PGA Tour wins (22)

Senior PGA Tour major championships (9)
Other Senior PGA Tour (13)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 23 Nov 1985 Quadel Seniors Classic −11 (73-64-68=205) 3 strokes Jim Ferree, Ken Still
2 16 Feb 1986 General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship −12 (68-68-73-72=281) 2 strokes Lee Elder
3 18 May 1986 United Hospitals Senior Golf Championship −4 (66-70-70=206) 1 stroke Bob Charles, Lee Elder
4 1 Jun 1986 Denver Post Champions of Golf −8 (70-67-71=208) Playoff Roberto De Vicenzo
5 14 Jun 1987 Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship −8 (69-73-69-69=280) 1 stroke Bruce Crampton, Chi-Chi Rodríguez
6 12 Jul 1987 U.S. Senior Open −14 (69-68-67-66=270) 6 strokes Doug Sanders
7 13 Sep 1987 PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational −9 (68-67-72=207) Playoff Bob Charles
8 14 Feb 1988 General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship (2) −4 (69-73-72=70=284) 3 strokes Chi-Chi Rodríguez
9 28 Feb 1988 Aetna Challenge −9 (70-70-67=207) 1 stroke Dave Hill
10 26 Jun 1988 Silver Pages Classic −13 (69-68-66=203) Playoff Harold Henning
11 24 Jul 1988 Volvo Seniors' British Open −8 (65-66-72-69=272) 1 stroke Billy Casper
12 8 Aug 1988 U.S. Senior Open (2) E (74-71-70-73=288) Playoff Bob Charles
13 11 Sep 1988 GTE North Classic −15 (70-65-66=201) 2 strokes Dave Hill
14 10 Sep 1989 GTE North Classic (2) −9 (67-68=135)* 1 stroke Billy Casper, Al Geiberger,
Joe Jimenez
15 8 Oct 1989 RJR Championship −3 (65-71-71=207) 1 stroke Rives McBee
16 15 Apr 1990 PGA Seniors' Championship (3) −7 (74-69-65-73=281) 2 strokes Chi-Chi Rodríguez
17 29 Jul 1990 Volvo Seniors' British Open (2) E (69-65-71-75=280) 1 stroke Deane Beman, Brian Waites
18 3 Feb 1991 Royal Caribbean Classic −13 (67-65-68=200) 2 strokes Bob Charles, Chi-Chi Rodríguez,
Lee Trevino
19 19 Sep 1993 Bank One Senior Classic −14 (68-68-66=202) 3 strokes Dale Douglass
20 24 Sep 1995 Bank One Classic (2) −5 (72-75-64=211) 2 strokes Jack Kiefer
21 27 Jul 1997 Senior British Open (3) −10 (68-70-72-68=278) Playoff John Bland
22 23 Aug 1998 Northville Long Island Classic −12 (68-68-68=204) 1 stroke Walter Hall, J. C. Snead

*Note: The 1989 GTE North Classic was shortened to 36 holes due to rain.

Senior PGA Tour playoff record (5–2)

1 1986 Denver Post Champions of Golf Roberto De Vicenzo Won with par on fourth extra hole
2 1987 PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational Bob Charles Won with birdie on first extra hole
3 1988 Silver Pages Classic Harold Henning Won with birdie on first extra hole
4 1988 U.S. Senior Open Bob Charles Won 18-hole playoff;
Player: −4 (68),
Charles: −2 (70)
5 1990 Bell Atlantic Classic Dale Douglass Lost to par on second extra hole
6 1996 FHP Health Care Classic Walter Morgan Lost to birdie on first extra hole
7 1997 Senior British Open John Bland Won with birdie on second extra hole

European Senior Tour wins (3)

Senior major championships (1)
Other European Senior Tour (2)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 15 Aug 1993 Belfast Telegraph Irish Senior Masters −5 (68-68-72=208) 2 strokes José María Roca
2 27 Jul 1997 Senior British Open −10 (68-70-72-68=278) Playoff John Bland
3 3 Aug 1997 Shell Wentworth Senior Masters −9 (69-68-70=207) 1 stroke José María Cañizares, David Creamer

European Senior Tour playoff record (1–0)

1 1997 Senior British Open John Bland Won with birdie on second extra hole

Other senior wins (6)

  • 1987 Northville Invitational (United States), German PGA Team Championship
  • 1997 Dai-ichi Seimei Cup (Japan)
  • 2000 Senior Skins Game (U.S. – unofficial event)
  • 2009 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf – Demaret Division (with Bob Charles)
  • 2010 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf – Demaret Division (with Bob Charles)

*The Senior British Open was retroactively recognised by the PGA Tour Champions as a senior major in 2018.[4][90]

Major championships

Wins (9)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner(s)-up
1959The Open Championship4 shot deficit−4 (75-71-70-68=284)2 strokes Fred Bullock, Flory Van Donck
1961Masters Tournament4 shot lead−8 (69-68-69-74=280)1 stroke Charles Coe, Arnold Palmer
1962PGA Championship2 shot lead−2 (72-67-69-70=278)1 stroke Bob Goalby
1965U.S. Open2 shot lead+2 (70-70-71-71=282)Playoff1 Kel Nagle
1968The Open Championship (2)2 shot deficit+1 (74-71-71-73=289)2 strokes Bob Charles, Jack Nicklaus
1972PGA Championship (2)1 shot lead+1 (71-71-67-72=281)2 strokes Tommy Aaron, Jim Jamieson
1974Masters Tournament (2)1 shot deficit−10 (71-71-66-70=278)2 strokes Dave Stockton, Tom Weiskopf
1974The Open Championship (3)3 shot lead−2 (69-68-75-70=282)4 strokes Peter Oosterhuis
1978Masters Tournament (3)7 shot deficit−11 (72-72-69-64=277)1 stroke Rod Funseth, Hubert Green,
Tom Watson

1Defeated Nagle in 18-hole playoff; Player 71 (+1), Nagle 74 (+4).

Results timeline

Tournament 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament T24 CUT T8
U.S. Open 2 T15
The Open Championship 4 T24 7 1
PGA Championship
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament T6 1 2 T5 T5 T2 T28 T6 T7 T33
U.S. Open T19 T9 T6 T8 T23 1 T15 T12 T16 T48
The Open Championship 7 WD CUT T7 T8 WD T4 T3 1 T23
PGA Championship T29 1 T8 T13 T33 T3 2
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament 3 T6 T10 1 T30 T28 T19 1 T17
U.S. Open T44 T27 T15 12 T8 T43 T23 T10 T6 T2
The Open Championship CUT T7 6 T14 1 T32 T28 T22 T34 T19
PGA Championship T12 T4 1 T51 7 T33 T13 T31 T26 T23
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T6 T15 T15 CUT T21 T36 CUT T35 CUT CUT
U.S. Open CUT T26 CUT T20 T43 CUT CUT
The Open Championship CUT CUT T42 CUT CUT CUT T35 T66 T60 CUT
PGA Championship T26 T49 CUT T42 T2 CUT
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament T24 CUT CUT 60 CUT CUT CUT CUT 46 CUT
U.S. Open
The Open Championship CUT T57 CUT CUT CUT T68 CUT CUT CUT CUT
PGA Championship
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
U.S. Open
The Open Championship CUT CUT
PGA Championship
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut (3rd round cut in 1970, 1980, 1981 and 1985 Open Championships)
WD = withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place.


TournamentWins2nd3rdTop-5Top-10Top-25EventsCuts made
Masters Tournament321815225230
U.S. Open12039192925
The Open Championship301612174626
PGA Championship22168122321
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 37 (1970 PGA – 1980 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 6 (1962 PGA – 1964 Masters)

Results in The Players Championship

Tournament 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
The Players Championship CUT T21 T9 T13 T28 CUT T8 CUT CUT 61
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place

Senior major championships

Wins (9)

YearChampionshipWinning ScoreMarginRunner(s)-up
1986General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship−7 (68-68-73-72=281)2 strokes Lee Elder
1987U.S. Senior Open−14 (69-68-67-66=270)6 strokes Doug Sanders
1987Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship−8 (69-73-69-69=280)1 stroke Bruce Crampton Chi-Chi Rodríguez
1988General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship (2)−4 (69-73-72-70=284)3 strokes Chi-Chi Rodríguez
1988Volvo Seniors' British Open−8 (65-66-72-69=272)1 stroke Billy Casper
1988U.S. Senior Open (2)E (74-70-71-73=288)Playoff1 Bob Charles
1990PGA Seniors' Championship (3)−7 (74-69-65-73=281)2 strokes Chi-Chi Rodríguez
1990Volvo Seniors' British Open (2)E (69-65-71-75=280)1 stroke Deane Beman, Brian Waites
1997Senior British Open (3)−10 (68-70-72-68=278)Playoff2 John Bland

1Defeated Charles in 18-hole playoff; Player (68), Charles (70).
2Defeated Bland with a birdie on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Results timeline

Tournament 1986 1987 1988 1989
Senior PGA Championship 1 T8 1 T8
U.S. Senior Open 2 1 1 T9
The Tradition NYF NYF NYF 2
Senior Players Championship T14 1 T3 3
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Senior PGA Championship 1 T8 5 T16 T19 T60 T31 T20 T39 T43
U.S. Senior Open T3 T8 T3 T17 T13 T19 T60 T21
The Tradition 2 T15 T20 T17 T27 T17 T9 T51 T17 T50
Senior Players Championship T18 T43 T18 T33 T42 T49 T49 T29
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Senior PGA Championship T46 T8 T45 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT
The Senior Open Championship 1 1 1 T51 CUT T61 T65 CUT CUT
U.S. Senior Open CUT 57 CUT T54 CUT CUT
The Tradition T34 T19 T62 75 T64 T73 T76 67
Senior Players Championship T57 T56 T58 T74

1The Senior Open Championship was not a Champions Tour major until 2003, though it was on the European Seniors Tour. Player won the event three times prior to this recognition.

  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = Missed the half-way cut
NYF = Tournament not yet founded
"T" = tied

Team appearances

  • World Cup (representing South Africa): 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 (winners, individual winner), 1966, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977 (individual winner)
  • Slazenger Trophy (representing British Commonwealth and Empire): 1956
  • Chrysler Cup (representing the International team): 1986 (captain), 1987 (captain, winners), 1988 (captain), 1989 (captain), 1990 (captain) this list is probably incomplete
  • Dunhill Cup (representing South Africa): 1991
  • Alfred Dunhill Challenge (representing Southern Africa): 1995 (non-playing captain, winners)
  • UBS Cup (representing the Rest of the World): 2001 (captain), 2002 (captain), 2004 (captain)
  • Insperity Invitational – Greats of Golf: 2012 (winners), 2014 (winners), 2015 (winners), 2017 (winners)

See also

  • Career Grand Slam champions
  • List of golfers with most Champions Tour major championship wins
  • List of golfers with most Champions Tour wins
  • List of golfers with most PGA Tour wins
  • List of longest PGA Tour win streaks
  • List of men's major championships winning golfers


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