2009 Masters - A Farewell for my Dad!

2009 Masters; A Farewell for my Dad:

 How time has flown by at The Masters! It seems like it was only yesterday I was sixteen and watched my Father win his third green jacket in 1978.  A last round of 64, shooting 30 on the back nine, was truly a moment in time. Watching Seve Ballasteros celebrate on number 18 after my Dad holed a 30 foot fist pumping downhill put was certainly one of the all time great Masters. This year, as I was walking the last few holes on Friday  knowing this was the last of the Black Knight in regulation Masters competition, Steven Ames who was one of my Dad’s playing partners came over. He embraced me and mentioned that there was never a more memorable or honorable moment in his golfing career than witnessing standing ovations on every one of the 33 holes as they approached each green. Steven was very kind to make the effort in coming over. It was quite fitting that my dear old Dad should hit a five wood that never left the flag from a position on number 18 that he is just not familiar with. What an incredible reception on the 18th, so many young South African professionals waiting to say goodbye and pay their respects to the man that was their role model growing up. Most of the family were there including my two oldest sons Tyler and Jordan. It was certainly a touching and special moment. 

 The end of The Big Three era at Augusta had finally arrived. They will all be sorely missed and certainly have been a major contribution to what makes The Masters, The Masters.


Kenny Perry’s Demise…

 How disappointing it must have been for Kenny Perry to lose the Green Jacket the way he did? The Championship was his to win or lose. My Dad has always said that when you have the opportunity you must take it and if you are to fall short that it must never be because of a bad decision.

 Kenny made two mistakes on both 17 and 18 being two shots in front with two holes to play. He struck his second shot at 17 long, which made his chip shot almost impossible under a tremendous amount of pressure. At the end of the day Kenny hit a beautiful shot, but long was the one thing he could not do. The result was a bogey five which created more tension on 18 with only a one shot advantage.

 On number 18 it was not the drive into the left bunker that cost him the tournament, but the fact that the cardinal sin is that you simply cannot miss the 18th green left when you have that front pin placement. If the poor fellow had hit his second shot way right into the right bunker he would have had a relatively easy up and down with lots of green to work with. Case in point was the first playoff hole where Chad Campbell and Perry were not going to make the left of the green mistake. Both had easy chips towards the pin.

 It is easy to be critical from the sidelines. However Kenny Perry was destined to have a locker in the Champions Room. It would have highlighted a very successful PGA Tour career. One of the truly good guys out there.

 Time heals almost all things. However Kenny Perry will never forget this opportunity.

 We wish Kenny only success in the future and pray that he will have this opportunity again. Who knows!


Early in my golfing career, it seemed that I was destined to further my family’s name in the game of golf.  In 1979, at the age of 17, I made the 36-hole cut at the British Open held at Royal Lytham.  In 1982, when I qualified for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, my dad and I became the first father/son duo to qualify and play in both a U.S. Open and British Open at the same time.  In all, I won several amateur and professional titles, competed in two British Opens, a U.S. Open, four British Amateurs and three U.S. Amateurs. 

However, it was the life lessons learned from my dad, rather than the swing lessons, that would shape my career and personal life. I am excited at the opportunity in sharing my dad’s and my passionate beliefs about the game of golf and life. Today, I have decided to dedicate my life in helping and motivating people to achieve their full potential both on and off the course. 

I have always loved to watch my dad play golf and interact with other players, friends, fans, and business associates.  His ability to strike a perfect one iron may have made him famous, but it is his ability to engage others in meaningful conversation and inspire them with his stories that endears him to millions.

In 2000, I was on the bag caddying for Dad during a practice round at one of the Senior events on the PGA Tour. As we walked off the first tee, a  fan crying out to my Dad caught our attention, “Gary, Gary, over here.”   We glanced over to see a beautiful woman accompanied by a rather large man (as in North of 300 pounds and I do mean large).  Dad, known for spending as much time talking with the gallery as practicing 4-footers, looked at me and said, “Let’s go over and meet those folks”.  I was sure that we were heading over to get a closer look at the Mrs., but after a brief introduction, Dad squared up to Mr. Large, who we now knew as John, and opened the conversation in the following way:

John, I noticed that you have the most beautiful wife, Mary, and I am very worried about the weight you are carrying around with you. John, how would you feel if suddenly you were to have a massive heart attack and die and your stunning partner in life remarries and heads off into the sunset on a cruise with a younger man spending your retirement and life insurance? John replies how that picture would certainly be displeasing at the pearly gates.

Dad continued, “Now listen to me John.  I’m very concerned about you.  You’re overweight, out of shape and heading for trouble.  I can tell by your dress and your manners that you are a well-off and intelligent man, so I don’t understand why you are letting yourself go like this.  You have a beautiful wife and a wonderful life but I know that you are not going to be here much longer if you don’t make some changes.  Now I want you to give what I said some serious thought so that I might be able to see you out here again next year.”

With that Dad tipped his hat and headed off down the fairway.  Needless to say I was quite embarrassed, so I politely said good-bye and scurried off after him.

A year later we returned, and much to my surprise, there on the first tee was John and his wife, Mary.  Mary looked as lovely as the year before, but it was John who held my stare.  He had lost a good 70 pounds and looked as fit as a fiddle.  John went on to tell my dad that after their previous encounter, along with a lot of pressure from Mary, he went to see his doctor for a complete check-up.  The doctor discovered a massively clogged artery and operated almost immediately.  John was convinced that Dad’s stern talk saved his life.


I shared this story recently while discussing with a friend the woes of the world and the low spirits we all seem to be collectively wallowing in.  I then realized that perhaps what we all need is a swift kick in the behind; much like my dad did for John.

That desire to help others better their lives and share in the knowledge that I have gained as the son of Gary Player lead me to the create my new site, The Wayne Player Experience. I invite you to take a look around and visit us often for more insight into The Player Approach to life, in which I hope to introduce you to my method of balanced living.

Each month, in this space, I will share my views on golf, health, fitness, and the world we live in, as well as many more stories from the son of a legend.

I welcome and encourage you to contact me at wayne@wayneplayer.com with any feedback you may have, so that we can continue to do our very best in providing not only fantastic entertainment, but an unparalleled experience as well.