Gary Player DMS; OIG (born 1 November 1935) is a South African professional golfer and widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of golf. Over his career, Player accumulated an impressive nine major championships on the regular tour and six Champions Tour major championship victories, as well as three Senior British Open Championships on the European Senior Tour. At the age 29, Player won the 1965 U.S. Open and became the only non-American to win all four majors, known as the career Grand Slam. Player became only the third golfer in history to win the Grand Slam, following Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. Since then, only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have won the Grand Slam. Player has won 165 tournaments on six continents over six decades and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
Player was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has logged more than 25 million kilometers (15 million miles) in travel, which is more than any other athlete. Nicknamed the Black Knight, Mr. Fitness, and the International Ambassador of Golf, Player is also a renowned golf course architect with more than 325 design projects on 5 continents throughout the world. He has also authored or co-written 36 golf books.
His business interests are represented by Black Knight International, which includes Gary Player Design, Player Real Estate, and Black Knight Enterprises, aspects of which include licensing, events, publishing, wine, apparel and memorabilia.
The Gary Player Stud Farm has received worldwide acclaim for breeding top thoroughbred race horses, including 1994 Epsom Derby entry Broadway Flyer.
He 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 2008 it celebrated its 25th Anniversary with charity golf events in London, Palm Beach, Shanghai and Cape Town, bringing its total of funds raised to over US $50 million.
In 2012 the Gary Player Invitational charity series of events will be staged in Augusta, Georgia after the Masters; in London after The Open Championship; in Shanghai prior to the HSBC Championship and in Durban, South Africa just before the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club.