‘I helped make this tournament what it is’ but Gary Player says he’s sad he doesn’t feel welcome at Augusta National
Gary Player says he wishes he had more access to Augusta National Golf Club. It’s one of his biggest complaints about the Masters.
He said the worst thing about the famed club is his inability to come play a round with friends, a rule he wishes would change. But it seems his frustration has boiled over.
The 87-year-old three-time Masters champion said in an interview with The Times how sad it is that he has to beg for a round at the place where he’s an honorary member.
Come Thursday, Player will join Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson as honorary starters ahead of the 2023 Masters, something he has done for more than a decade.
That ceremony is something he treasures, but outside of that, he isn’t happy with how he is welcomed at Augusta.
“After all I’ve contributed to the tournament and been an ambassador for them, I can’t go and have a practice round there with my three grandchildren without having to beg a member to play with us, and there’s always some excuse. It’s terribly, terribly sad,” Player told The Times.
“I’ve played my role: I’ve won it three times; I was in the top ten 15 times; I made the most number of cuts in a row ever (23), yet here we are struggling to get a round. If it wasn’t for the players, (Augusta) would just be another golf course in Georgia.
“It’s just sad – and I put great emphasis on the word ‘sad’ – that Augusta (doesn’t) make you feel welcome in that regard because I helped make this tournament what it is.”
Last week, Player said in the Daily Mail that the Open Championship was the best major and that the Masters was fourth.
While Player said no golfer has received more love than he has over his career, he also said he has had a difficult road.
“There’s no golfer who’s ever had a tougher life than I have,” Player said. “I’ve won more tournaments than any man alive. I’ve won more national Opens than Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer put together. I’ve done remarkable things.”