Gary Player's Son Brands Father's Memorabilia Claims 'Baseless'

Marc Player has responded to his father's claims that memorabilia for sale belong to him

Gary Player at Senior Open Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Marc Player, son and former business partner of multiple Major champion Gary Player, has issued a statement in response to his father's claims that several trophies and pieces of memorabilia that were put up for auction belong to him and that he is taking action to get them back.

The bitter feud between Player and his son has intensified, with Player Jr. having branded his father's claims as "baseless" and insisted, "you cannot take back what no longer belongs to you." 

The statement, issued by Marc Player's legal representatives, Heitner, reads: "In response to the August 8 statement that James Throssell published on Twitter, on behalf of Gary Player, and his baseless claim of ownership connected to the unidentified trophies and memorabilia, our client Marc Player, states the following:

"In 2002, after several years of spending extensive time and money with Christie's London, Marc Player catalogued almost 300 items from his father's global golf career. Many of these items were scattered around the world or not actually won by Gary Player but commissioned by Marc Player from artists or purchased from various other collectors. The entire Christie's Gary Player collection was subsequently sold to South African billionaire, Johann Rupert, when Marc Player's father could not pay his outstanding personal tax bill of millions due to South African Revenue Services.

"Gary Player has already sold, against Marc Player's wishes, the most important Grand Slam original items of memorabilia that should have formed part of his legacy."

The statement alleges an agreement between Marc Player and his father whereby the proceeds of sale would be split between the two parties. Marc Player adds that to date, he has not received any compensation. 

"The agreement between Gary Player and his son was simply that, if this Christie's collection was ever to be sold, they would split the proceeds equally given the time, effort and cost involved related to Marc's efforts. To date, Marc Player has not received any compensation whatsoever. All other trophies or memorabilia were validly gifted to Marc Player by his parents, remain his, and Marc has been in full possession of these items for decades without any claim by his father, Gary's management, the family or Gary's advisors. You cannot take back what no longer belongs to you."

This is not the first legal dispute between the pair. In 2000, Gary Player was awarded $5m after an unknown contract dispute between Player and his son was settled. 

Earlier this year, another son of Player, Wayne, revealed he received a lifetime ban from the Masters after using last year’s honorary starter ceremony as an opportunity to advertise golf balls. With the cameras trained on Lee Elder, the first black golfer to play in the Masters, Wayne Player held up a sleeve of golf balls in the background.

Wayne Player had been in trouble at Augusta before, having been arrested for fraud over an incident involving a house rental at the 2018 Masters. The charges were later dropped, but not before he has spent what he described as “five nights of hell” in a nearby jail cell.

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.