Vivienne Player Dies After Battle With Cancer

Vivienne Player death was announced on Wednesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Vivienne Player's death was announced on Wednesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer

Vivenne Player has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Gary and Vivienne Player were married for 64 years, and they have six children together as well as 22 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

The pair first met in their teens, with Gary asking Vivenne to marry him at the age of 15.

Gary has regularly attributed his success to her, with the pair balancing traveling with their six children, a nanny and a tutor during his playing career.

Vivienne was the brother of former South African PGA Tour winner Bobby Verwey.

A fine player herself, she once recorded two holes-in-one in a single round during a tournament in Johannesburg.

Vivienne and Gary pictured celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in 2007

Gary and Vivienne have raised more than $62 million for underprivileged children’s education globally thanks to charitable efforts including The Player Foundation and the Gary Player Invitational series tournaments.

In January, Gary tweeted how Vivienne is his rock on their 64th wedding anniversary after marrying on 19th January 1957.

"Today is our 64th wedding anniversary. Vivienne has been my rock and helped me achieve success beyond my wildest dreams. It’s been a difficult year seeing her battle cancer but it’s made me realize what a special life we’ve shared. A wife like no other. I love you, Viv," he wrote.

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A post from Gary in August 2020:


In an interview published on Tennis World (opens in new tab), Gary said of the time he first saw Vivienne when he was 14-year-old: “That day, I told my brother she is the girl I’m going to marry. He thought I was crazy!"

“She is the best wife that any man could ever wish for. You know, no other woman would have stayed with me. I spent more time on airplanes than any one in this planet. And she stayed home with the kids," Player continued.

"Sometimes she could join me in America, but it took 40 hours in those days, because the plane had to stop four times. And there weren’t beds on the plane, or television to keep you entertained.

"But these are the type of things Vivienne accepted so that I could play golf. And in those days, they didn’t have the big purses of today. Sometimes life was a struggle for the Player-family. Although things became more comfortable over the years, some things never changed."

Tributes to Vivenne and the Player family have poured in across social media:

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Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x